Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
Hey, if the league can change its rules in the middle of the playoffs, certainly the fellows who run the NHL have the power to mandate that the Flyers and the Capitals must play a best-of-nine…or 11…or 25.
Sadly, this series will come to an end Tuesday night in Washington and if the league really wants to increase its mass appeal, it will do something, anything, to prevent that from happening. Simply put, this series has been one of the most compelling in years in the NHL and is putting on display everything the league would like the casual sports fan to see.
from Jason La Confora of the Washington Post,
There’s a backward stereotype that still percolates around NHL rinks, the one about many European players being soft and not built for the playoff grind. It’s bandied about quietly among hockey people, many of whom were watching this young Capitals team very closely to gauge how their neophyte Russians and Swedes would fare.
They wondered if Alexander Semin (Russian) and Nicklas Backstrom (Swede) could adjust to the heightened physicality of the game, the lack of abundant space to operate, the need to sometimes abandon overly creative play and simply dump the puck.
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from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
It was just a word, just three little letters at the end of a sentence. There was something fatalistic, though, in Kimmo Timonen’s postgame comment.
“We haven’t lost yet,” the veteran defenseman said.
Yet. They haven’t lost the series yet. Three little letters that perfectly capture the feel of things after the Flyers blew Game 6 against the Washington Capitals last night.
The problem isn’t Game 7 in Washington tonight. The problem is how the Flyers arrived there.
Canadiens defeat Bruins 5-0. Bruins put up a fight the whole series but the Canadiens had their number tonight.
Washington takes on Philadelphia tomorrow night in a game 7 after defeating the Flyers 4-2. Ovechkin had the game winner early in the 3rd and put the game out of reach with another goal later in the 3rd period.
from John McGourty of NHL.com,
Despite a lot of outside vitriol among media and fans, the players and coaches of the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers, who meet in Game 6 tonight (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN, RDS) at the Wachovia Center have been professional and respectful of one another.
The Flyers’ players, coaches and management don’t hate the Capitals. And the Capitals express respect for their opponents as well.
from Canwest via the National Post,
Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee says he was caught in the middle when free-agent centre Michael Nylander called him last July to say he wanted to play for his club.
Nylander’s wife had told her husband there was absolutely no way she was going to move to Edmonton so he could play for the Oilers. Having loved her previous time in Washington, she reportedly ordered her husband to get on the blower to the Caps and was standing right beside her man as he called.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal via the National Post,
“Alex scored 65 goals. It’s a big deal in the media, everybody talks about it, people are always talking about him, the cameras are always on him, the other team is really, really aware of him,” said Fedorov. “He’s got more pressure on him than I had when I started in Detroit.”
more on Fedorov…
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
At the GM meetings in the winter, you’ll recall, the league essentially declared war on the goalies by demanding a new crackdown on their equipment. Now, the league that less than 10 years ago wouldn’t allow a goal to be scored with as much as a toe in the blue paint is allowing the netminders to be physically abused every game.
What the league is setting itself up for, however, is for a series-winning goal, or a Cup-winning goal, to be scored while a goalie is being blatantly hindered from being able to stop the puck.
more and some AO talk too…
from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Game 6 or bust. That has to be the Flyers’ mantra after they were outhustled and outsmarted here in Game 5. The Caps’ 3-2 win may have been the last wild punch of a beaten team desperate to save face with its home fans. Or it may have been more proof that these young Capitals have figured out how to play in the postseason and have taken control of this series.
The best and perhaps only way to prevent that is to win Game 6 tomorrow night at the Wachovia Center.
“Maybe I’m crazy,” said coach John Stevens, who is not. “But I always start at seven and work backward. If you are able to sweep the series, that’s a bonus for you, but I always go into a series thinking we are going to play seven. If we have an opportunity to finish it in less than seven - we had that opportunity today - good.”
from Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post,
Whatever happens, the Capitals have had a season to celebrate and gained experience that will help define their future. However, if they are to salvage this series and ruin their chances of enjoying even one moment of Washington’s lovely spring time, then the most gifted of all their young players—Ovechkin—must join the experience-gathering party.
The experience he needs tomorrow, and perhaps Tuesday as well, is the same one that he has enjoyed his entire hockey life. Whether he’s shadowed by Kimmo Timonen or not, the Great Eight needs to start making that familiar red light go on again.
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About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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