Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dan Steinberg of D.C. Sports Bog,
If you’re one of the best hockey players in the world, and you have a potentially undeserved reputation for excessive complaining, and you’re asked what you were discussing with a game official following your rival’s game-clinching playoff hat trick, you could potentially say, “Oh, it was nothing.” Or, if you were feeling frisky, you could venture further afield.
“People kept throwing hats,” Sidney Crosby said tonight. “I was just asking if he could make an announcement to ask them to stop. I mean, the first wave came and then I think they were all pretty much picked up, and then more started coming. So for us, we just wanted to make sure we kept kind of moving and kept the game going, wanted to try to get back in it. So wasn’t complaining about anything.”
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Interesting morning down at the Verizon Center in advance of Monday night’s Game 2. …
• First, it continues to boggle the mind that the NHL chooses not to force the Penguins and Caps—or, frankly, any two teams during the playoffs—to take the morning skate in the same building.
The Caps don’t like to skate at Verizon Center on game days, choosing most often to skate at their practice facility in Arlington, Va. Fair enough, but for the media covering the series—and, really, isn’t it always all about the media?—travel between the two sites on the morning of a game is difficult, not to mention annoying….
continued with more pre-game notes…
from Bruce Arthur of the National Post,
The one guy who knew Simeon Varlamov really well - better than anybody else on the Washington Capitals, probably - was Dave Prior, the team’s goaltending coach, and he didn’t want to use him. Sure, José Theodore had been ventilated in the first game of the playoffs, and Washington’s whole enterprise was suddenly unsure.
But though Varlamov had played well in his six regular-season appearances, Prior didn’t know if the silent Russian kid could handle playoff hockey, playoff pressure. Nobody did.
“Well, it wasn’t an easy choice,” said Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau Sunday. “I lost hair over that one.”
“This is the script- You have a major market. You have transcendent players on both teams. I don’t know if there has ever been a team with three centers as good as Crosby, Malkin and Staal. And this is the most evenly matched series I’ve ever seen in the playoffs. You compare the stars, the lines, the goalies.
“This will go seven games. I don’t know how. But it will.”
-Capitals Owner Ted Leonsis after today’s game. More on the Caps/Pens series from Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post.
This save deserves two calls, one from NBC and the other from CBC.
Watch both below…
added 6:22pm, Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insiders quotes a few players and both coaches on the save,
Sidney Crosby: “I don’t need to discuss [the big stops]. You don’t want to waste those opportunities. You want to take advantage of it. You end up losing the game, 3-2, and you don’t want to look back and say, ‘What if?’ The fact is, it happens in the game. As a player, you have to forget that quickly.”
In the end, however, we have one general hope for this series: That it doesn’t suck.
That it’s competitive and engaging and unpredictable. That there are flashpoint moments between these teams that shift the momentum in unforeseen ways.
-Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy writing about the anticipated Pens/Caps series. More from Greg on the matchup…
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
If WWE guru Vince McMahon was promoting the upcoming Washington Capitals-Pittsburgh Penguins grudge match, the spin likely would go something like this.
“In the red corner, representing the nation’s capital, the most electrifying figure in the sport, the man with the trade mark gap-toothed grin ... Alexander The Great!
“Over in the black corner, representing Steeltown, the young man considered The Next One for more than a decade ... Sid The Kid!
“And his tag team partner, also representing Steeltown via Russia, the Kremlin Kid, Evgeni Malkin!”
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
And so we wait for hockey’s Halley’s comet, eyes looking upward, arms outstretched, fingers pointing to the place where this event will streak across the game’s skies.
What will happen?
What will it be like?
From Mike Zeisberger at Sun Media:
Heading into his upcoming showdown against Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins, the NHL’s most electrifying superstar is getting the support of NBA royalty.
If Alexander Ovechkin was wondering who might be in his corner in this star-studded second-round showdown between his Washington Capitals and the Penguins, he received his answer this morning courtesy of a gift from LeBron (The King) James.
James, whose CIeveland Cavaliers await the identity of their second-round opponent in the NBA playoffs, sent The Great 8 a personally-signed Cavaliers jersey.
“To Alexander The Great. Keep Up The Good Work. King James,” it said, scrawled across the jersey’s white numbers in James’s personal handwriting.
from Gary Loewen of the Toronto Sun,
The hype is building for the NHL playoff series of the century, the Washington Capitals versus the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Evil Empire versus the Forces of Good….
Hold it, let’s back it up for a moment:
a) Doesn’t Crosby stand a better chance of becoming Snivelling Sid than Commander Canada?
b) Doesn’t Ovechkin, with his one good front tooth and his bad hair, qualify as an honorary Canadian?
c) Doesn’t Ovechkin’s hockey stick have more personality than Sid?
d) Didn’t Ovechkin get his nickname, OV, from a Canadian beer?
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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