Kukla's Korner Hockey
from James Duthie at the Ottawa Citizen,
When your favourite NHL team doesn’t make the playoffs or is headed toward quick elimination in the first round (not that you’d know any team like that), hockey fans can do one of two things: Turn off the TV, go outside and rake the ... ah ... snow, or go to Plan B and bandwagon-jump another club.
C’mon, we all do it. It doesn’t mean you have to buy their car flag. You just quietly release your inner Angelina Jolie and adopt them for a couple of months.
And right now, the Washington Capitals are harder to resist than a puppy in a shelter.
ESPN had a poll up earlier today, asking the question: “Who are you going to watch Friday night?”
Results are below, including a map pinpointing the origin of the results. Find out if your part of the country is more hyped for Crosby or AO.
from Ryan Dixon of the Hockey News,
For Philadelphia to beat Washington, Richards has to be the engine that drives the Flyers.
Certainly it’s important for Martin Biron to outplay Cristobal Huet in the nets; for Daniel Briere to be healthy and produce points; for the entire team to – as much as possible – clog the gears of the Russian tank known as Ovechkin.
But Richards embodies – albeit internally for the most part – that great fighting Philly spirit that must be unleashed to combat the assault Ovie is going to lay on the Flyers.
Richards, despite his modest size, is physical. He’s smart. Skilled. And most of all, he lives for this stuff.
Jason Smith did not take the morning skate but rode a bike and says he will play. Randy Jones still has a bit of the flu but skated and remains a pre-game decision. Philadelphia head coach John Stevens expects Jones to play, as well.
Steve Downie out with the flu. Believe he did not make the trip.
more pre-game notes on the Flyers
from Bill Clement at NBC Sports,
Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. The two best players in the NHL and in a real treat for hockey fans they’re both part of this year’s playoffs. Their careers are in their infancy and will forever be the subject of comparison and debate. The test of time may or may not definitely answer which one was greater.
As for the present, it’s fun asking which would be the choice if one were starting a team from scratch?
If in reality such a decision had to made, it would be the greatest can’t-lose proposition in the history of hockey. The possibility of being wrong would not exist.
From James Mirtle’s blog, an interview from April 2007 with Ted Leonsis,
And on this Saturday afternoon last April, they were awful.
I knew they were awful. Leonsis knew they were awful. And the fans in the building, at least those wearing Capitals colours, knew it, too.
It was with that uncomfortable knowledge that we all watched the third period together.
I’ve only met Leonsis the once, but there were two things I realized right away: (a) this is one competitive guy and (b) I’ve just met the biggest Capitals fan in the world.
more… on what a difference a year makes
From the Washington Times:
Is [Bruce] Boudreau ready to be an international folk hero?
“I don’t know,” he said. “I just stay in the house. I turn off the TV because if I see myself, like most people, [they] wish they were 30 pounds lighter.”
from Mark Spector of the National Post,
Exactly one year ago this morning, the hottest kid in the National Hockey League bounced out of bed in a nation’s capital, hustled good and early down to the rink, and readied for a night he’d looked forward to for all of his hockey life.
And on that night—April 11th, 2007—Sidney Crosby notched his first career playoff goal. It was a meaningless, last-minute strike in a 6-3 loss at Ottawa, but those inside Scotiabank Place knew right then and there they had witnessed something to tell the grand kids about.
This morning, the hottest kid in the NHL will wake up just outside a nation’s capital, step over the fan mail that people have taken to dropping randomly on his doorstep, and begin this long awaited day. Tonight is the night that Alexander Ovechkin has anticipated since he pulled a Washington Capitals sweater over his mane of hockey hair as the first pick in the 2004 draft.
You can watch a report on Ovechkin from Russia Today…
Capitals GM George McPhee via Dan Rosen’s blog at NHL.com,
“Everybody tries to build their team the same way. You need scoring, good goaltending, defense, grit, physical play, speed, depth, leadership. The Flyers have done a good job of putting that together. We think we have to. It should make for a good series. I don’t think anybody has any idea who is going to win this series. You look at some of the other series and say if Team A plays its best and Team B plays its best, well Team A is going to win. I don’t think you can say that about this series. I don’t think anybody knows who is going to win this one.”
much more on McPhee and the Caps…
From the AP via Sports Illustrated,
“I’ve had a good run here,’’ Kolzig said Thursday. “And I hope it continues in the next two months.’‘
In other words, until the playoffs are over. After that, Kolzig will become a free agent, presenting an understandably murky future for a 38-year-old goalie who lost his starting job just as the Capitals were becoming good again.
“The worst thing I can do is have a pity party,’’ Kolzig said. “I’m not really going to talk about the situation until the end of the year, but it is what it is and I’ve come to grips with it.’‘
Kolzig has been supplanted by Cristobal Huet, acquired from Montreal at the trade deadline.
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org