Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dan Gelston of the AP via USA TODAY,
Is he frustrated by his lack of production? Nope
Is the Flyers physical play affecting him? Nah.
Would a possible line change help? Hope so.
About the only thing Ovechkin would admit after Wednesday’s practice is that he’s had enough of the losing. Philadelphia owns a 2-1 series lead over the Capitals and Washington, which entered the postseason as one of the hottest teams in the league, has lost consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 23-24 entering Thursday night’s Game 4.
“I’m frustrated we’re losing,” Ovechkin said. “It’s not about scoring, it’s about winning.”
from Japers’ Rink,
Dear Pope Benedict XVI -
While you’re in town and I’ve got your ear, I’d like to ask a favor. Now, I’m not Catholic, but I was wondering if you could take a quick second and have a word with the big guy and ask him to help Bruce Boudreau come to the realization that John Erskine has no business being on the ice in this series.
fro Ed Barkowitz of the Philadelphia Daily News,
Late in the second period, Briere would get in Huet’s kitchen again. This time, the goaltender knocked down Briere well after the play. Briere responded with a shot of his own. Both drew roughing minors after referee Don Koharski had seen enough.
“Sometimes the refs think he gets pushed into the goalie, but it doesn’t happen that way,” Huet said afterward. “If somebody does push him, he’s exaggerating. They’re not cheap shots. Everyone is trying to [go to the net] these days.”
Briere scored a killer power-play goal 3 minutes later.
“Look,” Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Danny Briere’s a pretty good hockey player, but we should be able to battle through that. We lost our cool too many times on retaliation penalties.”
from Risto Pakarinen at NHL.com,
The Russians aren’t used to hearing good news coming out of Washington, D.C.
Back in the days of the Iron Curtain, the two countries were the world’s two polar opposites, each skeptical about the intentions of the other.
But that’s ancient history. After all, back then there were only a handful of European players in the NHL, and no Russians at all.
Today, the League is flooded with European-born players and Russians are among the biggest stars in the NHL. That shift is reflected in today’s Moscow.
from Ted’s Take,
I reached out to Mike Milbury last night via NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Gary called me and we spoke. And then Mike called me and we spoke late last night.
Mike calmly explained that he meant no harm. He had a slip of the tongue when trying to start a commentary about our play. He meant to say the Washington Caps but instead he said the Washington Craps. He laughed and then stated we weren’t playing well at that time in the game and we were playing like the “Crapitals”. He was trying to be funny and trying to recover - on air - and he misspoke.
NBC commentator Mike Milbury was asked to make believe he was the team’s coach and gave his analysis of what the team needed to do to win: “so, I’m in the Washington cra-capaitals dre—ahh. I said Crapitals. That’s what it is today. Washington Capitals dressing room…”
Milbury halfway apologized for using the same dumb insult for the Caps that immature fans of teams in cities like Boston and New York have been using for decades. It’s understandable. He’s worked most of his career for teams in those towns, and at least Milbury doesn’t call the play by play. At least he’s only on screen between periods. At least the play by play comes from experienced professionals, led by respected veteran announcer Mike Emerick.
Wait, did we say respected?
from Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News,
“The network guys aren’t going to like you for this,” coach John Stevens was told after the Flyers handcuffed the Washington Capitals yesterday, 2-0, at times making the raucous Verizon Center sound more like the nearby Smithsonian.
Stevens smiled that Cheshire cat grin of his and walked on. From the moment Friday night’s 5-4 shootout ended, he had defended his game plan, blaming the number of goals and the Flyers’ third-period meltdown on “self-inflicted wounds” and “poor execution.” What transpired in front of him yesterday - huge stretches when the high-flying Caps did not have a shot, a neutral zone that often resembled the drive-time Schuylkill and not the European autobahn of Friday night - was what he envisioned happening on Friday.
from Ted Leonsis at USA TODAY,
It does feel great to be able to lose a game and NOT have the season be over. We have basically been in a situation where we have been playing Game 7 eliminations during the regular season. We know now that we could lose three games this series and still move on to the next round—so no need to panic quite yet.
It is a series now. We go play Games 3 and 4 in Philly—we had the ‘Red Out,’ they will have the ‘Orange Crush.’ NHL playoffs are so much fun but so tense and hard to predict.
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
Most of the credit for the win will go to Martin Biron’s mastery in Philadelphia’s net, and much of the fault will go to Caps defenseman Mike Green and sniper Alex Semin. I don’t wholly disagree with that diagnosis, but above and beyond scapegoating, I think you saw (a) Washington grow more tentative and jittery after they failed to score despite having five of the game’s first seven power plays; and (b) the Flyers grow more confident in Biron and their defense after that point.
more and a few additional NHL topics…
from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Ovechkin fetched the loose puck and slid it back to Green. This time, Green fired a shot over Biron’s glove hand to tie the game at 4.
It was a good shot. A shutdown goaltender - a wartime goaltender - stops it.
It isn’t time to overreact. This isn’t Roman Cechmanek wandering around while opponents fire pucks into his empty net. It was Biron’s first playoff game, and he acknowledged a case of nerves.
“There were some jitters early in the game,” Biron said. “We’ve got to get into our rhythm.”
Flyers coach John Stevens, asked merely to evaluate Biron’s play, immediately took the opportunity to mute possible criticism. He has a series here, after all.
“Obviously you have a 4-2 lead there,” Stevens said. “Guys stepped in and teed up from some difficult places to see. . . . We’re in this together here.”
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.
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