Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Wise of the Washington Post,
For some reason I found myself referring to Chris Clark, the Capitals’ injured right wing, as “Clarkie” the other day, as in, “What’s Clarkie doing sitting up here in the press box?”
It didn’t feel chummy or corny, of which it was probably both. It felt oddly natural, like my friend who walked up to Donald Brashear yesterday and said, “What’s up, Brash?” as the Caps’ enforcer winked at the notion of a virtual stranger knowing his nickname. Ovie the Kid. Olie the Elder. Greenie. Feds. Brooksie. And, yes, “Gabby,” Bruce Boudreau, that chatterbox coach from Hershey, whose wry humor and spare honesty disarmed most anyone interested in his hockey team.
They let Washington into their world the past five months, into their clubhouse—a grown-up bunch of Lil’ Rascals, armed with sticks and pucks. They fell to a more focused Flyers team that taught them a good lesson about playoff hockey:
Let’s just hope the Washington media who recently discovered that Washington has a hockey team, doesn’t forget about them next year!
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
And the performance of the duo of veteran referees Don Koharski and Paul Devorski in Philadelphia’s 3-2 overtime win over Washington Tuesday has to be noted, because it was simply abhorrent.
If there were a way to get a police sketch artist to encapsulate Koharski and Devorski’s wildly varying in-game assessments – featured by a stretch in which no penalties were called from the 13:27 mark of the second period to Tom Poti’s chintzy tripping minor 4:15 into OT that led to Joffrey Lupul’s game-winner at 6:06 – I’d transfer that image to thousands of Wanted: Dead Or Alive posters and start fundraising immediately to raise as much money as possible for a reward.
Making matters worse, if it weren’t for another blown call in the second period, the Caps might’ve won their Eastern Conference first-round series in regulation time.
Update 3:35pm ET: Jamie Fitzpatrick writes a response to Proteau’s comments at About.com
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
The Canadiens, whose victory provided the backdrop for the disturbances, weighed in with regrets yesterday. Team president Pierre Boivin said: “We wish for celebrations to take place in the traditional spirit of happiness and respect of our sport that brings us together.”
But it was ironic that Boivin added: “We ask our fans to show the same public-spiritedness as they do in the Bell Centre.”
For the record, there was a distinct lack of civility at the Bell Centre Monday night as fans shouted and booed while Charles Prévost-Linton sang the U.S. national anthem.
It wasn’t like that in the good ol’ days.
from Greg Wyshynski at Yahoo,
...it was rather embarrassing to see those same fans litter the ice with rally rags, food, beer and the whatever containers had housed said beer after the Capitals’ 3-2 overtime loss in Game 7 last night to the Philadelphia Flyers. We’re talking pools of overpriced brew that splashed on the ice near where the Flyers were celebrated Joffrey Lupul’s game-winner, and showers of concessionary debris that kept falling during the postgame handshake—and post-series interviews, like this one with Jeff Carter:
more and watch the video…
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
They played their hearts out,” Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said after the game. “They laid it on the line like you knew they would. That’s probably why they’re so sad.”
What did Boudreau say to his boys afterward, before reporters swarmed in to record the Caps’ disappointment?
“I just told them that they’d given me the greatest year of my life and I thanked them,” he said. “We’ll talk tomorrow. They don’t want to hear too much and I couldn’t say too much at that point.”
Tonight’s highly anticipated faceoff in Washington features a few players with some game 7 experience. The Flyers available lineup tonight features 7 players with 15 games experience in this situation; the Capitals boast 6 players with 16 games experience.
Only Washington’s Matt Cooke and Sergei Fedorov have ever scored in a game 7 situation.
But does any of this matter? And who will come out on top?
from Mike Wise of the Washington Post,
But here the kid was in Game 6, needing to score—needing to put a volume of shots on goal because nothing else seemed to be working. He came through brilliantly. His ungodly 13-year, $124 million contract doesn’t kick in until next year, but Ovechkin was poised for criticism this postseason if he couldn’t find the net again.
In a blink he morphed into something none of his teammates had seen for days—from Alex the Awestruck to Ovie the Incomparable, all his talent and power shown in full. And now it’s one game for everything in this first-round classic.
more (reg. req.)
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.
continued (reg. req.)
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.
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