Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
The UFC is where somebody like Capitals winger Tom Wilson belongs. He has no place in what should be the NHL's showcase series of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
If he's allowed to play in Game 2, the league's Player Safety department has whiffed in front of an open net. Suspending Wilson for his knee-on-knee hit on the Penguins' Conor Sheary — a player shorter than him by 8 inches — should be a tap-in.
Of course, should is a word used way too often at this point of the hockey season.
The playoffs should be when skilled players shine. Instead, hockey fans are too often tasked with watching circus acts such as Wilson's one-ring show.
The NHL's national broadcast partner should sell the great game of hockey. Instead, hockey fans are forced to watch NBC Sports' version of Don Cherry.
Thing is, Cherry is entertaining. Cherry actually knows something about hockey.
And Cherry is a Canadian tradition.
Mike Milbury traditionally makes a fool of himself, a trend that doesn't help the NHL win over the American sporting public. He did it again Thursday night during the third intermission of NBC Sports Network's broadcast of Game 1. He said Wilson “wasn't able to get his leg out of the way.”
The guess here is even Cherry rolled his eyes at the nonsense.
It's one thing to let 'em play. It's something else — and something awful — to let a series featuring six of the last nine MVPs to be taken over by the likes of Wilson.
If you missed Wilson's hit, watch it here.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
At one point T.J. Oshie was asked about his second goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday night.
"Yeah," the Washington Capitals winger said, thinking. "Um, the second one? The five-hole? Backhand? Oh, the breakaway. OK."
And then he started to chuckle as he realized that he was having trouble placing the exact moment he was being asked about because there were actually three such moments on this night.
Three goals, including the game-winner in overtime, that gave the Capitals a 4-3 victory and a one-game lead in this monster of a second-round series.
"I never have this problem," Oshie said with a laugh.
He's absolutely right, of course.
Had Oshie had such problems in the past -- scoring so many goals that he couldn't recall the specific details -- he likely wouldn't have become a Washington Capital.
Watch the game highlights below...
No call for the hit.
Pittsburgh @ Washington 8:00 PM ET NBCSN, CBC & TVAS
Should be a very entertaining series and I feel the Capitals have a huge advantage in goal, but I have been wrong before.
Feel free to discuss the game.
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
Finding a way to exploit one edge, however minuscule, is usually the difference between winning and losing in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Barry Trotz is well aware. His Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins are so familiar with each other that their tendencies have been broken down ad nauseam on video.
They are more than just division foes. Both teams have players who used to be behind enemy lines. Eric Fehr spent nine seasons in Washington;Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik combined for nearly 1,000 games in a Penguins uniform.
And Trotz has a secret weapon on the bench: assistant coach Todd Reirden commandeered Pittsburgh’s defence for four years.
“There are probably not a lot of secrets,” Trotz said Wednesday. “There are some real defining tendencies that if you can exploit, it can give you an advantage. It might only give you an advantage for one game until they correct whatever you might have exploited, but it's about getting four [wins]. If you can get one, somehow by identifying tendencies or areas that you can exploit, that gives you a one up and then you look to the next thing.”
But who has the edge to start?
Here is the series view from one Eastern Conference pro scout who has seen both Pittsburgh and Washington many times this season:
Evgeny Kusnetsov when asked (roughly translated)...
- Malkin, Crosby - your future opponents in the next series. Much worse than the Flyers! How to stop them?
- "There are coaches, they all show and tell how to play. There, in the "Pittsburgh", are the same people - two legs, two arms, one head."
More of a Q & A with Kusnetsov by Pavel Lysenko of SovSport (Google translate)
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
Now, for the first time since 2009, back when Ovechkin was 23 years old and Crosby just 21, the two NHL titans will collide in a playoff series, with the opportunity to rekindle the head-to-head dynamic that once made this the NHL’s most watchable and compelling individual rivalry.
Back then, this seemed like something we were going to be treated to every spring, or in many springs at least. Instead, these two have gone separate paths for the most part since then, their careers intersecting for a few regular-season games and some international tussles, only to be reunited now with both playing excellent hockey in hot pursuit of the Stanley Cup this spring.
If you missed the Capitals win over the Philadelphia Flyers today, highlights are below...
The Capitals defeated the Philadelphia Flyers today by the score of 1-0.
They will meet the Pittsburgh Penguins next.
added 3:24pm, Watch the handshake line below...
As the GIF shows, it was not his stick. Then five seconds later, another Caps penalty.
Caps overcame the calls with some help from the Flyers.
04:25 Washington Nicklas Backstrom - High-sticking - 4 minutes
04:30 Washington Matt Niskanen - Hooking - 2 minutes
06:55 Philadelphia Ryan White - Stick Holding - 2 minutes
Then Backstrom scores near the midway point of the 2nd, Caps up 1-0.
from Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun,
Hours after he didn’t provide much leadership for the Washington Capitals, Justin Williams set out to make amends.
Williams didn’t play smart hockey in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference first-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers, taking eight minutes in penalties in the first half of the game.
There’s no argument that Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth was the reason Philadelphia escaped to force Game 6 on Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center. It didn’t help the Caps’ cause that Williams’ continuous trips to the penalty box made it tougher for Washington to carry momentum.
Following an optional Capitals practice on Saturday at their suburban practice facility, Williams verbally demonstrated why the club signed him out of free agency last summer. Williams’ experience gained through winning the Stanley Cup three times (in 2014 and 2012 with Los Angeles and in 2006 with Carolina) showed when he poured cold water on the idea there is any kind of panic in the Capitals dressing room.
Thanks to the 75 saves made by Neuvirth in the past two games, the Flyers have thrust themselves back in the series and would tie the best-of-seven 3-3 with a win on Sunday. A Caps win and it’s a Washington-Pittsburgh matchup in the second round.
“We just need to take a deep breath, relax and realize the task at hand is winning one game, nothing more than that,” Williams said. “The first round is tough, just like any other round. Nothing’s for free and we have to earn it on the road now.”
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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