Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dan Steinberg of DC Sports Bog,
In Saturday night’s Game 2 loss to the Penguins, they were dominated for at least 40 minutes, appeared ill-equipped to handle Pittsburgh’s high-flying offense and couldn’t stay out of the penalty box. They went 14 minutes without taking a shot at one point, misfired on the few dangerous chances they did generate and coughed up the home-ice advantage they had worked months to secure. They gave up the winning goal to a popular former teammate, activated one of their ugliest bits of history and now have to hold their breath as the NHL scrutinizes a bad hit by one of their best defensemen.
The good news? The Caps will travel to Pittsburgh tied 1-1, rather than in the 2-0 hole they probably deserve.
But they’ll leave Washington knowing they’re on a path to trouble, that the showing they made in Saturday night’s 2-1 loss won’t be close to enough against the league’s hottest club. The Penguins hadn’t lost consecutive games since mid-January. To win a second straight at home, the Caps needed to start quickly and keep the Penguins from flying through the neutral zone. They needed to rely on their size advantage, make life difficult for rookie netminder Matt Murray and play crisply in their defensive zone.
They needed, in other words, to play better than they had in Thursday’s Game 1 win. Instead, they went backward, offering their worst performance of the postseason. Ignore the final score, because it should have been worse.
Watch the game highlights below...
Watch the hit below...
added 9:33am, another video added below, with multiple broadcasts...
Maatta has not returned.
Below a fan video with Mike Milbury commentary.
NEW YORK (April 29, 2016) – Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson has been fined $2,403.67, the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for kneeing Pittsburgh Penguins forward Conor Sheary during Game 1 of the teams’ Second Round series in Washington on Thursday, April 28, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.
See the hit below if you missed it.
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)
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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