Kukla's Korner Hockey
Can you imagine if Pavelec would have been injured and unable to start?
from Mark Whicker of the Los Aneles Daily News,
Whether NHL players actually sleep during the playoffs is debatable. It’s classified information anyway. But it’s doubtful that the Anaheim Ducks were walking the floors when they got home from their 4-2 win in Game 1 of this first-round Stanley Cup playoff series.
At least not without a couple of ice packs.
The Winnipeg Jets brought the lumber to Honda Center from the very first shift of this game. It was playoff hockey that you could hear, not just see. It was a contact sport, in boldface. And there were times in the early going when the Ducks were getting rid of the puck prematurely in order to dodge all those hits.
You can take or leave the “hits” statistics that NHL teams compile. Generally, if you’re piling up a lot of hits, it means you don’t have the puck very much. But sometimes it is useful to show the general state of play.
In this game, Winnipeg had 37 hits and the Ducks had 46, including eight for the Jets’ Mark Stuart and six for the Ducks’ Andrew Cogliano, who needed a stepladder to deliver a shot to 6-foot-8 defenseman Tyler Myers but gave it a try anyway.
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
Forget Atlanta. Winnipeg is different but the same since the Jets lost in six to Detroit and then left town, and that’s the primary narrative that’s in play here. That they play a Ducks team that would tell you the Anaheim market is also very different from the time Michael Eisner (with Bruce McNall’s assistance) convinced the NHL to put a team there further underscores the theme of how the game evolves to fit the places it calls home.
Tonight, the Jets return to the playoffs for the first time in 19 years, and that in itself is a story worth telling.
But it will be Monday when the full expression of the tale is heard, spoken by Winnipeg hockey fans wearing white within and without the MTS Centre, folks justifiably filled with pride that the game came back to them because it had to.
from Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press,
Five takes before the Winnipeg Jets wrap up their preparations on home soil Tuesday morning and then fly the friendly skies south to Anaheim…
1. It’s fascinating – almost shocking – how the Jets have become such a trendy pick as the Stanley Cup playoffs are about to begin. They’re big, fast and skilled and riding a hot goaltender, but they are also matched up against the top seed in the Western Conference.
That hasn’t stopped a lot of media types from making them their upset special against the Ducks. ICYMI, on Monday night TSN’s Hockey panel discussed which Canadian team has the chance to go the deepest into the playoffs.
Aaron Ward picked Montreal but both Bob McKenzie – as respected a hockey journalist as there is in the biz – and Jeff O’Neill picked the Jets. In fact, O’Neill went so far as to predict the Jets to WIN THE STANLEY CUP.
from Paul Edmonds of TSN,
Some would suggest just qualifying for the playoffs would make for a magical season, especially since they battled through injuries all winter, a few suspensions, a tracksuit issue that resulted in a major trade, and a schedule that never seemed to relent on the degree of difficulty it provided Winnipeg on who they played and when. Yet, through it all, they not only qualified for the playoffs but almost seemed to relish in the adversity. After all, the Jets established franchise records for points in a season (99), fewest goals allowed (210), most shutouts (7) and tied team-bests in wins (43) and road victories (20). They also posted five more wins at home this season over last and increased their win total in their own division by seven from a year ago.
And now, as the club prepares for only its second playoff series in franchise history, they do so against an Anaheim Ducks team that won the Western Conference this season with 51 wins, the second most in the NHL this year.
As a group, the Jets have plenty of playoff experience within their dressing room, with Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien and Michael Frolik having all won a Stanley Cup with Chicago previously, while players like Lee Stempniak and Mathieu Perreault have recent post-season experience.
from Darren Dreger of The Dreger Report at TSN,
Mark Chipman - the Executive Chairman of the Board for True North Sports & Entertainment and the Jets - has worked tirelessly over the years to keep Winnipeg as a primary residence for professional hockey and in many ways, he's the reason that the National Hockey League returned to the city.
While he's keenly aware of the challenge his team is about to face in Round 1 of the playoffs, Chipman is soaking in the free-flowing elation in town. A lifelong Winnipegger, he endured the torturous days leading up to the sale of the original Jets and their move to Phoenix almost 20 years ago. He saw grown men literally cry over their beloved team the city couldn't hold on to. So while his stake in the success of the current day Jets is significant, Chipman is just as thrilled that the community and its fan base are once again experiencing NHL playoff hockey.
"Look into the eyes of our fans," Chipman told The Dreger Report. "They feel it every bit as much as I do. I've learned to never underestimate the significance of this team to our community...it really is remarkable."
read on plus the future of Todd McLellan...
from Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press,
No longer just members of the NHL, but contenders and tournament qualifiers. Getting the team back was one thing. Thursday night’s clinching of a post-season berth was another altogether.
Another threshold has been crossed. New memories, burnished with the heat of playoff competition, are about to be made.
Your Jets are back in the Stanley Cup playoffs. And now it’s time for you to resurrect your tradition. To wear white en masse to a Winnipeg Jets playoff game. To rumble like no other building in hockey. To shimmer in ghostly white.
Across the country they’ve taken note of late. The team in Winnipeg, it’s got something going. Fourteen teams will fall off the grid. Sixteen will be left. The stage will shrink, but the audience will swell.
The Jets won’t be just a Prairie thing. And neither will the return of the Winnipeg Whiteout.
It’s your tradition. You’ve saved it for this moment. Held back when tempted to leap. Resisted an early unveiling. Now is your time. Bring it forth. Dig up those old whites or buy new ones.
Just put them on and revive the scene. It’s still one of the greatest in hockey lore. Awaken the Winnipeg Whiteout from its slumber. Let it roar. It’s been borrowed but not forsaken.
It began here and it belongs here.
from Kerry Fraser of TSN,
I ask that you please attempt to remove any team loyalty or partisanship from the equation as I examine this somewhat controversial slashing penalty called by referee Steve Kozari against Paul Stastny that negated the scoring of his potential game-tying goal.
Let me first state that I agree with the penalty call by referee Kozari. The referee had little choice other than to impose the penalty once Stastny eliminated Myers' stick with a chop that prevented the Jets player from defending the passing lane or competing further on the play. The elimination of Myers' stick contributed in a major way to Stastny's ability to get the puck and score.
Granted, this is another "result-oriented" judgement which might not sit particularly well unless you put on your referee helmet thinking cap! If Myers' stick wasn't knocked out of his hand(s), we wouldn't be having this conversation. But then again, aren't most penalty infractions determined as a result of some form of cause and effect?
Watch the call here if you missed it last night...
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Imagine the NHL’s Western Conference playoff race as a game of musical chairs, with nine teams competing for eight spots and one guaranteed to miss out when the music stops.
On Tuesday night, all four of the on-the-bubble contenders in the West were in action and when the smoke cleared, the best possible scenario unfolded for all of Canada’s Western-based teams.
Both the Calgary Flames and the Winnipeg Jets won their games – over the Arizona Coyotes and the St. Louis Blues respectively – meaning each team is just a single victory away from clinching a playoff spot, with two games remaining on their schedules.
Idle Tuesday, the Vancouver Canucks nevertheless clinched a playoff spot when the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings lost in regulation to the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers avenged an 8-1 drubbing by the Kings four days earlier in Los Angeles and enhanced both Calgary’s and Winnipeg’s playoff chances with the victory.
The Flames hold a two-point lead over the Kings and can knock them out of the playoffs with a victory.
via Jeremy Rutherford tweets,
I acted as the pool reporter tonight, inquiring with officials about the call on Stastny. "No comment," from supervisor Don Koharski.
Stastny: "If (Myers) is holding his stick normally, he doesn't lose it. But what are you going to do."
Myers: "It was pretty clear he just slashed my stick out of my hand. I don't think there's much to argue if you look at the full replay."
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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