Kukla's Korner Hockey
Both Detroit and Minnesota need a win to even the series 2-2. Neither team wants to go on the road for game 5 down 3-1.
In Los Angeles, the Kings need to win four in a row. That job either starts or ends tonight.
Bruce Boudreau and Getzlaf discuss his chances of playing game 5 tomorrow night. All the Ducks are saying is it is an upper-body injury.
note- moved to the top of page, original post was 4/23/14 at 9:32am
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from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
Kings fans are lamenting the Ben Scrivens trade and pondering the potential of young Martin Jones.
It’s understandable, given the time of year. Every goal is over-analyzed, every loss magnified. And there’s been enough of both to call Quick’s play into question.
Outside of the first periods in Games 2 and 3, Quick has not been sharp. His positioning has been overly aggressive. His glove hand hasn’t been fast enough. His focus has been broken more than once by San Jose’s crease-crashing forwards.
Struggling? Sure. But you gotta dance with the one what brung ya....
You can read what you want into the coach’s decision to yank Andersen after Cody Eakin’s dagger — that felt like a move geared more toward waking up his team than stopping the bleeding — but Anaheim’s stopper wasn’t good enough last night. And when you’ve got options at hand like Boudreau does, they have to be weighed with the series at a tipping point.
If he truly believes that Andersen is suffering a crisis of confidence, then there’s no way Boudreau can come back with him in Game 5.
But is Hiller really an upgrade? Remember, this is a guy who Boudreau didn’t trust to start the series because he limped into the postseason with a 6-9-3 mark in his final 18 appearances....
more on both the Kings and Ducks...
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
The Stars (cover your ears, kids) had clearly instigated facial contact with Anaheim’s best player and captain, and a Stars player, Antoine Roussel, was witnessed actually swinging back when Getzlaf snapped and started punching him in the face. Imagine — in a hockey game, no less. Egads.
“Our team wouldn’t do that” was the thrust of Ducks coach Boudreau’s message when asked if he thought it right that Dallas had the temerity not to let Getzlaf’s injury heal.
Yeah, sure, Bruce. And Anaheim would’ve shown up with a jar of aloe vera and hot tea had, say, Jamie Benn brought a visible injury into a crucial playoff game.
We like Boudreau a lot. He’s honest, loves to talk, and he’s lived the game. This guy is as legit a hockey man as you’ll find — which is why he should know that sanctimony and the Stanley Cup Playoffs should never mix. The “we’re above those tactics” stance has come back to haunt every organization that ever spouted it, particularly one in Anaheim that won its only Cup on the back of perhaps the dirtiest defenceman of his generation, Chris Pronger. (And we loved his game.)
from Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Coach Dan Bylsma on Thursday had no injury updates or lineup changes following the Penguins' 4-3 overtime loss to Columbus the previous night.
He offered plenty of other material, however.
Bylsma said goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury “should have stayed in the net” on Brandon Dubinsky's tying goal late in regulation.
Most revealing, though, was that Bylsma questioned his team's effort after it blew a three-goal lead to the Blue Jackets, tying the series at two games apiece.
“The work and compete and the battle level has probably been the most troubling thing,” Bylsma said. “In Game 3, after getting down two goals for 50 or 55 minutes of that game, it wasn't perfect, but we were the desperate team. We took the game to them.”
Of his team's compete level, Bylsma said, “It has to be raised. It has to be back up to a level that is necessary this time of year and (with) this type of hockey — playoff hockey.”
from Aaron Portzline of Puck-Rakers,
Nationwide Arena is mostly empty this morning, save for a few workers milling about. Blue Jackets coaches arrived early to do what they do -- review film, get updates on injured players, strategize for Saturday's Game 5 -- but players were given a day off to rest weary legs and bruised bones.
Still, there was an afterglow in Nationwide, a lingering electricity from the Blue Jackets' rousing 4-3 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.
"I slept very well last night," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. He may have gone to bed late, though, like many others in Columbus.
One got the sense last night that our city was transformed in some way. Yes, it's had major league sports here for more than a decade, but the Blue Jackets -- to many -- joined the big leagues last night, and they dragged central Ohio along with them.
Last night's game had all the elements in place to be a lifelong memory. You could say it had Babe Ruth calling his shot and Bill Buckner flubbing an easy grounder, all rolled up into one hockey game.
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
Matt Cooke, suspended seven games for injuring Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie with a knee-on-knee hit Monday night, addressed the media this afternoon.
Cooke didn’t field questions but made an unwritten statement.
“First and foremost, I want to say that I’m disappointed and sorry that Tyson Barrie can’t play for the Colorado Avalanche tonight. I wish that he could. Unfortunately, it was not my intent to collide with him knee-on-knee. It was my intent to finish my check. Playoffs are a hard and physical time and it’s my job to be physical. I’ve led my team in hits in all three games and it’s an intense time. I’ve led my team this year in hits and in this series.
“Since March 20, 2011 (the elbow to Ryan McDonagh that resulted in a 17-game suspension), I’ve been a changed player. I’ve approached the game differently, I think differently about the game. That stats that I’ve collected over those three seasons prove that I’m a changed player and the plays that I make and the plays that I don’t make prove to that point as well. At the end of the day, this situation was not my intent.”
Cooke has until tomorrow night to decide if he will appeal his suspension to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. Cooke didn’t respond when I asked if he would.
from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop will have surgery on his injured right wrist next week to repair ligament damage that has bothered him since January. Bishop will have the surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. He said he will be in a cast for six weeks.
Total rehab time is three to four months, though he said he is confident he will be ready for the start of training camp.
Additionally, Bishop finally confirmed he had a left elbow injury that kept him out of the playoffs, saying the joint was dislocated when he extended and fell catching a floating puck April 8 against the Maple Leafs.
He said had the Eastern Conference quarterfinal against the Canadiens been extended, he likely would have played Game 6.
"We were laughing about it because as a goalie how do you hurt your wrist or your elbow?" Bishop said. "Usually it's the groin or something in the lower body."
from Ryan Dixon of Sportsnet,
Crosby can’t be held without a goal much longer; Evgeni Malkin is probably on the verge of a four-point game; Fleury is going to make some more jaw-dropping saves. And when it happens, we’ll all be tempted to once again believe in this giant Cup tease.
But that faith is misplaced. As Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review pointed out, of the Pens’ past 20 playoff losses dating back to 2010, nine have occurred after the team blew a third-period lead. Fleury? Sure. But that’s about more than goaltending; that’s about a team with systemic issues that won’t be worked out this spring.
The best approach for Penguins fans right now, difficult as it may be, is to embrace the ride. And from a tactical standpoint, you wonder if Pittsburgh shouldn’t actually try to blow teams out of the water. It sounds crazy, but protecting leads clearly isn’t working. Maybe they need to further exploit Sergei Bobrovsky’s .900 save percentage and stretch those goal gaps out as much as possible.
That may run counter to conventional playoff thinking, but at least Pittsburgh would be playing to its strength instead of trying to be something it’s not.
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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