Kukla's Korner Hockey
“There was no other sport! In Toronto, you played hockey, period. There are two sports, there’s hockey and there’s street hockey.”
from Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
“We are going to have a different look,” Armstrong said. “We’re going to explore improving our team to levels we probably haven’t explored in the past. But it has to make sense.”
The word Hitchcock kept coming back to describe it Tuesday was “reckless,” and he must have believed it because he used it five times in the span of 85 words at one point. Recklessness, he admitted, has the potential to be a lot of fun and can also give a coach more gray hairs, which brought a smirk to the face of Armstrong, sitting next to Hitchcock, as he no doubt was trying to figure if Hitchcock had any hair that hadn’t already turned gray.
“We’ve got to go back to reckless,” Hitchcock said. “(Our style is) too conservative, it’s too careful, it’s too much skill ahead of work. We’ve got to get back to reckless. We’ve got more skill than we’ve ever had since I’ve been here. But skilled, careful hockey doesn’t win. You’ve got to play reckless. We need to get back to the reckless play we had before. That’s what Doug and I talked about. You can do it and still be responsible. But we’ve got to get back to reckless play. We’ve got to ask more people to be involved offensively and defensively.”
Armstrong pointed to two defensemen on the roster who didn’t see action in the playoffs as examples of what the team is looking for: Robert Bortuzzo and Petteri Lindbohm. He mentioned the names of forwards Ty Rattie and Robby Fabbri as youngsters who will get long looks early in the season.
from Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times,
In a series that has been as tight from start to finish as any the Hawks have played in seven seasons of the Toews-Patrick Kane era, the Hawks’ 5-4 loss in overtime typically gave both teams reason to think they still control their own destiny.
The Hawks rallied from 3-0 and 4-2 deficits to tie — with the uncanniness of Toews in all its glory, as the Hawks’ captain scored twice in the final 1:50 to send the game into overtime. But the Ducks fended off the potential knockout blow to win on Matt Beleskey’s rebound goal 45 seconds into overtime.
Now it’s the Hawks’ turn to respond. They are 9-4 in elimination games under Joel Quenneville. And Quenneville indicated that the ever-cool, always-confident Hawks definitely felt the latest blow from the Ducks, even if they didn’t show their pain afterwards.
“You can visit history — look at past games, big games, big moments,” Quenneville said. “There’s a lot of history here that we’ve collected over seven years. A lot of positive things.
“[But] I think we all came out of last night’s game with an anger and a real sour taste in our month. Sometimes that can be better than a history lesson.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Anaheim looks and sounds as if it’s a confident and well-prepared team. In addition to that wall plaque for pucks, the Ducks also have a series of inspirational slogans painted on their dressing-room wall – all of them dealing with practice and preparation, of getting ready to soar in the big moment.
“Practice the right way all the time” is John Wooden’s contribution. Jerry West advises: “You won’t get much done in life if you only work hard on the days you feel good.” Roy Williams offers: “Everyone has the will to win. Only champions have the will to prepare to win.” And then there is this, from Muhammad Ali: “I hated every minute of training, but I love every minute of being a champion.”
Eleven pucks, five to go, and the Ducks will return to the winner’s circle, for the second time since 2007.
“To be this close, everybody in this room knows where we are, where we stand, what the game’s going to be like,” Perry said. “You have to go in there and you have to believe that you can win in that building again. That’s the approach we’re going to take.”
from Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times,
There will be a Game 7. Of course there will be a Game 7. What else did you expect?
In a series where there has been little momentum and even less logic, the Lightning's golden chance to close out the Rangers in its own building was kicked away in a frustrating 7-3 loss. It was a game much closer than the score suggested.
But the ultimate result — a loss — does suggest that the Lightning's inexperience on this big stage had something to do with its inability to close out a series that was there for the taking.
"It's tough," Lightning forward Ryan Callahan said. "You want to finish it out when you can. It's one of those ones you move past. You still got another opportunity. So we got to go the road and win on the road."
Good luck with that. Now comes the long plane ride back to New York and even longer odds to advance to the round where Lord Stanley's Cup will be waiting for the winner.
"Game 7 in Madison Square Garden," Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said. "It's going to be a lot of fun."
Fun? Sounds like anything but.
In light of the crazy goals being scored in the playoffs, Don preaches advice he gave to all his players: shoot the puck!
Plus more topics...
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Challenge accepted by the resilient Rangers, who staved off elimination for the fourth time this spring and for the 15th time over the last four tournaments with Tuesday’s 7-3 Game 6 victory over the Lightning to set up yet another Game 7 at the Garden on Friday, winner getting to go to the Stanley Cup final.
Challenge accepted by Derick Brassard, who recorded a hat trick and five-point night following a morning meeting with Alain Vigneault in which the coach urged No. 16 and fellow 1A/1B center Derek Stepan to lift their respective games.
“I told them that we needed them to step up and be difference-makers,” the coach told The Post. “And they did, they both responded, they both came through with what we needed.
“Brass’ line was great.”
added 8:21am, from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Oh yes, Mr. Elimination Game was huge again. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 36 of 39 shots on the evening, his pad save on Stamkos in the first period an absolutely heart-stopper.
Just Hank being Hank, he now sports a ridiculous .954 save percentage in those 18 elimination games since 2012.
"Everything on the line again and we found a way," said Lundqvist. "I felt like we had a really tough time in the second to get pucks deep, and they're a really good team when you don't get the pucks in the right places. But then in the third, I think maybe our experience in these situations helped us, because we come out and play extremely well, a smart period until you get out of hand a little bit.
"It's such an important time right now, and for us to come through like this in a big game, it's always good for your confidence. It's a good feeling."
from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,
They keep finding ways to put their backs against the wall. The wall never seems that far away, does it? It’s a constant companion. The Lightning are infuriating that way. We can’t figure them out.
They might have backed into the wall one time too many, against the wrong customers.
It’s their own fault.
There will be a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference finals. Despite a great, gaping opportunity, the Lightning didn’t come close to closing out the New York Rangers in Game 6 at Amalie Arena. Note: The Rangers don’t like to be closed out. They blasted the Lightning, 7-3.
How do you roll out a miserable third period like that when you’re only one goal down and one win from the Stanley Cup finals?
Even with the Rangers practically playing ragged prevent through two periods, begging to be beaten, they led 2-1 heading to the third. Well, maybe the New York goaltender wasn’t begging to be beaten.
And when push came to shove, the Bolts were blown away.
Watch the game highlights below...
You would expect a college hockey team to protect itself against a coach potentially leaving for the NHL, but the University of North Dakota found a unique way to dissuade coach Dave Hakstol from leaving for the NHL--though it didn't work.
The Grand Forks Herald's Brad Elliott Schlossman reports that Hakstol will have to pay UND $100,000 for the opportunity of coaching the Philadelphia Flyers:
Although it had been almost 30 years since an NHL team hired a coach straight from the college ranks, UND athletic director Brian Faison was prepared for that possibility.
When negotiating coach Dave Hakstol’s last contract in 2012, Faison put a clause in the contract that specifically outlined a penalty fee if Hakstol left UND for an NHL head coaching position.
The Philadelphia Flyers hired Hakstol to be their head coach last week.
According to Hakstol’s contract, he will owe the school $100,000 for leaving his contract before June 30, 2015, for an NHL head coaching job.
If he were going to a minor league team or taking an assistant coaching job in the NHL, Hakstol would have owed $50,000. If he left for another NCAA team, he would have owed $318,270, which was his base salary for the 2015-16 season.
Hakstol had three seasons left on his contract with UND. The monetary penalties for leaving before the end of the contract would have decreased each year. He was in the third year of his six-year deal.
The Rangers forced a 7th and deciding game of the Eastern Conference Final by defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-3 on Tuesday night, and the Rangers' wild and wacky win included a hat trick from Derick Brassard:
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