Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe,
The Blackhawks are supposed to be a great hockey team. They won the Cup three years ago and set an NHL record when they came out of the gate without losing any of their first 24 games in regulation. They recovered from a 3-1 series deficit against Detroit. They overwhelmed the defending Stanley Cup champs from Los Angeles. They went 10-1 in their first 11 home playoff games.
But something changed after Chicago dominated the first period of Game 2. The Bruins came out flying in the second period of Game 2 and have crushed the Hawks’ spirit over the last five periods. The Blackhawks are taking on the look of the Penguins. They can’t believe how hard it is to score against the Bruins. A couple of fights broke out Monday in the closing seconds....
It is a mistake to think this series is over. We know better. But the Bruins are just two wins away from another Cup and they are playing textbook, almost perfect hockey. They even managed to get it done without overtime in Game 3.
Friday is the first day of summer and the Stanley Cup is within the grasp of the Bruins. Life is good.
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
When the Wild acquired Jason Pominville on April 3, the team seemed destined to use a compliance buyout this offseason on veteran Dany Heatley.
That’s now unlikely to happen.
The NHL salary cap drops to $64.3 million for 2013-14. The Wild’s will be about $63.9 million because performance bonuses achieved by Jonas Brodin put the Wild over last year’s cap. The Wild, as it stands today, has about $6.2 million to fill out next year’s roster.
Heatley would have been an ideal candidate for a compliance buyout. The team would still be on the hook for two-thirds of his $5 million salary, but the buyout would create a much-needed $7.5 million in salary-cap relief.
But on the same day the Wild traded for Pominville, Heatley tore the labrum in his left shoulder. He underwent surgery five days later and was given a four- to six-month recovery time.
That timetable is significant because an injured player cannot be bought out.
from Josh Kosman and Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
The New Jersey Devils must have a guardian angel.
The National Hockey League is in talks with two investors about taking a minority stake in the money-losing team, The Post has learned.
The deal under discussion with ex-Tampa Bay Lightning owner Oren Koules and former pro hockey player Brian Lawton would allow the pair to take eventual ownership of the cash-strapped franchise if they cover losses beyond a certain point, according to sources.
“A deal is not far off,” one source said.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
A more traditional — but not loose — defensive zone structure should give wingers more time and space through the neutral zone and on the entry. It should play to the strengths of Chris Kreider, a great skater with a big-time shot who is far better getting the puck on the wing in open ice than hunting for it along the boards and below the goal line.
There has been no definitive decision regarding the fate of Brad Richards, but Vigneault’s system would free him from much of the low defensive-zone traffic in which he had been enmeshed through his first two years as a Ranger and afford him (alternate meaning) more opportunity to get into and operate in open ice.
Changes in their defensive structure should allow the Rangers to possess the puck more often. In their two Presidents’ Trophy-winning seasons, the Canucks ranked fifth and seventh in five-on-five Corsi rankings per 60 minutes (percentage of attempted shots vs. attempted shots against) and the Rangers were 26th in that category when they finished second overall to Vancouver by one point in 2010-11.
The skill guys should benefit under Vigneault. The wear-and-tear guys shouldn’t be as worn-and-torn. The Rangers will still want to own the ground game — the Blackhawks have the most speed in the league, but their game is built on puck pressure — but the Rangers should present a more diversified approach this time around.
One way or another, the Phoenix Coyotes' fate will be determined by June 26th of this year, and, as the Globe and Mail's David Shoalts suggests, the NHL won't be making the call:
The fate of the Phoenix Coyotes is now in the hands of the (mostly) new city council of suburban Glendale.
A tentative lease agreement with Renaissance Sports & Entertainment, headed by Canadian businessmen George Gosbee and Anthony LeBlanc, for Jobing.com Arena will be presented to the seven-member council at its regular in-camera meeting on Tuesday. Sources familiar with the negotiations say the deal will produce something close to the $15-million (all currency U.S.) annually Renaissance was seeking, although it may not be structured strictly as an arena management fee.
Glendale council, which includes four new members who were elected late last year, will have a week to study the agreement and ask questions before a vote for approval is expected at its regularly scheduled public meeting on June 25.
And if the council nixes the deal, the Coyotes will move to Seattle, as Shoalts explains...
As Pro Hockey Talk's James O'Brien noted, Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask described the ice at the TD Garden as "shitty" in a post-game interview with NBC's Pierre McGuire, and the Hockey News's Ken Campbell believes that the conditions suit the Bruins' game to a tee:
After a Game 1 that produced both a thrilling regulation and overtime, the past two games have been far less than that in terms of both the quality of chances and excitement. Part of the reason is when you lock your players out for three months, you’re playing Game 3 on June 17 when the temperatures are well above 80 degrees. Not surprisingly, the ice was terrible. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara lost an edge and fell in the warm-up and required stitches to close a gash over his eye. The puck was bouncing all over the place, including on a Brad Marchand breakaway that was scuttled because the puck caught a chunk on the ice.
“It is pretty bad,” Seidenberg said. “When you try to shoot, try to swing your blade on the ice, it feels like sandpaper. It’s really rough. When you try to pass, the puck bounces. That’s why you have to keep the game simple. If there’s a play to be made, you have to make sure it’s an easy one.”
And isn’t that nice in the league’s marquee event? Just what you want when everyone is watching, defensemen chipping the puck off the boards to get it out of their zone and forwards being mugged and slashed as they try to go to the net to create the goals…You know, those things they count to see which team wins.
Campbell continues at some length.
Update: Per TSN's Bob McKenzie:
The rumblings regarding Logan Couture being close to a contract extension with the San Jose Sharks have been percolating for a while now, so this should not come as a surprise:
Update: the Mercury News's David Pollak's on the case:
And here's his text report:
Let's not expect to learn very much about whatever ails Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa over the next day or three:
Holy crap. I'll grant you that the Chicago Blackhawks were playing without Marian Hossa's services, and I'll grant you that the last-minute shenanigans may have woken them up...But did they ever succumb to a sleeper hold placed upon their collective necks by the Boston Bruins.
The Bruins just dismantled the Chicago Blackhawks, winning 2-0 and taking a 2-games-to-1 lead in the Stanley Cup Final while rendering the Hossa-less Hawks impotent on the power play and downright vulnerable on the power play, on the penalty-kill, at even strength, in terms of physicality, puck possession, puck pursuit, forechecking, backchecking, discipline, intensity, focus, desire, I mean, you name the *#$%@& adjective or adverb.
The Bruins out-classed Chicago on Tuesday night, and the Blackhawks were the team that looked like it'd played four games' worth of ice time, while the Bruins looked like a team that had swept Pittsburgh and was simply cashing the check that was increased energy reserves.
Can the Hawks come back on Wendesday and tie this thing? Sure, but the Bruins just established a, "How to defeat the Blackhawks" blueprint for 28 other teams to use next season in nothing less than a command performance from Tuukka Rask on out.
Don Cherry adores chatting with the top draft prospects that the NHL brings to every Stanley Cup Final, and he chatted with the gents in a long Coach's Corner on Monday night. I'm posting it for tradition's sake as there isn't too much substance to the video otherwise:
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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