Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Marcia C. Smith of the OC Register,
In other news, some local guys in skates start the playoffs Thursday night at Honda Center against the Dallas Stars and … (Cue the crickets, please).
Hello? Hockey? Anyone?
Look around Orange County and listen. Has anyone outside team itself and their loyalists noticed that the Ducks — the defending STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS! — are starting the NHL playoffs?
Where’s the county’s pluck for the puck? Where’s the talk? The energy? The emotion? The fan wearing the orange and black Selanne jersey to pick up milk at the local Ralph’s? The scalpers asking double-face-value for tickets?
Nowhere. Nothing. There’s college-library-like silence. Which is a little surprising from this region renowned for front-running sports enthusiasts.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
On Tuesday, NHL executive vice-president and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell conducted a conference call to educate postseason coaches and general managers on what the league will be paying close attention to.
At the top of Campbell’s list of unacceptable behavior is unnecessary late-game brutality. Traditionally, this type of message-sending takes place when the team trailing in the last five minutes of a game wants to change the emotional tone of the series.
The NHL says it won’t tolerate this.
from Working the Corners at the Mercury News,
Thornton had plenty of nice things to say and credited Keenan with helping his own development as a young player. Today Keenan returned the compliments, saying nice things about Thornton and telling one story from his early days as a Bruin.
“One day I told him, ‘Joe, you’ve got to train harder. Ride the bike.’ And he asked me how long? ‘I don’t know, I’ll be back to let you know.’ And I got preoccupied. An hour later, I forgot. And he’s still riding, and the trainer says Joe wants to know if he can stop now. I said, ‘Oh my god, I forgot all about hm.’ So I go and say, OK, Joe, now you can get off.”
read on about how Thornton may have been traded to the Florida Panthers…
From Mike Boone at The Gazette,
Despite selling out every home game this season, the Canadiens say they didn’t make any money. Team president Pierre Boivin told La Presse the club’s playoff participation, which begins tomorrow night against the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre, will allow the team to make a profit on the 2007-08 season.
Boivin would not reveal specific numbers. He doesn’t have to; the Canadiens are part of a privately held company owned by George Gillett and Molson Coors.
But even without access to the club’s allegedly red-ink-drenched books, I am skeptical of its purportedly precarious break-even financial position.
more… *a breakdown by Boone estimating the possible profits of the Habs
*hat-tip to Habs Inside/Out for the pointer
Aaron Ward chatted with fans today at the Bruins website…
Hailey_Dodge: what is the most difficult part of the playoffs?
Aaron Ward: Maintaining your focus. SO MANY distractions… media, friends and family looking for tix, euphoria in the city…
beproud42: How do you respond to everyone who feels that this is going to be a (fairly) easy sweep for the Habs?
Aaron Ward: Games are played on the ice, not in the newspapers, on TV, or on computer screens. Playoffs have a different flavor.
From Edward Fraser at The Hockey News,
Storylines surrounding the NHL’s second season focus on players who’ve had long, illustrious careers, but have been unable to reach the NHL’s tallest hill (see Teemu Selanne in ‘07 and Jeremy Roenick this year); not about players trying to claim the grail their first time around.
Heck, most of the Calder candidates (Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Peter Mueller, Tobias Enstrom, Sam Gagner) didn’t even make the round of 16.
With that said, there are still several youngsters who will play key roles during this season’s run to the Cup. Here are five fab freshmen to keep your peepers peeled for:
There have been a number of stories published today on the launch of the new NHL Network Online. To read more about it, check out these:
Being fascinated by the NHL’s digital media initiatives in general, I spent some time on the new site this morning, and have some first impressions to share.
Some good, some bad:
With the Stanley Cup playoffs kicking off Wednesday, our experts took some time to ponder what lies ahead. ESPN.com’s Scott Burnside, ESPN The Magazine’s E.J. Hradek and ESPN analyst Barry Melrose answer these 10 burning questions:
1. Which player do you think will be one of the out-of-nowhere role players who surprises everyone in the playoffs?
Scott Burnside: I would keep an eye on Tom Poti. The veteran in Washington has put some injuries behind him and moves the puck well. He plays in the shadow of Mike Green now, but that’s not a bad thing.
E.J. Hradek: I think Capitals forward Brooks Laich and Red Wings forward Johan Franzen could be two under-the-radar type players who can be surprisingly big contributors in the coming weeks.
from Brian Costello of the Hockey News,
It’s not nearly as dramatic as the Ray Bourque Stanley Cup mission of 2001 or the Dave Andreychuk Cup quest in 2004, but there are nine NHLers with more than 1,000 games to their credit without championship rings.
Ottawa’s Luke Richardson is the regular season games played leader without a Stanley Cup title at 1,415. He’s one season away from the all-time leader, Phil Housley at 1,495.
Here are the other leaders active in this year’s playoffs.
via David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
“It’s still the same game, it’s just higher intensity,” Hossa said in comparing the regular season to the playoffs. “We have to battle through the traffic and make hockey more simple.
“Every experience is big and definitely I’m learning. Sometimes it’s a longer process but I’m here and hopefully I can help this team go far.”
more on Marian Hossa…
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org