Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Buffalo News,
This season is different. Anyone remotely connected to the organization knows the Stanley Cup is there for the taking. Buffalo enters the postseason the way it entered the regular season, as the team to beat. The Sabres stood up as the NHL’s best, led the conference virtually wire to wire, and are expected to win it all….
It’s been clear since the middle of last season, when people started to realize the Sabres weren’t just a surprise team but a legitimate contender. Chris Drury made it abundantly clear when he insisted a picture of the Cup be placed on the wall in their dressing room, so his teammates could see the goal.
Still, if Zach Johnson can win the Masters and if Blake can be the Islanders’ first 40-goal scorer since Zigmund Palffy in 1998 ... Well, isn’t it at least OK to dream a little?
“Obviously, we’re playing a great opponent with a lot of firepower. But we worked our way into the playoffs, and let’s see what happens,” Blake said, having had the best goal-scoring season of his career since he had 50 in junior hockey with the Waterloo Hawks in Iowa, Johnson’s home state.
As much as Blake admires Woods, the Islanders dynamo of a right wing is a lot more like Johnson, who wasn’t even the best player at Drake University. “Not very many guys are fortunate enough to be the best right off the bat,” Blake said. “You’ve just got to keep working ... and hope someday you get your break.”
from the NY Post,
The Devils sought him in 2001, stifled him in 2003, and sweat him now. Shutting down Vincent Lecavalier is their first task in the first round.
“He’s got everything,” Martin Brodeur said. “He has the size and he doesn’t shy away from anything. He has the green light to try anything he wants.
“We’re going to have to play him hard and get him off his game. We can’t give him space or let him skate. We have to make him start and stop all game long, get him as tired as we can. We can’t let them swing, because it plays into their game.”
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
The attraction is all Crosby. Next, surely, is Letterman, Leno and Saturday Night Live for this teenage sensation from Cole Harbour, N.S.
But not this night. This night he would have been voted off the ice floe.
Still, they came to see a very young man who is supposed to do what proved beyond the reach of Eric Lindros, beyond Paul Kariya, beyond Jaromir Jagr and beyond every youngster who was supposed to be the next Wayne Gretzky.
That Crosby, still not old enough to order a drink in some parts to celebrate, has managed this is beyond dispute, for already they are tagging youngsters barely old enough to air out their equipment as the Next Next One.
Henrik Sedin scored with 1:54 left in the fourth overtime period to give the Vancouver Canucks a 5-4 victory over the Dallas Stars Wednesday in a marathon opening game of the team’s NHL Western Conference first-round playoff series.
Sedin took a pass from behind the net from his brother Daniel and buried a shot behind Dallas goaltender Marty Turco.
The Canucks, who had blown a two-goal lead, flew off the bench to congratulate Sedin. The exhausted Stars crawled off the ice.
Dallas outshot Vancouver 76-56 in the game, which started at 7:11 p.m. local time and didn’t end until 12:35 a.m.
continued... *also the 6th longest game in NHL history
added 7:58am, Well I made it thru thee OTs and I am up, anyone else feeling a little tired this morning?- Paul
from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
Attention Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal, Evgeni Malkin, Ryan Whitney, et al, school is now in session.
Lesson 1: These are the playoffs.
Lesson 2: Play like you did Wednesday night in a 6-3 humbling at the hands of the Ottawa Senators, and this course will be frightfully short.
“We didn’t bring our best,” said Crosby, the youngest scoring champ around whom so much revolves for this Penguins team. “I think we can look at ourselves and say if we threw everything at them and this was the result, then I think we’d be questioning ourselves.
from the Pioneer Press,
Wild defenseman Martin Skoula is considered a good skater. But he remembers what happened when he stepped on the ice for his first-ever playoff game with the Colorado Avalanche in 2000.
“I was like, ‘holy (#%)!’ ‘’ Skoula said. “I couldn’t even catch up, it was going so fast.”
His eyes were the size of manhole covers - which is a pretty common reaction for anyone experiencing the NHL playoffs for the first time. And he felt about as mobile as a fire hydrant.
The playoffs are a different animal. The regular season can be intense at times, but the playoffs result in more of everything: more speed, more physical play, more determination. I once asked North Star Bobby Smith why teams didn’t play all out like that during the regular season.
from Lynn Zinser at the New York Times,
But ask any of the Rangers about Jagr and not one will minimize his impact. Coming out of the All-Star Game break, Jagr said his only goal was to lift his struggling team into the playoffs. He would indeed lead the way, but not by scoring goals in bunches. Instead, he backed up everything he asked his teammates to do by also doing it himself.
Since that March day against St. Louis, the Rangers have gone 12-3-3.
“It’s always important when a player of his stature is doing what we call the little things,” forward Brendan Shanahan said. “It sends a message to all of the younger players. Here’s a guy who’s played 16 years in the N.H.L. and has a closet full of trophies and he’s doing all these little things. That’s leadership.”
Mid-way in the 2nd period, Jonathan Cheechoo hit by Scott Hartnell. Hartnell gets 5 for kneeing and a game. Cheechoo went off with no pressure on his right leg.
added pics at 10:02pm…
update 11:10pm, from the AP via TSN,
The Sharks said Cheechoo was being evaluated, and his return to the best-of-seven series opener was uncertain. Cheechoo led San Jose with 37 goals this season, and came in with 20 points in 13 games.
added 8:48am 4/12/07, via the Tennessean,
“It was an unfortunate accident,’’ Hartnell said. “I think it will show in the video that it was pretty clean. I was going to hit him in the upper body and I didn’t stick out my knee to get a piece of him.’‘
Said Sharks Coach Ron Wilson: “When you stick your elbow in his face and put knee on knee that’s an intent to injure. That’s why he got kicked out of the game.’‘
from William Houston of the Globe and Mail (for Thursday edition),
It was late and a bit tricky to find, but Hockey Night Online made its debut last night and worked pretty well.
HNO is the Internet pre-game show that Hockey Night In Canada is planning to post on CBC Sports.ca before each of its National Hockey League playoff telecasts.
Wednesday night’s show preceded Game 1 of the Pittsburgh Penguins-Ottawa Senators series. It was scheduled to start at 6:15 p.m. EDT, but we couldn’t get it on our computer monitor until several minutes later.
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