Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
The Sabres dismissed the Islanders in five games because Briere and Chris Drury performed while Satan and Yashin mostly disappeared. Briere had a goal and four assists, Drury four goals and an assist, the two co-captains working in symphony. Satan finished with a goal and two assists after waking up in the third period. Captain Yashin? Zip. Again.
“The line between winning and losing is so thin, you need everybody,” Sabres defenseman Teppo Numminen said. “If your best guys are playing their games, it’s huge. They’re so talented that they can break a game and be the difference.”
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
So while the Isles were going out of their way to criticize the league for a few controversial calls this week, the team’s management all the while knew they were in effect playing with a player soon to be deemed ineligible.
So while the league can puff out its chest today and cite Hill’s 20-game suspension announced late yesterday afternoon as evidence of a league drug policy that works, the incident may have actually opened up a bunch of new questions.
When was Hill caught?
Should he have been suspended pending his appeal?
How long did the appeal take?
Should that appeal have been heard before the playoffs began?
from the Ottawa Citizen,
The federal Liberals want the Conservative government to push for a lineup change to Team Canada at the upcoming world hockey championship because of ethnic slurs that were allegedly made by a player toward a francophone referee more than a year ago.
The allegations, which sparked two lawsuits, revolve around an incident at a December 2005 NHL game involving Phoenix Coyotes forward Shane Doan and a francophone linesman. An NHL investigation absolved Mr. Doan of any wrongdoing.
from the Dallas Morning News via the Santa Barbara News,
The national Stanley Cup ratings on Versus are down six percent from last season to 0.02, an average of 268,000 homes per game. During the regular season, NBC averaged 1.34 million homes for its regionalized coverage of the post-lockout NHL. That’s less than half the homes that Fox attracted for its NHL coverage a decade ago.
more on the Dallas Stars ratings…
from the AP via The Hockey News,
Babcock hopes the Red Wings are resisting here-we-go-again thoughts. Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2002, they’ve had two first-round exits and one in the second.
“One of the key things for me is, this isn’t last year’s team - (and) this isn’t ‘04,” he said. “Don’t carry that baggage around.”
From NHL Press Release,
NEW YORK/TORONTO (April 20, 2007)—New York Islanders defenseman Sean Hill has been suspended 20 games for violating the terms of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program. The suspension begins with tonight’s Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Quarterfinal game against the Buffalo Sabres.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the suspension is accompanied by mandatory referral to the NHL/NHLPA Program for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health for evaluation and possible treatment.
The player’s contract expires with the conclusion of the 2006-07 season. Any portion of the suspension that remains following the Islanders’ participation in the 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs would resume, without pay, at the beginning of any successor contract.
Updated 6:03pm ET:
Islanders’ spokesman Chris Botta said Hill did not travel with the team to the arena for Friday night’s game. He said he did not know whether Hill had travelled back to Long Island.
The nature of Hill’s infraction was not immediately clear. An NHL spokesman said the league was obliged to honour the player’s confidentiality and would not comment.
Note: There appears to be no indication of when Hill was tested. Sportsnet also reports that Hill isn’t expected to make a statement till Saturday.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The Blue Jackets were the NHL’s model expansion franchise — off the ice. They had a full building, a hands-off owner in John McConnell who put his trust in MacLean’s vision and his wallet at MacLean’s disposal. While Columbus’s three expansion confreres (Minnesota, Atlanta and Nashville) muddled along with bottom-five payrolls for much of first few years of their existence, MacLean got the green light to spend on players almost from the get-go.
That, in turn, proved to be his downfall. He didn’t have the patience necessary to build a franchise from the ground up — and for proof, consider that he fired his first coach midway through the team’s third year.
read on and some interesting NHL bits…
from David Amber at ESPN,
In this week’s Facing Off, we ask Cahill how Rangers fans, like him, are different than Islanders fans, how he got ready for the role of gold-medal winning goalie Jim Craig and which team has the right stuff to hoist the Stanley Cup in June.
Question from David Amber: How did you get your own playoff blog on the NHL.com?
Answer from Eddie Cahill: I went to a couple of Rangers games at the Garden, and someone at the NHL had seen me and figured I was a fan and decided to approach me about having a blog during the playoffs. It’s very cool, being a big fan like me. It makes you feel included in a weird way. It brings you a little closer to the game, which I like.
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
To use the old cliché: they played for each other. They finally became a team.
None of that came easy to the Senators and a tip of the proverbial hat has to go to crusty general manger John Muckler, who always could see their problems and never stopped working to eliminate them.
The same goes for Murray who at long last became the coach that instilled a sense of accountability into his players. By holding them accountable for their shortcomings as well as their accomplishments he became the coach that got them to play as a team. For once the Senators could close their locker room door and hold themselves accountable for what went on on the ice.
Under Murray they came to realize that they and they alone would solve their problems and when that light finally went on, when that sense of accountability finally took hold, Murray’s job was done.
from the CP via TSN,
“We feel good,’’ said captain Brenden Morrow, who scored the winning goal on a power play just 1:04 after Vancouver was called for too many men on the ice.
‘‘We’re going to try to not get too high. We tried not to get too low after being down 3-1. I think we have to play with a lot of emotion. We have to stay disciplined and keep our emotion in check and turn our energy into positive energy.’‘
Stu Barnes said the Stars can’t lose the desperation they showed to force a sixth game.
‘‘Anytime you have your back against the wall, and the other team has three wins, you’re desperate and you have to go out and play your best,’’ he said. ‘‘Hopefully we can do it again in Game 6.’‘
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