Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the CP at TSN,
Scott Darling doesn't need reminding that all those other saves, the ones that win big playoff games, wouldn't have happened without the first one.
The 6-foot-6 rookie goaltender may be the toast of the town at the moment, but he had to learn to put down his own beer first. Four years after Darling nearly hit bottom both personally and professionally, he has stepped in twice for Blackhawks starter Corey Crawford and become the defensive anchor for the team he followed as a kid.
Darling stopped 35 shots in the 4-2 win Sunday that nudged the Blackhawks back in front of the Nashville Predators in their first-round playoff series, 2-1. After playing just 14 games during the regular season, he was called in to relieve a shaky Crawford after the first period of Game 1, and promptly played his way into the NHL record book — longest relief stint by a keeper (almost 68 minutes) without surrendering a goal.
But Darling was back on the bench for Game 2, and after being named the starter for Game 3, he struggled early to hold his own. After each of the Blackhawks' first two scores, Darling got beat barely a half-minute later. That would be enough to spook lots of goalies, let alone a rookie with nearly two dozen family members sprinkled in among 22,000-plus rabid fans.
"To be honest, there was a lot of 'Do I really belong here?' when I first got here," Darling recalled afterward. "And I'm trying hard, even now, to stop saying that to myself."
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
While the Senators were mauling the Canadiens early in a game that eventually went Montreal’s way on Sunday night, there was a fascinating debate online about the value of hitting.
The #fancystat crowd was resolute in its conviction that physicality is a failed battle plan. The theory in a nutshell: Hits are not a stat that should be glorified because they indicate possession by the opposing team. In other words, you can’t rack ’em up unless you’re chasing the puck. And as every stat geek will tell you, possession is everything.
In a vacuum, or a game played on paper, that makes perfect sense.
The alternate view suggests that, taken in context, the value of doling out punishment is clear. No team can possess the puck all the time, so how you play when you don’t have it can be critical to the outcome of a series. Hits, after all, aren’t always an indication of a game that is being chased any more than they are about a neanderthal desire to negate skill with brute force.
The goal of hitting is to make life miserable for the other team. To make them rush decisions out of fear of being plastered into the end boards over and over again.
continued plus more hockey topics...
via the NHL YouTube Channel,
The New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins squared off in Game 2 on Saturday night. Listen in as microphones pick up the action on the ice.
(April 20, 2015) EDMONTON – Daryl Katz, Chairman of Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG) announced today Bob Nicholson has been appointed Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Nicholson, who joined the organization as Vice-Chair in June of 2014, will take over an expanded set of responsibilities within OEG that includes authority over all aspects of business and hockey operations for the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club. Mr. Nicholson will continue to serve as an Alternate Governor for the Edmonton Oilers on the NHL Board of Governors.
“Since joining OEG, Bob has devoted his time to assessing all aspects of the organization,” said Mr. Katz. “Going forward, he will have clear responsibility for OEG’s growing sports and entertainment business, and all the support and latitude he needs from me to lead the Oilers back to being a Stanley Cup contender. Bob is the ideal person to lead the organization forward. He is a bold thinker, a strong consensus builder and a very fine individual.”
from Ray Ratto of CSNBayArea,
Doug Wilson now gets to do something he hasn’t had to do in more than a decade -- redefine the franchise. His stance on the benefits of incremental change has to change, as the evidence that this team has dead-ended itself is now too overwhelming to ignore or wallpaper.
He has always had owner Hasso Plattner’s ear; now he has to sing a new song. And it isn’t just Joe Thornton that’s the issue. It’s a roster-wide examination that is needed, and an organizational one as well. The old Sharks are dead or close enough to it to require a new Sharks. The question that never had to be asked -- “Do you want to be here?” -- now has to be asked of everyone in the organization, and the answers aren’t as easy to come by as they used to be.
Wilson needs to be good not only at asking the question, but in understanding the answer. If San Jose was once a destination franchise, it is not one currently. In fact, for the next several months, the operation will be defined not by who stays, but by who goes.
And Todd McLellan was the first shot. As in “fired.”
SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks and Todd McLellan have mutually agreed to part ways.
In related moves, Assistant Coaches Jim Johnson and Jay Woodcroft, and Video Coordinator Brett Heimlich have been relieved of their duties. Associate Coach Larry Robinson moved into his full-time role of director of player development at the conclusion of the 2014-15 regular season.
“I want to thank Todd and his staff for their years of service to the San Jose Sharks organization,” said Wilson. “Sometimes a change is best for all parties involved but nothing will take away from what Todd and his staff accomplished here over the last seven seasons.”
“San Jose will always hold a special place for me and my family,” said McLellan. “I would like to thank Doug and the Sharks organization for allowing me the opportunity to coach at the National Hockey League level. While we both agree that a change is in the best interest of myself and the team, I’m proud of what we accomplished as an organization.”
from Jeff Blair of Sportsnet,
This much is clear: Gary Bettman and Bill Daley are the most honest folks in professional sports. Never doubt them again after Saturday’s draft lottery, which will result in a generational player – Connor McDavid – wasting the early stages of his career in Edmonton.
Of all the cities or franchises that didn’t deserve McDavid, it’s Edmonton. Who knew that just one season of tanking wasn’t enough? Who knew you had to tank four times? Or just hire Kevin Lowe – the General Patton of NHL tanking.
Not to be parochial, here – truth is, my fan sentiments lie more with the Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks than with the Toronto Maple Leafs – but let’s be honest: McDavid would have been of maximum marketing value and would have had the most immediate positive impact in Toronto. (Sorry, Buffalo.) There is a softening in this marketplace that I’m not certain will withstand a long rebuild without a transformative figure like McDavid. You won’t have to hold a tag day for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Ltd. but you will be able to buy tickets, and as much as I like Morgan Rielly, I’m not certain he pushes product in the manner of a McDavid. Rielly’s a nice player; McDavid is a kilowatt-emitting machine whose first choice (c’mon, you know it as much as I do) was to play with the Maple Leafs.
Home Team in Caps
NY ISLANDERS 2, Washington 1 (OT) – NYI leads 2-1
CHICAGO 4, Nashville 2 – CHI leads 2-1
Montreal 2, OTTAWA 1 (OT) – MTL leads 3-0
CALGARY 4, Vancouver 2 – CGY leads 2-1
CANADIENS PUSH SENATORS TO BRINK IN OT
Trailing 1-0 in the third period, Dale Weise (2-0—2) notched the tying goal with 5:47 remaining in regulation and the overtime-winner at 8:47 of the extra frame to power the Canadiens to a 3-0 series lead over the Senators.
* Weise recorded his first career multi-goal playoff game and his second career overtime marker (also April 16, 2014 at TBL). Three of his five career playoff goals have stood as game-winners (25 GP).
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
Winnipeg’s best attackers - Bryan Little, Scheifele, Andrew Ladd, Wheeler, Byfuglien - haven’t made a dent in Frederik Andersen, and only one Jet, Adam Lowry, has more than one point so far. The Jets power play has been blanked.
All this could change dramatically, and it could change tonight in Game 3. The Jets need it to against an Anaheim team that was No. 1 in the West this season, but has needed to come back in both games on home ice this series.
The challenge for the Jets will at least partly be to not let the enormity of tonight, the first home game for an NHL team in Winnipeg in 19 years, to become such an overwhelming factor that they neglect to improve those parts of their game that require attention. This is a series in which Game 3 has been held aloft as the key game before hostilities even commenced because it’s the first of its kind since Detroit eliminated the original Jets from the Stanley Cup playoffs back in 1996.
Each night during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, former NHL goaltender Jamie McLennan provides his Post 2 Post rankings for every goaltender in action. Each goaltender will receive a score out of five based on their performance.
Blackhawks 4 Predators 2
Pekka Rinne - 2 - Rinne was not sharp in this game as he was beat through the body by Brent Seabrook and short side by Brandon Saad. It was a perfromance uncharacteristic of his elite capability and he needs to bounce back next game for the Predators.
Scott Darling - 4 - Darling was very sharp Sunday with some big saves early on against Colin Wilson, Mike Ribero and Filip Forsberg. It was the best I've seen him with his rebounds and he looked comfortable and in control. He did a very good job of holding his crease and fighting through traffic.
continue for more rankings at TSN...
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.
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