Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Edmonton Journal,
This is the longest Clarke has been out of real work. He’s a sounding board for current Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren. He’s still around, if needed, but it’s not like Holmgren has Clarke’s number on speed dial. This is Holmgren’s club now and Clarke doesn’t want to intrude.
But he’s still got some fire in his gut. You know he’d like to be on the inside.
“I’m not campaigning for a job ... somebody has to call me first,” shrugged Clarke, who isn’t going to go banging on the door of someone like Richard Peddie, who runs the Toronto Maple Leafs, to get on their list for GM to replace the caretaker Cliff Fletcher.
“I think I’ve been around long enough and if I fit what a team is looking for ... .”
from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Biron will be back in the net today. Stevens is smart to stay with the anointed playoff starter, at least for now. Changing goalies is a little like changing quarterbacks. It’s a move that can look like panic if a coach makes it too quickly or too often. Besides, if Stevens does have to go to Antero Niittymaki, it will be very tough to go back to Biron….
“Four goals should be enough in a playoff game,” Flyers forward Mike Knuble said.
It is if the goaltender can make a great save or two, or if you don’t hand the puck to the league’s leading scorer late in the third period….
Nothing tells you more about a coach than a playoff series. This is Stevens’ first in the NHL. He and his staff did a solid job of preparing for the Capitals. That much was clear from Game 1.
Now comes the real test: guiding this team through a series it proved it can win, even as it found a way to lose.
Well, we improved on some of the things from Game 1. Just seemed like they got more of the bounces today. We got a break on our first goal, but they caught a break on the game-winner and seemed like we caught the post on some chances when they were back on their heels.
Down 0-2 isn’t what you want, but teams have come back from that before. I know it’s a cliche, but we have to take it one game at a time. We’re back home for Games 3 and 4. If we win our home games, then it’s back to even. On Monday night we need our fans to be as loud as you were that last home game against St. Louis. Let’s concentrate on getting that one on Monday and moving on from there.
-Steve Sullivan at his Nashville Predators blog...
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
The Chicago Blackhawks badly want a puck-moving D-man when the free-agent shopping starts July 1, but there’s no way they’re getting Brian Campbell, who’ll re-up in San Jose because he wants to keep playing with childhood friend Joe Thornton.
Wade Redden or John-Michael Liles are in their fall-back position, but Redden’s stock has dropped surprisingly the last two years in Ottawa and Liles is coming off a very so-so year. Liles is on Carolina’s radar, too.
many more NHL bits…
from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,
In San Jose, we enjoy hockey. In Canada, they metabolize hockey.
How best to explain it? Take the average amount of pro football interest in an American city. Multiply by three. Then stick an “I ♥ FACIAL STITCHES” bumper sticker on it.
That’s hockey in Canada.
Tonight is the first Sharks playoff game in this city since the 2004 Western Conference finals. My major off-ice memory of that series is how, while walking around downtown, every third or fourth person I saw was wearing a Flames jersey. It was preferred work attire. I was checked into my hotel room by Jarome Iginla. I exchanged my American money with bank teller Miikka Kiprusoff. And I was served a fast-food burger by Robyn Regehr.
Also, I could swear every cab driver I had was a Sutter brother.
from John Shipley of the Pioneer Press,
At 29, Todd Fedoruk finally is becoming the hockey player he always has wanted to be. It’s happening just in time for the Wild.
Desperately seeking goals in a tight, physical playoff series with the Colorado Avalanche, the Wild have scored two that can be traced to Fedoruk within a degree of separation: his power-play goal in Game 1 and Pavol Demitra’s long slapper in Game 2, which sneaked by a Fedoruk screen.
The two goals perfectly encapsulate what Fedoruk is giving the Wild as they prepare for Game 3 on Monday night at Pepsi Center in this best-of-seven, first-round series — size, grit and toughness, with an occasional touch of offense.
from Jennifer Floyd Engel of the Star-Telegram,
His wicked wrister basically wrapped up a 5-2 victory for the Stars on Saturday and, as a result, they are coming back to Dallas with a chance to get out of the first round for the first time since 2003 without having to leave the state again.
“I think it’s huge,” Richards said. “You want to feel wanted and feel like you are contributing.”
He is. And he has.
Don’t look now, but this Stars team suddenly looks different with Richards. Dare I say dangerous?
This is what happens when all three of your big-name, big-money, big-expectation centers come to play in April. Any coach will tell you that kind of depth is almost impossible to stop.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
All game analysis aside, though, the night was even more remarkable, at least to these aged eyes, for its sensational presentation and the fervor of the Montreal fans. The passion was astounding, pulsating, especially in the minutes leading up to the opening faceoff. As the sellout crowd of 21,273 roared in anticipation of the Canadiens skating out for introductions, I turned to a longtime pal in the press box and remarked that I’d forgotten how great the hockey environment can be, and this was before a single pass had been made or check thrown.
“The crowd, the noise, the music, everyone in the stands with their towels waving,” mused Bruins goalie Tim Thomas the next day. “When I came out, it was like being a Roman gladiator.”
read on plus other NHL topics…
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Star,
• You know it’s a mess inside the Florida Panthers organization when class act Joe Nieuwendyk walks away, wanting no part of it.
• Everybody is too polite to make a big deal about it, but two terrible goals allowed by Martin Brodeur ended up costing New Jersey its first two games against the New York Rangers and may end up costing the Devils the series.
• Here is why nice guy David Poile cannot be considered for the Maple Leafs’ vacant GM job, even though some have pushed him as a candidate: This is his ninth season in Nashville. The Preds have never won a playoff round.
more NHL talk scattered about…
from Luke DeCock of the News & Observer,
Not only did the Hurricanes suffer the embarrassment of missing the playoffs two years in a row after winning the Stanley Cup, they cost themselves at least $2 million and potentially $20 million or more in playoff revenue and season-ticket sales.
As it stands now, even with revenue-sharing payments from the NHL that could amount to as much as $8 million, the Hurricanes expect to lose more than the $4 million they lost last season. The team turned a $10 million profit in 2005-06 while winning the Stanley Cup.
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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