Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Five reasons they can win it-
Heart. It’s not going to be easy to drive a stake through this team, which is among the best in winning percentage when trailing after the first or second period. Those young legs help in comeback situations, and no player in the league has a bigger heart than veteran winger Gary Roberts.
Five reasons they can’t win it-
Faceoffs. Don’t laugh. Consider the game eight days ago in Toronto, when a lost faceoff in overtime led directly to the Maple Leafs’ winning goal. The Penguins have been the worst faceoff team in the NHL all season and do not have a go-to guy.
read on for all of the other reasons…
from the Toronto Star,
In fact, thanks to the NHL first-round schedule hammered out Sunday night, the CBC will get only one Saturday night game involving a Canadian team, and only if the series between the Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars goes six games.
Hockey Night In Canada becomes Hockey Not In Canada.
Needless to say, the CBC is not amused.
“We asked in the strongest possible way for Ottawa to be showcased on a Saturday night,” said CBC Sports executive director Scott Moore. “We were disappointed that the league decided not to give it to us.
From San Jose Mercury News,
Craig Rivet never found much to celebrate when spring rolled around during his 11 seasons in Montreal.
The weather was still miserable in April, and it usually matched the mood of the Canadiens’ fans and media who sometimes seemed personally offended by anything less than perfection.
“It’s not a good thing,” the veteran defenseman said. “It’s a very tough place to play. ... That’s Montreal for me. It’s a city of, ‘What can you do for me right now?’”
During his first six weeks with the San Jose Sharks, Rivet has been reintroduced to the simple joys of professional hockey…
from the New York Times,
And while the Thrashers have lived on their offensive firepower, the Rangers are a defense-first team that has frequently won, or lost, by 2-1 scores.
The series, which starts Thursday in Atlanta, will most likely swing on which team can impose its style on the other.
“They are a strange team to play,” Rangers forward Jaromir Jagr said. “They’re like a snake. They make you sleep and they jump. They’ve got so much power, they just hit you with three goals with the skill they have.
“You have to be ready for that. I think you just have to play your game, don’t adjust to their game.”
added 9:51pm, from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Not only are the Thrashers playing in their first playoff series, they’re doing it on the biggest media stage in the world. The team, which at times has complained about the leaguewide lack of exposure for its stars like Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa, now has to prevent being burned by overexposure and the distractions that come with playing a New York team.
“That’s going to be a challenge,” coach Bob Hartley said after Monday’s practice. “That’s the challenge of a pro sports athlete — some people will lose their focus.”
from Stan Fischler at the Hockey Journal,
*David Nonis is the under-heralded GM who rates a retroactive ovation for picking Alain Vigneault off the coaching scrapheap and handing him the Canucks. Brian Burke’s protégé, Nonis speaks with fewer decibel counts than his mentor but he sure is piling up the point
*Ales (Big Talent, Little Drive) Hemsky and Fernando (Overpaid) Pisani were supposed to take the Oilers a long way this year. So, who gets the blame – our beloved underachievers or coach Craig (Run Out Of Quotes) MacTavish?
more from the Maven…
via Russo’s Rants,
The Wild originally believed its playoff series against the Ducks would start on Thursday. On Sunday, however, the team was informed that it would play Wednesday at Anaheim.
Coach Jacques Lemaire simply said, “you don’t want my comment,” when asked for his reaction. This isn’t a surprise. Preparation is one reason for Lemaire’s success so you had to figure when he got the call Sunday about the schedule there were a few choice words tossed around.
If Lemaire had known the Wild would play Wednesday he would have had his players on the ice Sunday. Instead, he gave them the day off. As a result, Lemaire ended up having to cover more ground during Monday’s practice than he wanted to.
from the CP via Metro News,
“The priority is to give Montreal a real good chance of signing me,” Souray said Monday as the team met at the Bell Centre two days after they were eliminated from the NHL playoffs.
“We have lots of time. There’s three months before anything has to be done. Montreal has been really good and I hope our relationship continues. I love Montreal. It’s a challenge, but I enjoy playing here. But it’s a business and we’ll see what happens.”
The other point is manned by 28-year-old Markov, the team’s best two-way defenceman.
“It’s not all about the money,” Markov said. “I like Montreal.
“It’s a great team, great fans. I want to play on this team.”
The winners of the Kukla’s Korner and Canucks & Beyond Hockey Pool have been decided. Thanks to everyone who participated. The top-2 finishers won a prize and there was a random drawing among all contestants for 3rd prize. Go here to find out if you’re a winner!
from John Buccigross at ESPN,
Sixteen teams truly believe they can win it all. The next two months will be like the scrap between Tony Soprano and Bobby “Bacala” Baccalieri from Sunday’s “Sopranos” premiere. Every day, you will wake up and, after monitoring your mandatory man noises to assure you’re still alive, your first thought will be your team’s game that night. The nauseating nervousness in your stomach will slowly build as the day goes on. You will sit at work and wonder what the Sedin twins are doing at that moment.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
According to Regehr, Datsyuk can present “a lot of challenges sometimes. He’s an extremely good one-on-one player. He’s probably top-10 in the NHL in that department. If you get caught watching the puck on him, you’re in a lot of trouble.
“There’s also his passing — he’s a very good set-up man. It depends upon who Detroit has playing with him, but if those guys get open, he’s extremely talented and able to find them with good passes, so you’ve got to make sure you’re on him all the time quickly and be very physical on him to try and take away those options.”
All this presupposes that Regehr will be available for the opener. He injured his leg in the first period of last Thursday’s loss to the San Jose Sharks and hasn’t played since.
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