Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Ottawa Sun,
The Senators had a taste of what they mean to a hockey town gone bananas after snagging a reservation in the Stanley Cup final with “King Daniel Of Ottawa” Alfredsson’s OT winner against the Sabres.
Most impressive to the players was the thousands of fans who welcomed them home at the airport.
Even speaking of it yesterday after practice, chills started running up and down their spines again.
Chris Kelly: “I’ve seen a lot of things, but nothing like coming off the plane at the airport. There must have been 5,000 people there. To see that many supporting us, especially on a long weekend when people are out of town, was really fun.”
from the Toronto Star,
It’s a tad too easy for the Red Wings to say “been there, done that.”
But when Daniel Cleary sits on a plane for five hours with the likes of Chris Chelios, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Dominik Hasek after a heart-breaking Game 5 overtime loss that has the Wings sitting on the brink of elimination, that’s the heartening message he comes away with.
“From my standpoint, the experience showed yesterday (on the plane),” said Cleary. “The calmness, the belief that we have. We have a good mixture of veterans who have been there before and young guys who haven’t.
“The trickle-down effect is great.”
from Mark Whicker of the OC Register,
The difference in this series is 3-2, but it’s closer than that. The glare of a shiny Cup is adding to the distemper.
“We believe we’re in control,” said Babcock, arching his back from the wall. “It’s time to put our best foot forward. We’re not going away easily. Actually, we’re not going away.”
from the New York Times,
But a foul-up at Versus’ master control in Denver delayed by about two minutes the time before Versus took the Sabres-Senators handoff from NBC. Marc Fein, a Versus senior vice president, said, “Needless to say, it didn’t go as smoothly as we would have liked.”
John Shannon, the league’s senior vice president for broadcasting and a former hockey producer who loathes such mistakes, said: “We believed the checks, double checks and triple checks were in place. It was one simple, human error. We talked all day. Everything was coordinated. Our concern was that people were told to go to Versus, and it wasn’t there right away.”...
But NBC could have done much better because its overtime plan to go to Versus was in play when Buffalo’s Maxim Afinogenov tied the score with 9 minutes 2 seconds left in the third period.
From there, NBC should have given viewers several messages about switching to (and finding) Versus before regulation ended.
Given the single warning — and the relative newness of Versus — it is reasonable to wonder if fans endured for the two minutes or so that it took for Versus to pick up the NBC feed, or if they wandered off?
added 7:37am, from Newsday,
In an interview with WFAN, commissioner Gary Bettman said the broad audience was worth the risk of overtime, but he left open the possibility of rethinking the Saturday afternoon strategy next year.
Who to blame? Everyone, and that includes you, America, for not watching enough hockey to give the sport ratings clout.
Regardless, the time might have come for the league to swallow its pride, thank NBC for its attention and accept being a niche sport that doesn’t belong on the big stage, if it ever did.
from the AP via the Mercury News,
Saying he’s “frustrated and disappointed” with the end of an otherwise successful season, Doug Wilson plans to decide by next week whether coach Ron Wilson will return to San Jose next season.
“I have not had a feeling like this since I’ve been here,” said Doug Wilson, the former Chicago defenseman who has molded San Jose’s remarkable talent pool into a perennial winner over the past three seasons.
“We’re not going to sit idly by. That’s not what good teams have historically done. ... There will be changes. I’m not going to say, ‘OK, everybody will take this experience and be better by September.’ We will not do that. We’re trying to win Stanley Cups, and we’re trying to build a great organization.”
from the Hollywood Reporter,
NBC Sports defended its decision to cut off Saturday’s telecast of the Buffalo Sabres-Ottawa Senators playoff game just as it moved into overtime in favor of the Preakness Stakes.
The network received criticism in the blogosphere and from some viewers for its decision to forgo the final minutes of the game to cover the Preakness from a Baltimore racetrack. A network spokesman said Monday that there was not much NBC could do: It was contractually obligated to carry Saturday’s Preakness telecast….
“We terribly regret that some of our avid fans weren’t able to see the overtime play,” the spokeswoman said. It wasn’t as much a problem among home viewers as it was for those who were watching at bars and restaurants nationwide, where the distribution of Comcast-owned Versus is still sporadic.
from the CP via the Globe and Mail,
Ducks players were shrugging off comments Hull, now a hockey analyst with NBC, made during Anaheim’s 2-1 overtime win against the Detroit Red Wings Sunday. The Ducks lead the Western Conference final 3-2 and can advance to the Stanley Cup final by beating the Red Wings in Tuesday’s Game 6 (CBC, 9 p.m.) in Anaheim.
“If I was Detroit, I would not be worried about being down 3-2, because they dominated,” Hull said on air after the game. “They can go in and win (Game 6) and come home and win Game 7.”
Anaheim defenceman Chris Pronger, who also isn’t shy about speaking his mind to the media, shook his head when asked about Hull’s prediction.
from the AP via Sports Illustrated,
Daniel Briere has heard the rumors that he’s heading to Nashville, Philadelphia or Montreal, ready to cash in once free agency opens in July.
Not so fast, the Buffalo Sabres co-captain said Monday, after he and his teammates cleaned out their lockers.
“My first, my probably biggest wish right now would be to be a part of this team,” Briere said. “The Sabres, if they’re interested, they’re going to have the first chance. They’re going to have the best chance. And if that doesn’t work out, then we’ll start looking at different options.”
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
Perhaps hockey fans have to accept the fact that there will never be justice in officiating. But it might be nice if there were fewer injustices.
Hockey is one of the most difficult sports to officiate. In fact, it may be the most difficult.
Baseball is almost without exception, relatively simple, black-and-white calls. A runner is either out or safe. A pitch is either in the strike zone or it isn’t.
Basketball and football require a bit more judgment, especially on calls like interference and holding in football, and charging in basketball.
But until recently, hockey officiating required judgment calls and very little else. The game had evolved to the point that calls were purely subjective, varying from night to night depending on the referees’ whims.
from The Maven,
It’s difficult to imagine a team winning The Stanley Cup with the Human Sieve, Ray Emery, in goal. Yet, it could happen because the Ottawa defense is so strong…
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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