Kukla's Korner Hockey
Alright with the Stanley Cup finals kicking off (okay facing off) tonight figured it was time I post my picks for the first round so that I can either say “I told you so” or you can say it to me in about week and a half – two weeks schedule and series length TBD.
from Kerry Fraser of TSN,
The margin for victory between all the teams is very slim and mistakes made by players and officials are magnified at this time of year. Simply put, mistakes can be the difference between a team and an official from going on in the playoffs or going home!
Last night I joined James Duthie for a brief segment in the playoff preview show shot in Studio 9 at TSN where I will be monitoring games and officials' calls on a nightly basis throughout the first round. James asked me what I will be looking for from the Officials the moment the playoffs begin. My response was for strict adherence to the letter of the law. The rules do not change during the playoffs and neither should the expected standard of enforcement! The referees have often been accused of putting their whistles away during the playoffs. Far too many times we have seen the score and time of a game factored into the refs' judgment as to what constitutes an obvious penalty.
Steve Mason was not at practice today.
via NHL Officials,
Francis Charron, Paul Devorski, Gord Dwyer, Eric Furlatt, Dave Jackson, Mark Joannette, Steve Kozari, Chris Lee, Wes McCauley, Brad Meier, Dean Morton, Dan O'Halloran, Dan O'Rourke, Chris Rooney, Tim Peel, Kevin Pollock, Francois St.-Laurent, Justin St.Pierre, Kelly Sutherland, Brad Watson
Derek Amel, Steve Barton, David Brisebois, Lonnie Cameron, Scott Cherry, Michel Cormier, Greg Devorski, Scott Driscoll, Darren Gibbs, Shane Heyer, Brad Kovachik, Matt MacPherson, Steve Miller, Brian Murphy, Jonny Murray, Derek Nansen, Brian Pancich, Pierre Racicot, Jay Sharrers, Mark Shewchyk
SNEAK PEEK AT WEDNESDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Montreal @ Tampa Bay, 7:00 p.m., CNBC, CBC, RDS, SUN
Columbus @ Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, FS-O, ROOT
Dallas @ Anaheim, 10:00 p.m., NBCSN, TSN, RDS (JIP), FS-SW, FS-W
Paul Maurice has agreed to a four-year contract extension to remain head coach of the Winnipeg Jets.
Maurice became the Jets' interim coach on Jan. 12 when he replaced the fired Claude Noel.
Maurice, 47, is coaching his third NHL franchise. He had two stints with the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes and also coached the Toronto Maple Leafs for two seasons.
from Lance Pugmire of the LA Times,
Maybe a man who has steered his teams to six regular-season division titles but never gotten one past a second-round playoff series is supposed to keep quiet about his longing to hold the Stanley Cup.
That’ll never be Bruce Boudreau.
The Ducks coach, who will lead his Western Conference top-seeded team into the postseason Wednesday night against the wild-card Dallas Stars, unabashedly has obsessed about the best-known trophy in sports.
“Think about it every single day of my life,” Boudreau told The Times on Monday. “When I’m by myself, when I take a walk … since I’ve been 10 years old.
“It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. It’s not a question of the will and the want not being there. It’s a question of, sometimes you’ve got the opportunity and you’ve got to make good on it.”
from Jeff Z. Klein of the New York Times,
Despite a series of rule changes and awareness campaigns aimed at eliminating spinal cord trauma, amateur hockey players continue to sustain paralyzing injuries from crashing into the boards. Tom Smith of Swampscott, Mass., had the extraordinary misfortune to incur two separate spinal injuries, in 2008 and 2009.
“Hockey was my life,” said Smith, 24, who walks with the aid of two canes. “I didn’t want anyone to have the game of hockey ripped away from them because of a head injury, a neck injury, any injury. So we came up with the Look-Up Line.”
The line is essentially a visual warning track, alerting players to their proximity to the unyielding boards. USA Hockey’s board of directors will vote on a proposal to adopt the Look-Up Line when it meets on June 6 in Colorado Springs.
If the measure is approved, every arena under USA Hockey’s jurisdiction will paint a 40-inch-wide bright orange band on the ice along the boards. The arenas will have to comply by 2017, but the board could also vote to expedite the change as a matter of safety.
continued including a picture of the proposed warning area...
from Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star,
As tempting and knee-jerk as it is to blame the bench boss for the calamity that befell the Toronto Maple Leafs in the last month of the season — 2-12-0 — the fault lies with a group of players who could not rally from an ever-deepening hockey stupor, failing the test of character and fortitude, time and time again.
Oh, there were flashes of backbone, when least expected — beating Boston in the second last week of the schedule, especially. Yet those spurts of mettle were fleeting and ultimately misleading. This was more the team that lost to Winnipeg and Florida and New Jersey down the dismaying stretch; less the team that rose to the challenge of the Bruins.
And the core problem, I suggest, is that the players still don’t see themselves for what they are. They scratch their heads and wonder, how did this happen? The answer is staring them in the face, if only they looked hard in the mirror.
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
The Jackets are hurting. Nathan Horton (abdominal surgery) is out. Nick Foligno (knee) and R.J. Umberger (upper body) are still mending. Among the three are 1,700 regular-season and 86 playoff games worth of experience. The youngest team in the league is missing its prime veteran forwards as the series gets underway. That is killer.
There is this notion that Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury — a former No. 1 overall draft pick who is in his prime — might somehow falter, and thus give the Jackets a chance. I don’t buy it.
<> Fleury is coming off one of the best regular seasons of his career. What is he going to be thinking about? That he has the worst playoff stats of any goaltender over the past 10 years? That he was so brutal, he lost his job in the middle of the first round last year? That he is somehow inferior to Bobrovsky?
Come on. That would be like saying the Penguins don’t like getting hit.
So, never mind that the Penguins have lost to a lower seed in each of the past four seasons. The Jackets don’t have a chance.
from Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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