Kukla's Korner Hockey
Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer took part in an NHL tele-conference today.
Q Chris, this question is for you. Just looking back to last year, having gone through the long playoff grind with Edmonton, obviously you never want to be hurt, but were maybe the injuries you had this year a little bit of a blessing in disguise in that they may leave you a little more rested for a long run this year?
CHRIS PRONGER: I think only time can tell in that situation. But I felt great last year and now leading into the playoffs this year I feel really good. So hopefully it’s an omen.
Vincent Lecavalier took part in an NHL tele-conference today.
Q Vincent, Pat Burns came out the other day and talked about how he believes you’re the best player in the National Hockey League. He’s a person who because he doesn’t have any affiliation with anyone, his opinion, I think, carries a lot of weight rather than having to listen to somebody who is an employee of the team talk about it. What do you say when somebody like that comes out and says you’ve taken your game to that next level?
VINCENT LECAVALIER: It’s a great honor to hear something like that from Pat Burns, who knows the game and he’s been in hockey for so long. It’s really nice. But there’s great players like Sidney Crosby, 19 years old, who has got 117 points leading the league. That’s pretty impressive. But to come from him, it was a nice thing to read.
NEW YORK (April 5, 2007)—Eight clubs could clinch division titles and/or playoff berths tonight as the National Hockey League’s exciting countdown to the Stanley Cup Playoffs continues with 12 games. Tonight’s schedule features 11 games involving a club that either is competing for the four remaining playoff berths or vying for conference and/or division titles and playoff seeding.
#2 New Jersey can clinch the Atlantic Division tonight:
* If they earn at least one point at Philadelphia or Pittsburgh drops a point at Ottawa.
#4 Ottawa can clinch the #4 seed in the Eastern Conference tonight:
* If they beat Pittsburgh.
#6 Tampa Bay (idle) can clinch an Eastern Conference playoff berth tonight:
* If Toronto drops a point at NY Islanders or Montreal drops a point at NY Rangers.
#7 New York Rangers can clinch an Eastern Conference playoff berth tonight:
* If they beat Montreal or Toronto drops a point at NY Islanders
from Helene St. James at the Detroit Free Press,
Bad news for the Wings: Nicklas Lidstrom tried skating this morning at the United Center, but won’t play tonight because his back is stiff, Mike Babcock said. This is the second time in three games Lidstrom has been out with a sore back.
“I don’t thing it’s a big (deal), but it’s two times, so …,” Babcock said.
Babcock also said Hasek may not play Saturday, though no reason was given. Hasek was supposed to play the last game of the regular season.
Stephan Liv has been recalled and will be the backup in Chicago tonight.
added 3:30pm, from MLive,
Hasek took his teammates to dinner Wednesday night in Chicago as a show of his appreciation. He did not show up at the rink for the morning skate.
from Jeff Gordon at STLToday,
By finishing the season quite well despite swapping out younger players for established NHLers like Tkachuk and Bill Guerin, the Murray-led Blues are proving that this team can simultaneously rebuild and contend for a playoff berth during the coming seasons.
With all these pieces in place -– ownership with vision, upper managers with a plan, coaches capable of executing that plan -– this organization should enjoy a fairly quick turnaround.
from the News & Observer,
Eliminated from the playoffs Tuesday after blowing a two-goal lead against Tampa Bay, the defending Stanley Cup champs returned to practice this morning at the RBC Center.
“It’s not even just that it’s disappointing that the season’s over,” Carolina wing Erik Cole said after practice. “It’s disappointing that we had the right pieces, and we couldn’t get it done. So these next two games are going to be a good mental challenge for every guy individually.”
I would want to hang around too…
The NHL says it has reviewed the incident and, as far as the league is concerned, the case is closed.
“We were made aware of the situation right after the game in question,” NHL executive vice president Colin Campbell told TSN. “We investigated it, talked with the officials and both teams and we determined there were no grounds to pursue it any further. It’s a closed matter as far as we are concerned. We don’t have to respond to what’s in today’s newspapers because we’ve already responded to it.”...
Lundqvist told reporters on Wednesday before learning of the allegations that he prefers to remain in the crease to maintain concentration during breaks.
pic via the New York Islanders
added 2:11pm, Raycroft gets it!
from Shawn P. Roarke at NHL.com,
But the Stanley Cup he won in 1997, and the two that followed in 1998 and 2002, certainly didn’t hurt Yzerman’s Hall of Fame-worthy resume.
In fact, those titles most likely turned a quiet star and exceptional leader in Detroit into an international hockey icon. Even Yzerman acknowledges the role those championships play in the perceptions about him.
“If you play well and win, you’re a heck of a leader,” he once said. “You don’t win, you’re an OK leader. If you don’t play well and you don’t win, you’re a lousy leader.”
from Damien Cox at ESPN,
Those potentially on the hot seat:
Dave Tippett, Dallas Stars
Probability of getting the ax: Medium to high.
• You have to believe Tippett has to get the Stars out of the first round to hang on to his job. He has had three seasons to get this club back to the level it was at during the Ken Hitchcock years, and—despite very good regular-season results—Dallas has been unable to make big noise in the postseason.
read on for more…
from Mark Bradley at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution blogs,
The Thrashers have never played a postseason game. That changes next week. The NHL playoffs are different from the NBA’s. Any team that gets in has a realistic (as opposed to a theoretical) chance to play for the Cup. The Thrashers could surprise everyone and be playing not just next week but next month.
If that happens, Atlanta will tune in. This is, as we know, a bandwagon city. But I’m guessing the first round will get little attention from the masses because the bandwagon hasn’t really budged
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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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