Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,
Meet Dany Heatley, playmaker.
The Senators left winger, often facing withering defensive attention because of his goal-scoring skills, has turned into a set-up man.
He is the NHL’s leading playoff scorer with 21 points, moving ahead of linemate Jason Spezza with a one-goal, two-assist performance Saturday as the Senators earned their first trip to the Stanley Cup final.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
The best team in the Western Conference final is not winning the Western Conference final.
The deeper and stronger team on the ice is not leading 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.
When summer hits, and the Wings have not been part of any kind of parade, they may well look back at yesterday’s game at Joe Louis Arena, and at Game 4 in Anaheim, both of them one-sided, and tear themselves apart wondering how they let this opportunity pass.
from the Ottawa Business Journal,
The deeper the Sens go, it seems, the more people crowd into area sports bars and pubs and hold tailgate parties. Is there a monetary spin off to the local economy when an NHL franchise goes four rounds into the playoffs? If so, how much? And while Sens fans are encouraged to “Be Red,” is the club itself in the black?
Club management is tight-lipped on questions surrounding exact revenues, although experts peg the amount an NHL team earns per playoff home game somewhere between $1 million and $2 million, depending on the city, by adding up gate receipts, merchandise, parking and concessions and deducting expenses.
It’s likely higher still in Ottawa, since team owner Eugene Melnyk owns the building. Consider as well that ticket prices rise the deeper the team heads into the playoffs.
from the LA Times,
“It’s huge,” Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf said. “To come up in this building and steal a game tonight and battle back the way we did, to stay focused and stay on the job at hand, it’s good for our group.
“We’ve just got to continue on, and hopefully we can get it done at home.”
Game 5 had been the Red Wings’ domain in this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs — they won it in the first two rounds against Calgary and San Jose to help them close out those series in six games.
more (reg. req.)
from Bob Keisser of the Long Beach Press-Telegram,
Anyone who has ever considered himself a hockey fan would testify on a Zamboni-sized bible that it’s a great sport and one of the most exciting to see in person. The Detroit-Anaheim series that the Ducks now lead has been every bit as entertaining as the Warriors-Mavs and Suns-Spurs NBA series.
But the sport has made so many errors over the years that it has fallen from one of the Big Four sports to a sport barely in the top 10. Chances are if you’re not a hockey fan, you probably think a Red Wing is something on the menu at Hooters and a Blue Jacket something you buy at J.C. Penney.
Seriously. After the NFL, baseball and the NBA, NASCAR has become one of the Big Four. They’re followed by the Olympic Games, college football, college basketball and golf. Tennis may even rank higher since it at least has four majors.
from Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press,
It wasn’t just the Datsyuk call that bordered on the ridiculous. The Wings got a power-play opportunity in overtime that was unwarranted when Travis Moen was nailed for hooking Danny Markov that challenged the Datsyuk penalty in lameness.
You don’t want special teams deciding special games such as these, but the NHL can’t see beyond its tunnel vision. But doesn’t the league see the headlights of the approaching train?
How stupid is this league?
It changes the rules to promote more offensive creativity with the hope of attracting more television viewers, then it lets NBC hijack the overtime period for what proved to be the decisive game in the Eastern Conference finals Saturday for 30 minutes of Preakness prerace coverage.
from Cris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star,
NBC made a business decision here, choosing high-priced horse advertising over a commercial-free overtime.
But what does this say about the NHL?
It says the league is so desperate to please American networks that it’s willing to take this kind of abuse. This is the same league that scheduled Saturday’s game for 2 p.m. to appease NBC. That decision deprived Ottawa fans of a traditional Saturday night spot while costing the loyal CBC hundreds of thousands of viewers and countless dollars in ad revenues.
For kowtowing to NBC, the league gets a slap in the face.
More accurately, it got a slap in the face, a punch in the solar plexus and a kick in the rear with a frozen boot.
from Randy Youngman of the OC Register,
Put it this way: I lost count of the number of times Brett Hull used the word “terrible” to describe the Ducks and Game 5 hero Teemu Selanne, during Sunday’s NBC telecast.
Perhaps it’s a coincidence, but Hull, a former Red Wing who was on Detroit’s 2002 Stanley Cup championship team, sounded like a man who lost a bet on Game 5.
This is what Hull thought of the Ducks’ performance after they pulled out an improbable 2-1 overtime victory at Joe Louis Arena to seize a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 Western Conference finals heading back to Anaheim for Game 6:
“They were terrible with the puck, they were terrible on the puck, they were terrible (on) positioning ... they were just terrible.”
Q. Obviously you talked about the last play, how did you see it develop and did you believe the puck was suddenly there in front of you?
EEMU SELANNE: I just tried to do some forechecking job, obviously made an unbelievable play as well. I was obviously surprised to get that puck so open.
But it was good bounce and it’s great to see that go in.
Q. Mike, 47 seconds left and they tie it up. When you go into the locker room there, how do you keep - especially with some of the younger guys, how do you keep the ball from falling on them, you were that close, and try to get them up? Did you feel you played as strongly as you could have in the overtime or was some of that nagging -
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I don’t buy any of that. The playoffs are about adversity. Things go your way, sometimes they don’t. Their power play goals, the six-on-four goal that goes off our stick. It’s unfortunate. We had the chance to Cleary before Zetterberg missed the net. We didn’t get it out the second time. It’s in the back of your net.
But I don’t think - number one, we got a good veteran group in there. I don’t think anyone is dwelling on that. You’re just trying to find a way to get the next one. No one told us this was going to be easy.
We thought we played a pretty good hockey game here tonight. We felt we had our opportunities. They got one on the power play even though it was six-on-four. We didn’t get one on the power play in the end. That’s the game.
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