Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
So, my guess is these conference finals will be called tightly, and the teams that adjust best will be the teams that benefit. If Dallas can get in hard on the forecheck, force the play into the Detroit end and get to the front of the net, the Stars will get plenty of power play opportunities. But, if they sit back and chase Detroit, they will spend the night on the penalty kill. And once they get on the penalty kill, they will be so intimidated by the refs, that they will not be able to hook, hold or cross-check Franzen or Homstrom out from in front of the net.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
According to president Richard Peddie, the club wants “a winner,” someone who is a “long-term builder and short-term fixer,” an executive with “NHL experience and an established track record, a success on and off the ice.”
From that, most people have come to believe the Leafs want a president/GM with one or more Stanley Cup rings gathered through years of senior management experience with one or more teams before ascending, to steal Brian Burke’s words, to “the Vatican” of hockey.
An admirable goal.
What’s interesting, however, is that of the four teams that have made their way to the NHL’s conference championships this spring, none are managed by individuals who initially made their way into their current jobs by first accumulating the type of experience the Leafs are apparently demanding.
from Robert Dvorchak of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
“These teams have such a history,” said Bill Clement, who played on the Flyers’ title teams and is now a hockey analyst, “but five minutes after they drop the puck, none of it matters. They’ll be writing new history.”
He expects a “gladiator-type” series with Sherwoods instead of swords, one that will have the blood boiling not only among the combatants but the fan bases.
“Players respond to fans’ reactions, and fans are not compelled to show any restraint at all,” he said. “The Flyers are looked on as something like the Antichrist. Everybody loves to hate the Flyers. But you have to be careful. You can end up winning a battle and losing the war.”
Update 11:35am ET: The AP (via the Globe & Mail) previews the series as a “Bad Blood Showdown”
Two and a half minutes of Barry Melrose breaking down the Wings/Stars game from last night.
from Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News,
Mike Knuble grew up in Kentwood, Mich., played hockey for the University of Michigan, held the Stanley Cup in his hands at the end of his first two NHL seasons with Detroit. “The passion it brings out in the city and the fans is something you never forget,” he said after the Flyers’ practice yesterday. “In Detroit they had all those flags hanging on the cars . . .
“You got tired of it almost after 2 years in a row. It sounds crazy but . . . It was like, ‘There’s that damn Cup again.’ “
Ten long years later, after stops in Detroit, with the New York Rangers and Boston, after his midcareer transformation from NHL grinder to goal-scorer, Knuble, 35, sometimes drives home from the rink conjuring up that image, sometimes imagines what that skate around the ice
after the NHL’s final game would feel like again. He tries not to, he said, because the Flyers have won only eight of the 16 games necessary for that dream to be a reality. But it doesn’t always work, and it does not make him tired.
from Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press,
Before I spend one more word on how good our hockey team played Thursday night, I have to say how bad it looked to see so many empty seats at Joe Louis Arena. Cheaper seats. Expensive seats. Empty clusters. Half-empty rows.
Hey, this ain’t Nashville, folks.
This is Detroit, Hockeytown, where every seat should be filled, because these are the conference finals, the bridge to the championship, against Dallas, a team that hasn’t been here for the playoffs in 10 years. That last time was a war that ultimately led to a Detroit Stanley Cup.
from Rink Side Blog at Sports Illustrated,
Coach Mike Babcock credits Kronwall’s intelligence, his ability to see the ice and read the play, which means Kronwall isn’t giving up two-on-ones by taking himself out of position. “It’s important for us that him and [defense partner Brad] Stuart are on the hunt because it makes [opponents] nervous,” Babcock said. “You got to be aware of where they are.”
more on the Wings…
from William Houston of the Globe and Mail,
In an interview this week, we asked Cole how he felt about the criticism.
“When you pick up the paper, and you get ripped, well, okay, you have to live with it,” he said. “But you have to keep saying to yourself, well, maybe the whole world isn’t thinking this way. Then you get reassured when you meet hockey fans and they’re so kind to you. That makes you feel good.”
Despite criticisms that he misidentifies players too often, Cole’s work this season has received kudos from people in the business.
from Jean-Jacques Taylor of the Dallas Morning News,
If the Stars, the team that played with bravado and arrogance in the first two rounds of the playoffs don’t show up in a hurry, the Western Conference finals will end in four games.
You know it. I know it. Even the players know it, though they certainly aren’t going to admit it.
From Rhéal Séguin at the Globe & Mail,
Hockey legend Vladislav Tretiak has taken hundreds of flights over his career and witnessed many bizarre incidents on planes, but nothing like last week’s midair altercation that left a drunken Russian passenger dead.
Mr. Tretiak was fast asleep in the first-class section of an Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Toronto, on his way to the prestigious international hockey championship in Quebec City, not knowing that one of his diehard fans was determined to talk to him.
“I felt someone shaking me on my shoulder and I woke up. There was this guy standing next to me. He looked like he had been drinking. Before I realized it, somebody else was pulling him away as he screamed, ‘Tretiak, Tretiak.’ And then they just took him away,”
continued… *a strange story, and obviously very upsetting, experience for Tretiak
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org