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Tough Team To Figure Out

from the Philadelphia Inquirer,

Ken Hitchcock promised that the Flyers would approach last night's game against the New Jersey Devils like a must-win playoff game. "It's going to be treated," Hitchcock said, "like a sudden-death one." It wasn't exactly sudden death - more the slow, meticulous type that occurs when a team still trying to establish its identity goes against one that is peaking just in time for the playoffs.... "Everything was said before the game, and everything was said between the periods, and nothing really happened," Derian Hatcher said. "Everyone has to take it upon themselves. There's three games left." "We know we have the guys," Eric Desjardins said. "We have good players, good veterans, good young guys that play really well. We're pretty confident in what we have. In the playoffs, you never know. We go in and feel decent, feel better about our game, anything can happen. That's what I believe in. You never know."
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Sabres See Black

from the Buffalo News,

The Buffalo Sabres expect to turn a profit of more than $1.5 million this season, even if they make an early exit from the playoffs, and the figure could top $5 million if they go all the way to the Stanley Cup finals. Team officials updated their profit projections, while announcing that their season-ticket prices are remaining roughly the same for next season.... As the regular season ends, the Sabres turned a profit of about $600,000, slightly below earlier projections, because of the many injuries that required minor-league players to be promoted at major-league salaries. Under the league's complicated new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Sabres expect to make a net profit of $500,000 to $600,000 for each home playoff game. They're assured of at least two home games, which would put the total profit over $1.5 million.
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He Can One-Time Anything

from the Calgary Sun,

He needs one more goal to match his age but Dion Phaneuf should be happy with 20. After all, it's not often a defenceman scores that many -- especially in his freshman year. Only two NHLers -- Brian Leetch and Barry Beck -- managed to do it before the Calgary Flames' star pupil, who hit the 20-goal plateau with his second-period tally in the Flames' 2-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche last night at the Saddledome.... "He can one-time anything," said the animated Iginla. "If he gets himself ready (and the puck lands) anywhere around him, it's just BANG.
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All Sid

from the Toronto Sun,

Here was Sidney Crosby, sitting in the lavish lobby of the Ritz Carlton in Philadelphia, a hotel so brazenly exclusive it has no outdoor sign. He was wearing a nicely tailored navy suit, with the collar open and the tie tucked away somewhere for safekeeping. He fit right in with a room full of powerful corporate types but as usual, he was the youngest person in the room. He had been thinking hard for about 15 seconds. The question was tying him up in a way no NHL defenceman has been able to: What one word sums your season?
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Western Conference Top 8 Complete

The Western Conference playoff teams are now known. Vancouver needed at least one point last night but lost in regulation and the LA Kings needed two points to keep their slim hopes alive, but both failed. Some jockeying for positioning between the 5-8 spots will be an interesting scenario to follow during the next few days. I imagine Detroit fans will soon be watching a few highlights from years past on VCOE but don't rub it in to the folks there, they have to be feeling quite low knowing the Canucks will not make it to playoffs for the first time since 1999. The East still has a race, with four teams stil trying to lock up the final two spots. This race could go down to the last game of the season, and I can only hope it doesn't go down to a shootout to decide it- the pressure will be directed on a individual instead of it being on the whole team, something I don't like. update 2:51pm, Next Tuesday, April 18th, VCOE will pay off the bet. I am sure many Vancouver hockey fans will enjoy watching Cheli taking a victory skate across the Vancouver ice and will be thrilled at Lidstrom's goal from Center Ice too. image image as of Friday morning, 4/14

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Thornton Has No Chance At MVP

from the Mercury News,

Anyone who knows his ice from a hole in the ground knows I'm right. This season, Joe Thornton has been the best team player in hockey, a team sport where team players must think faster and be tougher than in any other team sport. By all rights, that should make Thornton a lock to claim the NHL's most valuable player award, the Hart Memorial Trophy. But the man has no chance. None. Zero. Nada. And while you're at it, you can throw in whatever the Canadian expression is for "zilch."
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A Few Wings May Sign Soon

from Mlive,

Andreas Lilja and Chris Chelios were pleasant surprises for a Detroit Red Wings defense beset with injury and illness this season. So it's no surprise that both will more than likely return next season. Wings general manager Ken Holland said Thursday he's "pretty close" to signing Lilja, and Chelios said he also hopes to have a new contract in place before the playoffs. Holland said he's had conversations with Chelios, who signed a one-year deal for $850,000 in July, but has no further meetings planned. "That doesn't mean we can't talk between now and the middle of next week," Holland said. ...Lidstrom has elected to wait until the summer to negotiate a new deal. The club's other unrestricted free agents are Shanahan, Steve Yzerman, Manny Legace, Chris Osgood, Jason Woolley, Cory Cross and Mark Mowers.
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Burke Likes Ducks’ Chances

from the Orange County Register,

"I like our chances in the playoffs," Burke said. "That's provided the league continues to be consistent about calling the obstruction penalties. We've got good playoff experience in places, we're a little thin in other places, but I think the style of play that we have will help us." "Randy's an ass-kicker," Burke said approvingly. "Every coach I ever have is going to be one. With the money we pay these guys, I don't think it's too much to ask to challenge them. What I was most impressed with is that even when we were losing, Randy still had this team in the palm of his hand. He's demanded that they work hard. And give them credit, because they have responded."
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AO Hits Five-O

via the AP,

Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin became only the second rookie in NHL history with 50 goals and 100 points when he scored against the Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday night. Ovechkin scored his 50th goal at 13:01 of the first period with a shot from the top of the left circle. Atlanta goalie Mike Dunham appeared to be screened in front by defenseman Garnet Exelby. Ovechkin picked up his 52nd assist in the second period, setting up a power-play goal for Dainius Zubrus with a perfect cross-ice pass. With his 101st and 102nd points, Ovechkin broke a fifth-place tie with Mario Lemeiux on the rookie list and pulled even with four-place Joe Juneau, who scored 102 in 1992-93. The only rookies to score more points were Selanne, Peter Stastny (109 in 1980-81) and Dale Hawerchuk (103 in 1981-82).

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The Party Has Stopped

from the Globe and Mail,

Calgary — Remember the Red Mile? Well, Calgary police want you to forget it. Forget the post-game revelry during 2004 NHL Stanley Cup playoff run that drew up to 55,000 Calgary Flames hockey fans to the Red Mile, the official unofficial name for 17th Avenue. Forget the stumbling drunks with libations in hand. Forget the breasts being flashed to an ogling crowd. Forget the late night honking and hollering team spirit.
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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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