Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail (Wed. edition),
Welcome to the fourth season.
There are actually five in hockey, by a measure once offered up by no less than Wayne Gretzky. There is the exhibition season, which means nothing. There is the regular season, which runs quietly until the trade deadline. Then comes the stretch season, which ended rather dramatically last weekend. Now begins the playoff season, leading up to the Stanley Cup final, which Gretzky always considered a separate season.
As season No. 4 gets under way tonight, perhaps a playoffs primer is in order:
Goaltending: Some say the position has become too dominant and requires a hockey equivalent of the lowering of the mound in baseball.
From John Branch at the New York Times (Wednesday edition),
“I wish I had played 40 games instead of 9, but that’s just the way it is,” Forsberg said in the locker room Sunday. “On the other hand, I should be pretty rested coming into the playoffs.”
Ploy or not, fans have found themselves attracted, again, to Forsberg’s rare blend of grit and artistry. He played his first nine N.H.L. seasons with the franchise, helping lead it to Stanley Cup championships in 1996 and 2001. His vaunted place in local lore was cemented when, during the 2001 playoffs, he had his ruptured spleen removed after helping the Avalanche clinch a spot in the conference finals.
The National Hockey League has named its 20 referees and linesmen for the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs.
The list is headlined by veterans Paul Devorski, Kerry Fraser, Don Koharski and Bill McCreary, all of whom have worked more than 1,500 regular season and playoff games.
from the Tennessean,
“You find in the playoffs the third- and fourth-line guys become real valuable,” Trotz said. “They become our heroes.”
Where the Predators once allowed bigger stars such as Paul Kariya to step in and take control of critical situations, the grinders made names for themselves this season as the team developed a new attitude in the wake of a payroll reduction.
“In that situation you don’t become accountable to yourself because you depend on the big guns to do it all for you,” said Tootoo, who notched 11 goals and seven assists, doubling his point total from 2006-07. “Now we are creating more opportunities, and when that happens you bring confidence to each and every person on the ice.”
From the CP via TSN,
Flyers captain Daniel Briere practised on Tuesday for the first time since he injured his knee in a collision last week at Pittsburgh, and the star centre said he’s confident he’ll be ready to play against Washington.
‘‘Right now, I believe I’ll be in right from the get go,’’ Briere said. ‘‘That’s what I believe, but we’ll see how it improves. But I think I’ll be ready to go.’‘
April 8th 11:59pm ET: Contest Closed. Good luck!
Here is your chance to win a Rbk EDGE Authentic Jersey of your choice!
First off, you need to be a KK member (registration is free) and tell us the following:
How many total goals will be scored in the 2008 NHL Playoffs. Then, and for tie-breaking purposes only, give us the number of shutouts that will be registered during the 2008 NHL Playoffs.
Simple as that and your entry must be submitted in the comments of this post (no emails accepted). If a tie still remains from the winning entries, a random drawing will be held to select the winner.
Additional prizes will be awarded too, by doing a few random drawings of all entries.. Those prizes will be announced soon.
All entries must be timestamped no later than 11:59pm ET on April 8, 2008.
Update April 4th: Another Prize!
A one-year subscription to the digital edition of The Hockey News! Winner will be decided by a random draw chosen from all the entries. (*Meanwhile, check out a trial version THN digital edition)
note: This post on occasion will be moved to the top of page until April 8th. Original post was April 2nd at 2:37pm.
Update April 8th: Comments Problem
For some reason, comments aren’t showing up from the most recent handful of people who have entered the contest. We are working to fix this now. Meanwhile, please note that we are keeping track of those missing entries. They will be added to the comments below as soon as we figure out the technical glitch. (Update again: Problem fixed!)
Update April 8th 11:59pm ET: Contest Closed. Good Luck, Everyone!
From Eric McErlain at The Sporting News,
As I’ve written before, the early 21st century may be the best time in history to be a professional sports fan, and that’s even the case for the NHL—a sport that plenty of American newspaper editors and television producers would like to see shunted off to the margins. With only incredibly rare exceptions, virtually every game that your home team plays will be on television. And if you manage to miss the game, you can access the highlights online via NHL.com, or perhaps just your favorite bits, like the most exciting goals, hits and fights that proliferate on YouTube. And if you live hundreds or even thousands of miles from your favorite team, there’s always the NHL Center Ice PPV package, the out of town fan’s ultimate lifeline.
For some critics, that’s just not enough, as they often mention the fact that Versus, the cable network that carries NHL games two times a week during the regular season, can’t be found in hotels around the country. If that’s a problem, just invest in a Slingbox…
You know, I’ve often wondered about this myself. I realize not everyone can afford a Slingbox, but I’ve always wondered why so many media members—who frequently make the criticism that Eric points out—don’t have them. They’re an awesome little gizmo (and no, I’m not making any money for pointing this out…!).
from Stan Fischler at Game On,
Earlier I gave you my Eastern Conference predictions. Now it’s time to go West ...
DETROIT VS. NASHVILLE:
Normally, I’d side with a team like Detroit, which has enjoyed such a successful season, but the Red Wings have flaws. Goaltending (Dom Hasek-Chris Osgood) is old. The Red Wings’ best offensive players are soft, and Chris Chelios is simply too old to be that effective on defense.
Granted, Nik Lidstrom is a Norris Trophy candidate and Brian Rafalski is having a career year, but that may not be enough to beat a well-balanced, well-coached Predators team led by Jason Arnott.
THIS is my pick for the upset series. Nashville in six!
Remember the story about two months ago regarding Marc-Andre Fleury changing the color of his goalie pads?
Well, it turns out the Doctor who made the suggestion is a Sens fan….
from AFP via Yahoo,
A Canadian optometrist has unwittingly given the Pittsburgh Penguins an advantage going into their opening National Hockey League playoff game Wednesday against her darling Ottawa Senators.
Optometrist Janet Leduc wrote in a letter to the Penguins’ coaching staff some months ago that their goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury, could improve his game if he ditched his trademark yellow pads.
Today, the NHL hosted a teleconference call for the media to ask questions of Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff and Columbus Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock.
Here is the transcript of that Q&A.
Q. The emphasis has been in the west all year now. Now the popular belief is whoever comes out of the west is going to be the Stanley Cup champion. Do you have that sense, as well?
KEN HITCHCOCK: No, I don’t. I think one of the problems is when you have so many good teams that what’s left of your team at the end of the three series that you have to play in sometimes isn’t much. I think a lot of it depends on the damage that gets done in some of these series.
I think when you look at the competitiveness of the teams and the closeness of really almost all eight teams in the playoffs, you know, I think health is going to be a major issue on whoever comes out from this series because it has the makings, especially in these early rounds, of some really long series here.
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