Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star,
As tempting and knee-jerk as it is to blame the bench boss for the calamity that befell the Toronto Maple Leafs in the last month of the season — 2-12-0 — the fault lies with a group of players who could not rally from an ever-deepening hockey stupor, failing the test of character and fortitude, time and time again.
Oh, there were flashes of backbone, when least expected — beating Boston in the second last week of the schedule, especially. Yet those spurts of mettle were fleeting and ultimately misleading. This was more the team that lost to Winnipeg and Florida and New Jersey down the dismaying stretch; less the team that rose to the challenge of the Bruins.
And the core problem, I suggest, is that the players still don’t see themselves for what they are. They scratch their heads and wonder, how did this happen? The answer is staring them in the face, if only they looked hard in the mirror.
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
The Jackets are hurting. Nathan Horton (abdominal surgery) is out. Nick Foligno (knee) and R.J. Umberger (upper body) are still mending. Among the three are 1,700 regular-season and 86 playoff games worth of experience. The youngest team in the league is missing its prime veteran forwards as the series gets underway. That is killer.
There is this notion that Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury — a former No. 1 overall draft pick who is in his prime — might somehow falter, and thus give the Jackets a chance. I don’t buy it.
<> Fleury is coming off one of the best regular seasons of his career. What is he going to be thinking about? That he has the worst playoff stats of any goaltender over the past 10 years? That he was so brutal, he lost his job in the middle of the first round last year? That he is somehow inferior to Bobrovsky?
Come on. That would be like saying the Penguins don’t like getting hit.
So, never mind that the Penguins have lost to a lower seed in each of the past four seasons. The Jackets don’t have a chance.
from Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
note- moved to top of page in order for others to see this, original post was 4/15/14 at 1:30pm.
Are you a hockey expert?
Have you played the game?
It doesn't matter, in my mind all hockey fans should have their say when it comes to predictions, so here is your chance to make them.
Just list the winner of each matchup and if you want to go the extra mile, how many game will each series go?
Bracket via TSN
The Florida Panthers will pick first in the 2014 NHL Draft after winning the lottery Tuesday.
As the 29th place team in the final 2013-14 NHL standings, the Panthers entered with an 18.8 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick.
The Buffalo Sabres had the best chance to win the lottery (25 percent) based on their 30th-place finish. The Sabres will pick second.
The draft will be held June 27-28 at Wells Fargo Center, with the Philadelphia Flyers as host.
from Ken Warren of Senators Extra,
In Tuesday’s post-mortem on what went so wrong with his team this season, he was an open book about a club that started slowly and only found a degree of consistency when the season was already lost.
He had some harsh words for the work of coach Paul MacLean, saying his approach to players must change. He said captain Jason Spezza’s future with the team is undecided. He acknowledged the loss of former captain Daniel Alfredsson last summer was pivotal.
He recognized that young defencemen Jared Cowen, Patrick Wiercioch and Eric Gryba didn’t meet expectations, and he was disturbed by the “careless” and “confused” moments inside the Senators’ blueline.
He steadfastly defended some of his own controversial trades. He also said it’s paramount for the organization to find a “harder forward that can play the game hard and stick up for teammates if necessary,” and says there will be other changes.
STAMFORD, Conn. – April 15, 2014 – On the strength of the inaugural NHL Stadium Series, the return of the NHL Winter Classic, and the second season of Wednesday Night Rivalry, the 2013-14 NHL regular season set a full-season viewership record for NBCSN, and is expected to do the same for NBC when final figures become available later this week, according to The Nielsen Company.
Gary Bettman appeared on the Squawk Box on CNBC today to talk hockey...
from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Malkin missed the final 11 games because of a hairline fracture to a bone in his right foot. He participated in a full practice Tuesday and centered a second line with Neal and Jussi Jokinen as his wingers.
Malkin said he felt “no pain” immediately after the session. He needed to meet with Penguins physicians to gain clearance to play in Game 1.
Malkin appeared at ease on and off the ice Tuesday. His skating stride was fluid, and he handled turns and stops without signs of discomfort. He even took a friendly jab at Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, a fellow Russian.
“He stays in the net,” Malkin said, smiling. “All Russian goalies do.”
Malkin said he likes how the Penguins match up with Columbus. He cited the clubs' similar systems and structure, hinting that the Penguins' familiarity could lead to a sense of calmness he feels they lacked in two previous opening-round series against Philadelphia and the New York Islanders.
By Nick Tranfaglia of TiqIQ,
In what is sure to be a promising and competitive postseason, the first round of this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs will feature a few of the league’s most historic rivalries. The Philadelphia Flyers will head north on the New Jersey turnpike to take on the New York Rangers beginning April 17, with the two teams splitting their season series 2-2. The Chicago Blackhawks will look to defend their championship title and continue writing the script to a long-storied rivalry with the St. Louis Blues. The Los Angeles Kings square off against their Northern California foes in the San Jose Sharks, while the Kings took the season series 3-1-1. As one would expect, prices for these matchups are becoming expensive on the secondary market according to TiqIQ.
from Mike Harrington of Sabres Edge at the Buffalo News,
The Buffalo Sabres' rebuild starts in earnest tonight with the NHL Draft Lottery in Toronto, after what General Manager Tim Murray admitted was an "unacceptable" last-place season.
Murray and coach Ted Nolan met with reporters today in a wrap to the Sabres' 21-51-10 trainwreck of a season, the worst by an NHL team in 14 years. And Murray was frank in his assessment of what happened and what he'll do going forward. He said he pulled no punches when he met with his players yesterday prior to the taking of the annual team photo.
"This year was completely unacceptable," Murray said. "I told them it wasn't all on them. It was on management, it was on coaching staff. A lot of it was on injuries where we had to put people into positions that they aren't ready for. So that's out of our hands. As far as coming next year and being ready to battle for jobs, there's going to be competition and we're not going to hand jobs to come in unless they deserve it."
"A lot of nights it was hard to watch," Murray said a few minutes later. "A lot of nights we competed hard and just didn't have enough talent to put us over the top but other nights weren't pretty."
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.
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