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Chicago Coach Quenneville After Game 1

Q. Surprised at all at the quality of chances those guys were able to generate against Seabrook and Keith?

        JOEL QUENNEVILLE: I think both teams had a number of chances, high quality chances. We’ve got to be way better than that today. I didn’t like our game. We have to be - we got to play perfect hockey. Today we certainly, even though we were at 2-2 in the third, even though we probably would love to be there at that stage of the game, we’ve got to be better.

        Q. Your best penalty killer needs to be your goalie. Can you talk about Nikolai’s play tonight.

        JOEL QUENNEVILLE: I think our best penalty killing is going to be staying out of the box. They’re dangerous. He had a couple key saves there in the second, held us in the game.

        But I think their power play has so many looks and weapons on it that trying to stay out of the box, but certainly we’re going to need our goaltender to make some key saves, and he did there today.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: joel+quenneville

Who Wants It More?  Detroit Says They Do In Game 1

Wings defeat the Blackhawks 5-2 as Cleary, Franzen and Zetterberg dominate.

added 5:52pm, Post-game… Chris, how did you guys shutdown Toews?  Ozzie: Uh, that was Nick.

added 6:23pm, Video hightlights of game 1 below…

added 6:45pm, from Jason Kay of The Hockey News,

Move over Sid vs. Ovie, we may just have a new best playoff series of 2009.

The anticipation for the Detroit-Chicago Western Conference final was offense-on-offense; the No. 1 goal-scoring team in the regular season (Wings) against the No. 4 (Chicago).

Toss in Detroit’s 19th-ranked defense and a Chicago goalie in Nikolai Khabibulin who sported an .897 save percentage in this year’s playoffs, and the expectation was a smorgasbord of excitement.

And despite the teams combining for a relatively tame seven tallies (it could have easily been double), that’s exactly what we got.

continued

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Blues Should Wait On Pronger

from Jeff Gordon of the Hockey Guy at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

If the Ducks don’t want to sign Chris Pronger to a contract extension, the Blues should wait a year and take their chances in free agency.

In a year, the Blues will be positioned to invest in another veteran player. Jay McKee and Paul Kariya will be headed to free agency, giving the Blues the option to reallocate some or all of that $10 million. (Moving either guy before then will be difficult, given their high pay.)

In a year, the Blues could free up lots of salary cap room while other teams face severe cap crises.

In a year, the Blues will know what they have in Alex Pietrangelo – a potential power-play quarterback currently lacking the strength to play at this level.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chris+pronger

Questions For The Conference Finals

With the conference finals set to start Sunday, our experts ponder what lies ahead. ESPN.com’s Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun and ESPN The Magazine’s E.J. Hradek answer these 10 burning questions:

There have been a few controversial calls/noncalls in the first two rounds. How would you rate the officiating in the playoffs so far?

Burnside: I think there are always going to be complaints about officiating given the personalities of the teams and the officials involved, so I’m not troubled by what I see in terms of in-game calls. What still boggles the mind is how often the NHL makes itself look cartoonish by failing to even enforce its own rules, as was the case when league officials decided not to suspend Game 7 overtime hero Scott Walker for sucker-punching Aaron Ward earlier in the Carolina/Boston series. Unbelievable.

Hradek: I’m not big on beating up the refs. I think they have an incredibly tough job. On the ice, things are happening so fast and they don’t get a second look (usually). On the whole, they have done a very good job. Do they get every call right? No. But I think they officiate their sport better than what we see in the NFL, NBA and MLB.

LeBrun: I think it’s been decent. People get upset because there’s so much on the line and they believe their team is getting slighted, but obviously there’s no such thing….

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Goalie’s Wife & Yoga

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jenna+osgood

Osgood A Fraud & Homer A Cow

via the Mailbox of Ray Stein of the Columbus Dispatch,

Editor: In 1980, the U.S. was crushed with economic despair and had been thrust into a de facto war with Iran. It was a low point for our nation. The unlikely turning point was a group of kids who, against all odds, beat the Soviet Union national hockey team in Lake Placid, N.Y. They gave us hope. Hockey gave us a turning point.

Fast forward to our current economic despair and war in the Middle East. Detroit, being the undisputed epicenter of economic pain with more than its fair share of men and women bearing the brunt of military service, has new hope. Let’s go, Red Wings! Let’s go, Detroit!

—Craig Yeack, Dublin

Craig: It would be easy to say, “Let’s not get carried away.” But it would be easier to point out that the U.S. hockey team didn’t have a fraud in goal and a cow parked in front of the net in a Holmstrom sweater. C’mon, ‘Hawks.

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The Crippling TV Contract

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

If the first two rounds of the playoffs have been a showcase for the NHL’s greatest young players—start with Crosby and Ovechkin, go directly to Evgeni Malkin, then to Eric Staal, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews—it also has exposed the folly of Gary Bettman’s love affair with Versus and the grudge he carries against ESPN.

It has exposed the NHL’s empty approach to a television strategy, even as Bettman risks dislocating his shoulders in patting himself on the back for his league’s innovative approach to blacking itself out.

The commissioner may have been justified in not taking ESPN’s crumbs coming out of the lockout. He may have been justified placing the league’s immediate future into the hands of Versus, owned by Ed Snider’s Comcast, by the way.

But Bettman was not justified in granting Versus a contract that included unilateral options for the network to retain exclusivity through 2010-11—a six-year commitment as crippling in its own way as the Rangers’ six-year commitment to Wade Redden.

more plus other hockey topics…

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Rumor Talk Heating Up

from Spector’s Hockey,

Chuck Gormley recently reported a rumor that has the Flyers trading either Daniel Briere or Joffrey Lupul and a top prospect (either James VanRiemdyk, Luca Sbisa or a 2009 first round pick) to the Montreal Canadiens for goaltender Carey Price and the rights to impending UFA blueliner Mike Komisarek. Another has the Flyers peddling a similar package to Vancouver for goalie Roberto Luongo and the rights to Mattias Ohlund although the Canucks are pushing hard for Jeff Carter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No offense to Gormley who’s only reporting what he’s heard, but in the words of the late, great Ricardo Montalban: Welcome to Fantasy Island!

more rumor talk…

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Now The Test Starts

from Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Tribune,

The Red Wings won the Wrigley game 6-4, and they looked like men playing against boys. But the boys have matured. They’re different than they were in January. They’re better and tougher. They won the last two meetings between the two teams after losing four straight….

Let’s not kid anyone. The Red Wings are the defending champions. They’re experienced, and they’ve seen everything there is to see. They rarely make mistakes. And they’re tough too.

Other than that, the Hawks have the Red Wings right where they want them.

But Detroit looked tired at the end of its seven-game series Thursday night against Anaheim.

The Hawks’ legs might be a little fresher.

The Red Wings don’t appear too concerned about it.

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Hockey Observations

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

• So here’s how it works in Mr. Bettman’s NHL. You falsify documents, you defraud banks, you run shell games with financial institutions, you fake having money, and if you do it well enough, they make you chairman of the board of governors, as Bruce McNall was. Reading the details of the Boots Del Biaggio guilty plea for fraud reads like McNall Lite. Phony documents, a Ponzi scheme, and stealing from the bank his own father started, and to think, Bettman wants nothing to do with BlackBerry king Balsillie, who has real money, when under his watch as commissioner five different NHL owners have gone to jail or are about to go to jail.

• Johan Franzen of the Wings has scored 21 goals in his past 27 playoff games, which are all-time kind of numbers: Rocket Richard once scored 19 goals in 20 playoff games over two seasons.

more hockey notes…

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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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