Kukla's Korner Hockey
Potential Weakness for San Jose:
“Goaltending. I don’t know if Evgeni Nabokov has proven he can win the big games in the end. He has played really well so far, but now he has to deal with one of the best offensive teams in the league, so that could become an issue.”
more… *Rolston comments on all 4 Western Conference playoff teams
Be sure to check out the listings of hockey blogs and podcasts on Kukla’s Hockey Links page. Many are still busy covering their teams for the playoffs; and plenty keep it up even with their teams out of the playoffs. Lots of great choices to keep us entertained.
Also, the 2006-07 HockeyFights.com Awards are going on now. With categories like “Kocur Award: TKO or KO of the Year” and “The Biggest Let-Down Award”, you can have a little fun supporting your favorite (and least favorite) scrappers.
And finally, don’t forget to head over to the NHL’s own YouTube page for highlight videos, added most days.
Update 12:31pm ET:
If anyone’s interested, I’ve posted some audio of post-game trash-talk, depression and high-hopes with Earl from Battle of California, and J.J. of Canucks Hockey Blog. Both were good enough to share their thoughts with me on the air, after the Canucks/Ducks game last night. Earl was actually at the game when we chatted, so he’s in a pretty good mood, yet still very nice to this traumatized Canucks fan, so I had fun!
Update 1:24pm ET:
Joe Pelletier has written a post on a group of researchers who reconciled the Conn Smythe Trophy winners prior to the trophy’s birth in 1965, with some interesting results. Some hockey history to feed your brain.
Update 2:13pm ET:
How could I forget to mention all the celebrity bloggers covering their teams? Foolish of me. Find them here.
From Helene St. James at the Free Press,
The Wings drew admirers headed into the playoffs because of their depth—but six games in, that has dwindled. Holmstrom is nursing a cut left eyelid, and while he’s officially day-to-day, that can mean anything from a Game 2 return to missing two weeks. Brett Lebda is dealing with a sore right ankle, though he should return during the series. His injury further depletes a defense that saw Niklas Kronwall suffer a fractured sacrum in his pelvis March 30, which will keep him out through mid-May. [...]
The Wings need all four lines to generate offense, but two of those lines aren’t in top shape. Henrik Zetterberg missed practice Wednesday, meaning he won’t have practiced since Sunday’s end of the Calgary series.
Update 11:28am ET:
John Niyo at the Detroit News,
I’ve already gotten a half-dozen emails about the CBC mention on “Ater 40 Minutes” where they just casually threw out that Calder and Samuelsson have broken hands. Wings have denied it up till now. And I don’t expect that to change—this being the playoffs, you’re not going to get a straight answer out of anybody. But everybody saw Calder shaking hands with his left hand after the Calgary series.
*thanks to KK reader Millsz for the pointer!
From James Fink at ‘Business First’,
National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman, in his first visit to Buffalo in more than one year, remains impressed with the Sabres turnaround—both on and off the ice.
Bettman was in town to catch Wednesday’s opening game of the Sabres - New York Rangers playoff series.
As league commissioner, Bettman played a critical role in guiding the Sabres through their bankruptcy period that ran for nearly one year. The Sabres’ financial woes, which emerged in 2002, were the direct result of the accounting scandal that rocked former owner John Rigas, his family and Adelphia Communications Corp., the cable TV company he founded.
At the height of the scandal, the NHL took over ownership of the Sabres and kept the team afloat…
From John Glennon at The Tennessean,
Predators General Manager David Poile said Tuesday he doubts center Peter Forsberg will play in the NHL next season.
Poile stressed that his opinion was not based on talks with Forsberg since the end of the season, but simply on all the wear and tear that Forsberg has gone through over the course of his 12 NHL seasons.
Poile’s initial response to a question of whether he thought the Predators would re-sign Forsberg was, “Honestly, no.’‘
*My thanks to KK reader Jeff-OklahomaWingNut for bringing this story to my attention in the comments of a previous post
As might already be obvious by now, Paul will be unavailable today for family reasons, so you’re stuck with me yet again. I promise not to rant and cry about the Vancouver Canucks bad fortunes all day (F#$@*&!!!) nor make fun of Kukla’s beloved Red Wings.
Well, I’ll do my best on that last one… maybe we shouldn’t expect miracles.
Regular NHL updates will continue throughout the day. Thanks for your tolerance.
From Mike Heika at the Dallas Morning News,
Stars general manager Doug Armstrong said he needs to take some time and talk to some people before he makes any decisions about the future of his team. However, his words Wednesday spoke of a man frustrated by exiting the playoffs in the first round for the third consecutive season.
“We’ve been in the same spot three years in a row. Three years in a row, and tweaks aren’t really working,” Armstrong said. “It’s frustrating. I thought we had the pieces in place to make a push. It’s a little bit different this year than in years past. I thought our team was in better position to go deeper than maybe the last couple of years.”
continued… *more about who gets the blame in Dallas; plus Sergei Zubov gets abdominal surgery this week
‘Leafs Lunch’ on AM640 (starting at noon ET) has an interesting lineup scheduled to talk about playoff hockey today including ex-players/analysts Darren Pang, Mark Messier and possibly Marty McSorley. Amusing me this morning though, was this poll on top of today’s show notes: “Will the Leafs Make the Playoffs?”
It’s still very early here on the west coast… I appreciate the comic relief wherever I can get it…
From North Jersey Media,
Watching his father toil through backbreaking construction work, hearing the stories of his parents’ winding path from Mexico to the great Northwest as migrant farm workers, these are the building blocks of Gomez’s personality, the foundation for valuing his life as a professional athlete.
“We’re in fantasy land and I’ve always appreciated that,” Gomez said Wednesday following the Devils’ final practice in advance of their second-round playoff opener tonight against Ottawa. “What’s not to love? I mean, I play hockey, I’m in a locker room, this is my job.”
Bit by bit over the past seven years with the Devils, Gomez has allowed himself to release more of that inner clown, breaking the room up with a joke or nudging a jittery rookie past his nerves as a game is about to begin.
From John Niyo at The Detroit News,
Nick Lidstrom , with a little backchecking help from his friends, held Calgary’s star forward, Jarome Iginla , largely in check in the first round. But this stacked San Jose lineup presents a more daunting challenge for the Wings defense.
“This is a little different, because Calgary is a one-trick pony, and we’re not,” Sharks coach Ron Wilson said Tuesday. “We’ve got a lot of weapons. Our third and fourth lines can be just as dangerous.
“They’ll pick a matchup that they think can help them. But we’ve got four lines we’ll be rolling, and it’ll be hard for them to check all those guys.”
more… *a full scouting report of the series
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