Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Your Pick To Win The Stanley Cup

First off, check out how you did for the Conference Finals.  Then in the comment section of this post, pick either the Pittsburgh Penguins or Nashville Predators and the length of the series.

Puck drop of the first game of the Stanley Cup Final will be just after 8:00pm ET on Monday.

This post will remain at the top of KK until 6:00pm ET on Monday.

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Brent Peterson Has Seen It All With The Nashville Predators

from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail,

With a minute to play, and the Nashville Predators joyously assured of advancing to the Stanley Cup final, Brent Peterson turned off his microphone and sobbed.

It was all too much to take in – his 13 seasons as the team’s associate coach, the diagnosis, the surgery and now his time as colour commentator on the Predators’ radio broadcasts.

All of that triggered what neurologists call the Pseudobulbar affect, the uncontrollable stirrings that can come with Parkinson’s disease. Days later, even talking about the Predators’ six-game ousting of the Anaheim Ducks is a difficult exercise. He stops and chokes back the words until they’re log-jammed in his throat.

“Don’t cry,” says his wife, Tami.

“I finally realized we were going to make it there,” her husband says of the Predators’ first trip to a Stanley Cup final and a date with the Pittsburgh Penguins. “[Radio play-by-play man] Pete Weber watched me cry, then we went downstairs for our postgame show and it was really fun to [think] of [Predators’ former head coach] Barry Trotz and all those people who worked so hard … They got there. They made it.”

continued

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  Tags: brent+peterson

Storylines For The Stanley Cup Final

from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,

Here are 10 storylines that could dominate the headlines in the days and weeks ahead, as the NHL moves closer to crowning the 2017 Stanley Cup champion:

1. Penguins trying for repeat

The Penguins are the first team to reach to the Stanley Cup Final in back-to-back years since 2009, when they and the Detroit Red Wings did it in a Cup Final rematch.

The Penguins ruined Detroit's repeat chances eight years ago by winning the series in seven games. They are trying to become the first team since the Red Wings in 1998 to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.

There have been 15 back-to-back (at least) Stanley Cup winners since 1927, when only NHL teams started competing for the Cup. Three teams, including the 2009 Red Wings, have reached the Final a second straight year but failed to repeat since 1998.

The Dallas Stars got back to the Cup Final in 2000 after winning in 1999 but lost to the New Jersey Devils. And the Devils got back to the Final in 2001 after defeating Dallas but lost to the Colorado Avalanche.

2. First time for everything

The Predators are in their first Stanley Cup Final, where they can become the NHL's second first-time Stanley Cup champion in the past 10 seasons.

The Los Angeles Kings were first-time champions in 2012 before winning again in 2014.

The Predators also can become the third of the nine (soon to be 10) expansion teams since 1991 to win the Stanley Cup.

The Tampa Bay Lightning (2004) also won the Cup in their first Final appearance. The Anaheim Ducks (2007) won it in their second appearance after losing to the Devils in 2003.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Get In And You Could Win

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

As coaches are so fond of saying, however, don’t focus on the result, but on the process. This year’s playoffs bring just the latest example of the postseason tournament essentially nullifying the regular season, which is so important it cannot be disrupted for anything as mundane as, for example, the Olympics.

In a dozen playoffs since the introduction of the hard cap, the Presidents’ Trophy winners not only have won the Cup only twice (Chicago in 2013 and Detroit in 2008) but have appeared in the finals just three times (with Vancouver losing to Boston in 2011). What’s more, teams with the NHL’s best regular-season records have made it to the conference finals just one other time. That was in 2015, when the Rangers lost in seven games to Tampa Bay.

Of the 48 conference finalists since 2006, 13 have finished lower than 10th in the overall standings, including this year’s 12th-overall Senators. Had Game 7 overtime of the Eastern finals broken the other way, the league would have had its second all-double-digit final in five years — after the 2014 Kings-Rangers matchup between No. 10 and No. 12, respectively.

So what, exactly, is the incentive to pursue excellence in a league that dilutes the impact of regular-season victories by doling out losers’ points and makes life as treacherous as possible for clubs at the top with a playoff format that can (and does) match up each conference’s best two teams as soon as the second round?

What is the rationale for an owner or general manager to go above and beyond merely trying to finish in the top 16, when 16th apparently is good enough to be recognized for an award?

more plus other topics of interest...

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NHL Short Notes

NHL ANNOUNCES 2017 STANLEY CUP FINAL OFFICIALS
The NHL announced the officials for the 2017 Stanley Cup Final:
 
Referees: Wes McCauley, Brad Meier, Dan O’Halloran, Kevin Pollock
 
Linesmen: Scott Cherrey, Shane Heyer, Brad Kovachik, Brian Murphy
 
ICYMI: GAME 7 OF EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL DRAWS STRONG RATINGS
Thursday’s Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final drew strong ratings across North America:
 

 
SNEAK PEEK AT MONDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Nashville @ Pittsburgh, Game 1, 8 p.m., NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS

the information above was provided by the NHL PR department

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Tonight’s Hockey Notes

fom Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

- The essence of the Stanley Cup final: The best centres in hockey, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin vs. the best defence in hockey. Nashville has beaten the Blackhawks, Blues and Ducks on the way to the championship. The Preds are 12-4 through three series. They aren’t favourites against Pittsburgh. They probably should be.

- Subban may lead the NHL in magazine covers, documentaries, TV features, smiles, fan debate, discussion, fun and attention, but where does he really rank among league defenceman? On my list, I’d take Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, Victor Hedman, Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, Josi, Ryan Suter, Alex Pietrangelo and Aaron Ekblad ahead of him. That’s puts him around No. 10 in the NHL. And that’s not including Kris Letang, who is hurt again or Marc-Edouard Vlasic, the veteran national teamer, who is a perfect fit-in piece or Ryan McDonagh or Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who rank alongside Subban as equals.

- . Poor Randy Carlyle. Biggest game of his season. Having to start Jonathan Bernier in goal. Like he hasn’t been there before.

more

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Saturday Night Hockey Thoughts

from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,

- No post-elimination injury revelation sent bigger shockwaves than Anaheim’s. When GM Bob Murray revealed torn labrums will knock out Hampus Lindholm four to five months and Sami Vatanen potentially longer because his is “worse,” the number one question coming from other teams was some variation of, “How much longer is ‘worse?’”

With the expectation that Cam Fowler is working towards an extension, the Ducks have decisions to make. (Very) Informal polling among Murray’s peers indicates most don’t think it will be Lindholm. “A stop sign goes up whenever you ask about him,” one said.

They have real potential to hit a home run with this deal, but if you need one of Anaheim’s defencemen to help you make the playoffs next year, are you willing to wait a month into the season for him? What if it’s two, or three?

- What are the Blue Jackets looking for? “A sniper in the key moments,” GM Jarmo Kekalainen said Friday. “You’re always looking for a No. 1 centre. Collectively we score enough, we’ve got firepower through all four lines. Cam Atkinson is our best scorer, but we need to finish with a better percentage. We’re going to look internally and externally.”

That led to an interesting conversation about shooting percentages, regression and how much he pays attention to it. The short answer: a lot.

“You know if someone is shooting 30 per cent, it’s hard to sustain that. We know that if a player had an unusually low number, there is a chance the next year he comes out of it. We go through an exercise where we predict how many goals we think we are going to score as a team next year. We look at every player.”

He is hopeful last season’s third-overall choice, Pierre-Luc Dubois, can help. “I watched him pretty much every game. He is getting better and has a good chance to be here.” He’s also excited about Keegan Kolesar, who had 31 points in 19 playoff games for WHL champion Seattle. But he may not be ready for the NHL next season.

more

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Too Much Wear And Tear On The Players Plus Waiting On The Anaheim Ducks

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

If the owners considered the long-term benefits, they would lop off a dozen games to promote better player health and more competitive action, both in the regular season and the playoffs. Of course, given the dough involved, the chances of that happening are slimmer than the MBTA running on time.

So it is up to the coaches to take action. They are the ones, after all, who have to deal with the consequences of their best players coming to work on crutches. Most of them did a good job this season scrubbing practices and morning skates because of the absurdity of the compressed schedule, thanks to the World Cup and the five-day breaks required of each team.

They can do better.

If a player has guaranteed himself a roster spot, he should play no more than once in the preseason. These are meaningless games, meant more for evaluation than to simulate in-season play.

During the regular season, the coaches should study their NBA counterparts and consider giving star players entire games off. Leaguewide parity makes this a tough job. No coach wants to be responsible for missing the playoffs by one point because of a loss in which a go-to player was granted a break. The length of the season, however, demands that such nontraditional personnel moves be considered. 

more plus other topics like...

With less than one month before the expansion draft, teams are waiting on Anaheim’s decisions before making their own. Nashville, Minnesota, and Tampa Bay are among the clubs that are projected to lose good players. But no team has as many pieces to protect as the Ducks.

If Anaheim chooses the 7-3-1 model, general manager Bob Murray will have to leave at least one good forward and desirable defenseman unprotected. The first issue Murray has to figure out is Kevin Bieksa, the aging stay-at-home defenseman with a no-movement clause. If Bieksa declines to waive his clause, it would leave Murray with two protected slots to divide between four defensemen: Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen, and Josh Manson.

The outlook doesn’t look much better for Anaheim using the eight-skater protection format. 

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Sidney Crosby, Top 5 All-Time?

from Andrew Bottomley of Sportsnet,

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has been one of hockey’s most prized possessions ever since his early teenage years.

After his recent Eastern Conference Final win earned him a ticket to a second straight Stanley Cup, the question begs: Where does Crosby rank among the NHL’s greats?

“Crosby could be the leader of the first team to win back-to-back Cups in the cap era and it would be his third Stanley Cup overall,” said Dan Riccio, on Sportsnet’s Hot Stove. “He is, at least, starting to chisel his face into the Mount Rushmore of NHL Players.

“On that Mount Rushmore would be Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux and probably Gordie Howe. Is Crosby there yet?”

Crosby, who is still only 29 years old, has already compiled an outstanding NHL career.

In just 782 career regular-season games, he has recorded 1,027 points composed of 382 goals and 645 assists, good enough for 77th all-time. His points-per-game is off the charts -- especially considering that he is doing it in an era when scoring is generally down -- at 1.31, good enough for sixth most in the history of the league.

continued

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  Tags: sidney+crosby

Video- Puck Drops Monday Night

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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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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