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ESPN Breakdown

Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun take a look at every first round matchup…

Key Matchup

Penguins’ penalty kill vs. Flyers’ power play. Yes, we know you want to hear us say Crosby versus Richards given the sparks that have flown between the two centers in the past. But we’re going a different direction with the Pens’ vastly improved penalty kill against the Flyers’ deep power-play attack. The Pens turned their 20th-ranked penalty-killing unit into the eighth-best in the league under Bylsma, and if they can keep the Flyers at bay on the man-advantage, it will put more pressure on the Flyers to score five-on-five.

Prediction

This is like a science experiment. When two offensive masses collide, there will be breakdowns, and they will occur more often and more cataclysmically with the Philadelphia Flyers. Penguins in six.

more & all the playoff matchups can be found on the right sidebar…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Kent Douglas Dies After Battling Cancer

via Bruce Dowbiggin of the Calgary Herald,

Kent Douglas, 1962 Calder Trophy winner who used the largest stick in history, passed away peacefully at his home in Wasaga Beach, Ont., at age 73, following a battle with cancer. He was the first defenceman to win the rookie award and a loyal friend.

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: kent+douglas

Paying The Price To Watch The Canucks

via News1130,

Hopes are high as the Vancouver Canucks get ready for their first playoff game Wednesday at home against the St. Louis Blues.  If you want to cheer on your team in person, be prepared to pay. Regular price playoff tickets for the Canucks cost between $100 and $400 each—plus service charges—in round one.

On the street there is a willingness to go the see the Canucks in the post-season. But with a shaky economy, the prices are too steep for fans like this guy. “Not worth the money to me. The chances are, if you’re sitting in the nosebleed section for that much, it’s just not worth it.  I’d rather watch it on TV.”

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Pressure Is On Chicago

from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,

They’ve won only one of their last six games away from the Saddledome, were shutout three times and scored a grand total of four goals in those games.

Add the way Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin has dominated the Flames—a 22-5-2 career mark, plus the seven-game series win for Tampa Bay in the 2004 Stanley Cup final—and the Flames’ putrid powerplay that’s been blanked the last 10 games (and on a zero-for-43 skid), it’s easy to write off Calgary.

“The pressure will be on them,” said centre Craig Conroy, trotting out the ‘us-against-the-world’ matra you’ll hear many times in the coming days. “Everybody is expecting them to win, and has kinda written us off a bit.

“That’s OK. That was the regular season and now things start fresh.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

NBC/NHL In Wait Mode

from Tripp Mickle and John Ourand of SportsBusiness Journal,

Though the NHL and NBC are expected to step up negotiations on a new TV deal over the next few weeks as the NHL playoffs get under way, nobody is suggesting that an agreement is close.

The two sides have to work through several advertising and scheduling issues, sources said, which includes picking the site for the next Winter Classic. The top two markets under consideration for the annual outdoor game are Boston and New York.

NBC and the NHL also want to wait and see what final advertising sales results are for the 2008-09 season and analyze prospects for advertising sales in 2009-10.

continued

Filed in: NHL Media, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nbc

Columbus Fans Need A Little Playoff Help

Blue Jackets fans are asked how the playoffs work…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Flyers Surrender Home Ice Advantage

from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,

You’re welcome, Pittsburgh.

Thanks to a mystifyingly listless effort against the New York Rangers last night, the Flyers will have to open the playoffs in Pittsburgh, of all places. They dropped to the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, while the idle Penguins completed a surge from nowhere to the fourth seed and home-ice advantage.

In short, this is about as bad a scenario as the Flyers could have conjured for themselves.

“It’s probably my fault,” coach John Stevens said after his team blew a third-period lead to lose, 4-3, to a Rangers team with nothing to play for.

“Nothing for me ever comes easy. So I think this group has always found a way to do it the hard way, but they’ve always found a way to do it.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

It’s All About The Playoffs For The Sharks

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

San Jose lost only four of its first 38 games in regulation; survived a 14-game period in which they played without their No. 1 goaltender Evgeni Nabokov; and as recently as three weeks ago, were winning games on a regular basis, despite playing without seven injured regulars.

In some NHL markets, that would constitute reasons for a parade. In San Jose, where the Sharks won the President’s Trophy as the NHL’s regular-season champions, it represents a first step only.

“A lot of teams prepare just to get into the playoffs and then see what happens,” said Sharks defenceman Rob Blake. “Our focus, all year, is to do something in the playoffs - and knowing you have the group that could accomplish that is a big difference.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Get Your Online Bracket

from Pensblog,

Monday, April 6th, we placed a call to good friend Gabe A., a founding father of The Pensblog.

We asked him if an online bracket was possible.
He said sure.

We asked if it was possible for the bracket to re-seed itself in the second round.
He said no problem, holmes.

read on

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Rangers Need A Top-Notch Gomez

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

Gomez was a significant disappointment this season. The Blueshirts’ putative first-line pivot played only slightly better hockey for John Tortorella than he did for Tom Renney, finishing a 58-point season (16-42) by collecting four points (0-4) in the final eight games and 10 points (1-9) in the final 16.

“It was a hard year, not that I didn’t make it hard on myself,” Gomez said. “I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to the playoffs and the chance to make things right, not for myself, but for the team.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: scott+gomez

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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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