Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the St. Petersburg Times,
Holmqvist was supposed to be an upgrade as a backup goalie, one of those guys who goes in when the schedule gets heavy, one of those guys who pleases everyone if he can win a dozen games or so along the journey. Frankly, he was supposed to be Bruce Gradkowski.
Instead, Holmqvist was better than expected.
Instead, Marc Denis was worse.
Even now, especially now, you cannot get away from it. Much of the reason the Lightning is in Holmqvist’s hands is because of Holmqvist, who was more athletic, more resilient, tougher mentally than his team had any reason to believe. And much of the reason is that Denis wasn’t.
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
What the Flames need is to find a style that blends their speed and skill with the edge they used to have.
“We want to be a hard-working team that comes at you and doesn’t give you anything free,” said Tony Amonte.
Fine in theory, but unless they work together to create that scenario there are too many free rides for the opposition like the one Detroit got in Game 1.
Let’s not mince words—the Flames were humiliated.
from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Evgeni Malkin has been in playoffs before and figured he knew what it is like to chase a championship at this time of year.
But nothing in the Russian Super League prepared Malkin for what he experienced in the Penguins’ 6-3 loss to Ottawa in Game 1 of their opening-round series Wednesday.
The pace was faster, the hitting harder, the passions higher than anything he remembered from his days with Metallurg Magnitogorsk.
“He said playoff intensity in Russia does not go as high as it is here,” said Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar, Malkin’s friend, countryman and landlord. “He’ll probably need some adjustment.”
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
Wait till Game 3 in Dallas!
Tomorrow, they’ll be following an afternoon NBA basketball game in the American Airlines Centre. And while game time is set for 8:30 p.m. central time, there’s wagering among Dallas scribes about what time the game between the Stars and Vancouver Canucks might actually start.
There’s great debate if they can take out the boards and get the building turned over in time to drop the puck on time and there’s absolutely no debate whatsoever about how brutal the ice is going to be.
“Horrendous,” said Daryl Reaugh, the former netminder who is the colour commentator on the Dallas broadcasts.
via the Buffalo News,
Since the Sabres games are usually the highest-rated programs of the week on cable, you might expect Time Warner and the Sabres to accelerate HD coverage.
Gordon Harp, the top local Time Warner executive, explained this week that the issue with HD is available bandwidth capacity. He added that other than a handful of Sabres games, the programming on Versus isn’t appealing enough to devote to HD daily with the current bandwith capacity.
Harp said MSG in HD isn’t available off the satellite but T-W has looked at bringing it in through its fiber system.
from the Buffalo News,
The Islanders played soft and defensive in Game One, and it got them nowhere. They need to come out of their shell and engage the Sabres in a game of speed and finesse. That’s a dangerous strategy against the Sabres. But the Isles feel emboldened to open things up when DiPietro is back there covering for them.
“You can’t change your game just because it’s playoff hockey,” said Jason Blake. “The Sabres are the best four-line team in the league by far. What are you going to do, watch them skate around with the puck all day? We have to play the way we did when we won hockey games. We have to be more aggressive.”
Blake said the Isles are more confident with DiPietro in net. He even compared DiPietro with Martin Brodeur, Patrick Roy and other elite goalies.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Ten games into Brendan Shanahan’s return from the concussion that sidelined him for 31 days, the Rangers’ winger isn’t yet the same player he was before violently colliding with the Flyers’ Mike Knuble on Feb. 17. He’s not first on the puck as often. He doesn’t have the ability to shift into overdrive. He’s reading and reacting more than initiating.
from the Mercury News,
Looks like Nashville forward Scott Hartnell could be suspended after all - and possibly for two games.
Hartnell received two game misconducts Friday to give him three in this series.
According to NHL Rule 23.3, a player with two game misconduct penalties in the playoffs will be suspended automatically for the next game. Each additional game misconduct results in another game being added to the suspension….
“Colin Campbell is presently looking at the incident at the end of the game and the game misconducts are being reviewed,” said Mike Murphy, the NHL senior vice president of hockey operations.
added 8:45am, also from the Mercury News,
In fact, if the Nashville victory Friday looked familiar, it’s because the Predators followed the same template that Edmonton used to beat the Sharks in last year’s conference semifinals. The Oilers picked off some of the young Sharks players, one by one, with vicious hits that put them out of action - and the Sharks never responded in kind. The strategy was to let Edmonton take penalties and capitalize on the power plays. But when the Oilers proved exceedingly good at killing penalties, the Sharks were sunk.
Until the Sharks do figure it out, opponents are going to repeat the formula. Why wouldn’t they? Wilson, the Sharks’ coach, is not a proponent of claw-hammer hockey. But recognizing how Edmonton had exposed a Shark weakness, the front office supposedly retooled the roster to handle a muck-it-up game if necessary.
added 8:58am, from the Tennessean,
Four games today, all from the Eastern Conference.
Will any series be tied 1-1 after the games today?
from KK member SteveNJ,
Saturday, April 14
2:30 PM ET
The NHL on NBC Playoff Special
Host: Bill Clement
Analysts: Brett Hull, Ray Ferraro, Pierre McGuire
3:00 PM ET
The NHL On NBC - Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game #2
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators
AVAILABLE IN HD
Play By Play: Mike Emrick
Color: Eddie Olczyk
Inside the Glass:
Will air in 83.6% of the US and in the following NHL markets: Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Boston, Washington, Carolina, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Columbus, Nashville, Minnesota, Colorado, Los Angeles, San Jose, Dallas, Phoenix, Anaheim.
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