Kukla's Korner Hockey
Fan590 in Toronto reporting Bryan Murray stated this morning that Jason Spezza will play tonight and a small chance Daniel Alfredsson may play too.
added 11:31am, from TSN,
The Ottawa Senators received a boost prior to Game 3 of their series with the Pittsburgh Penguins as Jason Spezza will be in the lineup tonight as the series shifts to the Nation’s capital.
The Senators leading scorer in the regular season did not practice with the team on Sunday but took the morning skate Monday and declared himself ready to go.
Ottawa may also be getting a bit of a surprise boost as general manager and head coach Bryan Murray isn’t ruling out a return of Daniel Alfredsson to the lineup.
“I’m not shutting the door on it,” Murray told reporters.
Update 12:20pm ET— From Bruce Garrioch at the Ottawa Sun:
Jason Spezza is ready to roll, but the biggest surprise is captain Daniel Alfredsson will likely return tonight as well.
Senators GM/coach Bryan Murray hinted today that Alfredsson could be in the lineup tonight for Game 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins after confirming that the injured forward had also skated on Sunday.
from Tripp Mickle of SportsBusiness Journal (paid sub.),
For the first time since the 2004-05 lockout, the NHL pushed the metrics of attendance and TV ratings in the same direction — up.
The league set its second post-lockout attendance record, drawing 21.2 million fans to its rinks. Average attendance rose 1.8 percent to 17,268 fans a game, and the all-important metric of paid attendance increased 2 percent and reached an average of just more than 16,000 fans.
The success at the gates was matched on national television. Versus saw its ratings increase from a 0.2 to a 0.3 average cable rating while average total viewership was up 28 percent from 212,366 in 2006-07 to 272,417 in 2007-08. NBC’s ratings rose from a 0.9 to a 1.0 household rating and viewership rose 11 percent to 1.5 million over nine telecasts.
from Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star,
The seller was looking to dump a pair of tickets in the red section and wanted to sell the personal-seat licences for $20,000 apiece, (Rob) Tanguay said. There was one hitch: Tanguay said the MLSE employee wanted him to bring $5,000 in cash – at the seller’s request – to cement the deal.
“After I bought the tickets, I looked up the seller’s name on Canada411.com and contacted him, asking whether he’d received the cash,” Tanguay said. “He hadn’t. I knew right then I’d been scammed. I called (the MLSE employee) back and asked why he had wanted the $5,000 and he told me that the seller was lying and he had given him the cash. I didn’t believe him but I didn’t do anything about it at the time.”
NBC commentator Mike Milbury was asked to make believe he was the team’s coach and gave his analysis of what the team needed to do to win: “so, I’m in the Washington cra-capaitals dre—ahh. I said Crapitals. That’s what it is today. Washington Capitals dressing room…”
Milbury halfway apologized for using the same dumb insult for the Caps that immature fans of teams in cities like Boston and New York have been using for decades. It’s understandable. He’s worked most of his career for teams in those towns, and at least Milbury doesn’t call the play by play. At least he’s only on screen between periods. At least the play by play comes from experienced professionals, led by respected veteran announcer Mike Emerick.
Wait, did we say respected?
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
You never know how a team is going to respond when adversity hits but what we do know is that if the Senators play as soft and ineffectively as they did in Game 1, get out the brooms. Pittsburgh looks like a team that isn’t going to be denied but the question is whether the Senators are going to make them earn it or just hand Geno and Sid a free pass to the second round.
many more NHL bits…
Kevin Smith is perhaps best known for his movies Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Mallrats, Dogma, and Clerks. He also played “Warlock” in last summer’s action hit, Live Free or Die Hard.
An avid hockey fan, Kevin references hockey in all his films. Born and raised in New Jersey, Kevin will be analyzing his home-state Devils throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Did Sean Avery remind anyone else of the animated Harlem Globetrotters when they met up with the Scooby Doo gang? Y’know – like pulling fire extinguishers out of their pants and doing stuff on the court in the cartoon that made their non-animated counterparts in real life look like the Chicago Bulls, circa Michael Jordan. The dude flat-out turned his back on the game and started flapping his wings at Marty like he was a club-kid on Ecstasy hearing “It’s the End of the World as We Know it” for the first time.
more at his NHL.com blog…
“I don’t know how many lessons we have to learn,” murmurred a disgusted Evgeni Nabokov. “Maybe it’s good that we got this out of the way early in the series. We have to rebound. We have to show poise. We have to turn it around.”
And that chronic reputation the Sharks have for pulling the chute when the going gets tough?
“It takes men to change that,” he answered with chilling accuracy.
“Some of our boys are going to have to become men.”
more by George Johnson of the Calgary Herald…
from Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News,
“The network guys aren’t going to like you for this,” coach John Stevens was told after the Flyers handcuffed the Washington Capitals yesterday, 2-0, at times making the raucous Verizon Center sound more like the nearby Smithsonian.
Stevens smiled that Cheshire cat grin of his and walked on. From the moment Friday night’s 5-4 shootout ended, he had defended his game plan, blaming the number of goals and the Flyers’ third-period meltdown on “self-inflicted wounds” and “poor execution.” What transpired in front of him yesterday - huge stretches when the high-flying Caps did not have a shot, a neutral zone that often resembled the drive-time Schuylkill and not the European autobahn of Friday night - was what he envisioned happening on Friday.
from Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe,
White-towel-waving bleu, blanc et rouge fans poured into the Garden as soon as the gates opened and chanted “Go Habs, Go!” before anyone came out for an early skate. There were many customers Standing On Guard For Thee during Rene Rancourt’s stirring rendition of “O Canada”.
“I don’t remember playing here in Boston and having that many fans from Montreal,” said Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau. “They wouldn’t have had the courage to wear the sweaters in the old Garden.”
from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,
In what is surely one of the stupidest and most ignorant moves going, somebody with the Senators organization decided to cover a wall near the Penguins dressing room in Scotiabank Place with a large mural. It’s a photo of the Senators shaking hands with the Penguins after the Senators eliminated them in their first-round matchup last spring.
It’s positioned so it is about the last thing the Penguins will see as they make the turn from the main hallway to enter their dressing room.
It’s right in an area where the visiting teams have been known to play their warmup game of “Keep Up,” bouncing a soccer ball around from player to player, trying to keep it from hitting the ground.
“That’s what they’ll be looking at when they play soccer,” said another player, with a shake of his head.
As if you need to give a team any other reason or motivation to want to beat you at this time of year.
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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.
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