Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Hey, Jaromir, who’s laughing now?
Behind closed doors, that well may have been the message being bellowed inside the jubilant home locker room last night among a group of exhausted—and, in this case, euphoric—Pittsburgh Penguins.
Earlier this week, Rangers star Jaromir Jagr raised some eyebrows in the Steel City for claiming Pittsburgh’s terrific tandem of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin “are not Mario Lemieux.”
But they are damn good in their own right. And no one should know that better this morning than Jagr, who, from ice level, had the best view in the house of just how lethal that Crosby-Malkin combination can be.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
They were as disciplined as a class of fourth-graders with a substitute teacher. If not for the brilliance of Henrik Lundqvist Henrik Lundqvist in goal, they’d have been down by three goals within the first 20 minutes.
“I don’t want to think about it,” said Lundqvist, who yielded as many as five goals for the first time since the infamous Feb. 19, 6-5 shootout loss in Montreal. “We just have to move on.”
Plain and simple, this was an embarrassing display of playoff hockey, even more mortifying given that the Rangers somehow managed to construct a 3-0 lead by the 3:37 mark of the second on goals by Straka, Chris Drury and Sean Avery.
The lead meant nothing. The Rangers couldn’t focus or execute. The defense made terrible decisions. The forwards were not only no better in their puck management, they constantly arrived too late.
from Mark Spector of the National Post,
Winning the Cup is like climbing K2. There are many paths to the same destination.
Under the salary-cap system, building through the draft has been re-adopted as the best way to build a winner. But here in Pittsburgh they’re really only in Year 2 of being a competitive team, and in last night’s lineup they will have eight players who will become unrestricted free agents. And that doesn’t count injured forward Gary Roberts and defenceman Mark Eaton. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury becomes a restricted free agent at year’s end as well.
It can’t be easy building a team of destiny, when so many parts can be lost at one time.
“We’ve got a lot of unrestricted guys, restricted guys. There’s a window,” admits Darryl Sydor, a reserve
defenceman on this Penguins squad who played on Dallas’s Stanley Cup team back in 1999, and in Tampa in ‘04. “This spring and summer will be an important time. Either they can lock these guys up and build around a core group of players, or you have to start over.”
from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,
An overtime goal in the Stanley Cup playoffs is like a rowdy bar shutting down with a closing time picked entirely at random. Especially when the visiting team wins.
One moment, the arena is full of life and good times and possibilities. The next, things are silent and everyone files out quietly to the parking lot. What’s the closing-time mantra? You don’t have to go home. But you can’t stay here.
The Sharks were at home Friday night. But they didn’t stay on task. Playing against a Dallas Stars team in Game 1 of their second-round series, the Sharks spent far too much time playing hockey exactly the way the Stars wanted both teams to play. Which is why the game ended in a 3-2 victory by Dallas.
from Tim Colishaw of the Dallas Morning News,
The Stars also were surprisingly incapable of mounting any kind of consistent attack on Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov. They finished with 18 shots on goal.
And that included overtime.
And they still won.
Meet the new opportunistic Dallas Stars, who steal wins even when they may not fully deserve them.
Brenden Morrow’s second goal of the night just 4:39 into sudden death gave Dallas a 3-2 victory at HP Pavilion in Game 1.
“It’s exciting to see him lead this team,” goaltender Marty Turco said. “I’ve had a center seat for his career.”
Watch the OT goal…
from the CP,
Down 3-0 in the second period to the Eastern Conference’s stingiest team this season, Sidney Crosby and his teammates rallied back for a 5-4 thriller in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal with the New York Rangers.
“I don’t think you’re ever happy on the bench when you’re down three-zip, but there’s a difference between not being happy and quitting,” said Crosby, who was the game’s best player while putting up two assists.
It was an important achievement, psychologically most of all, for a young core playing only its third-ever playoff series.
“At that point (down 3-0) we were a little shaky, but it showed the character of this hockey team,” said Penguins head coach Michel Therrien. “We never quit. This is a great accomplishment for that young group to be able to bounce back against at a team like the Rangers who are really committed defensively.”
added 11:48pm, from Lynn Zinser at Slap Shot,
The Rangers have plenty of things to blame for their 5-4 loss to the Penguins in the first game of their playoff series Friday night, most self-inflicted, but they took issue with the call that set up the game-winning power play goal.
Rangers forward Martin Straka was called for interfering with Penguins center Sidney Crosby on a rush started by Marian Hossa. Rangers center Scott Gomez had knocked the puck away from Hossa at the blue line, seemingly thwarting the threat. But on the other side of the play, away from the puck, Straka ran into Crosby.
“I just saw him,” Straka said. “He was diving and that was it.”
from Wayne Fish at phillyBurbs,
Doesn’t get any better than playing hockey in Montreal in April or May. There’s no such thing as bandwagon fans in this city because everyone — repeat, everyone — is a Canadiens fan. Even little dogs are wearing red, white and blue sweaters.
Canada sort of feels like it invented hockey, just as America has baseball, football and basketball as its birthrights. Face it, it’s the only game in town, so why shouldn’t rooting interest be over the top.
Here’s how rabid — but knowledgeable — the fans are. Joffrey Lupul was walking down the street on Friday and fans not only recognized him but booed him!
from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
Chris Chelios is buddies with Hollywood actors, Henrik Zetterberg is dating a Swedish pop star and Darren McCarty used to have a red Mohawk and front a punk band. But everything about 5-foot-10 netminder from Peace River, Alta., is purposefully low-key.
From his family-friendly SUV to his post-hockey dream job as a bullpen catcher for the Detroit Tigers, Osgood would rather be in the shadows than the spotlight. Perhaps that is why, despite putting up Hall of Fame-worthy numbers, the 14-year veteran is often considered to be a career backup rather than one of the game’s elite.
“Some guys crave the attention, love to be always noticed when they go out and do certain things,” said Osgood. “I don’t really like that. I just want to go about my business and play.”
from the CP,
The Calgary Flames filed out the doors of the Pengrowth Saddledome on Friday and some of them for the last time.
The backbone of the team - captain Jarome Iginla, goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff and defencemen Dion Phaneuf and Robyn Regehr - are all under long-term contracts for the next five seasons and Kiprusoff and Phaneuf another year beyond that.
A veteran team with a veteran coach was expected to do better than finishing seventh in the Western Conference and losing in the first round of playoffs, even though it was a hard-fought, seven-game series with San Jose.
Changes are in the offing for Calgary’s supporting cast.
via Chris Stevenson at Best of Seven blog,
Habs winger Alex Kovalev had a funny quote about the buzzcuts a lot of his teammates are sporting in the playoffs.
When asked if he would be shearing off his blond, flowing locks, Kovalev replied: “The way I always see it is we can’t all be Indians. Somebody has to be the chief.”
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.
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