Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
You could feel the heat rising with every word that came out of Alain Vigneault’s mouth during the coach’s press briefing following the Rangers’ practice on Friday.
Fourteen hours after his team’s last 1.3-seconds Game 1 defeat to the Capitals, Vigneault’s anger was palpable, his normally calm, light, buttoned-down demeanor escalating into a series of verbal challenges thrown at his team to be better, sharper and more aware for Saturday’s Game 2.
Play to the end, urged the coach, whose constant message of whistle-to-whistle did not translate on Thursday, when the Rangers fatally decided to play whistle-to-red light on the winning/losing sequence.
Be better against the Nicklas Backstrom-Alex Ovechkin-Joel Ward line, demanded Vigneault, who called the number of “good looks” generated by that unit “unreal.”
Get more involved in the offense, the coach instructed his defense. Finish your scoring chances, he prodded his team, which has recorded two goals or fewer in five of six playoff games, getting one in the first 60 minutes of each of the last three matches, a number Vigneault said “Won’t cut it.”
Note the game starts just after 12:30pm ET today and is the only game on the NHL schedule today.
from Mike Boone of Hockey Inside/Out,
One game does not a series make. And one double-overtime loss doesn’t end the Canadiens’ season.
It was, however, the Canadiens sixth straight loss to Tampa since Pacioretty’s series winner. The Lightning won all five regular-season games against the Canadiens in 2014-’15. And Nikita Kucherov’s goal, just over two minutes into the second OT period Friday night made it six straight – in a game the Canadiens should have won.
While the Canadiens completed their opening-round elimination of Ottawa last Sunday night in Kanata, the Lightning had to battle back from a 3-2 series deficit against Detroit, finally knocking off the Wings in a seventh-game squeaker Wednesday night.
As the series against Tampa began, the Canadiens were the rested team. And as overtime wore on, the rested team should have had an advantage.
That might have been the case had the game lasted longer. But Kucherov ended it before the Canadiens could register a shot on Ben Bishop in the second OT period.
Most of the stats favoured the Canadiens: a 44-35 shot advantage, 34 blocked shots to 27 for Tampa Bay, a 43-32 margin in hits, 55 wins in 89 faceoffs.
But we all know the only stat that counts is the final score.
Below, watch Sportnet's 'Mashup' of the game...
from Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune,
The Wild held one obvious and one possible advantage entering the second-round playoff series with the Blackhawks.
The obvious advantage: Devan Dubnyk had played like one of the top three goalies in the NHL for four months, while the Blackhawks had benched Corey Crawford before reinstating him.
The possible advantage: The Wild’s defensive system has thrived since Dubnyk’s arrival.
The latter betrayed the Wild in the first period, and the former betrayed the team when it mattered most.
The Wild’s usually-reliable defense handed Chicago three goals in the first period, and Dubnyk whiffed on a long shot in the last minute of the second. The Wild lost 4-3 instead of finishing what might have become the most remarkable comeback in franchise history.
“I just have to work harder at the beginning of that play,” Dubnyk said. “I have to get down and move to where I can see the puck the whole way.
“I didn’t see it until it was six or eight feet out, and I put my glove where I thought it was going, and I missed it. Simple as that.”
Game highlights below...
from Mike Johnston of Sportsnet,
Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien certainly thought it was a blown call saying "offside is black or white" unlike penalties, which are judgement calls.
"Losing a game on an offside, those things are not supposed to happen," Therrien told reporters at the post-game press conference. "It was clearly an offside and we end up losing the game."
The highlights from the two NHL playoff games last night.
It only took two tries for Nikita Kucherov to scored the game-winning OT goal for Tampa Bay:
Don Cherry has some advice for Mike Babcock along with a few other topics.
NEW YORK -- Defenseman Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks, defenseman Mark Giordano of the Calgary Flames and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers are the three finalists for the 2014-15 NHL Foundation Player Award, which is presented to "an NHL player who applies the core values of hockey -- commitment, perseverance and teamwork -- to enrich the lives of people in his community," the National Hockey League announced today.
NHL clubs submitted nominations for the NHL Foundation Player Award and the finalists were selected by a judging panel. The NHL Foundation will present $25,000 to the chosen charitable organization of this year's recipient. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 24, during the 2015 NHL Awards from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Following are the finalists for the NHL Foundation Player Award, in alphabetical order:
I had no intention of making the KK Hockey section 'The Babcock News' today so if you want everything that transpired today, check out The Malik Report where George did a great job on this topic.
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
Babcock faces the paradox of choice – more options, more anxiety. No matter which team he chooses, he will be turning down great opportunities elsewhere. If he leaves Detroit, he will be leaving an owner who has treated him well, a GM with whom he has worked well, a team with which he has won a Cup, a city his kids have called home. He will be saying somewhere else is better than a place he loves.
He needs to talk to his wife. He needs to talk to Holland. Maybe his wife tells him to stay. Maybe the Wings increase their offer and convince him the roster can contend for the Cup in the coming years. Maybe he needs to talk to other teams before he can evaluate, let alone decide. We can speculate, but he can’t explore his options legally until his contract expires July 1 – unless the Wings give him permission.
“I’m flattered,” Babcock said. “I really am. But my wife and I will go through a process, and Kenny and I will go through a process, and within 10 days we’ll have a plan. I’m not letting this go forever and ever. Kenny will decide what we do.”
Gonna be a long 10 days. At least.
Enjoy the games tonight and I am picking Habs and Wild to win tonight.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org