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Category: NHL-Teams

P.K. Subban Is Front And Center

from Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star,

The day dawned sunny and pleasant in Pittsburgh, one day before the beginning of a Stanley Cup final featuring Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and a blossoming hockey underdog, and the only player being followed by the NHL’s fancy documentary-style cameras was P.K. Subban. There is, after all, only one of him, and he can’t help himself.

“Have you ever played with a personality bigger than P.K.’s?” someone asked Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg.

“I don’t know if there is a bigger personality,” Forsberg said.

It could be a big series. The Pittsburgh Penguins can become the first repeat winners since Detroit in 1998. Nashville is a 16th seed, and a fascinating underdog.

And it’s all about P.K., because that’s how it works. Montreal loved him. The Canadiens traded him. Their coach used to tell people he could never win a Cup with P.K., and P.K. is second on his new team in playoff ice time, matched up against Vladimir Tarasenko in the second round and Ryan Getzlaf in the third. He’ll get Sid or Geno here. Here he is.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: p.k.+subban

Afternoon Line- Jim Rutherford

“I hear year after year how the league and everyone loves how the Penguins play they play pure hockey and they skate.’ Well, now it’s going to have to change and I feel bad about it, but it’s the only way we can do it. We’re going to have to get one or two guys…and some of these games that should be just good hockey games will turn into a sh—show. We’ll go right back to where we were in the ’70s and it’s really a shame.”

-Jim Rutherford, GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Ken Campbell of The Hockey News has more....

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, NHL Talk, NHL Officiating, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jim+rutherford

There Is Only One ‘First’ For The Nashville Predators

from Joe Rexrode of The Tennessean,

Of the Nashville Predators’ top four defensemen and top 10 forwards, 13 of those 14 players are under the age of 30 and 10 of them are under contract through at least the 2018-19 season.

The two centerpiece players whose deals are up, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson, will be signed in the offseason as restricted free agents, and they’ll be paid well. The Predators already were in the best financial shape of their 20-year history before this run to the Stanley Cup Final, which opens with Game 1 Monday at Pittsburgh.

From various perspectives – fan growth, financial stability, attractiveness to free agents, championship-level experience for current players – the past six weeks have done much to enhance the possibility of future runs.

“This is going to pay dividends for years,” Predators general manager David Poile said.

But there will never be another one like this.

Make sure to remember that as the Predators take the ice in PPG Paints Arena for their first Stanley Cup Final experience, and when they return home to a June 3 scene that might make Woodstock look like a casual kegger, and at every possible moment in between....

I saw it happen with hockey in Detroit. When the Red Wings finally made the Cup Final in 1995 for the first time in 29 years, after several seasons of talented teams that couldn’t get over the hump, the city and state of Michigan were consumed. It was still fever pitch, though with more anxiety and pressure, when the Wings won their first Cup in 42 years in 1997.

Then they repeated the next season against a Washington Capitals team mostly built by Poile, and in 2002 when a pre-salary-cap Detroit team loaded with aging stars got another Cup, Detroit was like: “Super Team wins again, cool!”

It wasn’t quite the same. I’m not even sure Anna Kournikova showed up for that third parade.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Last Go Around For Matt Cullen?

from Bryanna McDermott of the Penguin's website,

Five minutes into the second overtime period, Chris Kunitz fired a shot past Ottawa Senators netminder Craig Anderson to give the Pittsburgh Penguins the 3-2 win and send the team back to the Stanley Cup Final for a second consecutive year, allowing Cullen to push the decision off for a little longer.

"It was a big game," Cullen said about getting emotional during Game 7. "Obviously, you're so close and we've been through so much this season to try and get here and get back to this point. When the next goal decides your fate one way or the other, it's a big moment."

The idea that this may be Cullen's final playoff push was in his teammate's minds as well during the game.

"I remember sitting next to Cullen thinking 'This isn't going to be the way he goes out. We're going to win. He deserves that,'" Carl Hagelin said after the Game 7 victory.

However, Cullen is still unsure of where his fate lies once the 2016-17 season concludes.

"Honestly, I don't know," Cullen said. "I've been through this enough to understand that I need to give it some time after the season. It's a decision for me that means a lot, and it carries a lot of weight, so I think it deserves some time after the season. I think when it's all said and done, I'll sit down with the family again and decide what's best. I'm 40 here, and I understand where the world of hockey is at, so I know this could very well this could be my last chance."

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: matt+cullen

Brent Peterson Has Seen It All With The Nashville Predators

from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail,

With a minute to play, and the Nashville Predators joyously assured of advancing to the Stanley Cup final, Brent Peterson turned off his microphone and sobbed.

It was all too much to take in – his 13 seasons as the team’s associate coach, the diagnosis, the surgery and now his time as colour commentator on the Predators’ radio broadcasts.

All of that triggered what neurologists call the Pseudobulbar affect, the uncontrollable stirrings that can come with Parkinson’s disease. Days later, even talking about the Predators’ six-game ousting of the Anaheim Ducks is a difficult exercise. He stops and chokes back the words until they’re log-jammed in his throat.

“Don’t cry,” says his wife, Tami.

“I finally realized we were going to make it there,” her husband says of the Predators’ first trip to a Stanley Cup final and a date with the Pittsburgh Penguins. “[Radio play-by-play man] Pete Weber watched me cry, then we went downstairs for our postgame show and it was really fun to [think] of [Predators’ former head coach] Barry Trotz and all those people who worked so hard … They got there. They made it.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brent+peterson

Storylines For The Stanley Cup Final

from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,

Here are 10 storylines that could dominate the headlines in the days and weeks ahead, as the NHL moves closer to crowning the 2017 Stanley Cup champion:

1. Penguins trying for repeat

The Penguins are the first team to reach to the Stanley Cup Final in back-to-back years since 2009, when they and the Detroit Red Wings did it in a Cup Final rematch.

The Penguins ruined Detroit's repeat chances eight years ago by winning the series in seven games. They are trying to become the first team since the Red Wings in 1998 to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.

There have been 15 back-to-back (at least) Stanley Cup winners since 1927, when only NHL teams started competing for the Cup. Three teams, including the 2009 Red Wings, have reached the Final a second straight year but failed to repeat since 1998.

The Dallas Stars got back to the Cup Final in 2000 after winning in 1999 but lost to the New Jersey Devils. And the Devils got back to the Final in 2001 after defeating Dallas but lost to the Colorado Avalanche.

2. First time for everything

The Predators are in their first Stanley Cup Final, where they can become the NHL's second first-time Stanley Cup champion in the past 10 seasons.

The Los Angeles Kings were first-time champions in 2012 before winning again in 2014.

The Predators also can become the third of the nine (soon to be 10) expansion teams since 1991 to win the Stanley Cup.

The Tampa Bay Lightning (2004) also won the Cup in their first Final appearance. The Anaheim Ducks (2007) won it in their second appearance after losing to the Devils in 2003.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Get In And You Could Win

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

As coaches are so fond of saying, however, don’t focus on the result, but on the process. This year’s playoffs bring just the latest example of the postseason tournament essentially nullifying the regular season, which is so important it cannot be disrupted for anything as mundane as, for example, the Olympics.

In a dozen playoffs since the introduction of the hard cap, the Presidents’ Trophy winners not only have won the Cup only twice (Chicago in 2013 and Detroit in 2008) but have appeared in the finals just three times (with Vancouver losing to Boston in 2011). What’s more, teams with the NHL’s best regular-season records have made it to the conference finals just one other time. That was in 2015, when the Rangers lost in seven games to Tampa Bay.

Of the 48 conference finalists since 2006, 13 have finished lower than 10th in the overall standings, including this year’s 12th-overall Senators. Had Game 7 overtime of the Eastern finals broken the other way, the league would have had its second all-double-digit final in five years — after the 2014 Kings-Rangers matchup between No. 10 and No. 12, respectively.

So what, exactly, is the incentive to pursue excellence in a league that dilutes the impact of regular-season victories by doling out losers’ points and makes life as treacherous as possible for clubs at the top with a playoff format that can (and does) match up each conference’s best two teams as soon as the second round?

What is the rationale for an owner or general manager to go above and beyond merely trying to finish in the top 16, when 16th apparently is good enough to be recognized for an award?

more plus other topics of interest...

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

NHL Short Notes

NHL ANNOUNCES 2017 STANLEY CUP FINAL OFFICIALS
The NHL announced the officials for the 2017 Stanley Cup Final:
 
Referees: Wes McCauley, Brad Meier, Dan O’Halloran, Kevin Pollock
 
Linesmen: Scott Cherrey, Shane Heyer, Brad Kovachik, Brian Murphy
 
ICYMI: GAME 7 OF EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL DRAWS STRONG RATINGS
Thursday’s Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final drew strong ratings across North America:
 

 
SNEAK PEEK AT MONDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Nashville @ Pittsburgh, Game 1, 8 p.m., NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS

the information above was provided by the NHL PR department

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Tonight’s Hockey Notes

fom Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

- The essence of the Stanley Cup final: The best centres in hockey, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin vs. the best defence in hockey. Nashville has beaten the Blackhawks, Blues and Ducks on the way to the championship. The Preds are 12-4 through three series. They aren’t favourites against Pittsburgh. They probably should be.

- Subban may lead the NHL in magazine covers, documentaries, TV features, smiles, fan debate, discussion, fun and attention, but where does he really rank among league defenceman? On my list, I’d take Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, Victor Hedman, Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, Josi, Ryan Suter, Alex Pietrangelo and Aaron Ekblad ahead of him. That’s puts him around No. 10 in the NHL. And that’s not including Kris Letang, who is hurt again or Marc-Edouard Vlasic, the veteran national teamer, who is a perfect fit-in piece or Ryan McDonagh or Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who rank alongside Subban as equals.

- . Poor Randy Carlyle. Biggest game of his season. Having to start Jonathan Bernier in goal. Like he hasn’t been there before.

more

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Saturday Night Hockey Thoughts

from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,

- No post-elimination injury revelation sent bigger shockwaves than Anaheim’s. When GM Bob Murray revealed torn labrums will knock out Hampus Lindholm four to five months and Sami Vatanen potentially longer because his is “worse,” the number one question coming from other teams was some variation of, “How much longer is ‘worse?’”

With the expectation that Cam Fowler is working towards an extension, the Ducks have decisions to make. (Very) Informal polling among Murray’s peers indicates most don’t think it will be Lindholm. “A stop sign goes up whenever you ask about him,” one said.

They have real potential to hit a home run with this deal, but if you need one of Anaheim’s defencemen to help you make the playoffs next year, are you willing to wait a month into the season for him? What if it’s two, or three?

- What are the Blue Jackets looking for? “A sniper in the key moments,” GM Jarmo Kekalainen said Friday. “You’re always looking for a No. 1 centre. Collectively we score enough, we’ve got firepower through all four lines. Cam Atkinson is our best scorer, but we need to finish with a better percentage. We’re going to look internally and externally.”

That led to an interesting conversation about shooting percentages, regression and how much he pays attention to it. The short answer: a lot.

“You know if someone is shooting 30 per cent, it’s hard to sustain that. We know that if a player had an unusually low number, there is a chance the next year he comes out of it. We go through an exercise where we predict how many goals we think we are going to score as a team next year. We look at every player.”

He is hopeful last season’s third-overall choice, Pierre-Luc Dubois, can help. “I watched him pretty much every game. He is getting better and has a good chance to be here.” He’s also excited about Keegan Kolesar, who had 31 points in 19 playoff games for WHL champion Seattle. But he may not be ready for the NHL next season.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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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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