Kukla's Korner

The Puck Stops Here

Game One

One game of the Stanley Cup finals is in the books.  Vancouver won 1-0.  It was a goaltending battle, unlike what Ken Campbell predicted.  70 shots were taken in the game and 69 were stopped.  19 seconds were left when Raffi Torres scored the game’s only goal.  There were scoring chances - more from the Canucks than the Bruins - so I would give goaltending more credit for the low scoring game than defence.  A significant portion of the first two periods were spent on the power play, but there were no power play goals.  In the third period no more penalties were called.  Is this an example of the referees keeping their whistles in the pockets when the game was on the line after trying to control the game by calling penalties in the first couple periods?  One would think that penalties being called should favor the Canucks because the Bruins power play has been abysmal so far in the playoffs.  Sooner or later, one would think the Canucks’ power play will catch fire.

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NHL Hockey Returning To Winnipeg

In 1996, the Winnipeg Jets left town for what they thought were greener pastures in Phoenix.  The Phoenix Coyotes are stuck in bankruptcy and NHL control for their third season.  It seems improbable that there will be a successful team in Phoenix.  Their eventual sale to another market seems almost inevitable. 

In the meantime, Winnipeg missed NHL hockey.  They missed the Jets.  Popular sports bars throughout Winnipeg still retained their Winnipeg Jets memorabilia.  Stores still sell Winnipeg Jets memorabilia.  This is true in larger cities in Manitoba (such as Brandon) which lie a few hours from Winnipeg itself.  The Winnipeg Jets maintained a strong following even though they didn’t exist anymore.  The Manitoba Moose were an AHL team that moved into Winnipeg in the Jets absence and they were one of the more popular franchises in the AHL.

Finally, after 15 years we have the official announcement that NHL hockey is returning to Winnipeg.  The Atlanta Thrashers are moving there.

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Ken Campbell Is Wrong About Playoff Goaltending

A week ago Ken Campbell of the Hockey News wrote a blog post entitled NHL playoff goaltending not what it used to be.  While it is on a topic that I like to explore - namely putting today’s hockey into a historical perspective - the conclusions he draws are largely incorrect.  As his title implies, he claims that today’s playoff goaltending is not as good as it used to be.  This statement is a silly one as we prepare for a Stanley Cup final where two of the three Vezina Trophy candidates - Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins and Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks - are set to face off against one another.  This has the potential to be one of the toughest goaltending battles ever in the Stanley Cup finals.  It is a showdown between two Hall of Fame tracked goalies.

It was ten years ago the last time two goalies who were future Hall of Famers or on Hall of Fame tracks matched up in the Stanley Cup finals.  In the 2001 series Patrick Roy of the Colorado Avalanche bested Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils.

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Memorial Cup Playoffs

The Memorial Cup has just completed in Mississauga, Ontario.  Here is my preview of the tournament and here is my review of the round robin portion of the tournament.

When the round robin completed the Owen Sound Attack and the Kootenay Ice were set to play a tie breaker to determine who would play the home Mississauga St Michael’s Majors in the semifinal.  The semifinal winner would meet the St John Sea Dogs in the final.

Here are the results:

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Stanley Cup Final Prediction

I was correct on both of my semifinal predictions to bring my success rate to 10-4 so far in this year’s playoffs.  Here are my second round predictions and here are the first round ones.

We are now in the Stanley Cup finals which pit the Vancouver Canucks against the Boston Bruins.

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Boston Bruins Make The Stanley Cup Finals

With a 1-0 win in game seven, the Boston Bruins are going to the Stanley Cup.  They will be playing against the Vancouver Canucks.  I have written many times about the lack of elite teams in the NHL recently.  While I am pleased that it looks like Vancouver could be an elite team (the first one since the 2007 Anaheim Ducks and the second since the lockout).

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Memorial Cup Round Robin

The round robin portion of the Memorial Cup tournament ended yesterday in Mississauga, Ontario.  Here was my preview. 

Here are the results:

1. St John Sea Dogs  This team looked poised to win the round robin easily until they lost to Kootenay in overtime in their final round robin game.  They qualify for the finals as a result of beating Mississauga head to head.  Tomas Jurco (2011 draft eligible) leads the tournament in scoring at this point.  He is supported by Michael Kirkpatrick (undrafted) and Jonathan Huberdeau (2011 draft eligible).  Nathan Beaulieu (2011 draft eligible) has led the defence.  Jacob DeSerras (Philadelphia prospect) has been their top goalie.

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AHL Playoffs SemiFinals

The semifinals in the AHL playoffs completed last night.  You can look back at the first round here and second round here

Here are the results:

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Vancouver Canucks Make The Stanley Cup Finals

I am back from

GM Place

  Rogers Arena and can report that Vancouver is celebrating.  The Vancouver Canucks have made the Stanley Cup finals for the third time in their history and for the first time ever as the favorites.

For the last several years, I have complained that there are no elite teams in the Stanley Cup finals.  For example last year both Philadelphia and Chicago did not qualify.

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Canucks Playoff Malhotra

A big part of the reason that the Vancouver Canucks led the NHL in goals in the regular season was their ability to get their best offensive players into the offensive situations.  Daniel and Henrik Sedin have some of the highest offensive zone start totals in the last several years.  Ryan Kesler was their next best offensive player who had played a strong defensive role in the past.  This season, he played a more offensive role.  It was Manny Malhotra who played the toughest defensive role for the Canucks.  He played it so well that I think he should be a Selke Trophy nominee

The Canucks signing of Malhotra last summer was very important.  It allowed their best offensive players to play in more offensive situations than they had in the past.  Malhotra could lead the NHL in defensive zone starts and do a good job at it.

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About The Puck Stops Here

imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

Why am I blogging? I want to.

Why are you reading it? ???

Email: y2kfhl@hotmail.com

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