Kukla's Korner

Canes Down - Not Out

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

There is no doubt that the Edmonton Oilers have the Carolina Hurricanes on the ropes. It must be remembered, however, that there's a difference between on the ropes and on the canvas. Anyone expecting the Hurricanes to fold because they've lost the past two games and were totally out-classed on Saturday night doesn't understand the mentality of National Hockey League players. This is a rugged game and this is the best league in the world. You don't get to the seventh game of a Stanley Cup final without resolve, character, determination and all those other attributes that preclude any sort of rollover.
continued

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Time For The Cup To Return To Canada

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the National Post,

'll take Canadian history for all the marbles, Ales. This time it's up to Edmonton and their dazzling young talent Ales Hemsky to bring the Stanley Cup home to Canada. Because at this time of year, when the blue Maple Leaf is in mothballs, it's all about the red one and a country that has long claimed ownership of the sport but hasn't had its mitts on hockey's grandest trophy for a long, long time. There is plenty on the Edmonton Oilers' plate tonight here in NASCAR country, where folks tailgate before the game and the smell of barbecue wafts through the air outside the RBC Center, a rink that ironically bears the name of a Canadian bank.
continued

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Cup May Visit Kandahar

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from CamWest News via the Vancouver Sun,

If the Stanley Cup is headed to Edmonton for a victory parade this week, could one of the storied trophy's next stops be 10,500 kilometres away in this baking dust bowl in the Afghan desert? The universal wish of the Edmonton-based Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry battle group is that their Oilers win Lord Stanley of Preston's silver chalice when they play Game 7 against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, N.C., tonight. If the Oilers are victorious, the troops are optimistic the team will add another chapter to the Cup's colourful 113-year history by bringing it - and a few of their favourite players - to their heavily defended base on the outskirts of Kandahar. "It would be huge to have the Cup here," said Sgt. Mark Pharoah, who normally works at the garrison in Edmonton. "It would be darn good for morale."
continued

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Point Proven

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,

They have a chance to bring the Stanley Cup back to Canada: the Oilers having become "Canada's Team" by default, even though, for the most part, Carolina is just as Canadian when considering everything from management to stars. The real significance, win or lose, is that the Oilers stand symbolic of two critical reasons why any of us should care. First is that the Edmonton Oilers prove that, thanks to the league's new economic model, small-market teams can not only survive, but thrive. Six years ago, it was said the federal government either stepped in with a bailout package or else it was only a matter of a few seasons before the number of NHL teams in Canada would fall to one, located somewhere in Southern Ontario. Today, the Oilers and Flames and Senators are not only considered safe, there are now dreams that have the NHL one day returning to Winnipeg. Second is that the Oilers, as well as the Hurricanes, prove that the rules crackdown works and must be kept. This series is as rough and tough as any recent playoffs -- but it is also watchable.
more

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60 Minutes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

Sixty minutes (or more, of course, pending overtime) to make enough plays collectively to earn a place in history. All of the hundreds of names inscribed on the side of the silver chalice are reminders for all time of players who did just that. There are hundreds of names not on the Cup that could not. Hundreds of players who were somehow paralyzed by the enormity of the moment and became part of the great unremembered. Monday night, the surging Edmonton Oilers and the reeling hometown Carolina Hurricanes will engage in one more battle of wills to determine on which side of that grand emotional ledger they will stand. "I hope all of our paralyzation is out of us after last night. We were pretty paralyzed," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said.
more

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Off Day Interview With MacTavish

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Q. Earlier in the series you equated your team's physical player ability to finish the check to body blows in a boxing match, and that late in the fight it wears down your opponent. Do you think that's happened at all? COACH MacTAVISH: Well, it's hard to determine. We're trying to inflict as much damage really as we can, and you know, it may be having an effect. It's got an effect on Doug Weight right now, his inability to play. That was a product of a good solid hit, so I mean, everybody makes their injuries, but most players, including ours, are all playing with bumps and bruises right now. But the physical element has always been an area of our game that we focus on, and we want everybody finishing checks, as I am sure they do. Raffi got out of the pen in Game 5 and he did some major damage. I mean, he's fast, he's explosive and strong on his skates, and when he hits you it hurts. So I think he's done some damage. See the comment section for more...

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Laviolette On Sunday

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Q. History of Game 7s suggest a home team in the Final always wins like 11 and 2. All the games are usually very low scoring. Do you change anything as far as the strategy as a coach is concerned as opposed to early in the Playoffs, because they are all 2-1, 3-1 games Game 7s? COACH LAVIOLETTE: I think it's real important that we show up, play our game. We're not going to change anything. We tried to make a couple of tweaks we were doing for Game 6. I think regardless of what you try and do, if you are not skating and competing as well as the other team is you are going to find it difficult to be successful. And really those were two areas where we were lacking. We're back in our building where we have had a lot of success. Our fans will be here. There will be a lot of energy. Obviously, everybody knows what is at stake. Season is over tomorrow night. Our guys will be ready to have some fun. Q. In his return Erik Cole played decent number of minutes. What's your expectation as far as how much you will be able to lean on him in Game 7 for ice time? COACH LAVIOLETTE: I would expect that it's probably somewhere around the same. Hard to give exact numbers or minutes, but probably somewhere between 15, 20 minutes depending on the game, how he's playing, and how he's feeling. more in the comments...

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Lidstrom Will Stay With Detroit

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ansar Kahn, Wings beat writer at Mlive,

It's surprising to see that Eric Duhatschek, on Hockey Night in Canada's Hot Stove, thinks the Red Wings will have difficulty re-signing Nicklas Lidstrom, that the club might not be able to afford him. There's a lot of uncertainty about what moves the Wings will make in the next few weeks, but there is one thing that you can absolutely, positively take to the bank: Lidstrom WILL re-sign with the Wings. Frankly, I don't understand why that would even be questioned.
continued

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Held Hostage

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via WRAL,

A limited number of tickets are still available for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, according to the Carolina Hurricanes. To get them, however, fans must pay a deposit on season tickets for next season -- $250 for upper level or $500 for lower level..

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More Than The Money

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Vancouver Province,

"This validates us as a franchise in the NHL again," Lowe said in a private moment on Saturday, shortly before the Oilers took another step toward their impossible dream. "It wasn't the hardcore [Oilers] fans but I think the casual fans and sponsors thought the Oilers can never win. "What's important is what's happening within our own market. The fans were still supporting the team but I think that without this kind of run, we'd have trouble holding their attention. There's a lot made about the revenue but it's the consumer confidence and the reinvestment in the branding that's important to us."
more

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