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NHL Short Notes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

SATURDAY’S RESULTS
Home Team in Caps
CHICAGO 5, Anaheim 4 (2OT) – series tied 2-2
 
BLACKHAWKS OUTLAST DUCKS, EVEN SERIES IN DOUBLE OVERTIME
Tied 1-1 after 40 minutes, the Blackhawks and Ducks each scored three times in a frenetic third period to set the stage for Antoine Vermette’s game-winning goal at 5:37 of double-overtime. With the victory, Chicago remained perfect in overtime during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs (4-0) and evened their Western Conference Final series with Anaheim at two games apiece.



* The Blackhawks improved to 4-0 in overtime games during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, all of which have required at least two overtime periods. In addition to Game 4, the others included April 15 at NSH (4-3 2OT W in Game 1 of FR), April 21 vs. NSH (3-2 3OT W in Game 4 of FR) and May 19 at ANA (3-2 3OT W in Game 2 of WCF).

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Rangers/Lightning Now A Two Out Of Three Series

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

The Eastern Conference final may be level at two-all with Sunday’s Game 5 coming up at the Garden, but make no mistake, this series between the Rangers and Lightning has been marked by peaks and valleys.

The tempo and tenor of one game has been dramatically different from the one preceding it. There have been a multitude of forced errors and unforced ones, all though a creation of both teams’ skill, speed and willingness to go for it.

The Rangers have looked overwhelmed at times, even during most of the second period of Friday’s 5-1 victory in Tampa. But the Blueshirts were able to maintain their poise while under pressure, perhaps a byproduct of Game 4 representing the team’s 73rd playoff game over the last four springs.

They’ve seen it all.

But they haven’t seen the caliber of elite talent the Lightning bring to the rink every night. Indeed, what is now a sprint to two for a chance to play for the Stanley Cup has — goaltending aside for the moment — evolved into a battle between Tampa Bay’s formidable top-end players and the Blueshirts’ formidable depth.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Morning Line- Tom Jones On The Tampa Bay Lightning

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Tampa Bay is not considered a great sports market. We're a melting pot, with fans from all over the country who have not lost their hometown allegiances. We become a good sports market when one of our teams gets really good and following that team becomes the cool thing to do.

Right now that team is the Lightning. Going to Lightning games, following this playoff run is chic. Maybe it could change someday if the Rays get to another World Series or the Bucs get good again.

Until then, the Lightning is Tampa Bay's favorite son.

-Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times where you can read more on the Lightning and other Tampa Bay teams.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Chicago Blackhawks Refused To Lose

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times,

Has anybody paid attention to the Hawks’ resolve over the last seven seasons? They don’t cave in. There don’t go away without a fight. They have been known to heal themselves.

Not even that three-goal barrage could kill them.

“I think a lot of teams wouldn’t feel too good about themselves,’’ said Toews, who had a goal and an assist. “I think we did a great job of just collecting ourselves and staying calm and knowing it is what it is and you can’t change that. You’ve got to move forward and you’ve got to find a way to get yourself back in the game.

“…I think we had the character and poise to relax and calm ourselves down and make a game of it and find a way to get back into it.’’

This is the franchise that roared back from a three-games-to-nothing deficit in 2011 to take No. 1-seeded Vancouver to a seventh game, before losing in overtime. In 2013, the Hawks were down three games to one to Detroit and won that series. Doubt them at your own risk.

Lots of people, including some players, had painted Game 4 as a must-win game for the Hawks. No. Whether they won or lost, they would to go to Anaheim for Game 5 and give themselves every opportunity to win. That’s how they operate.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Anaheim Ducks Still Believe

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeff Miller of the OC Register,

This Game 4 at United Center wasn’t as long as Game 2 was back at Honda Center, but then that exercise in triple overtime was the longest Blackhawks’ game ever, and this franchise has been around longer than the concept of the playoff beard.

Having suffered their second crushing, late-night, last-call defeat of the week, the Ducks – whose resilience is such that no one should question their ability to rebound from this one, either – said all the right things afterward.

All the right things, plus some.

Andrew Cogliano suggested his team “put some doubt” into the Blackhawks’ minds by coming back after being down, 3-1, in the third period.

Perry joined the chorus in noticing all the minutes being accumulated by Chicago’s top defensemen, saying, “If we just keep doing the same things over and over again, we’re going to wear them down.”

And Cam Fowler continued the drumbeat about the team’s deep-rooted faith, noting, “We’re a group that believes, no matter what, in here.”

The guess in this space, however, is that the Ducks fully understand this series looks like it’s headed for a Game 7 – and potentially an epic one – next weekend.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Re-Signing Dougie Hamilton And Steven Stamkos

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

- Re-signing Dougie Hamilton will be one of Sweeney’s priorities. It won’t be easy. Through three seasons, 178 games of NHL play have given both sides a good idea of Hamilton’s future value. Hamilton, who will turn 22 on June 17, projects to become the Bruins’ version of Victor Hedman: a big, mobile, three-zone defenseman with shutdown ability to complement scoring touch. Defensemen like that make a lot of money. Hedman is currently on his second contract: $20 million over five years. That is where the conversation starts with Hamilton. The final price is likely to be higher. One agent pegged Hamilton’s asking price at north of $5 million annually. The Bruins would prefer Hamilton’s salary to be closer to Jonas Brodin’s annual average value of $4,166,667.

- The notion sounds so goofy that it should be promptly dismissed. Steven Stamkos is Tampa Bay’s captain and signature player. But there is chatter wondering if Stamkos’s eventual blockbuster contract — he will be a UFA on July 1, 2016 — would be steep enough to prompt the Lightning to deal their captain. This speaks to several things: Stamkos’s asking price, uncertainty about the salary cap in the future, and Tampa’s depth. Stamkos’s threshold is $10.5 million, the annual numbers that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane will earn starting next season. Stamkos is just as important to his club as Toews and Kane are to theirs. He probably deserves more. But the two Chicago superstars signed their extensions before the weakening of the Canadian dollar. Tyler Johnson is already a top-two center at 24 years old. Vladislav Namestnikov, 22, could become a go-to pivot. They will get raises, as will Ondrej Palat, Nikita Kucherov, and Jonathan Drouin. Moving Stamkos is a wild thought. But some people are thinking it out loud.

more hockey topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dougie+hamilton, steven+stamkos

Will Mike Babcock Attract UFAs To Toronto?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from NHL.com,

Defenseman Cody Franson, who played almost four seasons for the Toronto Maple Leafs before being traded in March, said Saturday that free agents, like himself, will find the team more attractive now that it's coached by Mike Babcock.

"I definitely think it makes [Toronto] more interesting," Franson told TSN 1050 Radio. "... Definitely, with Mr. Babcock going there, it's an exciting time for people in that organization and I think it makes it more intriguing to free agents for sure."

Franson will be a free agent July 1 after finishing the season with the Nashville Predators. He said he would like the chance to return to Toronto.

"One hundred percent; I've always said that I loved it in Toronto," the 27-year-old said. "... I'm hopeful that Toronto's in the mix come July 1 and my phone will definitely be on and hoping that they're one of the teams that calls."

Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly agrees that players would choose to sign with Toronto to play for Babcock, who was hired Wednesday.

"When you have a coach like Mike Babcock, your team improves automatically," Rielly told the Toronto Sun. "Players will want to come to play in Toronto and really embrace the role of playing for the Leafs. … We're happy to have him on board."

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Chicago Blackhawks Found A Way To Win

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

The Blackhawks endured an improbable three-goal Ducks onslaught in a 37-second span in the third period, an onslaught that erased a 3-1 Chicago lead. And they withstood a further onslaught from the Ducks in overtime, being outshot 21-7, before Vermette found the back of the net from a sharp angle with just his second shot of the night.

"I think we worked hard to get to where we were in the third period with a 3-1 lead. I guess when it rains it pours, in some moments, especially today for us in the third. I think a lot of teams wouldn't feel too good about themselves," said a still-sweaty Toews, who scored his first goal of the series Saturday to break a five-game goalless drought.

"I think we did a great job of staying calm, collecting ourselves. It is what it is. You can't change that. You have to move forward, find a way to get yourself back in the game. Obviously, when we get into late overtime periods, I think we have a feeling as a group that we're going to find a way to win."

If there was one person who personified that will to win, that belief in the collective when in the face of adversity, it was Vermette, who was inexplicably scratched for Game 3.

He watched that Game 3 loss from the locker room, working out with some of the other scratches.

"The emotion, it's not a pleasant one," Vermette said. "As a proud competitor, like anybody else on this team, you want to be part of the team. You think you can help the team. I think that's a natural emotion to get. At the same time, very supportive of the group.

"Hopeful we get a couple more wins here."

more

Below, watch the game highlights...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The overnight report: did ‘Mike Babcock’ get too big for the Wings?

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The "aha" moment for me didn't happen until sometime late on Friday evening. I realized that the last thirteen months' worth of Babcock contract questions had yielded an unanswered question that became bigger than the team, and when someone, anyone becomes bigger than the team--and likes it when they remain that way--then it's time for them to leave.

A coach can be larger-than-life, a coach can be just as important to his team's success as the players, a coach can be a media phenomenon unto himself, but by December, Mike Babcock's future became a sideshow, and the few times the "verboten" subject and un-answerable question was asked and parried away, the coach did nothing to diminish its distraction-worthy qualities.

Is it realistic to blame the Wings' late-season swoon upon Babcock's up-in-the-air status? I don't believe so, but I do believe that the late-season swoon certainly illustrated that Babcock might have been a little burnt out as the Red Wings' coach, and perhaps his realization that his time was at an end yielded some dog-eared pages out of the playbook being leaned upon far too heavily by a team that didn't need to hear, "If we just stick with it, we'll be fine" for the third season in a row.

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Vermette gives Chicago a double OT win

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

Antoine Vermette finished off what was nothing less than a wild and wacky game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night, scoring 5 minutes and 37 seconds into the second overtime period:

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: anaheim+ducks, antoine+vermette, chicago+blackhawks

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