Kukla's Korner

A Look At Henrik Lundqvist And Ben Bishop Heading Leading Up To Game 6

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Joe McDonald of ESPN,

"It’s a roller coaster of emotions. It goes up and down," Lundqvist said. "You just have to deal with it the best you can, deal with the pressure you put on yourself, expectations you have on you. It just comes down to keeping your focus on what you need to do -- that’s it. Don’t focus on too many other things, especially things you can’t control."

Bishop’s calmness should be bottled and sold over the counter as a sleeping drug.

"You’ve got to treat it like the regular season," he said. "When you play 60-whatever games, you’re going to have some good ones, you’re going to have some bad ones. You’re going to have some unlucky ones, you’re going to have some lucky ones. It’s kind of the same in the playoffs. You can’t put too much emphasis on one game. ... You just can’t look at it in a real short window. You’ve got to look at it big picture, and that’s a big thing. If you treat it like the regular season, where there’s going to be good games and bad games, it’s easier to move on."

What allows two quality goaltenders to remain so calm in a situation such as this?

"It doesn’t get any easier," one NHL goalie coach said. "Certainly, the pressure surrounding the games ramps up as you go through the rounds. In a lot of ways, the game’s almost a little bit easier because everybody is so attentive to blocking shots, picking up your checks, making good, hard plays."

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ben+bishop, henrik+lundqvist

A One-Year Contract For Ken Hitchcock In St. Louis

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today the club and Head Coach Ken Hitchcock have agreed on a one-year contract.
  
Hitchcock, 63, was originally named the 24th head coach in Blues history on Nov. 7, 2011.  Since, he has guided the Blues to four straight postseason appearances, three 100-point regular season campaigns and two Central Division championships.  In 2014-15, he captured his second Central Division title with the club, while logging the third-best regular season record in franchise history (51-24-7, 109 pts).

During Hitchcock’s four-year tenure, the Blues have posted the NHL’s best regular season record (175-79-27, .671) and achieved three of the top four regular season records in franchise history.  Hitchcock’s success has landed him second on the club’s all-time wins list and first in terms of points percentage (.671).  Hitchcock has reached several milestones behind the Blues’ bench including Mar. 12, 2015, when he became the fourth coach in NHL history to reach 700 career regular season wins.  In addition, in the Blues’ Central Division-winning 2011-12 campaign, he became just the fourth head coach in franchise history to receive the NHL’s Jack Adams Award as the League’s best coach. 

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ken+hitchcock

A Win Tonight And The Tampa Bay Lightning Are In The Stanley Cup Final

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP at TSN,

Steven Stamkos knows what it's like to come close to getting to the Stanley Cup Final and wind up not playing on the NHL's biggest stage.

It happened to the Tampa Bay Lightning four years ago, and the three-time All-Star is determined to not let another opportunity slip away.

After a slow start to the playoffs, the high-scoring team captain helped the speedy Lightning push the New York Rangers to the brink of elimination from the Eastern Conference finals.

Game 6 is Tuesday night at Amalie Arena. A Lightning victory will send Tampa Bay to the Cup finals for the second time in franchise history. And the Rangers are looking to extend the series to a seventh game, which would be played Friday night in New York.

"You kind of have to realize where you are and kind of use that as a little bit of motivation," Stamkos said. "The harsh reality is, some guys in this room may never get the chance to get this far again. Hopefully everybody does, but you never know in this sport."

Stamkos knows first-hand. He and defenseman Victor Hedman are the only players remaining from the Tampa Bay team that came within one victory of playing in the Cup finals in 2011. The Lightning lost Game 7 to Boston 1-0 and didn't win another playoff game until this year.

continued

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

Video- Ready For Game 6, Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Rangers?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Sportsnet's YouTube channel,

 

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

Coaching Candidates For The New Jersey Devils

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,

Here's a list of the candidates that I am aware of and where things stand with each of them. There could be others I am not aware of as this is a fluid situation now that Shero has been back in New Jersey for nearly a week following his trip to the Czech Republic for the world championships.

John Hynes: Hynes, 40, just completed his fifth season as head coach of Wilkes Barre-Scranton Penguins in AHL. He directed the team to a 45-24-3-4 record in 2014-15 before it lost to Manchester in five games in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Shero hired Hynes to be the head coach in Wilkes Barre-Scranton when he was the GM in Pittsburgh and has a high opinion of him....

Paul MacLean: The former Ottawa Senators head coach's name came up after Lamoriello fired Pete DeBoer on Dec. 26, but that turned out to be just speculation. Now, Shero does have interest in MacLean, who won the Jack Adams as the NHL's coach of the year in 2012-13. He signed a contract extension the following summer that still has two more seasons left on it, but the Senators soured on him this past season and fired him on Dec. 8. The Senators went on to make the playoffs with Dave Cameron behind their bench....

Dan Bylsma: Shero and Bylsma have a history from working together in Pittsburgh – and both being fired after last season. Although Shero did talk with Bylsma, 44, two weeks ago at the world championships – as he did with Todd McLellan before the former San Jose coach was hired by Edmonton – and the two maintain a solid relationship, it doesn't appear either feels it's a good fit for a reunion in New Jersey at this point....

more on each of the names above plus additional candidates...

Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Morning Line- Michale Arace On Mike Babcock

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Babcock has the intelligence and fortitude to ignore the copious din that will surround him. He might be the only man in the world who can effect change in Toronto, if he is allowed to do his job. Perhaps, the Leafs will break from their history, and actually let him do it.

-Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch where you can read more on Mike Babcock and the Leafs.

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

The New York Rangers Need A Win Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

Game 6 on Tuesday night against the Lightning will mark the Rangers’ 100th game of a season that began in St. Louis on Oct. 9 — every day of which the team has had the singular goal of hoisting the Stanley Cup.

If the Rangers lose this game, if they are eliminated in the conference finals, their season can only be evaluated as a failure. Not a failure of character or will, not at all. But a failure nevertheless.

Harsh but true, given the standard they have set for themselves.

No grading on a curve here.

If they win — if they stave off extinction as they did three times against the Capitals in Round 2, as they have done in 14 of their 17 win-or-else games since 2012 and in five of eight on the road — then the Blueshirts get to define themselves again Friday in Game 7 at the Garden.

continued

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

The Chicago Blackhawks Face Elimination

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,

It was the first time the Hawks have lost under Joel Quenneville after a series was tied 2-2. They had been 14-0 in Games 5 and 6 in such situations, the league’s ultimate closers. Now they face the daunting task of having to win two elimination games in a row to reach the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in six years.

It could have been one of the greatest comebacks in Hawks history, one of the unlikeliest wins for a team with a long list of them. Down 4-2 with time ticking away and Corey Crawford on the bench, Toews unleashed a monster slap shot off the iron and in with 1:50 left to make it a game. Then, with 37.2 seconds left, his seemingly harmless fling on net from the corner behind the goal line somehow got through Frederik Andersen — an unimaginably soft goal in such a situation — to tie the game, and stun the Honda Center crowd into utter silence.

“We’ve been through that before,” Patrick Sharp said. “We won the Stanley Cup with two goals in 17 seconds. They don’t get much higher than that. It’s a good series. Good team over there, good team in here.”

And the Ducks, as they have all series long, rebounded in a big way, right away. They have yet to lose in regulation this postseason.

“It’s Ducks hockey,” Kesler joked. “We don’t like to do anything easy.”

more

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

The Anaheim Ducks Are One Win Away From The Stanley Cup Final

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

This was the kind of game that could have haunted the Anaheim Ducks forever.

It was the kind of game that could have destroyed a Stanley Cup dream and perhaps stained the career of netminder Frederik Andersen for good.

And in an instant, when Matt Beleskey snapped home the rebound of a Ryan Kesler shot just 45 seconds into overtime, the Ducks stared back those doubts and specters and instead found themselves one win away from a trip to the Stanley Cup finals.

In the wake of their epically improbable 5-4 overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks Monday night, the Ducks tore down at a little of the mythology of the Blackhawks, and in doing so mythologized themselves a little.

"We wanted this game and we believed we could win this game," said forward Patrick Maroon, who scored what appeared to be the insurance marker in the third period to give the Ducks a 4-2 lead. "I think the guys feel good about it. I think the guys feel good about going into Chicago in Game 6 and ready to play."

continued

Game highlights are below...

Continue Reading »

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

Toews’ late goals can’t snuff out resilient Ducks

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

The Anaheim Ducks' 5-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night was nothing less than wild and woolly. Jonathan Toews' 2 late-3rd-period goals gave erased a 4-2 deficit (and the Ducks' initial 3-0 lead) and forced overtime...

But 45 seconds into overtime, Matt Beleskey erased the Hawks' comeback, and gave the Ducks a 3-games-to-2 series lead via a 5-4 OT victory:

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: anaheim+ducks, chicago+blackhawks, jonathan+toews, matt+beleskey

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