Kukla's Korner

Is This The End Of The Canadiens Playoff Run?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,

The ice melted to springtime thin beneath the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night, just as Sergei Gonchar’s second-period snapshot kissed the mesh behind goalie Jaroslav Halak.

No big deal, you’ll reasonably suggest — the Canadiens rallied from 3-1, then 3-2 deficits in their Eastern Conference quarter-final series to tie, then eliminate the Washington Capitals, the best team in the National Hockey League’s regular season.

That is so. But the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Canadiens’ semifinal opponent, aren’t the Capitals. They are playing with a greater purpose; they are more a team than a swashbuckling band of individuals; and as of Saturday night, they have what appears to be an awakened Evgeni Malkin.

The Penguins’ 2-1 victory at Mellon Arena tilts this series sharply in Pittsburgh’s direction. And it offers their opponent yet another taste of a seemingly endless diet of desperation.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Not Your Next Great Goaltender

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

I used to be a Roberto Luongo guy.

At the Prospects’ Game in 1997 at Maple Leaf Gardens, I sat with Mike Milbury who turned to me during the game and said: “I love this kid, I’m going to take him.” And there was nothing to disagree about.

When he played for the Florida Panthers, I used to argue that if Luongo wasn’t the best goaltender in the National Hockey League, he was certainly top three. Twice, I’ve picked him as a pre-season most valuable player.

That was before Vancouver, before his strange captaincy, before Olympic gold. Can’t say I’m a Luongo guy anymore. I’ve seen too many flaws. I’ve seen too many nights he was supposed to great and wasn’t. I’ve seen too many playoff series like this one, where he doesn’t rise to the occasion.

This is not the next Patrick Roy or Martin Brodeur. The statute of limitations has run out on that happening. You can’t allow 11 goals against in two home playoff games and expect to win anything, let alone be anything.

continue for more hockey talk….

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: roberto+luongo

Penguins Get Physical

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

...I will remember the crunching hit Penguins forward Craig Adams delivered on Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges late in the first period. I also will remember Penguins captain Sidney Crosby sending Montreal defenseman Hal Gill flying a few minutes earlier with a shoulder check even though he’s 8 inches shorter and 41 pounds lighter than Gill The Giant.

Playoff hockey.

Physical hockey.

It’s a beautiful thing to watch.

“I thought our physicality set the tone early on,” said Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, who qualifies as an expert on the subject. He leads his team in these playoffs with 47 hits. He had five more Saturday night in a game the Penguins held a 35-23 edge in hits.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Sharks Removing Their Playoff Label Round By Round

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News,

This team is sick of being known as a playoff softee and definitely used that anger to drive them through the first two rounds–especially this one.

(My side thought: Are they worried they won’t get any more criticism heading into the conference finals? Don’t want them to get all big-headed, right?)

-Biggest point of all from the Sharks: They were thrilled to beat Detroit, the NHL’s model franchise.

-Thornton interestingly admitted that he didn’t play well at least to start the Colorado series but got into gear right away against Detroit knowing that he was up against the likes of Datsyuk, Zetterberg & Co.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Everybody In The Playoff Pool

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

frpm Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

The league and the PA should investigate the practicality of adding European league champions into the mix in order to transform the Stanley Cup playoffs into the first true team sport World Championship. What would it mean for hockey to be able to crown a global champion?

It’s time the NHL and the NHLPA study the larger topic—Donald Fehr, by the way, was an important force in the creation of the World Baseball Classic—of expanding to Europe if not integrating its schedule with the top European leagues.

If the NHL can create additional revenue from the playoffs or through expansion to Europe, it can then go about the business of reducing the number of games on the schedule from 82 to, say, 74. It can redefine the calendar, with the season to open in mid-September and end by mid-March. At the same time, while addressing the length of the season, perhaps the league could do everyone a favor by eradicating the scourge of the three-point game.

more

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

A Hockey Fan

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I first discovered this guy after the Sharks lost to the Avalanche on the Dan Boyle ‘own goal’.  He was depressed…

After the Sharks victory tonight, a different story…

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

San Jose Sharks Advance To The Western Conference Finals

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

San Jose defeats Detroit 2-1 with Patrick Marleau getting the game winner in the 3rd period.

Wings had a chance to tie the game in the last minute (6 on4) but could not get the equalizer.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Fleury Strong In Net In Penguins Win Over Montreal

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

In a rather dull game by NHL playoff standards, the Penguins managed to edge the Canadiens 2-1 by getting just enough traffic in front of goaltender Jaroslav Halak and by riding the hot hand of their own goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury. He turned in his best game of the playoffs to frustrate the Canadiens as the Penguins took a 3-2 lead in the second-round series. The Penguins can move on to the Eastern Conference final if they beat the Canadiens in Montreal on Monday night in Game 6.

Fleury had been overshadowed in the series by Halak’s wizardry, as the Penguins outshot the Canadiens in three of the five games so far, something he acknowledged after the game.

“It felt good to have some shots and make some saves,” said Fleury, who faced 33 shots. “I felt useful tonight, you know, to do something. I was doing something, not just standing there”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Kings Want To Add Offense

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

Keep an eye on the Los Angeles Kings; they are going to be real aggressive in trying to add a big name this offseason.

Plan A will be a run at star winger Ilya Kovalchuk on July 1. If the Kings strike out there, they might then go after unrestricted free-agent forward Patrick Marleau if he hasn’t been re-signed by the Sharks. Marleau played under Kings GM Dean Lombardi during the exec’s time in San Jose, so that’s a natural fit.

If they can’t land Kovalchuk or Marleau, then the trade route is always there. The Kings’ system is loaded with assets after years of proper rebuilding, and there will be NHL teams needing salary-cap relief with forwards for sale.

continue with more topics…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Evening Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Canucks have no chance to win with the likes of Shane O’Brien and Alex Burrows - Dumb and Dumber - running around and taking cheap shots at the Hawks.

-Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily-Herald.  Read more from Tim on the Chicago/Vancouver series.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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