Kukla's Korner

Like It Or Not, Capitals Faced With A Game 7

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

And so, a season of records and excellence and unparalleled expectations now comes down to a one-game, winner-take-all exercise in living up to the hype.

Even now, having watched the Caps’ 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens in Monday’s Game 6 with our own eyes, it is hard to fathom it has come to this.

The most dynamic team in years, a team that pretty much lapped the field offensively during the regular season and looked ready to take a step toward greatness, is now reduced to hoping it has 60 minutes of hockey in it that will avert months of questions and self-loathing.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Same Story For Predators

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Joe Biddle of the Tennessean,

As harsh as it might sound, Predators’ fans need to be embrace that this could pretty much be the way it ends every season.

The Predators will be clawing to make the playoffs. They will always find it difficult making it past the first round because they will rarely be one of the top seeds.

General Manager David Poile has done what he can do, given the constraints he has with a local ownership group which doesn’t tolerate losing money, and who in these economic times can argue that?

But it will remain a blue-collar team with a roster that does not contain enough established NHL stars. Trotz has been in place since the expansion team was hatched. His longevity with one team is unheard of in the NHL. And in fairness to Trotz, he squeezes about as much out of his team every season as anyone could.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Isn’t It About Time John MacLean Gets A Shot At The Devils Coaching Job?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

Now that Jacques Lemaire, whose first tenure in New Jersey from 1993-94 through 1997-98 established the foundation of excellence that would follow on the banks of the Hudson, has announced his retirement just one year into his encore, Lamoriello should reach into another winning organization for the Devils’ next head coach.

And that would be his own.

For the timing is right and the time is now to promote John MacLean, who guided the AHL Lowell Devils to the playoffs in his first year running the show behind the bench after seven seasons as an assistant in New Jersey.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: john+maclean

Wings Need Some Production

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Six games into this series against Phoenix, Dan Cleary has no points, Johan Franzen has one goal, and Pavel Datsyuk’s power-play unit may be racking up the chances but chances alone don’t advance teams in the playoffs. It almost boggles the mind that Tomas Holmstrom is averaging more than four minutes per game on the power play and does not have a single point to show for it.

The Wings have scored 20 goals against the Coyotes, and of those 20, six belong to Henrik Zetterberg. Zetterberg wasn’t particularly noticeable in Sunday’s 5-2 loss, but overall he, Valtteri Filppula and Todd Bertuzzi have been good. Though Bertuzzi is still searching for his first goal, he has four assists and has been doing a terrific job in front of Ilya Bryzgalov.

Time is at a premium for Franzen and Cleary to get going.

read on

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

Pick On Someone Else

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,

Some Ottawa fans want Spezza traded before his no-movement clause kicks in July 1. They say he’s lazy. They say he doesn’t backcheck. They say he doesn’t become “engaged” in the play. They place blame for the Senators’ early playoff elimination squarely on his shoulders.

They are using Spezza as their scapegoat.

On locker cleanout day, when someone wondered if he’s getting tired of being the lightning rod for criticism of this team, Spezza did not shake off the talk as he has in the past.

“Yeah, a little bit,” he said. “But there’s not much you can do, and there’s not much to really get into.

“It’s definitely trying at times.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jason+spezza

Chicago Defeats Nashville to Advance To Conference Semifinals

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Strange game, score after the 1st period was 4-3 Chicago.  Then no goals until John Madden scored an empty netter with 7 seconds left.

Chicago will now take on Vancouver in a rematch of a physical series from last year.

San Jose will play the winner of the game 7 showdown tomorrow between Detroit and Phoenix.

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

Halak Dominates

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Wise of the Washington Post,

So, this building of guttural roars is up two goals to nil early, and it’s rocking—I mean, just b-b-b-booming inside the Bell Centre, louder than fury unleashed in Washington. Louder, according to the arena’s decibel meter, than any moment in its 14-year history after the second goal.

The white towels begin pirouetting above the throaty throng, and all of Quebec is relying on one man to again stone the most explosive offense in the NHL and keep the season alive for at least one more game.

Jaroslav Halak looks up at the time, clicks his goalie stick against the metal piping, bends his knees, digs in and does the impossible: He takes away the Capitals’ mojo, seizes every puck that could have ended the series.

Again.

It’s a frightening window into this suddenly-even Eastern Conference quarterfinal series:

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Bruins Advance to Round 2 Of The Stanley Cup Playoffs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien meets the media after defeating the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 tonight.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: claude+julien

Bad Goal Of The Night

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Pekka Rinne goes out to play the puck on a shoot-in, but….

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: pekka+rinne

Ovechkin Says No Panic With His Team

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,

Ovechkin gave all the credit to Halak during his postgame press conference. Here is the transcript:

Q: Was that all Halak in that game or did you guys misfire?

Ovechkin: Well, there’s nothing to say. You can see how we play. I think we played great and we just didn’t score. It’s only one guy. They just score goals and go back and leave all the pressure for their goalie. We have to find a way to score goals.

Q: Is this the best performance you have seen from a goalie so far in the playoffs during your career?

Ovechkin: Well, every year we make a goalie feel unbelievable. We played against Philly and (Martin) Biron was good. (Henrik) Lundqvist was good last year and this year we just make Halak feel good. It’s always about this team and we’ll find a way to break it and win it. So, no panic, nothing. It’s just a game.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alexander+ovechkin

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