Kukla's Korner

The Playoff Pressure Is On

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated,

Spring is a time for rebirth and fresh starts in the NHL. But as the playoffs approach, some prominent players will be entering this two-month odyssey with more baggage than Madonna on tour….

These are the players—or groupings of players—who personally have the most to gain or lose during the pursuit of Lord Stanley’s Cup this year.

Marc Savard

Said one rival GM: “If he’s getting his points and the Bruins are doing well, he’ll be great. If he’s not getting his points and the Bruins are doing well, I’m not so sure how happy he’ll be.”

Savard can shed his career-long “me-first” label by continuing to work both sides of the puck, whether the points flow or not.

read more about Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Jose Theodore, Evgeni Malkin & Chris Osgood.

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Now What Florida?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,

How do the Panthers get back? They have two games left and really need some help to make the playoffs. Montreal needs one point to finish in front of the Panthers. Yeah, the Habs are in trouble. But don’t you think they probably at least pick up one point in their final two games? How about the Rangers? All they have to do is win one of their final two games.

Can’t blame missing the playoffs on losing to the Flyers. You can, however, blame it on the loss in Buffalo. The two on Long Island to a vastly inferior team. The back-to-backs against Tampa after Christmas. The third period collapse to Columbus.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Back To True Form

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

Ahhh, what the Hell.  The playoffs just aren’t any fun unless we dive into them with swagger, you know?  April 8th is not a day to be meek, to tip toe around what’s to come, afraid our words will be used against us if bad things happen.

April is a month to remind all the a-holes out there that Wing fans have eleven reasons to be elitist and arrogant right about now.  April is a time to be licking chops, pointing out reasons why any first round opponent is easy prey.

April 8th is not the day to be whining and sputtering and pacing.  No, no.  And if you think I’m just conjuring up some BS false bravado?

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Rangers Get To Price

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

And so the Rangers need just one more, need just one more victory in their final two games to clinch a playoff spot after taking advantage of Carey Price’s slipshod night in nets to defeat the Canadiens 3-1 at the Garden last night while the Panthers were being beaten 2-1 in Philadelphia….

The Blueshirts inexorably took the game away from the Canadiens over the final 40 minutes with a combination of smart work in the neutral zone, a five-in-the-picture look in the defensive zone and sustained forecheck work and down-low pressure in the offensive end. But they received an immeasurable boost from Price’s inability to keep his balance (and poise) or play his angles.

He was terrible when it mattered, which was in the first and early in the second, when the Blueshirts seemed both tentative and as if they were waiting for something bad to happen.

But when something bad happened, it was to Price, who surrendered a horrid short-side goal to Chris Drury at 13:14 of the first and then lost the puck behind the net to Sean Avery, who got it in front so that a headlong-diving Nik Antropov could chip it in for the eventual winner at 2:37 of the second.

more

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

Luongo Was In That Zone

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Flames Insider,

Yes, the Flames deserved far better. No question, Calgary should’ve walked out of GM Place on Tuesday with the Northwest Division pennant tucked safely in their back pocket.

But, chill. All is not lost. Quite the contrary.

Roberto Luongo was sensational. Give the man his due. But give the vanquished theirs, too. That was the finest game Mike Keenan’s backtracking battalion has played since trashing the Flyers 5-1 in Philly on March 5.

And for those Sea of Red zealots in full angst mode, bemoaning the criminal unjustness of the Vancouver netminder’s scene-stealing performance - take a deep breath and a small cup of perspective. How many times has Miikka Kiprusoff left other teams cursing in exactly the same way over the years? Hey, it can happen to YOU, too, you know.

In point of fact, outside of that absolutely impotent (now 0-for-37) powerplay, there wasn’t much to quibble about.

continued and watch video highlights of the game below…

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Brodeur Needs To Work On His Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,

There was plenty of blame to go around in the Devils’ 4-1 loss to the last-place Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at Prudential Center….

When I asked Sutter after tonight’s game if he was concerned about the way Brodeur has played lately, he replied, “Just to get back to the question I get asked about whether I think about rotating goalies: Now you can see why I’m not thinking about doing it.

“There’s still things that Marty needs to work on to get himself ready (for the playoffs).”

In other words, Brodeur will start the team’s final two regular season games.

Brodeur didn’t excuse himself from blame.

“Not good enough to win a hockey game,” Brodeur said in evaluating his own play. “That’s the bottom line. When you face a goalie is playing so well and the way he played today, you just want to make sure you keep your team in the game and definitely giving them a three-goal lead, regardless of how it happens, it’s something you have to try to avoid.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: martin+brodeur

YouCantAct.com

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The Thrashers put out this PSA (public service announcement) yesterday.

added 9:40am, Caps coach Bruce Boudreau wasn’t happy the video was shown, he doesn’t like the mocking.

Watch Boudreau’s post game presser below, the topic starts at the 50 second mark.

added 12:50pm, As a commentor just mentioned, the first video is no longer working (it was earlier) but check the comments for a link to the vid.

Continue Reading »

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

Montreal:  Dead Playoff Team

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Every year it seems one team makes that playoffs but is the weak first round opponent that everyone would like to face.  Last year, that team was the Ottawa Senators.  Given their slump over the last half of the year, it was no surprise when Pittsburgh beat them 4-0 in the first round.  This year the team that best fits that role is the Montreal Canadiens.  Since the beginning of 2009, the Canadiens have a 20—24 record (with four regulation tie points).  That is 22nd overall in the league in that time period.  It is the second worst among presumptive playoff teams (the New York Rangers have actually been worse). 

The Montreal Canadiens problems are made worse by recent defensive injuries.  This season’s team MVP Andrei Markov is expected to miss three weeks with a knee problem and Mathieu Schneider is out for the season with shoulder surgery.  This is a big blow to the Montreal defence.  Likely, by the time Markov is ready to play again, Montreal will have been eliminated from the playoffs.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Watch Out For That Logo

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stan Fischler of the Hockey Journal,

Commissioner Gary Bettman should immediately put a stop to one of the most ridiculous off-ice practices, which is spreading across the NHL. That happens to be the issue of dressing room carpets, of all things.

More and more teams have oversized team logos on their rug. That is fine in theory, but the nuttiness, which started in Tampa several years ago, has it that nobodyis allowed to step on the logo.

Violators – usually unknowing media types – face a shouting down from trainers, p.r. people or the players themselves. What’s the fuss all about? Isn’t a rug to be walked on?

“It’s a respect thing,” says Blackhawks forward Adam Burish.

If that’s the case, hang the darn thing on the wall. And by the way, what about all the center-ice logos that players skate over endless times during a game? The commissioner should have the rug hung on the wall or the ceiling or – better still — have the silliness stopped once and for all.

read on for more hockey notes from The Maven…

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

Worried About The Direction Of Hockey

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from P.J. Stock of Blogs and Columns at CBC,

...The game has changed. The players have changed and so has the perception from the fans watching the game. I think it’s a direct reflection of our changing society. We live in a world of always worrying to be so PC (politically correct, folks). The game has changed because our society’s influence on it has almost forced some of its changes. No more so than in interpretation of the game’s physicality.

What used to be a battle along the boards, a fight for the puck, a mano-a-mano confrontation is now called like a basketball game. Two minutes for illegal use of the hands or two minutes for being too strong or too tough. I believe the game needed changes to get out of the trap era, but why interfere with what so many people have fallen in love with? The toughness of players playing the toughest game out there….

Fighting is a no-no now, hitting someone who is watching their pass is a crime and body checking someone in the head … purgatory.

I loved the game the way it used to be. I’m worried about the direction the game is going in.

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, CBC HNIC, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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