April 25, 2005

Conference Finals Pre-Game 3 News And Notes

Well, it will be interesting to see how the 67s respond tonight - Game 3, could take an enormous advantage with a win - but we know (as Asst Coach O’Brien pointed out this morning on TEAM 1200) that the team has a history of not taking advantage of these opportunities. They just need to keep playing like they have: all lines firing, working 100% on each shift. Peterborough has to win this game, so they will be throwing everything they can at them.

*From the Peterborough Examiner Mike Davies writes, Petes in must-win situation. Snippet:

“We’re going to have to put forth a better effort,” Petes’ captain Mark Flood said. “We have to win one game in (Ottawa) and win our home games.”

Petes’ head coach Dick Todd noted a number of areas where his club needs to be better.

“It’s a game of inches and (Ottawa has) been able to take advantage of those inches,” Todd said. “If we’re going to go forward, we have to start making things happen in those areas.”

*From the Ottawa Sun Barre Campbell writes, Re-Pete performance. Snippet:

"I just let them know they're only as good as their work ethic and that (Saturday) night is over," said Kilrea.

His players' efforts in Game 2 delighted Kilrea, who called it one of the club's top games of the season.

But he also let them know it's time to move on.

"Winning those two games is good, but it isn't three," said Kilrea. "They've got to know that they'll need to work harder to get three."

*From the Ottawa Citizen, 67's can't believe good fortune [Sub req].

And this is definitely noteworthy: The Rangers won Game 2 at home against the Knights Saturday night, 3-1. Captain Canada Mike Richards seems to be working his magic. He scored a SH (his 4th of the playoffs!) and an EN. Of course, you can’t mention the Rangers without talking about their goaltender, Eric Pfligler (who got himself an assist in Richards’ EN). He’s been outstanding for them.

While I haven’t blogged about the Western Conference, we’ve been following the Rangers closely considering our ties. We are glad to see them doing well in the playoffs – knocking out OS in 4 games, plus removing the 1.000 stat from the Knights’ standings – even though it could mean a tough OHL final fight for the Memorial Cup berth.

It looks like it is turning into one very nasty series – lots of stick work of the body-kind, after-the-play punches and jabs, and a ton of verbiage thrown by players at fans. And this wouldn’t be the OHL without the anger over the refereeing. Coach DeBoer isn’t mincing words about his upset [link]:

"It's tough enough beating the London Knights, the No. 1-ranked team in the country, without having to beat the refereeing, too," DeBoer said at the postgame media conference after Kitchener won 3-1 to tie the series.

"We're in the final four here and I can't believe there'd be that level of incompetency. I don't know if there is a mandate out there that the London Knights need a nice easy ride to the Memorial Cup or what, but that was embarrassing."

Wow. And for the record, he’s talking about Hobor who is 4th on the seniority list. And of course, Coach Hunter has a few words of his own:

The Rangers have been accused by the Knights of hacking and slashing, with coach Dale Hunter describing Kitchener's play as "bush league" and "goon" hockey.

[. . .]

"This is what all teams try to do against our skilled players. You can take the hits from the body, it's part of the game, but it's the slashing. They could have a penalty every shift.

"You know what's really bad? It's when they already have a penalty, then you really notice it because they think the referee won't put them down five-on-three. That's when they really cross-check and slash. A five-on-three happened once Saturday and it was only 20 seconds."

Ah, the Drama of the playoffs!

More [link]:

London Knights coach Dale Hunter called it everything from "hack, whack and slash" hockey to "bush hockey" to "goon hockey." Kitchener Rangers coach Peter DeBoer shrugged off Hunter's criticism with a wave of the hand. He questioned the competence of referee Terry Hobor and called his work embarrassing.

Then he levelled a blast at Hunter.

"I'm sure Dale would like it if we just handed him the series and didn't show up," said DeBoer.

And this was . . . interesting. We saw the last minutes of Game 2, when Valabik and Foreman went at it. Oh boy, it looked like Valabik was throwing around a rag doll. Definitely one tough cookie:

. . . Brandon Prust and Boris Valabik squared off and when it was over, Valabik turned to the Knights bench and wiped his hands in a derisive gesture.

And what do we have in the East? We have ‘Peterborough’s a hole,’ Killer’s got Branch/the refs/the entire OHL in his pockets, and Raftis threw away the game puck . . . It just doesn’t seem as dramatic now, does it?

*Update 4.25.2005 1530h by Sid: The punishment has been handed down to both the Rangers and the Knights . . . and the official word from the OHL:

OHL Announces Disciplinary Action

Created: Apr 25, 2005

The Ontario Hockey League announced today its results of its review of certain incidents which occurred in the playoff game played in Kitchener on April 23rd, 2005 involving the London Knights and the Rangers.

As the result of the review player Josh Beaulieu of the London Knights Hockey Club was suspended five (5) games and the London Knights Hockey Club fined $2,000.00.

The Kitchener Rangers Hockey Club are fined $6,000.00.

The suspension to player Beaulieu was the result of his cross check to the back of the head of player Kevin Henderson of the Rangers and the fine to the Rangers was as the result of the inappropriate comments made by Head Coach and General Manager Peter DeBoer following the playing of the game. In the case of the Knights, their fine was for their verbal interaction with the Rangers bench near the conclusion of the game.

Those were some costly words.

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