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Mid-January Hockey Notes

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

- Ken Holland says he believes in second chances. Maybe math wasn’t his best subject.

In the still undetermined matter of the National Hockey League vs. Evander Kane, the latest version in an ongoing series, the signing of the troubled Kane by Holland in Edmonton, or by any other general manager in any other city for that matter, would not represent a second chance for the troubled winger.

What chance would it be?

Five? Six? Eight? Depends on who is doing the counting.

There have been issues over the years with assault, with off-ice behaviour, with decision making, with the law, with team rules, with teammates, with women, those he was married to and those he was not, with gambling, with lawsuits, with bankruptcy, and that’s just slightly brushing the canvas of the challenge Kane brings to whichever team that chooses to sign him, all of that possibly coming after he is suspended again by the NHL///

- The best Canadian players in the NHL this half-season: 1. McDavid; 2. Cale Makar; 3. Jonathan Huberdeau; 4. Nazem Kadri.

- Frank Mahovlich turned 84 the other day and it got me thinking: How many wingers in NHL history were better than Mahovlich, who won four Stanley Cups with the Maple Leafs and still holds the Montreal Canadiens’ record for most points in a playoff season? My purely personal shortlist of those who rank ahead of Mahovlich: Gordie Howe. Rocket Richard. Bobby Hull. Alex Ovechkin. Jaromir Jagr. Guy Lafleur and Mike Bossy. So who am I missing? The next group would include Pavel Bure, Teemu Selanne and Jari Kurri.

more on the first topic and other nottes too...

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Another Loss For The Edmonton Oilers

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

Can’t kill a penalty, can’t get a save, can’t win a game. There are some serious, serious issues in Edmonton — and yes, they still need to find a goalie.

“Same group,” began Zack Kassian. “Beginning of the year, we were one of the best teams in the league. Now it seems like we’re finding ways to lose. That snowball going downhill, that’s not an excuse anymore. We’ve had a long break.”

The Edmonton Oilers had nine days off, and on the 10th day they rested, folding up like a tent against the Ottawa Senators. Edmonton turned a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes into a 6-4 loss to log their second six-game losing skid in their past 14 games.

Allowing five third-period goals to the 30th place Ottawa Senators ranks as perhaps the biggest regular season disaster in Connor McDavid’s NHL career.

“It’s definitely up there,” said McDavid, who was dangerous but pointless Saturday. “I’m not sure what to tell ya. It’s been a long layoff, we come in and work ourselves to a 3-1 lead… And we give it away.”

What happened?

“I wish I had an answer.”

continued

Below,watch McDavid post-game and the game highllights.

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NHL Short Notes

* The Panthers scored early and often Saturday, netting their second nine-goal outing in just over two weeks. 
 
Auston MatthewsAlex Ovechkin and Chris Kreider, three of the NHL’s top four goal scorers this season, each found the back of the net in victories
 
Marc-Andre Fleury became the 14th goaltender in NHL history to post 70 career shutouts.

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Video- 32 Thoughts Tonight

via Sportsnet,

On this edition of 32 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discuss the latest in the Montreal Canadiens' ongoing search for a GM, John Klingberg's fate with the Dallas Stars, what's next for Evander Kane, plus Skills Day at the All-Star game.

 

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Hockey Topics Of Interest

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

- If the Penguins hadn’t been able to make a dent with both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin joining their squad within a year of each other in the early 2000s, would that equate to the white noise coming from the Oilers, with both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl at the mutual heights of their powers?

You’d say that the Oilers are the NHL’s version of MLB’s Angels, except that Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani have never really played a full season together and that almost every time I see McDavid speaking in any type of public setting it seems as if he has just been force-fed a pint of lemon juice.

Though if you were sent out there to answer hypotheticals about adding Evander Kane without the accompaniment of owner Daryl Katz and general manager Kenny Holland, the people actually responsible for making the decision, you probably would be a bit sour about it, too.

- Someone is going to have to explain how the Avalanche can be taken seriously as Stanley Cup contenders while they rank 29th overall in save percentage at .892, surrounded in that category by teams from Seattle, New Jersey, Arizona, Ottawa and Montreal, not one of which is even in the hunt for the playoffs.

- It always catches me off guard when I see a Red Wings player wearing No. 14. It seems odd that Detroit management has not retired the number in honor of Brendan Shanahan, the player most singularly responsible for ending the franchise’s 42-year Cup drought in 1997.

They’d had Steve Yzerman, they’d had Sergei Fedorov, they’d had Nicklas Lidstrom … and in 1994, the 100-point Red Wings were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round by the 82-point Sharks. In 1995, the 70-point Red Wings were swept in the Cup final by the 52-point Devils, and in 1996, 131-point Detroit was taken out in conference finals by 104-point Colorado.

The next year, along came Shanahan, the quintessential power forward of his era, to change the culture and point the Red Wings to consecutive Cups and three in six years.

more

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Hockey Notes Galore

Bits and pieces from Matt Porter of the Boston Globe,

- China, playing in a bracket with the US, Canada, and Germany, will surely finish last. The Dragons, currently ranked 32nd in the world, have finished no higher than 15th at the IIHF Worlds (and that was in 1982). The roster is mostly players from the KHL’s Chinese entry, Kunlun Red Star. Several North Americans are on the team, including former Bruins farmhand Jeremy Smith, ex-Boston University Terrier Brandon Yip, and defenseman Jake Chelios.

The latter, an undrafted Michigan State alum, spent five years mostly in the AHL (Carolina and Detroit organizations). He was born in Chicago in March 1991, a month before his dad’s team, the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Blackhawks, were upset by the Cinderella North Stars in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Chris Chelios, also from Chicago, is a four-time Olympian, three of those tournaments as Captain America. He is of Greek heritage.

“Obviously, his first choice would be to represent the US,” Chris Chelios said of his son. “He loves hockey. That was the only way for him to continue to play, to go to Germany or Russia or China. He appreciates the opportunity. He’s playing in the Olympics.”

- Quite a week for Brad Marchand, who remained on a tear and had some of the best quips heard.

On his prodigious proboscis taking a vicious high stick from Washington’s Nic Dowd: “I’m just happy it wasn’t my teeth. I can deal with a broken nose, but missing these beautiful teeth of mine, that would have hurt.”

On the worst “injury” he ever thought he had, from blocking an Alex Ovechkin slapper: “The draw went directly to Ovi and I stepped out and he took a one-timer right into my foot. I was hobbled to the bench and I was yelling for the trainers: ‘It’s broken, it’s broken! I can’t move, it’s 100 percent broken!’ My whole foot just went numb. I thought it was at the time. I don’t think I missed a shift. I got back and I mean, it hurt, but it must have just hit a nerve or something. Guys gave it to me for that one for a while.”

- The Oilers entered the weekend 3 points out of a playoff spot (18-14-2). No wonder Connor McDavid was all but offering to pick up Evander Kane from the airport.

General manager Ken Holland turned heads around the league when, during a news conference, he balked at trading a first-round pick for a rental.

“I think the answer is in that locker room,” Holland said. “Why would I trade a first-round pick or one of our top prospects to have somebody give us a little bit of a boost, then next year we have a press conference and you’re asking me about secondary scoring again . . . the depth has to be built internally.”

more

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Is It Really An All-Star Game?

from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,

A quick mix of the things we gleaned from the week of hockey, serious and less so, and rolling four lines deep. Nothing to see here. Just a lil dancing.

1. I vividly remember Leo Komarov lonely sitting at his pod at the 2016 All-Star Media Day in Nashville, waiting for a crowd to form and questions that barely arrived. A couple local reporters and the Maple Leafs’ own film crew dutifully spoke with him. But the swarms went elsewhere, and he left the room early.

I write this not to shame Uncle Leo. He’s a helluva character, a beauty quote, and was a terrific role player in his prime. What he was not, however, is an NHL all-star. But it didn’t matter that the Leafs were in blatant tank mode that season.

In Gary Bettman’s circus of parity, every team must send an all-star rep.

In 2022, we have Arizona’s Clayton Keller (tied for 75th in scoring) awarded his second appearance and Montreal’s Nick Suzuki (tied for 159th) awarded his first.

Again, nothing against these talented athletes. But Keller’s all-star debut was made during (checks notes) a 14-goal season. Nazem Kadri

In other words, we get where Nathan MacKinnon is coming from.

“It’s silly,” MacKinnon said, twice. “It's silly. I don't think every team should send a guy. I think it's a silly rule that we have. It's an all-star game; it's not a participation game. Naz is [fifth] in scoring in the NHL, and he's got to get voted in still. So, I don't think that's right.”

continued

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NHL Short Notes

* The Panthers and Wild each scored seven goals for the third time this season en route to wins on home ice. Only the Avalanche (7), who extended a trio of streaks Friday, have more seven-goal performances in 2021-22.

* Saturday is lining up to be the busiest day so far in 2022, with 13 games scheduled over 13 hours, beginning with two contests at 1 p.m. ET and featuring a Hockey Night in Canada doubleheader.

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Video- Ross Johnston Suspended Three Games

NEW YORK (Jan. 14, 2022) – New York Islanders forward Ross Johnston has been suspended for three games, without pay, for an illegal check to the head of New Jersey Devils forward A.J. Greer during NHL Game No. 653 in New York on Thursday, Jan. 13, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 3:07 of the first period. Johnston was assessed a minor penalty for illegal check to the head.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Johnston will forfeit $15,000.00. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.


Watch below.

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KK- Success!

$12,130

To all who have donated, to all who have provided support with motivating words. THANK YOU.

More later, time for me to take a deep breath.

note, original post was on 1/13/22 at 2:09pm, I have removed the sticky for this post and it will start moving down.

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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