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NHL Short Notes

THREE HARD LAPS

* After the Coyotes erased a 3-0 third-period deficit, the NHL has featured a comeback win of three-plus goals in three consecutive days for the fifth time in League history.

Mats Zuccarello and the Minnesota offense continued to roll, scoring at least five goals for the third straight game.

Brothers Matthew Tkachuk and Brady Tkachuk are set to go head-to-head for the first time this season when the Flames and Senators clash at Canadian Tire Centre.

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Video- Mike Babcock On His Past

via Sportsnet's YouTube page,

Mike Babcock sat down for The Big Picture and talked about his past as a coach in the NHL, clearing the air about a few incidents with players that have come up over the past few months.

 

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Video- Goals Of The Week

You guessed it, five minutes to watch.

 

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Coaching Change In Montreal

MONTREAL - Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced on Wednesday that head coach Claude Julien and associate coach Kirk Muller were relieved of their coaching duties with the Canadiens earlier today.

The organization also announced having promoted Dominique Ducharme as interim head coach in addition to the appointment of Alex Burrows to the Canadiens' coaching staff. Luke Richardson and Stéphane Waite retain their respective duties within the coaching group.

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A Backup Goalie Needed In Denver

from Mike Chambers of the Denver Post,

The Avalanche enters the most strenuous part of its condensed schedule somewhat thin at the position. Colorado completes this month with consecutive games Friday and Saturday at the Arizona Coyotes, then plays 17 games in 31 days of March.

Goalie Philipp Grubauer, who is among the NHL leaders in wins (nine), goals-against average (1.78) and save percentage (.932), could conceivably play every game if he remains healthy. But the Avs surely won’t allow that to happen. Taxing Grubauer at this time of the regular season is simply not an option, and it appears backup Pavel Francouz will remain on long-term injury reserve (LTIR) for the foreseeable future — if not the entire season.

“Francouz .. he’s out indefinitely. It’s going to be long-term,” Avs coach Jared Bednar told me.

Francouz, who has not played this season, has put a giant crack in the Avs’ armor. Every hockey team needs two capable goalies — particularly this year in the NHL — and Colorado isn’t deep and highly unproven behind its top two.

So what are the Avs’ options? If they don’t trade for an experienced goalie, they have no proven option.

read on

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Is Coaching An Issue For The Montreal Canadiens?

After a 5-4 shootout loss to Ottawa,

from Eric Engels of Sportsnet,

Some numbers for you, none of them flattering for the Montreal Canadiens:

One, as in one power-play goal for the Canadiens in their last 21 attempts. Two, as in two consecutive Canadiens losses to the Ottawa Senators, who are bringing up the rear of the all-Canadian North Division. Three, as in three Canadiens losses in four games against those pesky Sens. Four, as in the minimum amount of penalties the Canadiens take per game. Five, as in five Canadiens losses in the last six games. Six, as in six Canadiens losses in their last eight games.

Here’s a big one: 69.5, as in millions. That’s what Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin paid out to Joel Edmundson, Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffoli to fill three of four needs he had identified going into the off-season. This was after he addressed his most pressing one with the acquisition of backup Jake Allen and just before he solidified the bottom end of the roster with Stanley Cup winners Corey Perry and Michael Frolik.

I might be the world’s worst mathematician, but even I can see this adds up to head coach Claude Julien’s job being in jeopardy. If you think the GM is going to sit on his hands while his team slips further away from an inspiring 7-1-2 start to the season, think again.

Internal expectations were high to begin with, with owner Geoff Molson and Bergevin saying the Canadiens had everything they needed to be a playoff team this year. They were kicked up a notch or two with a season-opening 4-0-2 road trip. And we doubt they’ve dropped off despite this recent skid from first to barely clinging to fourth in the division with a 9-5-4 record.

So the most pertinent question now is, how much time does Julien have left?

continued

Watch the game highlights below.

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Playoff Chances Continue To Sink For The Vancouver Canucks

from Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet,

Watching the Vancouver Canucks trying to win hockey games is like watching a drowning man trying to swim. Towards a school of piranhas, backed by sharks. With his pockets full of rocks.

The Canucks keep flailing on the surface. But whenever it looks like maybe they’ll actually get back to dry land, they suddenly make a U-turn and head towards deeper water and the hungry carnivores. It’s painful to watch, torturous.

With two wins in eight games – and this has been the “good” stretch of their season – the Canucks had a three-goal lead Tuesday against the Edmonton Oilers. What could go wrong? Everything we’ve already seen go wrong this season.

The gave up a goal late in the first period, a shot from Oiler Dominik Kahun that dribbled through goalie Thatcher Demko shortly after a Brock Boeser turnover, to make it 3-1. And honestly, it felt like the start of another loss. Forty-one minutes from victory may as well have been 41 miles from shore.

The Canucks looked nervy, terrified. So crisp and confident with the puck in the first 18 minutes, they suddenly struggled to make passes, couldn’t get out of their zone, could make a simple play quickly. The biggest surprise is that it took until the third period for them to go under again, as Edmonton scored three more goals to beat Vancouver 4-3 at Rogers Arena.

continued

Game highlights are below.

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NHL Short Notes

THREE HARD LAPS

* Senators youth continued to score goals as Ottawa edged Montreal for the second time in a three-day span.
 
* The Oilers rallied for a rare comeback victory over the Canucks and extended their road win streak to five games, the longest active run in the NHL.

Los Angeles looks to extend its win streak to six contests, with veterans leading the way through the Kings’ current five-game run.

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Watching Saturday’s Outdoor Game

from Anthomy Crupi at Yahoo,

Intense sunshine and deteriorating ice conditions effectively robbed the NHL of some one million TV impressions, as Saturday’s outdoor game in Lake Tahoe couldn’t hold up under the strain of an eight-hour delay.

According to Nielsen data, NBC’s broadcast of the first period of the Colorado Avalanche-Las Vegas Golden Knights game averaged 1.36 million viewers and a 0.8 household rating before the bright winter sun turned the makeshift rink into a giant Slush Puppie. Play was halted at 12:55 p.m. PT, and by the time the ice was fit to play on again, it was two minutes past midnight on the East Coast and the action had shifted from NBC to its cable sibling NBCSN.

The remaining two periods averaged 361,000 viewers, or 995,000 fewer fans than were tuned in when the puck dropped the previous afternoon. The Avalanche won 3-2.

continued

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Thoughts On Hockey

from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,

- Seeing Paul Byron (two more years, $6.8 million in cash) and Adam Henrique (three more years, $17.5 million) clear waivers sends two very clear messages. First, there aren’t many teams interested in taking on money. Second, this summer will not be a bonanza — don’t bet on a free-agent windfall.

- In 2019–20, there were 175 Professional Hockey Writers Association voters for the Hart, Norris, Calder, Selke and Byng: 88 from the United States; 82 from Canada; four from Sweden; and one from Finland. The issue this season is everyone’s primarily watching their own division. The voter list will change here and there, but using last season’s numbers: 82 Canada (I threw all of the Canadian-based national reporters and broadcasters in here), 36 East, 20 Central, 18 West, five Europe. There are also 15 U.S.-based broadcasters/reporters who don’t fit neatly into a divisional box.

In short, there’s a Canadian numerical advantage....

- I believe this about Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: He wants to be an Oiler. Edmonton wants to keep him. When you have that foundation, you’re in a good place. The biggest challenge: The economic landscape is recovering slower than everyone hoped.

- According to multiple sources, a lot of the dispute between the Coyotes and former associate GM Steve Sullivan was about specific duties outlined in his contract. They were asking him to do things he felt were not in his responsibilities. They fired him for cause and he’s going to fight it.

- There were reports out of Russia last week about Chicago and Detroit chasing soon-to-be 27-year-old right winger Damir Zhafyarov from KHL Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod. They might be the most aggressive, but aren’t the only ones. He’s third in league scoring, with 59 points in 56 games.

more Thoughts...

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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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