Kukla's Korner Hockey
No call, two minutes or a penalty shot?
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
The fact Valeri Nichushkin is the first 18-year-old to play for the Stars since the franchise moved to Dallas in 1993 tells you he’s different.
The fact he’s the first Stars rookie to score four points in a game since Jere Lehtinen did it in 1996 tells you he’s gifted.
The fact teammates believe he’s only scratching the surface of his potential tells you he’s special. Maybe very special.
“Val’s play continues to grow. For me that’s really important,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said after Nichushkin had a goal and three assists in a 5-1 win over Philadelphia on Saturday. “He made a couple of really good plays on those goals, and physically, he’s been dominating some battles.”
Nichushkin learned the game on Russia’s bigger rinks and only started playing in North America this season. That might have been a factor in his being held to two points and a minus-3 in his first 12 games. Since then, he has 13 points and is plus-12 in the past 15 games.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
- Welcome news for the Detroit Red Wings: Centre Pavel Datsyuk is scheduled to return to the lineup Tuesday for the second of back-to-back games against the Florida Panthers. The Red Wings lost the first to Florida, which left them with just five home victories in their first 17 appearances at Joe Louis Arena, with six losses coming in regulation and six others in overtime. Datysuk has missed seven games with a concussion. With Henrik Zetterberg sidelined at least two weeks with a herniated disc in his back, the Red Wings need all the offence they can get. They’re still waiting for a meaningful contribution from the ex-Panther, Stephen Weiss, brought in as a free agent to provide offence and stuck with just four points in 25 games. The fit just looks awful right now
- Anaheim went on the road and won two big games back-to-back against Central Division powers Chicago and St. Louis. Ryan Getzlaf continues to produce goals at a record pace and defenceman Francois Beauchemin, out for the past eight games with an upper body injury, is about a week away from returning.
- The Islanders play the Ducks Monday and with every successive loss – it’s eight in a row after a 3-0 blanking by the Kings Saturday – the pressure mounts on coach Jack Capuano. The Islanders have won just four of 19 since general manager Garth Snow sacrificed first- and second-round picks along with Matt Moulson to rent Thomas Vanek for the rest of the season. If Capuano doesn’t survive, the candidates to replace him reportedly include former Flyers’ coach Peter Laviolette (who previously coached the Islanders a decade ago) and former Leafs’ coach Paul Maurice, currently between gigs after coaching in Russia last season.
Duhatschek also writes about Jarome Iginla returning to Calgary,
Even if it is the holiday season, and he is going home for the holidays in a way, Jarome Iginla will tell you: He isn’t an overly sentimental sort.
As a result, he likely won’t be shedding tears on Tuesday night when the popular former member of the Flames makes his much anticipated return to Calgary as a member of the Boston Bruins. “Although,” says Iginla, with his familiar laugh echoing over the long-distance telephone line, “I guess you never know.”
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
- In New Jersey on the Winnipeg Jets’ recent road trip, Evander Kane had to be dragged out by a team public-relations representative to speak to the media after getting the winning goal, his first goal since late October, and offered up two-word or one-sentence answers, then walked away. Is this diva ever going to grow up?
- Teemu Selanne’s farewell tour is soup for the soul, seeing the classy first-ballot Hall of Famer for the last time in lots of rinks, but Selanne finally looks human at 43. He can still skate, but he has three goals in 24 Anaheim Ducks games, and he’s playing the fewest minutes of his career, an average of 14 per game. Against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, he didn’t get on the ice 4-on-4 in OT and had just 15 shifts in 65 minutes.
- I keep thinking the Ottawa Senators will unload forward Milan Michalek, who is having a miserable year (four goals, minus-13) to the Phoenix Coyotes, with whom Milan would be with his brother, Zbynek, in exchange for a young defenceman and a different type of forward. Milan was traded for Dany Heatley. Now, neither can’t score.
Also from Matheson,
Oliver Ekman-Larsson is the best defenceman nobody knows.
He belongs in the same grouping as Ryan Suter and Duncan Keith, Shea Weber and Zdeno Chara. Drew Doughty and Alex Pietrangelo. But the Coyotes blueliner toils in one of the NHL’s outposts in Phoenix, not in Toronto, New York, Montreal or Chicago, where almost nobody sees him on national TV.
But while the 22-year-old Swede might be well under many NHL fans’ radars, he’s well-known to other players.
from David Pollak of the Mercury News,
The Sharks were denied a win over the Winnipeg Jets on Nov. 10 when an overtime goal by Marleau was waived off by a referee who said Tommy Wingels made incidental contact with netminder Ondrej Pavalec.
But when Parise fired in a rebound at 3:55 of the second period to give the Wild a 1-0 lead, the goal was allowed to stand even after Minnesota forward Jason Pominville fell on Niemi.
"Completely different interpretation of what was explained to me in Winnipeg," McLellan said of the response he got after complaining about the goal. "I'll be looking for an explanation before we lose our third point now."
Niemi said he expected that goal to be disallowed.
"Yeah I think I was bumped. I'm not sure where it happened or if they did it on purpose or not, but it affected the play, for sure," said Niemi, who added that the official told him he was outside the crease at the time -- something that usually isn't a factor.
more on the game and watch the Parise goal below...
via the NHL,
Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf will have a hearing Tuesday morning with the NHL's Department of Player safety for a hit on Boston Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller during a game Sunday night at Air Canada Centre.
The incident occurred at the 17:39 mark of the third period when Phaneuf struck Miller in the back near the end boards in the Boston end. Miller left the game and did not return.
There was no penalty called on the play.
The following grounds are being considered for supplemental discipline: boarding. However, the Department of Player Safety retains the right to make adjustments to the infraction upon review.
Looks like a groin strain to me...
via Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
While this season looks like an out-of-body experience for Alex Steen (20 goals and 32 points and plus 13), St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock says this is no one-off.
He’s the real thing, and the Blues have to resign him for, say, five years at between $5.5 million and $6 million a season. He’s UFA.
“Steen is the closest thing I’ve seen to Jere Lehtinen in the last 15 years,” said Hitchcock, who had the gifted winger Lehtinen on his 1999 Cup team in Dallas.
“He’s hard on every puck, he plays against the other team’s best players, kills penalties when we’re down two men with David Backes.”
He’s a prime Selke contender as best two-way forward.
from Frank Seravalli of Grequent Flyers,
Vinny Lecavalier underwent an x-ray in Dallas, and the Flyers didn’t like what the images showed.
So, they shipped Lecavalier back to Philadelphia yesterday to undergo an MRI and have the results read by a team physician. They were equally discouraging.
Lecavalier will miss at least the next three to four weeks with a non-displaced fracture in his lower-back, according to Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren. The injury was suffered late in the third period against Nashville on Nov. 30.
If you missed the play of Staal being hurt, you can watch it here...
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.
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