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NHL Short Notes

PENGUINS SOLVE CAPITALS, NARROW GAP IN METROPOLITAN
Chris Kunitz posted 1-1—2, including what proved to be the game-winning goal, to help the Penguins defeat the Capitals for the first time this season (PIT: 1-3-0, WSH: 3-1-0) and extend their winning streak to three contests.
 
* At 35-17-9 (79 points), the No. 3 Penguins moved three points ahead of the No. 4 Capitals (33-19-10, 76 points) in the Metropolitan Division, where the top four teams are separated by six points:
 

 
* Kunitz snapped an 11-game drought with his first goal since Jan. 30 at NJD. It stood as his 39th career game-winning goal and fifth of the season – tied for the team lead with Blake Comeau.
 
* Evgeni Malkin (0-3—3) notched his 62nd career game with at least three points (fifth this season) and 25th career contest with at least three assists (first since Nov. 30, 2013 at FLA: 1-3—4).

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The Pittsburgh Penguins Need More Than Daniel Winnik

from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

So now what? This can't be it for the Penguins before the expiration of the NHL's trade deadline on Monday. Rutherford needs to add more, precious little cap space be cursed.

The Penguins need a second-pairing defenseman to play with Christian Ehrhoff. They also need to be prepared for not having Ehrhoff at all, because players returning from lengthy concussion absences always are risky bets to stay in the lineup.

More than anything, the Penguins must find some help for Evgeni Malkin, because he is their best hope for turning this postseason into something magical. No player, not even Sidney Crosby, is more capable of becoming an irresistible force than Malkin — the closest thing these Penguins have to a Mario Lemieux or Jaromir Jagr, because big, skilled players are built to shape postseason series.

Speaking of Jagr, Rutherford should stay on the watch for New Jersey's saltiest trade bait. Malkin sure sounded like somebody itching for the right winger when I brought up Jagr's name Tuesday.

“Yes,” Malkin said. “Of course. Yes. Jagr is great with (the) puck, still great at passing, still has (the) shot. You watch. He is still great. He would be great for us. Guys (would) see him work. He works hard every day. He makes big plays still. He wins. Yes.

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  Tags: daniel+winnik

The LA Kings Go All In

from Katie Strang of ESPN,

It sounds like Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi made several interesting comments on Wednesday's conference call following his acquisition of premier defensive trade target Andrej Sekera, but one stood out in particular. According to Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times, Lombardi indicated that the team's strong play recently prompted the move, saying "what they've accomplished and what they've fought through, it's almost like you owe it to them." I like this. It's Lombardi's way of acknowledging that, however sluggish their start and inconsistent their season has been, the team is all-in now, and he is, too.

Making the trade to upgrade the Kings' defense with Sekera is a strong statement that he believes in this team and what they are capable of, despite what their current record or spot in the standings suggest. Lombardi has won two Stanley Cup Championships since 2012 and he prides himself on an organization that he has tried to make feel like family. This sort of brazen confidence and steadfast faith he has shown in his club has paid off in the past. Can't blame him for going all-in again.

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

As I had written hours earlier in Rumblings, Lombardi and his management staff had agonized for weeks about the Slava Voynov situation as it pertains to their salary cap and potential trade deadline plans, but ultimately decided the risk involved in adding a player was smaller than the risk of not helping the team. If Voynov should be acquitted of domestic violence charges in his trial next month and somehow return as an active player, the Kings will just have to deal with a complicated salary cap situation when it arises.

For now, it's full-steam ahead and the Kings just acquired the top rental blue-liner on the trade market. They paid a hefty price -- a first-round pick in a deep draft this year (if Kings make playoffs it's a 2015 pick, if not it's 2016) -- but the Kings' window to win won't be open forever.

Interestingly, I spoke with a Hurricanes source who figured the team hopes the Kings make the playoffs so the pick is theirs this June, not only because it's a deeper draft, but also because the Kings aren't that high in the standings right now and should be better next season, which would drive a potential 2016 pick further down in the first round.

more topics include Patrick Kane/Blackhawks...

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Leafs’ Future Leader In Waiting- Nazem Kadri

from Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star,

The word “future” carries more meaning to Nazem Kadri now than the immediate concern of signing a long-term deal with the Leafs.

Kadri and his agents remain in talks with the Leafs regarding a new contract, and if those talks finish with a multi-year extension, they will bear an added responsibility for the 24-year-old centre — leadership.

In fact, leadership has been a mixed bag for the Leafs over the past few seasons, and it wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to put Kadri in line for a role as an assistant or even team captain if he signs long term in Toronto.

“It’s something you think about a bit right now,” Kadri said as the Leafs wrapped up a third straight day of practice Wednesday in preparation for Thursday’s home game against the Flyers.

“Being a young guy, you want to take steps in the right direction. I’ve had that (leadership) role before in junior, so if it comes, I hope I’m in the right shoes to do it.”

continued

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  Tags: nazem+kadri

The Equipment Manager At The Trade Deadline

from Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic,

With the Coyotes falling into the "sellers" category at this year's trade deadline, which expires at 1 p.m. Arizona time Monday, the team could once again be busy in reshaping the roster. That, undoubtedly, creates uneasiness for players, but it's also a trying time for the equipment staff.

During any road trip, the team carries three-to-four blank jerseys and a kit of letters and numbers should they need to be sewn on the jersey. The Coyotes also have jerseys with them for every player from their American Hockey League affiliate in case any one of them gets recalled while on the road.

Wilson prefers to have jerseys for new players crested at the shop the Coyotes have used since the franchise relocated to the Valley in 1996, Artcraft Sports Apparel. And when a new nameplate is needed, he has AlphaGraphics whip one up for him.

If both can arrive the next day, great. But same-day courier service is a possibility, Wilson said.

A traded player will arrive with his own sticks, skates and underneath gear but requires new gloves and a helmet that reflect team colors.

Wilson carries the most popular brands, but he'll have equipment shipped to wherever the team is if a player uses something different — a list of which is swapped between equipment managers once the trade is consummated.

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Video- Recap Of The Three NHL Games On Wednesday

It will take you 2 1/2 minutes to watch the highlights.

 

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Flames lose Giordano to…shoulder injury?

From Sportsnet's Jeff Simmons:

Calgary Flames defenceman Mark Giordano suffered an undisclosed injury in the final seconds of Wednesday’s game when he was knocked down to the ice awkwardly by New Jersey Devils forward Steve Bernier.

Giordano headed right to the dressing room after T.J. Brodie helped seal a 3-1 victory for Calgary with a shorthanded empty-net goal.

It looks...weird...

From NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale's recap:

The Flames received a scare at the end of the game when captain Mark Giordano, who scored his 48th point on an assist, appeared to sustain an injury in the final seconds after getting tangled in the stick of Devils forward Steve Bernier.

Flames coach Bob Hartley said Giordano would be re-evaluated on Thursday. The defenseman was walking and moving in the locker room at the end of the game.

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  Tags: bob+hartley, calgary+flames, mark+giordano, new+jersey+devils

Video- Battle At The Bench, Pittsburgh And Washington

Resulted in four roughing penalties, two to each side.

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

What Will It Take To Get Jeff Petry?

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

With the defending Cup champion Los Angeles Kings giving up a first-round draft pick in 2015 and a blue-chip prospect to acquire solid Carolina Hurricanes defenceman Andrej Sekera, the gauntlet has been thrown down at the feet of their rival, the Anaheim Ducks.

Can Edmonton Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish squeeze a first-rounder out of the Ducks now for Jeff Petry? Maybe.

Petry is the best available rental defenceman on the board now, unless you are a Zbynek Michalek fan from Arizona, and the dominoes usually start to fall in the West when one Cup threat makes a bold move.

Montreal, Detroit, Tampa, Washington, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and the Ducks are all looking for one more defenceman, and Sekera, 28, who plays hard and can make a good first pass and might sign with L.A. after the season, may have set the price for rental defencemen.

The feeling has long been that the Oilers were looking for a second-round pick and a solid blue-line prospect for teams, but maybe Sekera has changed MacTavish’s game plan somewhat. 

continued

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  Tags: jeff+petry

Video- Darren Dreger Talks Trade Deadline

Darren Dreger was on the NHL Network today and discussed the future of Jaromir Jagr, the Blackhawks without Patrick Kane and the Boston Bruins.

The next topic was James Wisniewski and will he be moved and then Dreger talked about UFA goaltender Matt O'Connor from Boston University.

Watch below...

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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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