Kukla's Korner Hockey
Evgeni Malkin's 3rd goal in the 2nd period in tonight's game against the Washington Capitals.
from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,
John Tortorella began practice Monday tossing pucks to kids seated in the Nationwide Arena stands only to lob stern words at his Blue Jackets’ players about 20 minutes later.
The coach halted the session and demanded they pick up their pace. Tortorella urged them not to “lose your practice habits.”
“I think in the last little bit our pace has dipped,” Tortorella said. “It hasn’t been as consistent through the game . . . I think it’s a mental thing about staying on top of yourself as far as playing faster. As I’ve said, the league is going to be better, the league is going to be faster.”
The Blue Jackets (29-9-4) were among the NHL’s best stories in the season’s first half -- complete with a 16-game win streak. But such production doesn’t give clubs the right to hang banners or guarantee them home-ice advantage in the playoffs’ first round.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
After 1,500-plus games and more than half of his lifetime spent with the same National Hockey League organization, Shane Doan admitted on Monday that he would waive his no-movement clause for a chance to win a Stanley Cup elsewhere.
“It would have to be so perfect, so right. It’s pretty hard for it all to line up perfectly,” he cautioned. Doan admitted that, at age 40 and on an Arizona Coyotes team that isn’t going to make the playoffs, he’d sign off on a deal if it were to a team he thought could cap his career with his first trip to a Stanley Cup Final.
The only problem? Which team to choose?
“That’s kind of the issue,” said Doan. “Last year, no one would have picked San Jose and Pittsburgh to be playing in the Cup Final. Afterwards you’d say … they’re both great teams. But no one was picking them [at the March trade deadline]. They were picking Washington and Chicago.
from Sam Carchidi of Philly.com,
On Dec. 14, they had a 10-game winning streak and were the NHL's hottest team. They were This Is Us in the ratings.
Since then, they have lost 11 of 14, and their playoff chances are diminishing by the day.
They repeatedly say the problem is simple: They haven't been playing a full 60 minutes, that they take a period off.
But then they go out and, well, take a period off, such as the embarrassing third stanza in their 5-0 loss Sunday in Washington.
They say if they play a full 60, they will get back to their form from a month ago. Back then, they could do no wrong; they were proud of their streak and didn't want it to end. They played hard every shift, knowing the streak was on the line, knowing it had made them the talk of the hockey world and had given them an identity.
Four weeks later, the Flyers' identity may turn into this: They could become the first team in NHL history to miss the playoffs after a regular season in which they had a 10-game winning streak.
NEW YORK (Jan. 16, 2017) – Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom, Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand and Carolina Hurricanes left wing Brock McGinn have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Jan. 15.
3 1/2 minutes of slow motion action from the past week in the NHL.
from Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post,
In his past five starts, Braden Holtby is undefeated with a 0.60 goals-against average and a 0.978 save percentage. Grubauer didn’t allow for any drop off on Sunday, especially in the first two periods when the rest of his teammates were sleepwalking through the game.
“Our goalie seemed to be not letting anything in,” Justin Williams said. “It’s always nice.”...
The Capitals have now had four shutouts in their past six games, a key to their nine-game winning streak. Holtby’s run has rightfully been garnering a lot of attention, but Grubauer has quietly put together an impressive season. He’s 8-1-1 with .935 save percentage and 1.74 goals-against average this season. He’ll be a restricted free agent at the end of the season and due for a pay raise.
Home Team in Caps
WASHINGTON 5, Philadelphia 0
New Jersey 2, VANCOUVER 1 (OT)
Minnesota 3, CHICAGO 2
St. Louis 2, ANAHEIM 1 (OT)
CAPITALS CRUISE TO NINTH CONSECUTIVE VICTORY, FIRST PLACE IN NHL
Justin Williams (2-0—2) and Matt Niskanen (2-0—2) combined for four goals in a span of five minutes as the Capitals posted their second straight shutout and ninth consecutive win overall to move into first place in the NHL standings.
* At 29-9-5 (63 points), the reigning Presidents’ Trophy-winning Capitals moved one point ahead of the Blue Jackets (29-9-4, 62 points) for first place overall. On Jan. 5, Washington posted a 5-0 win against Columbus to halt the Blue Jackets’ win streak at 16 games, one shy of the NHL single-season record.
* Aside from the Capitals and Blue Jackets, two other clubs have posted win streaks of at least nine games this season: the Wild (Dec. 4-29: 12-0-0) and Flyers (Nov. 27-Dec. 14: 10-0-0).
* Elias notes that three teams (CBJ, PHI and WSH) from the same division have posted at least nine consecutive wins in the same season for just the second time in League history. The other instance occurred last season when the Canadiens (9-0-0), Lightning (9-0-0) and Panthers (12-0-0) combined for the feat.
* Phillip Grubauer (24 saves) recorded his second career shutout as Washington posted consecutive blank sheets for the second time in the past 10 days (6 GP). Elias notes that this is the first time in club history that the Capitals have recorded at least four shutouts in a six-game span.
* The Capitals also earned their sixth straight victory at Verizon Center to move into a share of the League lead with 18 home wins this season (tied w/ PIT).
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
When you have the greatest skater in hockey in Connor McDavid, you want to be able to give him the best ice in the National Hockey League upon which to perform.
“I’m sure as heck not going to argue with that,” said Bob Nicholson, CEO and vice-chairman of the Oilers Entertainment Group.
Perhaps you’ve noticed. He hasn’t had it.
They promised great ice in Rogers Place. Until recently, it hasn’t even been good ice.
Perhaps you’ve noticed something else. On some nights, the fans have been freezing in the finest facility in hockey.
Three games into a six-game road trip, Edmonton Oilers players are happy to be able to report improvement.
“It’s going in the right direction. From where it was in October to where it is now, there’s been real improvement. It’s become a lot better,” said Milan Lucic.
from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,
It was an epic fail. A botched call so egregious it calls the National Hockey League’s entire replay review process into question and the worst blown call you will see — until the next one.
It was the latest argument for sending the Toronto War Room the way of the dodo and bringing some kind of sanity to the way calls are made in the NHL, because this isn’t working.
By now, you’ve seen the replay 1,243 times and you’re as baffled as I am. At the 6:20 mark of the second period Saturday night, with the Rangers and Canadiens tied at 1-1, New York centreman Kevin Hayes blows in on Carey Price, tries a deke and is stopped on a pretty good save.
Hayes’s momentum carries him into Price’s pad and in a play I’ve never seen in 50 years watching hockey, he drags the goaltender four or five feet away from the net. With Price conveniently out of the net, Rick Nash whacks the puck into the net and the Rangers take a 2-1 lead.
Review the goal 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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