Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants,
McDonagh suffered a concussion when he was hit by the Flyers’ Wayne Simmonds with a gloved punch to his jaw at 10:36 of the first period of the Rangers’ 3-2 shootout win at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday afternoon. Simmonds received a match penalty and a game misconduct.
But coach Alain Vigneault was livid that the NHL did not issue supplemental discipline, either for the “sucker-punch” or for Simmonds throwing his stick towards the on-ice officials.
“I had a feeling he had a concussion,” Vigneault said. “We weren’t 100 percent sure. He had some symptoms.
“What I didn’t expect was the reaction from the league. An All-Star player gets sucker-punched, goes down. I wonder if that’s (Sidney) Crosby, what happens? What are the consequences? And, on top of that, a player breaks his stick, throws it at the referees. In the rulebook, that’s automatic. It’s three games. Nothingg happens. It’s not even on the sheet after the game.
“And the referee came to me and I said, ‘Am I getting a power play here?’ and he said, ‘No, he’s getting a game misconduct for throwing his stick at us,’” Vigneault continued. “And it’s not on the sheet. I think maybe you guys (the media) should call the league and find out what happened because obviously we’re getting different answers.”
If you want to review the play, watch below.
NEW YORK – Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson and Florida Panthers center Vincent Trocheck have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Feb. 7.
ANOTHER MILESTONE FOR OVECHKIN
Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored his 30th goal of the season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Ovechkin became the third player in NHL history to score 30 or more goals in each of his first 11 seasons, joining Mike Gartner (15 seasons) and Wayne Gretzky (13 seasons).
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Okay now that the Super Bowl (that was super?) is over, we can turn our full attention to the stretch run and the trade deadline, which is only three weeks away. I'm looking forward to Monday's Anaheim Ducks-Pittsburgh Penguins tilt in Pittsburgh, a homecoming for the Ducks' sterling still-rookie netminder.
These teams made an interesting swap recently, with the under-performing David Perron heading to Anaheim and Carl Hagelin becoming a Penguin after simply not fitting in with Bruce Boudreau's Ducks. Both have played well since, especially Perron, who has three goals and five assists in seven games as a Duck. Hagelin, playing often with Evgeni Malkin (who missed games on the weekend with injury) and Phil Kessel, has five assists in eight games. Bottom line, though, is both teams are thriving now after struggling through miserable first halves.
The Ducks have won six in a row and are a point behind San Jose for second place in the Pacific. The Pens, meanwhile, hold down the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference and are on a 7-2-2 run, putting them just a point behind an up and down New York Islanders team who sit third in the Metropolitan Division.
So, are both these teams locks to make the playoffs now? Could both the Pens and Ducks significant playoff runs? What say you?
read on for more views on this topic fromt the ESPN hockey guys...
from Dan Steinberg of DC Sports Bog,
“I don’t see another team in the Eastern Conference — right now, based on how they’ve played — that can beat them in a seven-game series,” said the NHL Network’s Kevin Weekes.
Or ask some of the league’s best players and coaches what they think about the Capitals.
“One mistake and it’s in the back of our net, and then boom, they just take off,” said Buffalo’s Ryan O’Reilly.
“They’re a scary team, when you can almost kind of score at will like that,” said Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop.
“The Caps are outstanding,” added Florida Coach Gerard Gallant. “I mean, they’re obviously a favorite to win the Cup right now.”
These are strange times for a franchise that’s spent the past decade, if not most of its existence, fighting for national recognition and praise. It’s never been hard to find skeptics eager to dismiss Washington’s style of play, its coaching acumen, its Russian captain or its playoff pedigree. Often it felt like the later winter months offered a direct challenge to the Caps from the league: We do not believe in you, the league said. See if you can prove us wrong.
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Journal,
They’ve been outscored 13-2 in their last two games after an equally miserable 5-1 stink bomb Saturday in Montreal, and any illusion they had of playing a meaningful game between now and the end of the season on April 9 is over....
The two-game run over Columbus and Ottawa that generated so much positive energy in Edmonton? It can safely be dismissed now as a fluke. And a bandwagon that had accelerated from zero to 60 in a matter of two games is now abandoned on the street corner, up on blocks, leaking oil and not even worth stealing and stripping down for parts.
“We have to be better than that, that’s all,” said Connor McDavid, who has a better understanding today of why the Oilers win so many lotteries. “That’s not how you want to respond after two good wins like that, with two big losses.
“We came in feeling pretty good about ourselves and I think we maybe let the high go a little too high, got a little complacent, a little cocky maybe. And that’s what you get for doing that. Two not very good games. We have to respond.”
They responded to looking distracted in Montreal by looking entirely disinterested in New York. In towns where focus is key, the Oilers had little.
“In my opinion, we weren’t focused, we weren’t ready,” said veteran Matt Hendricks. “The structure in our game went out the window. That’s about it, not a lot of excuses.”
Extended game highlights are below...
Highlights from the three NHL games played on Sunday.
from Aaron Portzline of Puck Rakers,
Given the Blue Jackets’ propensity to end “lost” seasons with strong finishes, this year’s marketing gimmick/slogan – “March With Us” – bears an unfortunate double entendre.
It was intended to be a call to fans, with a nod to the club’s Civil War nickname. But nobody does March quite like the Blue Jackets, and previous spring flings have served only to create false optimism and spoil draft picks.
(Maybe “October With Us” could be printed on t-shirts next fall?)
As this cynicism swirls around a club that has won one home playoff game in 15 seasons, the feeling in the Blue Jackets’ dressing room remains unchanged. You might say it remains professional.
The players and coaches won’t hear of tanking. In some cases, it angers them. With wins in four of their last five games – and points in five of their last six – the Blue Jackets believe their primed for a strong finish.
“All sports I think are always evolving but hockey’s so much different now, the pace of the game, the age of the players. When I came in the league there was third and fourth lines littered with 35- to 38-year-old guys. You had these old veterans on the team.
“Now it seems the opposite: They can’t wait to get these guys out.”
-Joffrey Lupul of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Much more from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet.
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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