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BRUINS’ JULIEN, SHARKS’ McLELLAN WILL SERVE AS ALL-STAR HEAD COACHES

NEW YORK (Jan. 10, 2009)—Under the selection process for All-Star coaches, the head coach and assistant coach for the Eastern Conference All-Stars are the head coaches of the two teams with the top points percentages in the Eastern Conference through games of tonight, the halfway point of the 2008-09 regular season. The head coach and assistant coach of the Western Conference All-Stars are the head coaches of the two teams with the best points percentages in the Western Conference.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: all-star+game

Sundin Working To Get In Game Shape

from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,

“It felt like its the second game of the season, you know. I didn’t expect to feel any different than I have these first two games,” said Sundin, interrupting a post-game bicycle workout to accommodate the media in the hallway.

“There’s still a lot of work to do, in terms of timing and all that. There’s going to be a lot of ups and downs as we go along, but it’s nice in a way to get a chance to play right away again [tonight, against San Jose.]”

“It is going to take time, and we’re going to be talking about this for a while,” said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault. “There’s a reason why training camps are three weeks minimum, and it’s to get in game alertness, game shape, game speed, game execution—and Mats doesn’t have that.

“He’s been working extremely hard, and we hope that he’s going to be able to reach the pace of the NHL in a reasonable amount of time.”

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  Tags: mats+sundin

Cheechoo Has Lost His Scoring Touch

from Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun,

“We’ve tried different things with Cheech,” said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. “We’ve tried to play him in that (first-line) situation, we’ve tried to take pressure off of him as a scorer.”

Following his breakout campaign, the native of Moose Factory, Ont., had a respectable 37 goals the following season. Last year, he scored 23.

The way things are going, Cheechoo will be hard pressed to break the 20-goal barrier this season.

“One of the road blocks is perhaps is the fact that he scored 56 goals,” McLellan said. “The microscope is on him night in and night out. Perhaps if he had only scored 35, we’d be somewhat happy with his impact on the game right now. But the fact that he has scored 56 and everyone is aware of it, makes it a little tougher for him.”

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  Tags: jonathan+cheechoo

One Rule Change Means More Power Play Goals

from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,

It was a rule change that came with little fanfare, one that has been barely noticeable to some fans.

But the effect on scoring is indisputable – having the faceoff after a penalty is called in the defensive zone of the penalized team has led to more power-play goals.

As the NHL heads today to its official halfway mark – game 615 of the scheduled 1,230 is Pittsburgh vs. Colorado – power-play effectiveness across the league is up.

On average, teams are scoring 18.6 per cent of the time they have a man advantage, a marked jump over the last three seasons – 17.7 per cent efficiency – and the 16.5 per cent in 2003-04. If the pace keeps, teams will score about 100 more power-play goals this season.

“We have found this rule change to be a very positive influence,” said Mike Murphy, the league’s senior vice-president of hockey operations. “Players feel it’s a huge advantage for the power play and a difficult play for the penalty killers.”

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Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

When Steve Sullivan Last Played…

from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,

On the fateful night of Feb. 22, 2007, Sullivan, during a contest against the Montreal Canadiens, felt every muscle in his back seize up, an ailment that would keep him out of action for almost two years.

At that time:

- Marian Hossa was an Atlanta Thrasher, Scott Gomez a New Jersey Devil, Chris Drury a Buffalo Sabre and Mats Sundin a Toronto Maple Leaf.

- The Nashville goalies were Tomas Vokoun and Chris Mason. Vokoun now is a Florida Panther while Mason plays for the St. Louis Blues.

- Brian Burke was en route to leading the Anaheim Ducks to a Stanley Cup while then-Vancouver Canucks GM David Nonis was being complimented for his off-season acquisition, Roberto Luongo. Today, Burke and Nonis are in charge of rebuilding the bumbling Leafs.

- The Ottawa Senators were on their way to a berth in the final, not scraping the bottom of the NHL barrel.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steve+sullivan

Tops Stars Need To Perform Better

from Tracey Myers of the Star-Telegram,

The Dallas Stars’ loss in Detroit was embarrassing and ugly. That’s frustrating enough to coach Dave Tippett; but worse was how some of the Stars’ top stars played. That, for him, was unacceptable….

“The difference between Detroit’s top players and our top players wasn’t even close,” Tippett said on Friday, which the Stars spent meeting about Thursday’s debacle.

Tippett compared the Stars centers’ outings to that of Detroit centers Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, who each finished with a goal and an assist.

“Datsyuk and Zetterberg, what they did in the game and what Ribeiro and Richards did, it’s just a ways to go,” he said. “It’s very disturbing. The people you rely on to make a difference just don’t.”

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Not A Good Night For Edmonton

from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,

First Sheldon Souray left the game in the second period and didn’t return for the third. The Oilers would only describe it as an upper body injury. Edmonton’s best defenceman joins their best forward, Ales Hemsky, in the training room.

Then as the Oilers were out looking for bear in the third period, Zack Stortini fell awkwardly to the ice in a fight with Brad Staubitz and appeared to suffer a badly broken leg.

The video replay, which resembled Joe Theismann’s famous injury, brought groans of horror from the crowd at Rexall Place, and was only shown once.

more and watch the high quality video below…

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: zack+stortini

Grabovski vs. Kostitsyn

from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,

The 24-year-old Belarus-raised native of Potsdam, East Germany, was suspended an automatic three games yesterday by the NHL for abuse of an official. Grabovski tussled with linesman Scott Cherrey in his overzealous effort to get at Canadiens’ Sergei Kostitsyn.

The players never managed to dance, despite their best efforts, and both were handed misconducts for their vigorous efforts. Grabovski was given a game misconduct as a bonus.

There is bad blood between these two, litres of it. Apparently it has to do with Kostitsyn’s distaste for things Grabovski is alleged to have said about himself and his brother, Andrei, to Russia’s sensation-seeking sports media.

(Ask Alex Kovalev about that.) But a feud needn’t be based on anything, of course, and it seems that before theirs is done, these two are bound to change their names to Hatfield and McCoy.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mikhail+grabovski, sergei+kostitsyn

Phaneuf Hasn’t Reached The Next Level

from Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun,

From Norris Trophy finalist to all-star game absentee.

That’s not exactly the career path envisioned for Calgary Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf.

People think he’s taken a step back this season.

Really, he just hasn’t taken a step forward….

His minus-8 rating is a bigger concern than the paltry goal total. The only other active Flames defenceman who has a negative plus-minus is Adrian Aucoin at negative one. Some are calling Phaneuf the Tony Romo of the NHL.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dion+phaneuf

No Offense, But No Offense

from Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune,

Other than Owen Nolan, it’s now the Wild’s minute-munching forwards who are offering no offense.

Mikko Koivu has one goal and seven assists in the past 15 games. Andrew Brunette has one goal and three assists in the past 16. Pierre-Marc Bouchard has two goals and six assists in the past 17. Eric Belanger has one goal and four assists in his past 15. Antti Miettinen has one goal and two assists in the past 13.

It’s no wonder that in the Wild’s past 16 games, it has scored 27 goals (1.68 a game). In the 30-team NHL, it ranks 29th with 2.38 goals per game.

“The top guys, sometimes they do [squeeze their sticks], but other times—a lot of times—it’s execution that has to be better,” coach Jacques Lemaire said. “We’ve got to work on execution—hitting the net or feeding the right guy so we can get that goal.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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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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