Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Buffalo News,
Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff hasn’t forgotten the version of Thomas Vanek that got benched in the playoffs last spring.
While the dynamic winger has been a revelation and is within yodeling distance of a 40-goal season, something rare in recent Sabres history, Ruff gave a sense he wouldn’t be impressed until he sees Vanek come through in crunch time.
Vanek finished last season tied for second on the Buffalo goal chart, but Ruff didn’t hesitate to bench the rookie in the playoffs because the passion level and a dedication to two-way play just weren’t there.
from the Miami Herald,
“It’s so frustrating because we worked so hard to make the playoffs,” said goalie Ed Belfour, who was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after showing up the officials by demonstrating a dive move to the lead referee.
“It’s frustrating to see the way the refs can control the outcome of a game like that. Down on the other end, two of our guys get blatantly tripped and they’re both watching, but they don’t call it. . . . But on the opposite side, their guy takes a dive and the hand goes up right away.
“I don’t know what this game is coming to, but it’s embarrassing. We’re trying to sell the game here in Florida and fans are frustrated. They don’t want to see that. They want to see us win and they want to see a fair game. It’s heartbreaking.”
from, Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Playing at a high level at 42, Hasek might change the way the league views age in a goaltender. The NHL might be looking differently at many aspects of playoff goaltending. Coaches are certainly more open to the idea of switching goalies in the postseason, and there doesn’t seem to be nearly as much fretting about the lack of playoff experience.
Of the 16 teams in playoff positions Sunday, five — the Tampa Bay Lightning (Marc Denis and Johan Holmqvist, Vancouver Canucks (Roberto Luongo), Atlanta Thrashers (Kari Lehtonen), Minnesota Wild (Niklas Backstrom) and Pittsburgh Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury) — will use goaltenders who have never played a postseason game.
read on and other NHL topics…
After last night’s Caps game…
from the Washington Post,
Afterward the players met for about 15 minutes behind closed doors. Although no one would divulge exactly what was said, when the meeting ended, all-star left wing Alex Ovechkin emerged from the locker room and smashed his stick repeatedly against the wall and a trash can until it broke into four pieces, according to those who witnessed the episode. Ovechkin’s iPod and headphones also were destroyed, crumpled in the hallway.
Ovechkin and Semin, who are close friends and who were linemates on Saturday, left without speaking to the media. Asked why he thought Ovechkin was so angry, Kolzig said: “I’m sure he’s probably frustrated with what happened and in the meeting. And that’s really all I’m going to say. It wasn’t targeted at Ovie. He’s obviously our guy. But it was something he didn’t want to hear.”
read on (reg. may be req.)
added 4:56pm, You can follow-up on any more news from the meeting at Capitals Insider...
If I gave you these stats:
3 Time Stanley Cup Winner
1 Hart Trophy
1 Lester B. Person Award (Player of the Year selected by the NHLPA)
2 Frank J. Selke Trophy (Best Defensive Forward)
6 All-Star games
1124 games, 461 goals, 643 assists, 1104 points, +263
Playoffs- 162 games, 50 goals, 113 assists, 163 points, +38
Is Sergei Fedorov a lock for the HOF?
Another great month and thanks to all who continue to visit on a very regular basis.
Previous history tells me we will see a drop in the numbers in the coming months. As teams drop out of the playoffs, fans do lose a little bit of interest.
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
The real issue on the table but seemingly never discussed is as simple as this: why do players flock to Nashville to play for the Preds but treat Edmonton as hockey’s version of a gulag?
The simple answer: Nashville wins. They do it regularly since they emerged from their expansion pains, they do it in a style that players love to play. Bur there’s more to it than that. They do it in the environs of a small but enthusiastic fan base in a city with a mild climate, countless entertainment options, relatively easy travel, a friendly family environment, surprisingly low-cost housing, no state income tax and, and this is no small consideration, a forward thinking management that believes in stability and a long-term view. Throw in the cream of country-western music talent, much of it tapped to sing the national anthem every night and still more of it playing the bars, clubs, honky-tonks and even the Nashville Arena on non-game nights and well…
more... plus other NHL bits…
Even though the trade and UFA talk is low-keyed this time of year, the talk still exists.
Spector breaks it all down today…
It is very unusual for any Wings news to filter in on a Sunday morning, but these are desperate times.
The Wings are talking to Larry Murphy. Not just talking but trying to get him to say yes to a comeback. The Wings plan is to have Murphy become a power play specialist and only a power play specialist.
With the latest injury to Kronwall, the Wings feel they need some help on the blueline and to save some dman minutes for 5-on-5 and PK situations, they believe Murphy could run the right point on the power play.
Hmmm, a Hall of Famer on the point! Will it work, who the heck knows.
Of course, he would have to clear waivers, at least I think he would.
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
Thanks to the schedule format, the NHL has become two leagues.
That has been my feeling all along the past two seasons, but it truly sunk in last week when the Avalanche issued a booklet extolling the virtues of Paul Stastny as a candidate for the Calder Trophy, the league’s rookie-of-the-year award.
Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin is the favorite, and if this offends anyone, so be it: I’m planning to put him No. 1 on my ballot and Stastny at No. 2 when the voting is conducted in the next week.
But I’m uneasy, and not out of homerism.
It’s because they might as well be playing in different leagues, and it makes head-to- head comparisons difficult and even a bit unfair.
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.
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