Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald,
Why try to pretend that the Bruins are much more than a rather mediocre team? As with all bottom-half teams in the NHL, the B’s have had some good stretches of play and some genuinely great games. But they always seem to slip back to their true, slightly-over-.500 selves….
The problem for the Bruins, as was painfully revealed in Saturday’s 7-0 humiliation at the hands of the Rangers, is that they already have more than enough second-tier players - and several who don’t rate even that high.
In a game they should have given heart and soul to try to win, the Bruins were, as Lewis so candidly expressed it, “slow, weak, soft and intimated.”
from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,
The Canucks look like they will be a force in the playoffs. I have a suspicion they might be the Oilers of 2006 or the Flames of 2004.
The Canucks have an all-world goalie in Roberto Luongo. (Now, really, did anyone think the Wings were going to rally from that 3-1 deficit after two periods Saturday?) It’s similar to what the Wings enjoy when Dominik Hasek is on his game.
It makes all the difference in the world when you have the confidence of knowing that your goalie will not surrender a lead in the third period.
a little more on the Nucks plus a little Wings talk…
from Gary Peterson of the Contra Costa Times,
A lot of people are convinced there will (and should) come a time when Team Wilson (coach Ron and general manager Doug) will submit to tradition and name Nabokov the team’s postseason horse.
Of course, a lot of people have been nothing but wrong to this point. But hey, we—um, they—can’t be wrong forever.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Was Gary Roberts worth a No. 1 pick?
The Senators didn’t think so….
Muckler refused. He didn’t want to gamble away the future.
Instead, Ottawa acquired Phoenix winger Oleg Saprykin, who sat out his fourth straight game last night.
Since joining the Penguins, Roberts has added character, grit and leadership alongside the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal.
from the Calgary Sun,
This morning, a mere 18 sleeps later, the Avs are only four points back of the Flames with both teams having 10 games remaining.
The Flames are looking over their shoulders.
“Everybody’s written us off but that’s fine,” said centre Craig Conroy, one of a handful of players who practised yesterday. “You have bumps and hiccups (in a season) but who’s to say this isn’t it? This could be the point where it turns around and things start going great.
“It’s got to start Tuesday, though, because we can’t take any time off and can’t wait any longer because Colorado’s coming and we’ve put ourselves in this position.”
from the Montreal Gazette,
Goaltender Michael Leighton was given a warm welcome by his new Canadiens teammates when he joined them in Buffalo on March 2, three days after being plucked off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers.
“And then the guys told me I should put Velcro on the front of my practice jersey,” Leighton recalled, grinning. “That way, I could tear off the crest and add a different one every other week.”
Montreal is Leighton’s sixth team this season - from the Anaheim Ducks to their American Hockey League minor-pro Portland Pirates, to the Nashville Predators, to Philadelphia (the Flyers and their AHL Phantoms) and finally to the Canadiens, where he’ll finish the season.
from the Dallas Morning News:
Nashville Predators management did a disservice to the game of hockey Saturday night by not informing the crowd of Mike Modano’s achievements, Stars president Jim Lites said Sunday.
And further, coach Barry Trotz’s comments praising Jordin Tootoo for showing calm when punching Stephane Robidas was “patently ridiculous,” according to Lites.
“Their owner, management, public relations people, coaching staff – I think they all failed the game,” Lites said. “It’s because of people like Mike Modano that they even have a team in Nashville. He has helped pioneer the game in the South, and for him to be treated like that in a milestone moment ... it’s just a horrible thing.”
“I understand it’s a competitive situation, but we’re also working together to sell the game,” Lites said. “They get more money from revenue sharing than any team in the league, they voted against the new schedule because they wanted to have an easier schedule for themselves. They take and take and take and take and never give back, and I’m sick of it.”
added 8:35am, via David Vest of the Arizona Republic,
It is also unfortunate that fans in Nashville could not see the big picture and/or are not hockey-savvy enough to appreciate what they witnessed.
Spectators inside the Gaylord Entertainment Center reportedly booed and mocked Modano after he scored his record-setting goal late in the third period of a nasty game the Predators won 3-2.
from Scott Morrison of the CBC,
Quite likely, Tootoo will receive a suspension of at least a few games and the league makes headlines again for all the wrong reasons, which again raises the question of whether harder, black-and-white penalties need to be in place for any kinds of blows to the head. Of course, had Tootoo and Robidas been actually fighting, he would have been applauded for the knockout.
And what about sticking up for star players getting hit, is that line between answering a clean or dirty check becoming a little blurred?
from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,
Why didn’t Bob Gainey go out and get a goaltender at the trade deadline?
Of course, there would be lots of other grist for the mill as well, Alexei Kovalev’s unfortunate Russian interview and Sergei Samsonov’s exile and the Craig Rivet trade, a move that may have unsettled the team’s delicate chemistry.
But in the National Hockey League, it has always been true that great netminding can turn mediocre teams into something more than the sum of their parts (see the New York Islanders minus Rick DiPietro). That was certainly the case at the Bell Centre on Saturday.
from the Star-Tribune,
“He is definitely jumping now,” White said after Wild practice Sunday afternoon. “But then, it takes a while to get the legs back.”
Rolston has been one of the team’s most consistent players since putting on a Wild uniform before the 2005-06 season. Last season he played in all 82 games for the third time in four NHL seasons, setting career highs in goals (34), points (79) and plus-minus (plus-14).
He was on pace to duplicate those numbers when, in early February, Rolston got a case of the flu that hit him harder than any 6-4, 250-pound defenseman could.
He could barely walk, much less skate. For nearly a week he was essentially bed-ridden while he recovered.
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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