Kukla's Korner Hockey
Today, Montreal Canadiens head coach, Guy Carbonneau, was made available for questions via an NHL confererence call.
In his second season as head coach, Guy has guided the Canadiens to the top record in the Eastern Conference with 96 points. With Monday’s victory over the Ottawa Senators, Montreal has clinched a Stanley Cup record playoff berth for a record 76 times.
Q. Two quick questions: I was wondering if there was any particular game or trip during the season that you really think was essential for the team’s growth where you thought, maybe, this was more than just a playoff team, that they could win the conference?
from the Pittsburgh Penguins,
Sidney Crosby is back again.
The Penguins captain will return to the lineup Thursday night when the New York Islanders visit Mellon Arena.
“I am playing,” he said. “My ankle feels great and my conditioning is as good as it can get, really, without playing. It always takes a few games, but I feel good.”
Today, the NHL arranged a teleconference call for the media, speaking with the Staal brothers: Eric of the Carolina Hurricanes, Marc of the New York Rangers and Jordan of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Pittsburgh has already clinched a spot in the playoffs, and Carolina leads their division and the Rangers are sixth in the East. If all three clubs make the playoffs, the brothers would become the first set of three brothers to compete in the post-season since 1992 when and the Brotens (Aaron, Neil and Paul) and the Sutters (Brent, Rich and Ron) all competed in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Q. Marc and Jordan, I think you guys faced in each in the OHL Playoffs a few years back. I was wondering for each of you what your most vivid memory of that season was competing against each other, if there were any memorable one-on-one battles?
From Rick Sadowski at the Rocky Mountain News,
The two most important pieces of hockey equipment, according to Milan Hejduk, are his skates and his sticks.
“Everything else is pretty much the same,” the Avalanche right wing says. “These two are pretty personal. Everybody likes different things.”
But even that is changing in what has become a high-tech world of hockey equipment. The wooden stick, once considered as essential as ice, has become rarer than a bench-clearing brawl. Of the more than 700 players employed by the 30 NHL teams, it’s believed only 13 still are using wooden sticks.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
When Calgary wins, the formula for success is as simple 1-2-3.
1. Kiprusoff outplays the goalie at the other end of the rink. When he’s engaged, the Finn moves well, plays big, covers lots of net, and generally limits the bad goals that he allows to a manageable few.
2. Iginla, the perfect captain, rallies the troops, by word and deed, with a manner that is rare in today’s NHL. With the team touch-and-go just to make the playoffs, he has turned in a first-star performance in virtually every win they’ve had over the past two weeks.
From Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet,
Fighting used to be ingrained in hockey culture. These days, however, there seems to be more taste for a kinder, cuddlier game. So is it time for fighting to go?
I can only shake my head at the attention the Jonathan Roy story has received in this country this week.
When did the tree huggers take over this bloody country? When did we all become such bleeding hearts that a junior hockey brawl shocked our collective senses so badly we became outraged?
Update 2:38pm ET: Gare Joyce at ESPN addresses how Patrick Roy’s situation may ultimately affect his legacy with the Montreal Canadiens.
From The Puck Stops Here on FoxSports,
So far this season, there have been 30 Russian players who have played one or more NHL games, down from 57 prior to the lockout. Talent is already being drawn away from the NHL.
The skeptics will argue that the elite Russian talent still comes to the NHL, which is clearly true when one looks at the scoring race. However, some proven NHLers are having good seasons in the Russian Elite League right now and would be able to contribute to any NHL team were they in the NHL. A quick look through the Russian Elite League shows there are teams with former NHLers Aleksey Morozov, Alexander Perezhogin, Oleg Saprykin, Alexei Yashin and Maxim Sushinsky all leading them in scoring.
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
When exactly are we going to see a non-North American hired as a top-level NHL official? Considering the league has employed Europeans as players for some 30 years now, you think it’d be high time somebody – maybe Jari Kurri, maybe Slava Fetisov – scored a prime spot in its management structure.
more and Brian Burke discusses a previous Proteau column…
from John McGourty of NHL.com,
But a dynasty was forming in Detroit, as the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in 1950 and four Stanley Cups in six years. This run coincided with Howe reaching physical maturity.
Howe was 6-foot, 205 pounds, one of the larger players in the NHL at that time. He was tall and lean with a farmer’s hard muscles. He came from utter poverty and he wouldn’t let anyone compromise his career on the ice.
Howe one-punched Maurice “Rocket” Richard to the ice early in his career and he crushed Bobby Orr late in his career. Howe was uncanny. He could deliver immediate, devastating retribution or he could let a slight go unpunished so long that the perpetrator forgot about it, until he found himself flat on his back when Howe found a situation that wouldn’t compromise his team’s chance of winning.
more with a photo gallery….
from Ian Winwood of the Guardian,
With just 30 wins this season, the LA Kings have been playing meaningless hockey since before the onset of winter. This in itself is not necessarily a problem; the Toronto Maple Leafs have been playing meaningless hockey for about 41 years and people still care about them. Of course, Kings fans care about their team too, and it would be wrong to suggest that they don’t. A total of 16,784 people travelled to the Staples Center on Tuesday night to watch a late-season game which for the home side held no promise at all.
But it’s in the wider community that this team is in trouble. If a franchise survives on the oxygen of publicity, then this is an organisation gasping for air. It would be wrong to say that Los Angeles hates a loser, simply because it takes effort to hate. If you are a loser, LA will just ignore you to death.
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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