Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Wes Goldstein at CBS Sportsline,
His numbers are down a bit, his team won’t make the playoffs and the rival he’ll likely spend his entire career being compared to has risen to greater heights. So why is it that nothing seems to be bothering Alexander Ovechkin these days?
“You know it’s been tough because we didn’t win, but it happens,” said the young Washington Capitals superstar. “We didn’t have much luck, but I think we’re going to move forward. I’m happy about that.”
fro Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
How close is it? Consider that as of Friday morning, with fewer than 75 games remaining on the schedule, only seven points separated the top 11 teams. Parity has been an NHL buzzword for years now, but the gap between Nos. 1 and 11 at season’s end generally fell between 18 and 25 points (the exception being 2004, the year before the lockout, when it was only 12 points).
There are a lot of teams on fire right now, including the Colorado Avalanche, which is 11-1-2 in its past 14 games and probably won’t make the playoffs, thanks to the Calgary Flames’ recent surge (five wins in a row and counting).
It begs the question: How important is it for a team to be playing well down the stretch, if it has Stanley Cup aspirations? Curiously, the answer is not that important at all.
more... plus hockey talk from all over the world…
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
The effervescent Brodeur not only exists on the side of light, but will also at some point become the greatest of all time while defying the age-old belief that a goaltender has to be partway crazy.
As longtime teammate Ken Daneyko put it, “He’s one of the normal goalies. He is what you see.”
High praise for a netminder.
“All of his motivations seem to be streaming from a positive pool of consciousness,” added longtime NHL netminder Glenn “Chico” Resch. “The guy’s life is almost too balanced. He doesn’t have anything where you think, ‘Oh, crazy goalie.’”
from Pierre McGuire at NBC Sports,
Detroit is now the No. 1 team in the Western Conference and it looks like the Red Wings will hold onto that position.
The Wings have talent, veteran presence, and one of the most amazing defensemen to have ever played the game in Nicklas Lidstrom. They also have one of the most underrated coaches in the NHL. Mike Babcock has done one of the best coaches jobs in the NHL….
Babcock can be in your face with his style, but it works. He brought a surprising Anaheim team to within one win of the Stanley Cup in 2003, has won the World Junior Hockey Championship for Canada, and the Men’s World Championship. His coaching pedigree is excellent, but for some reason Babcock never gets any praise.
more... including other NHL topics…
from Loose Change at the Hockey News,
Top 12 Signs Your Team Isn’t Going to Make the Playoffs:
12 Entire roster being fitted for toe tags
11 You live in a city that’s very windy.
10 Leading scorer traded for patio set
9 Fewer blood stains, more grass stains
from the Pittsburgh Penguins,
“You don’t play at 40 years old unless you take care of yourself. Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to come back and play at age 30 after two neck surgeries. I knew that the only way to do that was to change my lifestyle and change eating habits and my training routine,” he said. “I always worked hard, but not with much of a purpose. So, between the ages of 30 and 40, I have basically changed the way I live and it’s given me this opportunity to continue to play hockey, which I am thankful for.
“For me, it’s a quality of life change; it’s not something I do just because I play hockey. I know I feel better when I eat right and take care of myself. I recover a lot better and that’s why I am able to play at this age. It really is something that I enjoy doing, too,” he continued. “Once you stop enjoying the preparation part of it, that’s when you know you’ll be done because at 40 you have to do a little more preparation to be able to play. You need soft tissue work on your days off, cold tubs, extra nutrition. If you don’t do that, you’re not going to have any chance at more longevity.”
from On Frozen Blog,
Of course, our perceptions of these professions are premised on myth and an outsider’s necessarily flawed vantage. When you actually get a chance to talk to someone in them, markedly different realities are detailed for you. This was my experience recently in an entirely unplanned and altogether fortuitous exchange I had with a full-time NHL scout. From the moment I confirmed his identity I knew I wanted to pick his hockey head clean of its “a season in the life of” experiences and analyses, for his is a line of work long shrouded behind the scenes, in mystery even, by design.
In this scout I had not only a fertile and fruitful information source but an emblem of hockey’s most impassioned: you don’t go into hockey scouting because the loading gig at Home Depot didn’t come through, you scout — necessarily making unfathomable sacrifices on your personal life — because you possess in inexhaustable fire for life on ice, he told me. He didn’t merely answer my questions in rich detail but created compositions with my readers’ perceived curiosity foremost in mind. He asked of me only that I preserve his anonymity and that of his NHL employer. I happily obliged.
read on... Take some time out today and read both parts of the interview, great stuff…
Thanks to a KK reader for the pointer…
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
When approaching the playoffs, it’s always sound judgment to check with the greatest coach in NHL history, listen to the stream of consciousness of Scotty Bowman and marvel at the insight.
This was the guy who four months ago, when Anaheim was making a mockery of the Western Conference, said the Ducks would come back to the pack before it was all over.
When a fellow has won as many Stanley Cups as Bowman, it’s generally a good idea to avail yourself of arguably the greatest mind in hockey history.
from the Vancouver Sun,
“When you make the moves that we made this year, you obviously are signifying that you are looking towards better days in the future,” Crawford said.
“We felt that it was better to strip things down and to build in the way that we thought was the right way and that is what we have done. We have been much more competitive here, especially in the latter half of the season when our goaltending kind of solidified itself with [Mathieu] Garon getting healthier and Sean Burke coming in and giving us real quality outings. We have played a lot better.”
Veteran defenceman Rob Blake, who will serve as a mentor of sorts to Johnson, thinks the Kings are heading in the right direction.
from the St. Petersburg Times,
Lightning defenseman Shane O’Brien said coach John Tortorella showed “a lot of guts” to do what he did.
Captain Tim Taylor said it shows “he’s putting a lot of trust in us.”
And left wing Andre Roy added, “It shows he believes in us, and we’d better believe, too.”
In case you missed it, Tortorella, after Tuesday’s disheartening loss to the Panthers, guaranteed Tampa Bay will make the playoffs. It wasn’t quite Joe Namath guaranteeing the Jets would win the Super Bowl. But Tortorella did put himself out there a bit.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org