Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the News & Observer, T
he Hurricanes have been, as captain Rod Brind’Amour put it, “brutal.” In 13 games, they have allowed 19 power-play goals, a short-handed success rate of 72.5 percent, 28th among the 30 NHL teams.
“Twenty-eighth? It’s amazing we’re not 30th,” Hurricanes forward Justin Williams said. “It has lost us games, plain and simple. Our power play has won us a few guys, but the (penalty kill) has lost us some games. It has to get better. I really don’t think it can get any worse.
“We’ve reviewed it, we’ve gone over some things. It’ll get better.”
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
“The Curse of the Defencemen,” said GM Kevin Lowe.
It was only two minutes and 56 seconds into the game last night when Jordin Tootoo pasted Mathieu Roy into the boards.
Twenty-five seconds of ice time and Roy, who was out with a concussion at the end of last year and with another one at the start of this season, was out with what coach Craig MacTavish said was another possible concussion and for sure a separated left shoulder.
from the Columbus Dispatch,
After six NHL seasons, the Blue Jackets might have gotten their first taste of “playoff hockey” Thursday night.
Defenseman Adam Foote, who won two Stanley Cups with the Colorado Avalanche, knows. So does coach Ken Hitchcock, who guided the Dallas Stars to the 1999 Stanley Cup.
“That was playoff hockey,” Foote said. “That right there is as close as you can get in the regular season.
“It’s real good experience for us, especially for some of the younger guys. It’s a different level you have to get to, and we showed we were up for it under some pretty tough circumstances.”
Hitchcock corrected a reporter who asked if he considered the loss a “good” point in the standings.
“No, no,” Hitchcock said. “This is a great point for our hockey club….”
from the Buffalo News,
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff absolved backup goalie Jocelyn Thibault of any blame on the Florida Panthers’ four goals Friday night. Thibault wasn’t as quick to pass the buck.
“When you haven’t played in a while, you don’t want to do anything fancy,” Thibault said after his second appearance of the season in relief of Ryan Miller ended in a 4-2 loss at HSBC Arena. “You want to play a solid game, an honest game. I have to find ways to win games. I don’t play a lot and I have to make a difference every time I play.”
from George Vescey at the New York Times,
A bunch of lucky Islanders are about to play for Arbour tonight in his 1,500th game with the team, after an invitation from Coach Ted Nolan.
This is the kind of homespun event that only hockey could produce, turning the Nassau Coliseum into a town rink somewhere in the true north strong and free.
Arbour signed a one-game contract yesterday in the cramped team quarters under the Coliseum.
He insisted that this was mostly a ceremonial duty, but Nolan said that Arbour was going to do more coaching tonight than he expected. Is there a bonus for winning for the 740th time with this team?
“Trust me,” General Manager Garth Snow said.
“I’ve heard that before,” Arbour said, deadpan.
According to this Institute, the hit Jack Johnson put on Milan Michalek last night registered a 5.7!
From Ken Warren at The Ottawa Citizen,
On Thursday night against the Atlanta Thrashers, Ottawa Senators right-winger Chris Neil crossed the fine line he skates as a member of the NHL’s agitator/enforcer class.
It wasn’t the first time, it won’t be the last and, even though Neil was widely criticized for showing off to the crowd while fighting the Thrashers’ Eric Boulton in the second period and for taking a double minor penalty late in the third period, during which Atlanta scored twice—he says he won’t change how he plays the game.
“I’m here, I’m a motivator,” said Neil, taking issue with observers who claimed his WWE-style antics in waving to the crowd during the fight had no place in the game and served to inspire the Thrashers. “I get the fans going and that’s part of my job. That’s a trait I do (during) fights at home games. I don’t do it on the road. It’s for our fans. We don’t sell tickets on the road. We sell them at home.”
From Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,
You can toss out the form chart. Forget the odds. Pay no attention to the fact the Toronto Maple Leafs lost 3-2 last night in New Jersey, or that the Canadiens are coming off a superb performance against the Philadelphia Flyers Thursday night.
The Leafs also absorbed a 7-1 pounding on home ice against the Capitals Monday. That matters about as much as the price of chai in China.
When the bell rings tonight, the two teams stepping into the ring might as well be fighting a unification bout for a heavyweight title, because when the Canadiens and Leafs hook up on a Saturday night, it’s playoff hockey.
From the AP via Sports Illustrated,
Dave Schultz was known as “The Hammer,’’ a nickname earned with a ready to rumble style of play that satisfied the bloodlust of NHL fans who paid to see an old-fashioned brawl.
He dropped his gloves, busted and bloodied some chops, absorbed his own share of jabs and could have written a mortgage check to the league for all the minutes the Philadelphia Flyer spent in the penalty box. One thing the enforcer of the 1970s-era Broad Street Bullies never did was put another player on a stretcher.
“Oh my God, no. Never,’’ Schultz said. “We didn’t really hurt anybody. The only time you could hurt anybody was with your stick.’‘
From Mike Heika at The Dallas Morning News,
Phil Housley feels for Mike Modano. He thought his record would be broken earlier in the season, too.
Housley, the owner of the NHL’s all-time scoring record by an American-born player, has been waiting for the phone call telling him that Modano had eclipsed his total.
But Modano’s slow start has allowed the record chase to drag on a bit.
“It’s tough on him, I can tell,” Housley said by phone as he vacationed in Arizona on Friday. “But I know he’s going to get it. It’s just a matter of time.”
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