Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times,
A funny thing happened on the way to rubber-stamping those two expansion applications the National Hockey League received in July from Quebec City and Las Vegas.
In short, nothing got approved. And the NHL recently confirmed it won’t hold any expansion vote at next month’s board of governors meeting, making January the earliest time frame for approval.
There have been whispers the delay is about the weakened Canadian dollar, Vegas being America’s gambling Mecca, troubled NHL franchises and so on. But the more plausible explanation is that the NHL is avoiding any expansion decision until after an upcoming Seattle City Council vote likely to decide the fate of Chris Hansen’s proposed Sodo District arena.
That vote, on granting Hansen part of Occidental Avenue South for his arena, is expected by January. No one knows how it will go, only that the lead-up should be politically charged and fiercely contested.
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
The Blue Jackets had come to believe that this kind of performance – this type of monumental collapse – was behind them, like a distant, awful memory of their fragile start to the season. But the ghost of third periods past return to Nationwide Arena on Sunday, haunting a club that has no margin for error but keeps throwing away points.
The Blue Jackets’ 3-1 lead early in the third period evaporated in a snap, and the road-warrior San Jose Sharks left town with a 5-3 win before 13,397.
“It should be in the bag,” Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno said. “To me, it’s unacceptable. I don’t think we played our best game, my any means, but we’re in a position to win that game. We have to find a way to close it out.”
The Sharks put a bright red bow on a six-game, six-win road trip, the first in franchise history. They won in Detroit, Buffalo, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Columbus, and they ended it with a third-period comeback win.
"They found a way to win," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "We found a way to lose."
Game highlights are below...
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
Predictions are great for clicks on a website and debates pretty much everywhere hockey fans gather, online or in person, but in reality they're meaningless because nobody making them has a crystal ball to see into the future. Storylines and trends have to develop. Teams and players have to deal with adversity by living through it or crashing and burning because of it.
Ultimately, a season in the NHL teaches us more than we ever could have predicted. Through 25 percent of this season, here are 12 things we have learned so far:
- Zero for three in Calgary
The Calgary Flames were hoping by this point in the season that one of Jonas Hiller, Karri Ramo or Joni Ortio would have stepped out and earned the No. 1 goalie job. It hasn't happened. All three have struggled. Hiller is hurt, Ortio isn't getting many opportunities and the Flames have the worst save percentage in the NHL (.882). If you're looking for a reason for regression in Calgary, look no further than the crease. That said, the good news is Ramo, who has started 10 consecutive games, has allowed three goals in winning his past two starts. The better news is the Flames have allowed 39 total shots on goal in those games, a significant drop from their first 19 games, when they yielded 30.9 shots per game.
- New Jersey and Arizona are playoff contenders
The New Jersey Devils and Arizona Coyotes weren't expected to be in the playoff race at any point this season. They're both within striking distance of a wild-card spot with 25 percent of the season complete. Devils coach John Hynes is making a difference. It's more than just the all-star season New Jersey is getting from goalie Cory Schneider. Hynes is getting more out of Travis Zajac than previous coach Peter DeBoer ever could. Mike Cammalleri is a point-per-game player. Adam Henrique is performing like a No. 1 center. The young defensemen are improving. Meanwhile, the Coyotes are thriving with rookies playing starring roles. Duclair and Domi have breathed new life into the organization.
Almost four minutes of action from the NHL games played yesterday.
This is very bad news for the Montreal Canadiens, via Sportsnet:
Gallagher, who will undergo surgery on Monday, suffered the injury in the second period of Montreal’s 4-2 win over the Islanders while blocking a shot from New York defenceman Johnny Boychuk.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
The original mask, the only mask Gerry Cheevers ever wore in games, hangs these days on a wall in his grandson’s bedroom. It’s the white mask with the telltale faux stitches, from an era when everything the Bruins did, everywhere they went, everything they said, was consumed by a Boston sporting public gone bonkers for hockey.
Cheevers, his career and times to be celebrated Dec. 2 as part of the Sports Museum’s annual “Tradition’’ lovefest at TD Garden, never wanted to wear a goalie mask. He was in his mid-20s, still trying to land steady NHL work, when he saw the game changing before his unprotected eyes.
“The way the game was going, with shots and speed and everything, you really had no choice,’’ mused Cheevers, 75, the other day from his home in Delray Beach, Fla. “I could see I wasn’t going to survive without it.’’
After a 4-3 road loss to the Carolina Hurricanes today,
from Jon Rosen of LAKingsInsider,
On whether goals off faceoffs are a symptom of a decreased percentage, or something else:
Yeah, both. You know the percentages. You get the same stats I do.
On whether pulling Jonathan Quick was to give the team a “spark”:
No, they scored four goals on 20 shots. Not good enough.
On Drew Doughty taking minor penalties in seven straight games being a “weird” statistic:
It’s not a good stat. I wouldn’t call a ‘weird stat.’ What’s weird about it? If our player takes penalties in seven or eight straight games, that’s not weird. That’s a bad stat.
a bit more
from Rick Westhead of TSN,
Former NHL defenceman Ian White was arrested on Friday in Winnipeg and charged with a number of weapons-related offences, Winnipeg police said.
White was remanded into custody after his arrest and was scheduled to appear before a magistrate on Saturday, police spokesperson Eric Hofley told TSN. Hofley said he didn't know whether White has been released on bail.
White faces two charges of careless use or storage of a firearm or prohibited device, and single charges of unauthorized possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm in an unauthorized place, unauthorized importing of a prohibited or restricted firearm, and breach of recognizance.
from Jonathan Willis of Sportsnet,
He’s enjoyed the two best offensive seasons of his career in Southern Alberta, and he’s been employed not just as a depth piece but as a minute-munching mainstay on Calgary’s blue line.
Now he’s a pending unrestricted free agent, one the Flames may or may not be able to afford thanks to his newfound status.
From an analytics perspective, however, the question isn’t so much whether or not Calgary can afford him. It’s if the Flames should even want to keep him in the fold.
Despite his improved reputation Russell hasn’t actually changed so much from that player who cleared waivers so convincingly. He plays top-four minutes but on merit he’s not really a top-four NHL defenceman. That’s an unpleasant statement, but it’s one born from facts.
Russell plays in all situations for the Flames. He is a regular on both the power play and the penalty kill, but where he logs the most minutes is at five-on-five.
MARLEAU REACHES 1,000-POINT MILESTONE IN SHARKS’ WIN
Patrick Marleau collected a pair of assists to eclipse 1,000 NHL points (462-539—1,001 in 1,349 GP) and help the Sharks improve to 5-0-0 on their season-high, six-game road trip that concludes this afternoon in Columbus.
* Via Elias, the Sharks have won five consecutive games, all on the road, for the first time since Oct. 21-29, 2011 (also 5-0-0).
* Marleau, the second overall selection by San Jose in the 1997 NHL Draft, became the 83rd player in League history – and first in Sharks history – to reach the 1,000-point milestone. Marleau also is San Jose’s all-time leader in goals and games played and ranks second in club history in assists.
* Marleau, who reached the milestone at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, was drafted across the street at the former site of Civic Arena, the Penguins’ previous home. Only two other players from the 1997 NHL Draft have hit the 1,000-point milestone: current teammate Joe Thornton (361-912—1,273 in 1,305 GP) and Blackhawks forwardMarian Hossa (489-576—1,065 in 1,190 GP).
* “I guess just having everybody coming up and congratulating me and throwing different numbers out there, it starts to take a little bit of shape how big it kind of is,” Marleau said. “A lot of teammates are a part of it over the years and it wouldn’t happen without them.”
* Click here for a closer look at Marleau’s milestone performance.
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 email@example.com