Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
In October, the Blues acquired Yakupov for forward prospect Zach Pochiro and a conditional third-round pick, hoping that a change of scenery would help the 23-year-old, who floundered during four seasons in Edmonton.
Yakupov had a decent start with the Blues, with four points in his first six games, but soon his ice time diminished and he was dropped to the fourth line before becoming a healthy scratch for the first time Nov. 5. He’s sat out seven of the Blues’ past 12 games and isn’t expected to be in the lineup when they host Tampa Bay on Thursday at Scottrade Center. But apparently that doesn’t have the club second-guessing the deal.
“We felt it was a worthwhile gamble,” Armstrong said. “We gave up a third-round draft pick and he’s come in, and quite honestly, someone like Dmitrij Jaskin is really playing great hockey right now and he’s taken away his ice time. That’s just the nature of competition. You’ve got to push and prod and find your way in, and other guys are trying to do it.
“I have a lot of confidence in Yak that he’s going to keep his nose to the grindstone and when he gets his opportunity, he’s just got to make the most of it. We look at it from how our team is doing, not how each individual player is doing, and our team is doing well. He’s part of our team.”
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
As the Avalanche practiced Wednesday morning at Family Sports Center, only the New York Islanders, with 18, had fewer points than Colorado’s 19. And later, when the Isles knocked off the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 in Brooklyn, it left Colorado and the Arizona Coyotes tied for the lowest total in the NHL.
That’s how damaging an 0-2-1 start to a five-game homestand that continues against Columbus on Thursday has been for the Avalanche. The latest stumble was a 5-3 loss to Nashville on Tuesday, and the struggles again raise the question of whether the Avalanche’s much-cited faith and commitment to its “core” — generally conceded to be six players — has been misguided, and whether that core should be broken up.
Defenseman Erik Johnson, one of the six, acknowledged the core group needs to kick its game up a notch.
“It doesn’t matter how many points you have or how much you’re playing, it’s the record that indicates how you’re playing,” Johnson said. “Clearly, the record is not good enough. … Nobody can look in the mirror and say we’re playing good enough because our record doesn’t indicate it. As a group of individuals who feels a lot of responsibility for the team, I think you go out and do your best every game and you realize there are consequences no matter what.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
The power play is pathetic, the Oilers are back to being a mess defensively and if you break their season into eight game segments, after their 7-1 start they’ve gone 2-5-1 and 3-4-1.
That’s five wins in their last 16 games
Is it time to panic? Or is it just some strange temporary malfunction at the junction happening here as a team with a 7-4-2 away record struggles with a 5-6 record while trying to get comfortable at home in their new digs?
Waking up and not seeing themselves in first place in the Pacific Division alone might have the desired effect with the individuals who have looked like passengers in losing twice to Arizona and then to the Maple Leafs in a stretch where they could have banked points in the standings.
“We kind of had a chance to extend our lead in first place,” said Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, one of the Oilers who has been AWOL lately, although he created a whale of a chance early against Toronto only to ring it off a post.
“The good news is that we’re still there and still playing for that first-place spot. We’ve given ourselves a chance to be in this position so we can’t take our foot off the gas.
Home Team in Caps
NY ISLANDERS 5, Pittsburgh 3
CALGARY 3, Toronto 0
San Jose 4, LOS ANGELES 1
QUICK STRIKES POWER TEAMS TO VICTORIES
The Islanders, Flames and Sharks all used quick goals to earn wins on Wednesday.
* The Penguins erased a three-goal deficit in the third period, but Anders Lee scored with 26.6 seconds remaining in regulation and Nikolay Kulemin added an insurance marker three seconds later to guide the Islanders to their second straight victory. New York tied the record for the fastest two goals by one team in NHL history (also by the St. Louis Eagles on March 12, 1935 vs. DET and the Minnesota Wild on Jan. 21, 2004 vs. CHI). The Islanders’ previous fastest two goals came on Dec. 27, 1979, when Clark Gillies and Mike Bossy scored six seconds apart vs. CHI.
* Freddie Hamilton (0:19) and Kris Versteeg (0:49) each scored in the opening minute of regulation to lift the Flames to a 3-1-1 record in their past five outings. Via Elias, Calgary notched two goals in the first minute of a game for the third time in franchise history (also March 3, 1984 vs. NYI and March 11, 1987 vs. HFD). The last time any team accomplished that feat was on April 9, 2011, when the Flyers scored twice in the first 47 seconds vs. NYI.
* The Sharks scored three times in the first period – including a pair 30 seconds apart by Logan Couture (2-1—3) and Ryan Carpenter (1st NHL goal) – to pick up their fifth win in their last six outings. Couture, who registered his first multi-goal and three-point performances of the season, has 5-2—7 in his last six games.
Where have you been Brian Burke?
from Mike Ozanian of Forbes,
Pittsburgh Penguins’ owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle had a mixed 2016: their team captured the franchise’s fourth Stanley Cup but the owners—exploring ways to raise equity–did not get anything close to the $750 million valuation for their team they reportedly were looking for.
Consolation prize? The 13 playoff games at PPG Paints Arena enabled the Penguins to generate $26 million in operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), seventh-most in the NHL and 27% more than the team raked in the prior season.
Also from Forbes:
from Eric Francis at Sportsnet,
The Calgary Flames returned from their longest road trip of the season Tuesday morning just two points out of a wild card spot.
Despite a horrific start that has seen the club struggle to find any sort of identity or consistency under Glen Gulutzan, just one win separated them from the west’s top eight. And while history suggests those outside the playoff bubble by U.S. Thanksgiving are long-shots at best to play in the spring tourney, it says here the Flames will be in that playoff mix come April.
Here’s the logic:
If this team can remain that close to the pack without the help of any of its top five players, surely things will turn when the stars start showing up. It’s unconventional thinking from a columnist, who over the years, has been called everything but an optimist when it comes to the Flames.
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
Sure you might lose one of hockey's greatest rivalries -- a Montreal-Boston playoff series, unless both meet in what would be the conference finals. Toronto would say goodbye to Buffalo and Detroit, but that's about it really.
The Maple Leafs are making their annual trek west -- they picked up a win in Edmonton in a building that seemed filled with Leafs fans -- and head to Calgary tonight for the second of back-to-backs.
Leafs-Oilers (Matthews-McDavid, or Kadri-McDavid, or Rielly-McDavid) seems like a rivalry that would grow if they'd only play each other more. Ditto Leafs-Jets, where Patrik Laine seems built for the spotlight of showing up the team that passed over him. Really Leafs-AnyCanadianTeam. Same goes for the Canadiens and the Canucks, with cross-country followers, and Oilers, as long as McDavid is healthy.
Yoiu've got to think networks on both sides of the border would love it. There'd be more big American games for NBC to show. They could ignore us completely.
And don't worry about the travel. They fly in really nice planes. And your opponent for the first two rounds of the playoffs (as I see it, anyway) would be from the same division, with the same travel schedule.
NEW YORK (Nov. 30, 2016) – Hockey fans will again determine the four captains for the 2017 Honda NHL® All-Star Game in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 29 (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC, SN, TVAS) when the 2017 NHL All-Star Fan Vote™ opens worldwide on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 2 p.m. ET at NHL.com/vote and via the NHL® App.
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of NHL.com,
Tom Rowe walked into the locker room. A moment later, he walked out. The new coach had but a brief message for the Florida Panthers after a 2-1 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Tuesday.
"He just kind of told us that if we play like that, we'll be on the other end, the winning side, more often than not," defenseman Keith Yandle said.
After all the negativity over the previous 48 hours following the firing of coach Gerard Gallant, this was a time to accentuate the positives: The Panthers played hard. They tied the game in the third period on a power-play goal by Jaromir Jagr. They finished with 39 shots on goal, tying for their second-highest total of the season. They earned a point. Had Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford not been First Star, they might have earned two.
"Definitely," Rowe said after his first game as an NHL coach. "Really proud of the guys. The effort was incredible."
Below are the game highlights...
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