Kukla's Korner Hockey
“This game is the same as four or five games we’ve played already. We’ve played really well, had a lot of good stuff, but don’t finish. I think we’ve got to look at everything right now. I think we’ve got to look at combinations, what’s working, what’s not working, what we need to get more from. Can’t just keep living on scoring chances, you’ve got to finish at the end of the day. I think we’ve got to look at every aspect right now.”
-Ken Hitchcock, head coach of the St. Louis Blues after a 2-1 shootout loss to Detroit. Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has more.
from Michael Russo of the StarTribune,
One reason why Bruce Boudreau believes his teams have perennially cut losing streaks off instantaneously is because of “short-term goals.”
“Win the week” is his every-week mantra. So after a crummy 0-1-1 start to this East Coast trek for the Wild, “Win the week” is what he unremittingly told players.
Thursday night, Devan Dubnyk and the Wild ended the trip in perfect fashion.
After shutting out the Boston Bruins two nights earlier, Dubnyk and the Wild shut out the Buffalo Sabres 4-0 at KeyBank Center.
“Everyone stepped up. Everyone played well. It was a good team effort tonight,” said defenseman Ryan Suter, who scored a goal and had an assist and took the brunt of Marco Scandella’s minutes after he suffered a lower-body injury....
“Us D-men, everyone just stepped up,” Dumba said. “I’ve known I could play like this. Just getting these minutes, it’s awesome.”
The Wild ranks second in the NHL with 28 goals. Scandella, Nate Prosser and Christian Folin each had an assist, meaning all 20 Wild skaters have a point. A league-best 16 players have a goal.
“That’s how we have to win,” Suter said of the balanced scoring. “We don’t have the superstars. We need everybody on the team participating.”
Watch the game highlights below...
from Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun,
With Lindholm coming to terms, Trouba is the last of the high-profile restricted free agents who is still without a contract.
And while things could obviously change with one phone call, all signs point to this situation dragging out a while longer.
“Status quo,” agent Kurt Overhardt, who represents Trouba, said in a telephone interview on Thursday afternoon. “Nothing has changed. The document we put out still stands.”
The document Overhardt is referring to was the press release he sent out on September 24, the one which said Trouba had requested a trade back in May and isn't interested in playing on the left side (his off side)
While it's possible Trouba and his camp could have a change of heart if a trade hasn't been worked out before the Dec. 1 deadline for restricted free agents to sign in order to be eligible to play in the NHL this season, it's obvious the preferred next step for the ninth overall pick of the 2012 NHL Draft is to see his rights traded to another club....
Clearly, there's a deal to be made if a team is serious enough about acquiring Trouba.
And if the Jets don't budge or lower the asking price, don't rule out Trouba returning in late November on a one-year deal that prevents him from playing overseas this season.
While not optimal for either side, the reality is that it could be easier to move Trouba next summer after the expansion draft has been held.
from Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette,
On to the serious stuff. Montreal Canadiens fans need to calm the heck down. I mean, you guys are behaving like Leafs fans.
Check the date. It’s late October. In late October/early November, there are important games being played … by major-league baseball players. Hockey games at this time of year are fun to watch, but they don’t mean squat.
How often have Toronto hockey fans, including all those Leafs fans who work for the Toronto hockey-broadcast clique, started planning the parade route down Yonge St. after the first week of the season? Thankfully, even the delusional Leafs boosters can’t engage in that kind of behaviour this year given Toronto’s woeful start and, as an aside, I have greatly enjoyed coaching legend Mike Babcock’s grumpy comments this week.
But the point is that’s how fans do it in T.O. and it’s not how we’re supposed to do things here in the city’s that home to the most winning hockey team in the history of the sport. We don’t celebrate until we have something to celebrate and, Earth to the Habs Nation, there is absolutely nothing to celebrate after seven games.
via Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times,
Kucherov, the team's leading scorer last season, finished the period but didn't come out for the second. It was unclear what happened, but with about seven minutes left, he appeared to get shaken up on a spill into the boards near the Lightning bench. His left shoulder took the brunt of the impact. But he went out for his next shift.
Kucherov, asked after the game if he was okay, only nodded.
Coach Jon Cooper said the problem wasn't a concussion but he otherwise didn't have an update on his condition. "He got hit the wrong way," Cooper said. "Hopefully it won't be too long."
from Kristen Shilton of TSN,
If there’s one thing this young Toronto Maple Leafs season hasn't been short on for goaltender Frederik Andersen, it’s adversity.
There was the blowout loss at home on Tuesday against Tampa. Then in the second period of Thursday's game against the Florida Panthers he was tripped awkwardly in his crease by Jaromir Jagr, which fortunately didn't do any damage. What did was the high-stick Andersen subsequently took from Colton Sceviour through his mask that split open his left eyebrow, after he had backstopped the Maple Leafs to a lead late in the third period.
The bloodied netminder stayed in though. He stopped 29 of 31 shots to give Toronto its second win of the year, downing the Panthers 3-2. The Leafs move to 2-2-3 on the season.
“It’s a little different experience. I’m sure that probably won’t happen the same way again,” Andersen said of his eventful night. “I’m glad the eye is okay [because] you never want to leave the game. I was just happy we could patch it up so it wouldn’t bleed too much and keep me out there.”
The last 72 hours have been a near-constant stream of debate, criticism and questions about Andersen and his league-low stats after five starts. Before Thursday’s game, many of the Maple Leafs defended their goaltender and lamented the quality of chances they have allowed up front that have hindered his success. Head coach Mike Babcock thought his team did even more of that against Florida.
Game highlights are below plus a video of the high-stick on Andersen...
Home Team in Caps
PITTSBURGH 4, NY Islanders 2
Minnesota 4, BUFFALO 0
Arizona 5, PHILADELPHIA 4
TORONTO 3, Florida 2
MONTREAL 3, Tampa Bay 1
Detroit 2, ST. LOUIS 1 (SO)
WINNIPEG 4, Dallas 1
LOS ANGELES 3, Nashville 2 (OT)
SAN JOSE 3, Columbus 1
CANADIENS, RED WINGS EXTEND WIN STREAKS TO SIX GAMES
The Canadiens (7-0-1) and Red Wings (6-2-0) each extended winning streaks to six games with victories on Thursday. Montreal remains the only team without a regulation loss in 2016-17.
* Elias notes that Montreal is the first team in NHL history to win at least seven of its first eight games in three straight seasons (2014-15: 7-1-0 and 2015-16: 9-0-0). In addition, the Canadiens are just the second team to start back-to-back campaigns with at least one point in each of its first eight games, joining the Sharks (2012-13: 7-0-1 and 2013-14: 8-0-1).
* The Red Wings’ six-game winning streak equals their longest such run over the past five seasons (also Jan. 13-27, 2015). In 2011-12, Detroit posted three winning streaks of at least six games – first from Nov. 19 to Dec. 2 (7-0-0), then from Jan. 12 to 23 (7-0-0) and finally from Feb. 8 to 19 (6-0-0).
Among ESPN's Pierre LeBrun's "Rumblings':
The Las Vegas expansion franchise will be given a head start when it comes to free agency.
Sources told ESPN.com that as part of these fascinating expansion-draft rules we keep learning about, the Vegas organization will have a 48-hour window ahead of the expansion draft in June to speak with and sign any pending unrestricted or restricted free agents whom the 30 teams left unprotected for the expansion draft.
So, for example, let's say for whatever reason Brent Burns remains unsigned by the San Jose Sharks by June (and I’m not saying that’s going to happen, just using him as an example). Would the Sharks want to protect Burns in the expansion draft if they feel he’s walking out the door July 1?
Let’s pretend they don’t, and Vegas has the opportunity to negotiate with Burns ahead of the expansion draft and sign him. Pretty unreal, right? But it’s possible, according to these rules.
Now, one can’t imagine Vegas would want to launch its franchise by overpaying a number of UFAs. But for a real difference-maker? Who knows.
And the same goes for RFAs, who obviously are younger. Any RFAs left unprotected for the expansion draft can become property of the Vegas franchise if they agree to terms on a new contract within that 48-hour window.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Jounal,
If your tried-and-true No. 1 goalie gets hurt for not days or weeks but months or has an injury that nags all season, you’re hooped. Mike Smith (groin) is hurt again in Arizona, and while Louis Domingue was good last year for a good stretch, not so this year.
In Boston, the Bruins had to play Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre the other day with starter Tuukka Rask and backup Anton Khudobin out.
Only a few NHL clubs have the luxury or the good fortune of withstanding a major injury to the starter, because they’ve got a No. 1 and a No. 1A.
Like Pittsburgh with Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray.
Like Tampa with Ben Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy.
To a lesser degree, Jaro Halak and Thomas Greiss are an interchangeable pair with the New York Islanders. It’s much the same story for the Dallas Stars with Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi, although both have struggled. Perhaps the Detroit Red Wings, too, with Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard, but it’s a short list.
The Penguins and the Lightning could have dealt Fleury and Bishop at the draft after the strong play of Murray, who took Pittsburgh to the Cup, and Vasilevskiy, who got the Lightning to the third round, but they didn’t and they’re happy they’ve got both, even if they’re going to lose one of them to Las Vegas in the expansion draft — barring a trade.
more plus other hockey topics...
from Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer,
A 1993 Sports Illustrated headline called Samuelsson “Mr. Dirty.” The New York Times Magazine proclaimed him “a thinking-man’s thug.” A Pittsburgh sportswriter named Dave Molinari wrote in the 1990s that Samuelsson was “the kind of guy who would elbow Mother Teresa if she strayed near his net. Then cross-check her when she tried to stand up. Maybe spear her behind the knee as she hobbled away.”
You know the “Mayhem” guy in the Allstate commercials? That was Samuelsson when he played. He caused accidents. Fans in Boston were once so incensed after Samuelsson, a defenseman, injured one of their star players that they hung banners that read “Kill Ulf.”
I asked Samuelsson recently if he thought that long-ago Sports Illustrated headline and story were accurate.
“Yeah, I would say there’s probably a little truth to that article,” Samuelsson said. “I noticed in my career that if I would play 3-4 games in a more relaxed way, letting them off the hook – when I could hit a player hard I wouldn’t do it – the other team’s forwards would all of a sudden be a little more confident and make me look bad. So I found the way I could do my job was stay hard and stay aggressive – as far as the rules would let me. And sometimes a little bit over.”
Below, watch Samuelsson's most talked about hit on Cam Neely plus other YouTube videos here.
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