Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
It should have been the best of the NHL – the Pittsburgh Penguins versus the Boston Bruins on Saturday night, a rematch of the Eastern Conference final, skill and speed and defense and toughness and all that good stuff.
Instead, it was the worst of the NHL – a seek-and-destroy hit, a concussion, a sneaky-dirty knee to the head, a vicious attack, another concussion and a stretcher, then finger-pointing and lies and apologies.
In the aftermath, it's like sorting garbage at the dump. This stinks. This stinks more. This stinks most. You have to draw distinctions, but the overwhelming overall stench leaves you holding your nose.
And it's going to get worse.
from Kerry Fraser of TSN,
There is plenty of blame to be shared as a result of the most recent NHL player (Pittsburgh's Brooks Orpik) to be evacuated from the ice on a stretcher following an ugly incident Saturday night in Boston.
It's high time for the NHL brass, their Officiating Department and the NHLPA to put their collective heads together to provide meaningful player safety measures that aren't being achieved through current attempts. Consistently applied player suspensions aren't the only tool to curb dangerous and unwanted hits to the head. We need to take a step back and have a serious discussion, recognizing that education will be the key to effectively changing this destructive culture at all levels of the game.
Players often seek out retribution for hits, even those deemed legal, that are delivered to one of their teammates. Following a "big" hit, the temperature of the game can immediately elevate to the near boiling point. At such times, the referee's primary job is to take whatever measures necessary to control the environment. To do that, he has to have a "feel" for the game and what is required. A better job could have been done by the refs in that regard after Orpik delivered a hard, legal open-ice check that knocked Loui Erisksson out of the game on the very first shift.
from Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times,
Adam Erne was not suspended for his from-behind hit Friday that caused Jonathan Drouin's head to hit the side glass and might have caused a concussion.
But the idea of one Lightning prospect injuring another in a junior Quebec league game raised an interesting question: Is there a responsibility for players in the same organization — likely future teammates, in fact — to play each other more carefully?
Lightning players, for the most part, said the only responsibility is to play the game clean.
"When the game starts, you have no friends," LW Pierre-Cedric Labrie said Saturday. "You have to finish your hits. But if it's an illegal hit, it doesn't matter who it is, you can't do that."
continued and if you missed the hit, watch it below...
If anyone has a video of this, please pass it on.
added 11:32am, Below, watch a Vine video of the slash...
Following wins by the Ducks and Kings Saturday, the three California-based clubs rank second through fourth in the League's overall standings. They boast a combined goal differential of +62 and are a cumulative 30-5-6 in games played in the Golden State.
NHL Overall Standings:
1. Chicago, 20-6-5, 45 points (Central Division)
2. Anaheim, 20-7-5, 45 points (Pacific Division)
3. San Jose, 19-5-5, 43 points (Pacific Division)
4. Los Angeles, 19-7-4, 42 points (Pacific Division)
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
Even a few of the many, many Maple Leafs fans in attendance had to be a wee bit embarrassed by the way their team broke a tie early in the second period Saturday night at Canadian Tire Centre.
Why there was no penalty call on Nazem Kadri for hauling down Zack Smith just inside the Toronto blue line -- springing the 2-on-1 break that put the visitors up 2-1 on the scoreboard -- is anyone's guess.
But look, referees are not really zebras, they are human, they make mistakes. The bothersome part isn't so much them ignoring or missing the Kadri Kan Opener (somewhere Bryan McCabe had to be smiling) but that Brian Pochmara couldn't just turn away when Smith ripped into him for the error. Instead, he gave Smith an unsportsmanlike minor and a misconduct.
Brian buddy, you gotta grow some skin when you mess up. At the very least, you've got to nail Phil Kessel for an unsportsmanlike, too, when he skates over and laugh's at Smith in the penalty box.
continue for more Ottawa talk..
Below, watch Kadri as he trips/hooks Smith causing a turnover and a Kessel goal...
from Arthur Staple of Newsday,
The 3-0 defeat was the Islanders' ninth straight loss in regulation on the road, matching a total not hit since the 1998-99 season. They are winless (0-7-2) in their last nine, six points away from seventh in the Metro Division and 10 points out of the last playoff spot.
The players kept the locker room door closed at the Staples Center for 10 minutes after the game, throwing the floor open to anyone who wanted to speak. "It was just guys talking, trying to talk some things out," Colin McDonald said. "We're just looking for anything to get us out of this."
Islanders owner Charles Wang was on hand, flying in to see his team play before attending the NHL's Board of Governors meeting Monday in San Jose. There are no indications from Wang or general manager Garth Snow that a coaching change is imminent, but something has to change for this team.
"It's a broken record right now," Matt Carkner said.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
It took less than five months for Tuukka Rask’s eight-year, $56 million contract to look like a bargain.
On Wednesday, the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist agreed to a seven-year, $59.5 million extension. Lundqvist’s annual average value will be $8.5 million, fifth-highest in the NHL after Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Corey Perry. Lundqvist will carry an annual cap hit $1.5 million richer than Rask and Pekka Rinne, now the second-highest-paid goalies in the league.
Rask will be 34 when his deal expires. There’s a good chance his current contract will not be his last. Lundqvist will be 39 in 2021, the final season of his new deal.
This will almost certainly be Lundqvist’s last contract. Given his age, Lundqvist might not even fulfill its term. Even so, the Rangers had no choice but to fatten Lundqvist’s bank account.
continued plus more hockey topics...
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
The NHL and its many fighting and violence zealots must be so, so proud. Over the next few days, you’re going to hear from them that Shawn Thornton is one of the good guys. They’ll talk about how much character he has and how he visits sick kids in the hospital and what a great team guy he is and how out of character this attack was.
All of which may be true, but Shawn Thornton proved that on the ice, he’s nothing but a bully and a punk and someone who deserves to have the privilege of playing hockey taken away from him for a long, long time. Kudos to him for coming out and answering for his actions after the game and taking responsibility for them, but that was the only thing he did all night that had even a shred of integrity. What Thornton did was no different than what almost killed Steve Moore and forever changed the career of Todd Bertuzzi more than nine years ago. In fact, Brooks Oprik should be saying, “There but by the grace of God go I,” or something like that right now because it could have been much, much worse for him. Initial reports had him conscious and alert at a Boston hospital, which means those who enjoy this kind of nonsense have just dodged another bullet.
(Thornton received a match penalty, which carries an indefinite suspension, and has an in-person hearing with the NHL. Wouldn’t you just love to see the NHL throw him out for 25 games then see if Thornton has the gall to appeal it?)
Those who defend fighting in the NHL will tell you this had nothing to do with fighting. And that’s a bunch of unadulterated bunk. It had everything to do with fighting. Why did Thornton attack Orpik in the first place? Because Orpik refused to fight him, that’s why. So Thornton took it upon himself to force Orpik into a fight. And that has nothing to do with fighting? Who are these people trying to kid?
Neal was certainly no better with his accidental-on-purpose knee to Marchand’s head.
Cassie Campbell and Kevin Weekes chime in too...
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