Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,
The lack of depth scoring, the lackluster efforts in home games, the sluggish starts of late — all those quibbling concerns that have troubled the Blackhawks recently looked awfully minor late in the second period Saturday night when Marian Hossa lay crumpled on the ice in the corner, writhing in pain.
A Hampus Lindholm hip check sent Hossa tumbling into the boards, where his left leg appeared to get jammed. Hossa was slow to get up, and was putting little, if any, weight on the leg as he was helped off the ice and back to the dressing room. He did not return.
“We’ll probably know more [Sunday],” Joel Quenneville said after the Hawks lost 3-2 in overtime to the Anaheim Ducks, their third loss in as many home games. “We don’t think it’s serious, but he could miss some time.”
When asked if Hossa could be out weeks, Quenneville said, “Could be stretching it on weeks. Not that long.”...
Quenneville called the Lindholm check “on the borderline.”
“Not much you can say about those hip checks,” Jonathan Toews said. “I think they’re always risky. A guy takes a hit low like that, if your skate gets caught in a rut or can’t quite give out the way you want it to, something’s got to give there. More often than not, it doesn’t end well.”
read on for more on the game
watch the hit below and also the game recap...
from Luke DeCock of the News & Observer,
“I think we’re certainly getting the confidence that we can win a few more games than some of these other teams down the stretch,” Hurricanes defenseman Ron Hainsey said. “The toughest part of our schedule is behind us, which was really just this last month. There’s a lot to be optimistic about here.”
That includes Eddie Lack, who stopped 61 of 62 shots in two wins over the Blackhawks this season. Since Cam Ward went on the shelf with a concussion, Lack has a 2.17 goals-against average and .930 save percentage, a substantial improvement on his numbers for the season.
Still, as impressive as Tuesday’s win was, it’s important not to get carried away. To get to the 98 points likely required to make the playoffs, the Hurricanes will have to finish 20-7-4 or its equivalent. That’s an even faster pace than the one the Hurricanes have been on since early December.
There are still big questions to be asked – particularly of these precocious young defensemen going through the grind of an NHL season for the first time and of Lack even after Ward returns – but the Hurricanes showed Tuesday that they can skate circles around the NHL’s best, at least for one night.
Below, watch highlights of Carolina's 5-0 over the Blackhawks...
We are likely a bit of time away from Carolina accelerating the rebuild into phase two, where they’ll be expected to grab one of the eight playoff berths. But, the mere fact that they’re in contention in a year that was pegged for lottery contention is hugely encouraging. Keep an eye on this team – and this defence – in the second half of the season.
-Travis Yost of TSN where you can read why Yost feels this way.
from Luke DeCock of the News & Observer,
The uncertainty, Eric Staal admits, has weighed upon him more than he has let on at times. It isn’t just about playing out the final year of his contract without knowing what comes next. As a player, he can deal with that. As a husband and father and brother, it gets a little tougher.
As the season rolls on with no negotiations between Staal and the Carolina Hurricanes, with the trade deadline now a mere seven weeks away, with a resolution likely coming soon one way or another, Staal’s season in limbo approaches a conclusion.
The Hurricanes’ captain has said all the right things and handled the thousands of questions just about everywhere the team goes as well as he can, but there’s only so much he can say when such an important issue remains unresolved.
“It’s been more challenging than I thought it would be, but I’m doing my best,” Staal said. “Doing my best to contribute and try and help this team win and play hard. I have a family. There’s things you think about. My brother’s playing here. There are a lot of different things you think about. You try not to worry about it too much, and play, and hopefully we can get on a little bit of a run here and go from there and let it sort itself out. We’ll see what happens.”
Nick Foligno is on IR with an upper-body injury.
added 3:33pm, DoPS with the video explanation below, why no discipline...
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
There was a scary moment at 5:08 of the third period, when Carolina’s Brad Malone delivered a blindside hit to the right side of Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno’s head.
Foligno’s head snap-twisted grotesquely, and he fell to the ice and laid mosly still on his stomach for about 30 seconds. He took a knee while being observed by trainer Mike Vogt, and left the ice under his own power. He did not return.
Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said he did not have an injury update to provide on Foligno, but Foligno walked out of the dressing room and toward the team plane shortly after the game.
more on the 4-1 Columbus loss to the Carolina Hurricanes...
from Chip Alexander of the News & Observer,
What if Eric Staal is traded by the Carolina Hurricanes this season?
What if he doesn’t re-sign with the organization and his days with the Canes come to an end after 12 seasons?
“That uncertainty has been a little bit of a topic,” Jordan Staal said this week. “It’s obviously out of our control but it’s hard not to talk about scenarios.
“It’s unfortunate, but we know if we play consistently well things will go well and will go the way we want it to. We both love it here and we want to play here, and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
Eric Staal, the team captain since January 2010, is in the final year of a long-term contract and is the Canes’ highest-paid player at $9.5 million. There is a no-trade clause in the contract and Staal said again this week that he’d like to stay with an organization that drafted him in 2003.
Canes general manager Ron Francis said Thursday that he talked with Rick Curran, who represents Eric and Jordan Staal, in mid-December and that the decision was made to push back negotiations until the middle of January. Both sides say the length of a new contract and the financial terms have not been proposed.
from Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Their 2-1 loss to Carolina — one of the ever-shrinking number of teams behind them in the Eastern Conference standings — Saturday night at Consol Energy Center stretched their winless streak to 0-4-1 and left the Penguins stranded far outside the top eight teams in the conference.
If the season ended today — and it would be completely understandable if the Penguins wished it would — they would fail to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
The issue isn’t their willingness to work or compete, at least most of the time, but their consistent inability to generate goals. Consider this: Although Hurricanes left winger Jeff Skinner didn’t get a goal Saturday night, he has scored six in the past five games.
So have the Penguins.
And while coach Mike Sullivan said, “I see signs of improvement in a lot of areas,” their record isn’t one of them. They are 0-4 since Sullivan replaced Mike Johnston as coach eight days ago and have slipped to 15-14-3.
“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves,” defenseman Brian Dumoulin said. “We just have to keep going forward.”
Watch the game highlights below...
from Eric Stephens of the OC Register,
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
“I call it not being a pro. We had four days off. We should have expected to come out and play one of our best games of the year and we didn’t. You have to be able to use those breaks and use them the right way and show up to play come game time. I didn’t think we did a very good job of that tonight.”
- Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf
STAT OF THE NIGHT
- The Ducks have either been shut out or scored one goal in 14 of their 29 games.
Below, watch Bruce Boudreau post-game...
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
The long-awaited and much-anticipated dialogue on the future of Eric Staal as a Carolina Hurricane took place yesterday.
That’s not to say there was a decision or resolution of any kind.
Carolina general manager Ron Francis and Staal's agent Rick Curran did talk on the phone on Tuesday, but basically deferred all matters relating to Staal's future to the new year.
Neither Francis nor Curran wanted to comment publicly, other than to indicate no doors have been opened or closed on either side and there's no timetable beyond "talking again sometime in the new year."
In a nutshell, the Staal situation appears as basic as this: Does he stay or does he go?
All we know with any certainty at this point is we'll be waiting weeks, if not months, for a definitive answer.
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.
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