Kukla's Korner Hockey
And to make it worse, the Arizona Coyotes won in the shootout.
from Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times,
I don’t mean to brush aside the NHL regular season but, OK, maybe I’m about to do just that. The Chicago Blackhawks are not a hockey team. They’re a playoff hockey team. Big difference.
Whatever we’ve been watching in October, November, December, etc. – and I’m thinking of something with the import of infomercials or Styrofoam packing peanuts – it doesn’t compare with what’s on the line in the postseason. The Hawks are not adrenaline junkies. They’re Stanley Cup junkies. After winning two of the last five titles, they don’t have to apologize for that or anything else.
They came within an overtime goal of winning the Stanley Cup last season. A factual error? Fine, they lost in overtime in Game 7 of the Western Conference final and would have beaten the inferior Rangers in the Cup final. We hold that truth to be self-evident.
Of late, there has been some local handwringing about the Hawks’ play, as there seems to be every season. But as Sun-Times’ Hawks beat writer Mark Lazerus pointed out last week, there’s very little to worry about. For some of you, worrying is part of the fun, just as being unhappy is the definition of happiness for some people.
from Norm Sanders of the News-Democrat,
Nearing the end of a grueling stretch of nine games in 15 days, including seven in the last 11 and three in the last four, the St. Louis Blues may be showing signs of slowing down.
After a franchise-record 13-game unbeaten streak, they were pounded 7-1 at Columbus on Friday and then failed to deliver again Sunday in a 4-2 home loss to the rival Chicago Blackhawks. The game Sunday was tied 2-2 headed into the third period, but Chicago controlled play after that.
“Most of us took yesterday off,” Blues captain David Backes said. “We’re getting the rest on the off days and everyone’s kind of got a chaotic schedule this time of the year. I think we had a lot of jump the first two periods (Sunday).
“We were playing on our toes, getting in on the forechecks and turning pucks over and having some extended zone time, trying to force our game onto them. We did a pretty good job of that.”
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock was in no mood for questions about a potentially tired team.
“I don’t look at it like that,” he said. “I look at it like we lost a close, hard-fought hockey game. It was a hell of a hockey game. We’ll rest up and move on to Tuesday (against Arizona). That’s all I look at right now.”
By Mike Shackil,
Having two of the biggest stars in the NHL has helped propel the Chicago Blackhawks near the top of the standings annually, and towards the top of the secondary market ticket prices as well. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews might be the best one-two punch in all of hockey, and have revitalized hockey in Chicago, and the Blackhawks fan base. The crowd comes in to watch this team win, which it does often. They are currently 31-17-2 on the season. They have an interesting schedule upcoming for February. Here are the three most expensive games in February, according to TiqIQ.
from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,
There’s very little chance, if any, that Johnny Oduya will be wearing a Blackhawks sweater when training camp opens next fall. He knows that. Everyone knows that. It’s not that he doesn’t want to be back. It’s not that the Hawks don’t want him back. The math just doesn’t work.
As an unrestricted free agent with a cap crunch looming, the Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane megadeals kicking in, and a big Brandon Saad raise due, it’s virtually mathematically impossible for a veteran, well-paid defenseman such as Oduya to fit.
Oduya gets that, even if he won’t get into specifics.
“I’ve been around a couple years,” the nine-year veteran said. “I understand the ins and outs of that.”
But the urgency Oduya feels now, with the clock ticking on his Hawks career, is no different than the urgency he felt last spring. Or the spring before that. As Toews often says, you only get so many chances to make a run at a Stanley Cup, and the championship window only stays open so long. So Oduya’s thinking about what’s going to happen between now and June, not what’s going to happen in July.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
Some days - not too many, thankfully - I feel like it sucks to get old. Or, more precisely, it sucks to watch great hockey people you admire and respect grow old.
Friday was one of those days.
That's when the family of 74-year-old Stan Mikita announced the Hall of Fame Chicago Blackhawk centre and beloved franchise ambassador is facing serious health issues, that he has "been diagnosed with suspected Lewy Body dementia, a progressive disease and is currently under the care of compassionate and understanding care givers."
On the same day as that most unwelcome Mikita news, blogger Howard Berger (bergerbytes.ca) posted a current photograph of 82-year-old former NHL defenceman and Hall of Fame coach Al Arbour, updating his condition (dementia and Parkinson's Disease) and inviting fans to send best wishes to Arbour at his retirement home in Florida. Arbour's health issues were widely reported in the media last summer - it isn't necessarily 'news' he's now suffering dementia - but what's that they say about one picture being worth a thousand words?
That the failing health of these two Hall of Famers intersected, sadly, on the same day only added to the magnitude of the misfortune. At least it did for a kid who spent his formative Original Six hockey years growing up in Toronto in the 1960s, admiring the two men for very different reasons.
The goal stands...
from Dan Arritt at ESPNChicago,
"It’s frustrating." Crawford said. "We played a good game, and [the Kings scored] two quick ones at the end. I guess everyone can pretty much tell how we feel about that one."
Crawford was clearly unhappy with some of the calls that were made -- or not made -- during the game but passed on making any comments regarding the officiating.
Patrick Kane wasn't so reserved, pointing to a slash in the final minutes that resulted in a broken stick but wasn't called. He also referred to a penalty earlier in the game on Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook for using his hand to pull the puck out from under his backside as he sat in the middle of the slot, something he claimed the Kings had done just prior to the penalty.
"There were a couple calls that could have been made," Kane said. "[The referees] were maybe playing catch-up after we had three power plays [in the first period] and evened the score a little bit."
NEW YORK (January 24, 2015) – The National Hockey League announced today the participating Clubs, locations and dates for the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® and 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™ games planned for the 2015-16 NHL regular season.
The 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® will feature the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA, on Jan. 1, 2016. When these long-time rivals meet, Boston will become the first Club to host the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® for a second time, after defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in overtime at the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® at Fenway Park. It will mark the first time the Canadiens will play in the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, and just the second time a Canadian-based NHL team will play in the game, following Toronto’s appearance in 2014.
The 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series will feature two games. On Sunday, Feb. 21, in a first for the Club, the Minnesota Wild will play host to the Chicago Blackhawks at TCF Bank Stadium on the Univ. of Minnesota campus. The following weekend, on Saturday, Feb. 27, the Colorado Avalanche will make their debut in a regular-season outdoor NHL game when they play host to the Detroit Red Wings at Coors Field.
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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