Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,
It's an analogy I used once before, which brings a bit of creative shame here. But it's such an apt one, and I think it applies well to what's going on with the Avalanche right now.
It's the old Charles Atlas cartoon strip titled "The Insult that Made a Man out of Mac," in which skinny Mac gets bullied at the beach in front of a girl, then the girl tells him, "Oh, don't let it bother you, little boy." Then Mac discovers the Charles Atlas program, bulks up, punches the bully in the nose and then sallies forth with the girl on his arm as the "hero of the beach."
When first-year Colorado coach Patrick Roy pushed that glass partition on the Pepsi Center bench on opening night, he spoke for lots of Macsin the stands who have been sick and tired of seeing the Avalanche bullied around the last few years.
I'm talking figuratively, not literally. The Avs have had decent enforcers and dropped the gloves plenty. But the fact is, opponents haven't respected the Avs for a long time. They have been considered a soft team. "Easy to play against," I've heard more than once from opposing players, scouts and management people in recent years. Too many teams were able to easily establish their will on the Avs, and too often it seemed like the Avs weren't even all that upset about it.
He celebrates by slamming into the glass.
Video with replay...
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
Lucic seemed to be making reference to a different set of rules for the NHL’s young stars when wondering why he was hit with a misconduct for a little pushing and shoving without throwing punches. Against an ordinary NHL plumber, Lucic wouldn’t expect any extra penalties in that type of exchange....
“[It was] just the grab from behind and the face ...just an altercation,” said Lucic, when asked started things between the two players. “I bet you if I would have pushed [Patrick] Bordeleau at the end of it, I don’t get ten minutes. So that’s what it is ...it is what it is.”
Bordeleau, of course, is the 6-foot-6 player that took a run at Dennis Seidenberg in the second period, and ended up dropping the gloves with Shawn Thornton in a brief, uneventful fight following the body check.
It seemed Landeskog had initiated the entire exchange by grabbing Lucic’s head from behind in a scrum in front of the net, but then twice the Bruins power forward threw the Avs youngster to the ice. Lucic had quickly tossed his gloves to the ice looking for a fight with the 205-pound winger, but Landeskog wanted no part of the fracas with one of the NHL’s most fearsome forwards.
Below is the game highlights via Sportsnet and does include the tussle...
from John Buccigross of ESPN,
Nine years ago -- June 22, 2004 -- I wrote these sentences after observing Patrick Roy at Ray Bourque's charity golf tournament in leafy New England.
"Even when Patrick Roy is sitting down after a five-hour round of golf under sunny skies, he isn't relaxing. His eyes are always far away and fiery. … He is a serious person. … His competitive gene and his badger-like relentlessness will make him a huge success. When he told me how badly he wanted to win a Memorial Cup (owner and GM of the Quebec Remparts at the time), he practically burned a hole in my forehead. (He would win one two years later after making himself coach of the Remparts.) This man is a single-minded freak. I don't know how much fun he is to live with, but this man is a born leader. … (NBCSN NHL Analyst and former teammate) Keith Jones said how (Roy) was the greatest leader he ever saw. How he said very little, but when he did, it was perfectly timed and made you feel 10 feet tall and bulletproof. … I don't know whether (Roy and Bourque) have been offered a chance to run NHL teams, but if they haven't, it's one of those things on my 'Dude, what is up?' list. … These men are why we love the game. Why we care. Why we spend our hard-earned money playing it and supporting it. Because they care. Because they don't do it for the money. They always played for the prize. Roy still is."
I recall that sunny June day vividly, like I remember most things. It stayed with me as I, and others, waited for Roy to make his move to the NHL in some capacity. From that 2004 afternoon when Nathan MacKinnon was 8 years old, it was clear to me Roy was a man with more to do.
This lifelong fire Patrick Roy carries is a common hockey trait. It is one that keeps this fragile game moving forward. Without people who share Roy's fire, this game would melt away like early-March backyard ice.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
“You definitely know who’s watching you every night,” Duchene said Tuesday, several hours before the Avalanche played the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. “For me, I idolized both those guys growing up. It means a lot to me to put my best foot forward. I’m always looking over my shoulder, trying to be the best I can be.”
The biggest difference Duchene noticed between his previous coach, Joe Sacco, and Roy is that the old goaltender tends to hang around the players a lot more.
“After [playing] Nashville we had a meal after the game, we were all eating and he was in there with us sitting down on the couch having the same meal, just shooting the breeze and hanging out with us,” Duchene said. “Obviously there’s a huge respect level from us to him but it’s pretty cool he feels comfortable to do that with us. You feel more like a team rather than coaches and players. That’s really positive for us.”
The vibe is positive enough so far that the Avs went into Tuesday’s game with a 2-0 record against the likewise undefeated Maple Leafs (3-0). However, Roy says he knows where to draw the line when it comes to being familiar with his young team and Duchene agrees.
“Yeah, I definitely would,” Duchene said when he was asked if Roy is a player’s coach as opposed to a taskmaster like Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle. “At same time, we know he’s going to demand the most from us. So far, when we need a kick in the butt, we’ve got it from him.
Craig Custance of ESPN did an online chat today and here are some highlights from it...
I get the feeling the Rangers will not wait long to make a big trade if the team doesn't perform. What big offensive names do you see available this year?
Craig Custance Ohh, good question. It's a little early for trade speculation but there could be some good offensive players available. If Columbus struggles, I wouldn't be surprised if Marian Gaborik is moved but doubt the Rangers want to go down that road again. How about Thomas Vanek? He's not looking for an extension right now in Buffalo and if they're terrible, there's no reason to think that will change. He'd be a great addition for somebody.
Every year there's a surprise goalie in the league that has an awesome year. Who are the top candidates this year?
Craig Custance My pick would be Semyon Varlamov who looks great in early going for the Avalanche. He worked hard this summer to get ready for the season, training for a week in Switzerland with new goalie coach Francois Allaire and then spending more time in Montreal w/Allaire and Giguere. Doesn't hurt to have Patrick Roy as your coach either. His biggest thing is consistency, so he still needs to prove it over the long haul.
Could the always overlooked Coyotes be a legitimate threat just because of owneship settlement ? I love they're team but it's pretty much the same except Ribeiro . What do ya think ?
Craig Custance They're definitely legitimate because of the caliber coach they have in Dave Tippett. It hinges on Mike Smith. If he returns to form, they're a playoff team. Ekman-Larsson is one of the game's best young defenseman. Maybe even a Norris finalist this year. Lots of depth on D. Would still like to see them add another scoring winger.
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
Avalanche winger Steve Downie was a physical presence in the game. He injured Nashville defenseman Roman Josi with a big hit, and was assessed a charging penalty that might draw the attention of NHL director of player safety Brendan Shanahan in the coming day.
Downie retaliated after Nashville defenseman Shea Weber jabbed Matt Duchene in the face a couple times with his glove. Downie was involved in a fight in the third period with Nashville's Eric Nystrom and took a high stick to the eye from Craig Smith earlier, which drew a penalty.
Nashville wasn't happy over the hit by Downie, which Gaustad called “just a dumb hit,” while Preds coach Barry Trotz said he expects Downie to receive a suspension.
But Roy doesn't think so.
“That was a great hit I thought. I don't know, I need to re-look at it, but I thought it was a fair check. What I like about Steve is: he's a great leader right now on this team. He's playing hard,” Roy said. “Everybody is rattled by him, but he stays calm, he stays focused. I'm not sure he is, but he says 'Patty, I'm under control, I'm under control.' I said, 'OK, let's keep going then.'”
more on the game and watch the hit below...
from Mike Chambers of All Things Avs,
I will soon take a picture of Ryan O’Reilly’s stick and post in this blog. Long story short: his specially made twigs have a hook at the toe, creating a gutter-like affect that helps him make spin-move shots. That’s partly why he was able to score his sensational OT goal tonight against the Los Angeles Kings to complete a 4-3 come-from-behind preseason win at the Pepsi Center. While on the PK in a 4-on-3 shorthanded situation, O’Reilly blocked a shot from the point (or was it defenseman Nick Holden, who was credited with an assist?) and, instead of just dumping the puck down the ice, he saw that the Kings’ point player — Slava Voynov — was tired and probably didn’t want to defend.
A time lapse video showing the installation of the huge Pepsi Vision scoreboard at the Pepsi Center.
Enjoy while I have a Coke.
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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