Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rob Vollman at NHL.com,
Jarome Iginla of the Colorado Avalanche is poised to become the 19th player in NHL history to score 600 goals.
Digging deeper into the numbers, an argument can be made that Iginla is one of the top 10 goal-scorers in history, possibly one of the top five.
To illustrate why Iginla statistically ranks higher than 19th among goal-scorers, consider the two players immediately ahead of him: Jari Kurri, who scored 601 goals, and Dino Ciccarelli, who scored 608.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Put your hand up if you're willing to admit you buried the Avs earlier this season? I know I did, but here they are just four points behind the Nashville Predators for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference after a 6-3 win over the San Jose Sharks moved Colorado to 9-3-1 in December.
I mean, did anyone really see this coming? Nathan MacKinnon had the hat trick Monday night as the Avs went 4-for-6 on the power play, an area of improvement this season. The Avs are 10th in the league on the PP after placing a dismal 29th a year ago. Meanwhile, MacKinnon leads the team in scoring with 33 points, and is on pace for 73 on the season after slumping to just 38 points in 64 games last season as a second-year player. His 13 goals also have him on pace for 29 on the season which would eclipse his career high of 24, set two years ago as a rookie. What do you think, guys?
Can MacKinnon and the Avs stay in the race?
continue for more Avs talk from the ESPN crew...
from Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post,
How many times does Patrick Roy have to pound the message through the thick skulls of the Avalanche?
Denver likes hockey, but not nearly as much as this city loves a winner.
At the outset of a crucial homestand that will determine if Colorado has more than a prayer of making the NHL playoffs, Roy gathered the Avs prior to their game against the New York Islanders.
Colorado fans "are coming here to see you win a hockey game," Roy told his players. "They want a good show. But, at the same time, they want to see you win."
Then the Avalanche went out and beat the Islanders 2-1, winning on an ugly goal late in the third period by defenseman Francois Beauchemin, who bounced the score off New York's Mikhail Grabovski.
The goal was reviewed by the NHL then Patrick Roy challenged it...
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
"My opinion is this is a call that should go to Toronto, not the referees on the ice," Roy said. "Why? You're watching some games and you see the same call made and they disallow the goal. There's not enough consistency. I think we need consistency in those calls, what it is, what should be goalie interference and not. Right now, the referees on the ice, it's a tough call for him. I think they have enough pressure on the ice, enough on their hands during games. I think that should be a call made by Toronto, in my opinion, because you're going to have more consistency."
more on the Avs 4-2 loss to the Penguins...
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
Can you describe what it's like for a guy like you to be on a team like this at this stage of your career, a team with young, talented players but rife with inconsistency?
"I don't think it's easy for anyone. In our business, if you win you feel good and everyone is excited after the game. It's amazing the difference of emotions after a win or a loss. It's a results-oriented business so definitely the days when you're not winning are a lot tougher, a lot harder. But I feel like right through the League there are not many teams that are powerhouses, and we look at ourselves and what we look at is our one-goal games. If we could pull out a few more here and there -- I know that is what-ifs -- but it makes it so we feel like we're not so far behind a big group of teams. A third of the season is up. There are a lot of games still left but at the same time you have to start winning two out of three, three out of four, get on a streak. We haven't had a big streak yet and every team seems to go through one. So if we could get on a four- or five-game winning streak it would give us not only the points in the standings, but also the confidence of feeling good and knowing that we can climb back."
from Mike Chambers of the Denver Post,
Ray Bourque on Monday stood in the same locker room he couldn't get to quickly enough in 2001 on the night he took the Stanley Cup home after helping the Avalanche win it at the Pepsi Center.
"I was a little delayed. I didn't get to the room right after because they took me to the media room," Bourque recalled of the events after the Stanley Cup Final Game 7 victory over the New Jersey Devils. "So I missed probably 20 minutes of the celebration right after the game in here. That I'd like to have back, but the celebration continued to about 3 a.m., and actually for me, it probably went to about 5 in the morning because Pierre (Lacroix) told me to go home with the Cup. I brought it home and had a whole bunch of family with me. We had a big van with a cooler in the van, and people came out of their houses at 3 in the morning to celebrate with me until 5 a.m. right on my street where I lived in Littleton. That was a special night."
Bourque, 54, is among 15 Avalanche alumni or current players on the 20th anniversary team who were honored before Monday night's game against the visiting Minnesota Wild.
Watch the ceremony below...
The Avs lost 5-3 to the Islanders...
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
It was an especially tough night for the Avalanche's third defensive pairing, Zach Redmond and Brandon Gormley. Both were minus-3.
"They've been playing some good hockey for us," said Avalanche coach Patrick Roy. "Tonight was maybe a mismatch for them in some ways. But it's back-to-back games and we just needed to use everybody tonight. Obviously when they are out there, we need that extra save from our goaltender."...
Varlamov made 23 saves.
"It's not easy for him," Roy said. "Obviously, we need that extra save and we didn't get it on the road. It's hard to win if you're giving four goals on the road. We just need more from him. Like I said, he's our number one guy and we're behind him, but we need and expect more from him."
more on the game...
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
"I can honestly say it probably bothered me for about 12 hours," Duchene said of hearing his name mentioned as a player that could be on the block. "And then it was over.
"It was because of the way I found out," he continued. "We won in Boston, and my first interview, first question the guy asked me was about trade rumours. I hadn't heard anything about it. So it was kind of sprung on me weird, and it took me a second ... it took me a little bit to digest it."
Duchene knows trades are "part of the game," but Wednesday morning, he was able to express just how much he wants to remain in Colorado.
"Obviously I love playing here," he said, "and I want to be here as long as possible, as long as we're able to put a winning team on the ice.
"I'm happy here. I want to be here. I want to be an Av. I feel like those two things are in place right now, so when that happened, probably right away it was tough, but after that it was motivation, if anything. I think my game was there before, but I was able to keep it there after, which was a good thing."
from Mike Chambers of the Denver Post,
"We're certainly not happy about the way we've been playing all year," Roy said, despite the fact the Avs began their seven-game road trip 3-0. "We're not happy to be dead-last in the NHL. This is something we talk about and we're certainly not proud of that."
He added: "We should not try to find excuses."
Roy was then asked about goalie Semyon Varlamov, who will return from a seven-game absence and start at Winnipeg. Varlamov missed the last five games with a groin injury. He is 3-6-1 with a 3.26 goals-against average and .890 save percentage — three of the league's worst numbers for a No. 1 guy.
Varlamov is making $5.9 million annually.
"Varly needs to be the Varly of two years ago. For us to win games he needs to be our best player," Roy said. "This is how we view our team."
There’s no question the Avs have a more talented core than the Leafs with Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene, Landeskog and Tyson Barrie. But being a budget team that operates about $7 million under the cap, Colorado has to save somewhere, and that seems to show up on the third and fourth lines, as well as on the blueline.
Add in a style of play that’s at odds with the way most of the more successful teams are playing, or even a lower-ranked team like Toronto that has made a gigantic swing in the possession game under Mike Babcock, and the Avs just haven’t been getting close to the results they got under Roy in his rookie season.
Which puts executive vice-president of hockey operations Joe Sakic in a delicate spot.
He brought in Roy to bring back the glory in Denver, and the initial results were tremendous. But now, it seems the Avs are swimming against the prevailing current, and Roy either doesn’t want to alter the way the club plays, or can’t with the personnel he has.
-Damien Cox of Sportsnet where you can read more on the Avalanche.
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.
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