Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
This is why, if I were the owner of a last-place pro sports team, I would be involved in a mega-scandal involving thrown games: If I’m Stan Kroenke right now, my pregame message to the Avalanche the rest of the season would be: “This is a must-lose game tonight. Now go out there and tank it for the team!”
Should the Avs tank it so they can get the first pick in June’s NHL draft? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
from Adrian Dater of The Denver Post,
It has been one awful season for Darcy Tucker. The hoped-for rejuvenation of his career, with the Rocky Mountains as his scenic backdrop, did not exactly go as planned.
“This year’s been a tough year personally,” said Tucker, signed by the Avalanche last summer to a two-year, $4.5 million free-agent contract. “But all you can do is work every day; just come to the rink and try to have each day get better.”...
Tucker is a no-nonsense man who doesn’t engage in long, philosophical conversations about himself. He knows he hasn’t played well and says so. But one factor that contributed to the worst season of his career — torn knee ligaments suffered in a game at Anaheim on Nov. 24 — is something Tucker could use as a crutch. But he won’t.
“I’m not the type of guy who gets those things and tries to make excuses out of them,” Tucker said. “It’s part of playing hockey, and you’ve got to battle through them. And I haven’t done a good enough job of doing that.”
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
After a team gets up two or three goals in this league, there is always a parade to the penalty box on marginal calls in favour of the trailing team. In this case, it was the Colorado Avalanche who were the benefactors.
As soon as the second period began, suddenly the Canucks, who didn’t need to take any penalties, found themselves down and then down two men and the Avalanche were back in the game on a power-play goal.
The Avs were the same struggling team a step behind the play as they were in the first period, but the officiating kept the game close until Vancouver had to play so much defence and worry so much about taking a penalty that they got tentative and Colorado got their legs.
via Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,
“Of course, we want to go in there and beat ‘em, be a spoiler,” Smyth said. “And we’re still not mathematically out of it ourselves. So, it’s a big game for us too.”
The Avs entered Friday in 15th place overall in the Western Conference, 11 points out of the eighth — and last — playoff spot with 14 games left.
A “Hockey Night in Canada” broadcast, in front of what will be a sold-out crowd, is always a great time in a city such as Edmonton. Smyth, who experienced many such nights with the Oilers, said few things compare.
“It’s an awesome atmosphere,” he said. “It’s going to be an energized building, and it’s exciting to play in. But we want to come out with the win, and we want to make it a quieter building.”
TORONTO – Colorado Avalanche forward Cody McCormick has been suspended for two games, without pay, for a high sticking incident in NHL Game #1014 against the Minnesota Wild, the National Hockey League announced today.
McCormick was assessed a double minor for high sticking Minnesota forward Cal Clutterbuck at 11:47 of the second period.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, McCormick will forfeit $5,618.28. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
McCormick will miss Saturday’s game at Edmonton and March 15 at Vancouver. He will be eligible to return March 17 when the Avalanche face the Wild in Minnesota.
from Jack Edwards of Bruins Blog at NESN,
Kristian Huselius dove on Tuesday night. He did it to try to help his team win. The two points went to Columbus, and the Blue Jackets were happy in their room. The points will disappear into the account in the NHL standings, pad the stack and may put Columbus into the playoffs for the first time when all is said and done.
I have no idea what Huselius’ teammates said to him after the game, but I know this: If you pulled that crap on the kids in my neighborhood, you wouldn’t even get picked the next game. Nobody would have wanted you on his team. You could sit and think about being such a dink.
Actions define character. No matter what Huselius does from here on out, this one’s stuck on him like that slimy smile on Mike Ribeiro’s face in the spring of ‘04.
My spleen is vented, but Huselius left an indelible impression. While his teammates earned a win, he won himself a tag: diver.
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
One reason veteran defenseman Adam Foote wanted out of Columbus was that he wanted to win, and in the NHL that means — at the very least — making the playoffs.
A little more than a year after he was traded back to the Avalanche from the Blue Jackets, Columbus is in the thick of a fight for its first postseason berth and Colorado is in last place in the Western Conference, destined to be done playing when the regular season ends April 12.
“It’s tough,” Foote said Wednesday. “I don’t think anyone likes it. We have to keep trying to be better.
“You have to deal with it, and there are two ways to do it. You can mope around or keep working hard.”
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
Early in last night’s third period, before either team had scored, Tim Thomas left his crease, scurried behind his net, and played the puck. As he turned to skate back into position, Columbus forward Jiri Novotny barreled into the Bruins goalie’s chest with so much force that his mask flew off.
Thomas’s nontraditional headgear (he calls it a “mage,” being that it’s half-mask, half-cage) clattered to the ice, the chin cup and the strap that holds it in place snapping off. Thomas went to the bench for repairs, but when the strap couldn’t be snapped back into place, he had to settle for Manny Fernandez’s mask - an in-game switch that any netminder would find uncomfortable.
“You can ask any goalie,” Thomas said. “It’s not fun to use anybody else’s stuff. You’re used to your own. But whatever. That’s hockey. Fortunately, Manny must have a fairly large head, too. With most goalies, I couldn’t fit their mask on.”
In a game in which the Bruins felt they couldn’t catch any breaks, Columbus scored the winning goal with Thomas wearing Fernandez’s mask.
continue for more on the game…
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
Any way you crunch the numbers, the postseason seems an impossible dream for the Avs, short of anything approaching a 16-0-0 run.
Colorado not only would have to make up considerable ground, it would have to pass at least seven teams in the conference standings, a task rendered even more difficult because of many games remaining between the contenders for the final spots.
Somebody has to win those games, and it’s a safe assumption that some of them will be tied at the end of regulation and end up “three-point” games — two for the winners, one for the losers.
So what can the Avalanche hope to accomplish? That question is posed not as a marketing issue for the Kroenke Sports Enterprises operation, hoping to sell season tickets for next season, but as a hockey-only issue for the 2008-09 Avs themselves.
It comes back to pride, professionalism, at least holding out hope for the equivalent of a meteor strike, and perhaps in some cases saving jobs.
The Rocky Mountain News is saying goodbye and featuring some of the stories from the past…
from Rick Sadowski of the Rocky Mountain News,
Mike Keane hopes he hasn’t seen the last of the Detroit Red Wings.
``I’ve got no problem playing a heartless team in the playoffs,’’ Keane said Wednesday night following the Colorado Avalanche’s 6-5 overtime loss to its bitter rival.
``That team has no heart. They showed their true colors tonight. Everyone’s gutless. Sure, I’d like to see them again.’‘
The busiest people at aptly named Joe Louis Arena were the maintenance people given the task of blotting blood puddles off the ice.
It was the most vicious game yet between the teams, not a surprising development as it marked Claude Lemieux’s first visit to Detroit since his well-publicized hit on Kris Draper in last year’s playoffs.
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