Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dan Pollard of TSN,
Nashville’s Pekka Rinne is giving the Blue Jackets’ Steve Mason a run for top rookie honours. Both have helped put their teams in a position to make the playoffs this year. For Columbus it would be the franchises maiden voyage into the post-season.
There’s not much to choose from when comparing the goaltenders numbers wise.
Other than shutouts, Rinne’s numbers are better or almost identical to Masons.
That being said, when forced to make a choice my support leans to Mason.
read on and more NHL topics (fighting and Daniel & Henrik Sedin)...
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets face off tonight in a compelling matchup as both teams keep clawing away in their bid to make the playoffs.
You have to love these stretch-drive, playoff-type games—two teams that need the points so bad.
For Bill Guerin and Antoine Vermette, the meaningful games are a welcome change after spending most of the season on teams headed nowhere.
“You know what, it’s been a lot of fun so far,” Guerin, acquired by the Penguins last Wednesday, told ESPN.com yesterday. “I’ve been having a blast, I really have. The games have been so exciting. We’re right in the thick of things and, for me, it’s nice to have these big games of importance.”
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 Tom Reed of Puck-rakers at the Columbus Dispatch,
Captain Rick Nash scored three goals—all of them unassisted. The last time that happened? Try March 14, 1948 when legendary Maurice “Rocket” Richard pumped in four against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. That’s according to Sal from the Elias Sports Bureau….
The Jackets had lost four of their six games and were coming to an arena where they have lost 19 times in 25 tries (6-17-2). They have only lost more games in one arena—the Sommet Center in Nashville. And yet they put together a stellar all-around effort.
Of course, there were two teams on the ice and the Red Wings, a proud franchise, were simply humbled. Do you recall a Detroit squad so loose with the puck? Brian Rafalski should argue he deserves an assist on Nash’s second goal. The Wings have allowed eight goals twice in eight days. The magnficent Henrik Zetterberg was a minus-4.
Bob McKenzie reporting on TSN that Antoine Vermette has been traded to Columbus for Pascal Leclaire.
Update 10am ET: It’s being reported that Ottawa also gets a 2nd round pick in the deal.
Update 10:03 am ET: Link available at TSN.
from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,
Each season, Campbell says, one or two teams think they are “getting a raw deal,” sparking anger and conspiracy theories. He acknowledges that the Blue Jackets are one of those teams this season.
The Jackets are 1-6 on video reviews, according to league-issued, play-by-play summaries. Two disallowed goals—one by captain Rick Nash on Oct. 25 in Minnesota, the other by Manny Malhotra on Dec. 18 in Dallas—loom large for a franchise trying to make its first playoff appearance.
Campbell said he empathizes with all NHL fans who feel wronged but emphasizes that past calls will have no bearing on the next review.
“It would be easy to say, ‘It’s Columbus, they’ve got to make the playoffs this year and they have had a couple of tough calls go against them and they need this one,’ ” he said. “But we can’t do that.”
More than goals
Some Blue Jackets fans swear that Toronto’s injustice toward them goes back several seasons. Peruse the Internet long enough, though, and you will find similar stories and controversies involving other franchises.
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
In terms of truth, I’d rather swallow whatever drivel A-Rod is selling than the garble generated near the NHL trade deadline. The only thing planted between an overage of gossip and a shortage of substance is an exaggeration of facts. But every now and again, a juicy hockey rumor actually makes sense.
That brings us to the latest “Tim Connolly is headed for [insert team]” chatter making the rounds in recent weeks. This one had the pending unrestricted free agent going to Columbus, where the Blue Jackets have been clamoring for a center of Connolly’s ilk.
And why not?
Connolly alongside Rick Nash would be frightening with the big winger manning the left side and the right-handed center wheeling and dealing the way he can when healthy.
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
Which leads to the one list I have that is more complete than any other, and that is the list of players the Jackets won’t pursue – be it because the players are too old, too expensive, or would cost too much (first-round pick plus) to import. So far, I have on that list Jay Bouwmeester, Lecavalier, Tomas Kaberle, Pavel Kubina, Jason Spezza, Olli Jokinen, Doug Weight, Keith Tkachuk and Nik Antropov. In a couple of the cases – Jokinen, Antropov, Tkachuk – I personally don’t think the player’s personality fits in Columbus.
read on to find out who the Blue Jackets may have interest in…
from Tom Reed of Puck-rakers,
The Blue Jackets have acquired center Chris Gratton on re-entry waivers. He had been playing in the Tampa Bay organization. The 6-4, 220-pound forward had been playing for Nolfolk of the AHL. He will join the team for the trip to Western Canada which begins on Tuesday in Calgary.
from Tom Reed of Puck-rakers,
The most outrageous moment of the night belonged to Jason Williams in the shootout. He pretended to fan on a shot to open up the legs of rookie goalie Justin Pogge. The puck slid between the wickets and in the net. Williams says he has used the risky move before.
“It was a great trick shot,” Nash said. “I wonder how he practices that one, but we’ll take it.”
more on the Blue Jackets SO victory of the Leafs…
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 email@example.com