Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Columbus Dispatch,
“Driving in some days, you feel like you’re going to go out on the ice and run through the boards,” Shelley said Sunday night as he watched the Jackets play the St. Louis Blues. He was sitting alone in a darkened booth on press row, just below the rafters.
Shelley is—or was—primarily an enforcer. But there are fewer fights in the NHL. There is also a greater importance on special teams, so agitation is a more delicate art. In the Jackets’ case, they have this kid Jared Boll who knows how to irritate, and skate, and hit.
from the Columbus Dispatch,
Melrose credits the structure created by coach Ken Hitchcock, the commitment of the players and the goaltending of Leclaire as the major factors in the Blue Jackets’ turnaround. Several national hockey pundits expressed similar opinions about a team that began yesterday with the NHL’s third-best record.
“I don’t think anyone can truly say they saw this coming,” said Brian Engblom, an analyst for the Versus television network and a former Blue Jackets television color commentator.
from the STATS Blog,
The Columbus Blue Jackets are the surprise team in the early going, and their goaltender, Pascal Leclaire, has been stellar, posting a league-high five shutouts in his nine starts. It shouldn’t come as a shock that Leclaire, who turns 25 on Wednesday, also ranks first among his peers with a 1.12 goals-against average and .957 save percentage.
In the last 10 days, Leclaire has secured wins despite facing his two highest shot totals of the season. On Oct. 25, he faced a season-high 36 and stopped all of them for a 3-0 win over St. Louis. In Los Angeles on Halloween, Leclaire was 33-for-34 in a 4-1 decision against the Kings. He hasn’t lost when facing 30 shots.
read on for some interesting stats when goalies face a high amount of shots…
Mike Brophy of the Hockey News ranked the NHL teams today…
Spezza signed, sealed and delivered
Ozzie has been really good
Look who’s bouncing back to life
Leclaire unbelievable with five shutouts
read on and Columbus should be going hockey crazy…
from Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,
Nash said as much when he was asked about the difference between the 2006 Zherdev and the 2007 model.
“I think the biggest thing is his work ethic,” Nash said. “He’s out there every single shift working 110 percent. And that was a team problem in general, not just him. Last year, a lot of the guys were taking nights off, myself included.”
Zherdev didn’t single-handedly hold the Blue Jackets below their potential, even if he seems to be a glistening example now. While the change in Zherdev’s play seems incredible, it likely started during the summer when Howson and coach Ken Hitchcock made a special trip to Ottawa to meet with Zherdev and his agent, Rollie Hedges.
from the Columbus Dispatch,
After six NHL seasons, the Blue Jackets might have gotten their first taste of “playoff hockey” Thursday night.
Defenseman Adam Foote, who won two Stanley Cups with the Colorado Avalanche, knows. So does coach Ken Hitchcock, who guided the Dallas Stars to the 1999 Stanley Cup.
“That was playoff hockey,” Foote said. “That right there is as close as you can get in the regular season.
“It’s real good experience for us, especially for some of the younger guys. It’s a different level you have to get to, and we showed we were up for it under some pretty tough circumstances.”
Hitchcock corrected a reporter who asked if he considered the loss a “good” point in the standings.
“No, no,” Hitchcock said. “This is a great point for our hockey club….”
from Bethany’s Hockey Rants,
9:41…I love liveblogging!! I’m so excited this is the first one of the year. Some pre-game thoughts. Pascal being in…I have a good feeling a sense of calm. Also, I was reading on Puck-Rakers and apparently the Ducks are going after Boll.
continued and join in on some hockey talk during the Columbus/LAK game…
from E.J. Hradek at ESPN,
Halloween is a time for masks, right?
That being the case, I guess I should talk about the two masked men who’ll likely face one another Wednesday night in Hollywood.
Those two goaltenders are the Kings’ Jason LaBarbera and the Blue Jackets’ Pascal Leclaire. The Kings bring a four-game winning streak into their meeting with the Jackets, who are on their own three-game roll.
I’ll start with the 24-year-old Leclaire, who might be living up to the billing that led the Jackets to select him with the eighth overall pick in the 2001 draft.
from The Columbus Dispatch,
There seems to be a consensus, however, that faceoffs include ample strategy, gamesmanship and as much cheating as any other facet of the sport.
“I don’t think the average fan understands them,” said Hockey Hall of Famer Ron Francis, a center who played 23 NHL seasons. “They aren’t glamorous, but people inside the game know how important they are.”
The Blue Jackets, enjoying their best start in franchise history, never have finished higher than 12th in faceoff percentage. Three times in six seasons they ranked in the bottom third of the league.
From the Columbus Dispatch,
In crafting a franchise-best 6-3-1 start, the Blue Jackets have shown three traits—three strengths they can count on when the puck drops every night.
1. Playing hard
2. Playing stifling team defense
3. Killing penalties
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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