Kukla's Korner Hockey
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
from the Columbus Dispatch,
The Blue Jackets have allowed three power-play goals this season, and coach Ken Hitchcock remembers all three of them.
“Two of them were a problem with us rotating,” he said, “and the other was a lack of communication on zone entry.”...
“We wanted to create a terrific sense of pride in killing penalties. Never mind giving up goals … we don’t like to give up scoring chances.”
from Stats Blog,
Heading into the 2007-08 season, the Columbus Blue Jackets had recorded just 22 shutouts in their six NHL campaigns, and never more than five in a single season. The Blue Jackets, who recorded just four shutouts in all of 2006-07, set an NHL record with their fourth in October Thursday night.
Since the NHL began scheduling October games 65 years ago, at the start the 1942-43 season, no team had blanked its opponents more than three times for the month.
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
As (Andy) Murray said, “I thought there was parity there last year, too, between Chicago, Columbus and St. Louis. The only difference is that the parity is at a higher level.”
The three teams were a collective 79-77-21 after their coaching changes last season. They are 15-11-1 this morning. The Central Division is no longer comprised of Detroit, Nashville, Curly, Larry and Moe. The Stooges are gone.
As Hitchcock said, “Somebody has to make the playoffs other than Detroit. Whether you get a second- or a third-place team in the playoffs, it’s going to be somebody.
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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