Kukla's Korner Hockey
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
Panthers coach Gerard Gallant stirred up a little controversy Friday when in explaining why Sean Bergenheim was scratched -- again -- he questioned the veteran winger's effort.
When asked if Bergenheim gave him 100 percent effort, Gallant stared straight ahead. Then he answered: "If he gave me 100 percent, he would be playing. That's fair. But there's a few guys who didn't give 100 percent last night. You just have to make a decision."
Gallant has been steadfast in defending the veteran players (Bergenheim, Tomas Kopecky, Scottie Upshall) he's had to put on the bench lately.
He did so again on Friday, saying he had nothing against Bergenheim. "I'm trying to win,'' Gallant said. "When I made my decision with my coaches, it was only who gives us the best chance to win.''
Bergenheim said Friday he requested a trade from the Panthers earlier this month when he was a healthy scratch in three straight games. He said Gallant never came to him with questions about his effort -- and he disagreed with that assessment.
Or does it?
Maybe Luongo was just toying with the Ducks, Florida won 6-2.
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
The Kings have rarely looked so rattled in the Sutter Era.
Not only are they failing to protect third-period leads, the Kings are imploding with a series of mistakes at crucial junctures. They took a third-period lead with Gaborik's 17th goal of the season, coming on the power play at 2:19, but promptly lost the chance to make up ground in the playoff race.
"To be honest, the way we lost, it is what it is," Kings center Jarret Stoll said. "We lost two points. We had two. Then we had one. And then we got none. That's the bottom line."
You have to wonder whether the spectacular meltdown could have a lasting impact.
"We got zero points tonight," Stoll said. "Yeah, it's a tough loss. But we got zero points."
more on the 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers...
from George Richards of the Miami Herald,
Sure, the Panthers have 33 games remaining in this season, but Monday was all but a must-win if this team hopes to make a serious run at the playoffs.
Looking at Erik Gudbranson in the hushed visitors’ locker room at Madison Square Garden, slumped over in his stall in full dress, told the story of how this one didn’t go as planned.
No, the Panthers didn’t get a win they desperately needed Monday as the Rangers scored three in the third period for a 6-3 win.
Florida has lost seven of its past eight games as that postseason light continues to dim. The Rangers now lead the Panthers in the playoff race by 10 points....
“It doesn’t feel like the end of the year,” said Dave Bolland, who had a goal and an assist.
“It’s no fun losing, but it’s not the end of the year. There’s always another game. We have another one [Tuesday], and we’ll be ready to play.”
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The Florida Panthers, to me, anyway, began the post All-Star schedule as the only Eastern Conference team currently on the outside of the playoffs looking in with any chance of making it into the postseason. I still feel that way, but the Panthers wasted a chance right off the hop Tuesday night, rallying from a 5-2 deficit but still losing 5-4 to the visiting Detroit Red Wings despite outshooting them 41-27.
I say "wasted a chance" because the Washington Capitals dropped their fourth straight game (0-3-1), this time a 4-3 road decision to the injury-riddled Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Panthers still have two games in hand on the suddenly struggling Caps, but they have to make them count. They remain seven points back of the Caps for a wild-card spot, when they could have cut into that lead with a win Tuesday night. Yes, the Panthers have three games in hand on Boston as well -- the Bruins are also seven points up and holding the other wild-card spot -- but I think the Bruins are going to take off now and aren't a realistic target for Florida. I still think the Panthers have a shot, but they've got to get on a roll very soon.
continue for more NHL topics from the ESPN hockey writers....
“They are the only ones in the Eastern Conference not in a playoff spot that have a chance. Toronto is toast, Ottawa isn’t getting back into it. Florida has the best shot, although I don’t think they should be aiming for Boston.
“The Bruins will be top three in the division soon I think. But maybe Detroit or Washington starts to slip. That would help the Panthers.’’
-Pierre LeBrun of ESPN/TSN on the Florida Panthers chances of making the playoffs. More on the Panthers from George Richards of the Miami Herald.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Dale Tallon cannot tell a lie. He knew Aaron Ekblad was good, just not this good.
The 18-year-old Ekblad, youngest player in the NHL, might be Drew Doughty good, although with a bigger chassis at 225 pounds. Not Doughty good today, of course, but let’s see in a year or two. Tallon, once a junior defenceman like Ekblad, who went second overall in 1970 to centre Gil Perreault, walks around with a perma-smile in Florida. The No. 1 pick last June could be the NHL’s best rookie because he plays the toughest position, plus he’s the baby of the Calder litter, but Filip Forsberg, the Nashville right-winger, who may get 65 points, is more visible on stats sheets.
That said, Ekblad is something else, and, to this day, Tallon, the Panthers’ GM, is very grateful he resisted the urge to fill several holes on his club to move back a few spots with a big draft-day trade last June.
“He’s been phenomenal,” said Tallon.
First up is the tribute video for Roberto Luongo by the Vancouver Canucks...
Luongo was also name the first star of the game and the Vancouver fans react accordingly...
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
“I think it’s going to be emotional,” Luongo said on Wednesday shortly after the Florida Panthers practice. “I’m flattered they’d do that. I told (the organization) it wasn’t necessary but I’m happy there’s some sort of recognition. I think it’s good for both sides.”
Especially if it’s shorter than Ben Hur.
As Luongo suggests, the Canucks-Panthers encounter will be emotionally charged for all parties involved, and it’s fitting the organization has chosen to recognize his importance to the franchise and this province. But, really, how do you sum up Luongo’s Canucks career with one short video? How do you capture all the twists and turns, the high drama and low comedy, that took place here? Obviously, whoever put the tribute together will have to paint with some very broad strokes or the fans will be in their seats until 1 a.m.
But whatever they come up with, you know it won’t tell the whole story of Luongo’s career with the Canucks because, well, we’re just not sure if that’s possible.
It’s been 10 months since the former face of the franchise was dealt to the Panthers, and this week he returned, bringing with him all those delicious storylines for one final review.
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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