Kukla's Korner Hockey
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from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Could you feel your ears ringing from another time zone? I know I did. Dustin Byfluglien's overtime winner lifted the Winnipeg Jets over the Minnesota Wild in a key playoff race showdown Tuesday night, igniting a celebration at MTS Centre unlike anything we're seeing around the NHL.
Honestly, the hockey gods must deliver the playoffs for the Jets this year. We need to hear that crowd in a postseason setting. And what a shot by Byfuglien to win it, a ripper of a wrist shot to the top corner on Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk. In honor of that goal, take a look at the Byfuglien Bash video made last month by the Winnipeg Free Press that just rocks. The Jets have picked up five out of six points since the Evander Kane incident rocked the team, and perhaps it's something that will bring them closer together.
More tough tests await with a game Thursday night at Nashville and Saturday at Detroit. That was a huge win Tuesday, though, with the Jets now seven points ahead of Minnesota and the playoff danger zone.
read on for Burnside on the Ducks, Joe MacDonald on the Bruins and more topic too...
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher today announced the following injury updates for forwards Ryan Carter and Jason Zucker:
Ryan Carter is expected to miss a minimum of one month with an upper body injury suffered in Monday’s win against Vancouver. He leads the team in penalty minutes (53), ranks third in hits (70) and tied for third with a plus-4 rating. Carter has 13 points (3-10=13) in 48 games this season. His 10 assists are a career high and 13 points is the second highest total in his career.
Jason Zucker is scheduled to have surgery on Thursday for a broken clavicle suffered in Monday’s win against Vancouver and is expected to miss approximately three months. He ranks second on the team in goals (18) and fourth in hits (64) and shots (116). His goal total this season is a career high. Zucker has recorded 23 points (18-5=23) in 48 games this season.
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
Dubnyk has given the Wild quality goaltending since his Jan. 14 arrival and slowly but surely signs of the good Wild, not the bad Wild, have reappeared.
Remember Jan. 13 when the Wild actually played well for two periods in Pittsburgh but still lost 7-2?
Remember the 25-minute postgame player-only meeting that almost made my deadline-panicked heart go kaput?
After the game, the word “trust” was thrown around at record pace. Trust the system, trust each other, trust the beat writer (I made that up), trust, trust, trust....
Prior to that goalie arrival from Arizona, the Wild had lost six in a row and 12 of 14. Since a 7-0 win at Buffalo the night after Dubnyk’s acquisition, the Wild is 6-1-1 in its past eight and has won four in a row. Dubnyk is 6-1, having started all eight games, with a 1.48 goals-against average and .943 save percentage.
The Wild’s game has streamed back together and trust and confidence is back in the locker room.
Sounds simple, but Yeo said, “It started with one win. We needed that win. We were reeling, let’s be honest. We were reeling at that time and the one win allowed us to settle into things. There’s a better focus on our own job right now, there’s a better trust. It was a tough thing to overcome, but hopefully we learned from that.”
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
Boston Bruins: Slowly but surely, the Bruins are beginning to look like the team we're used to and the one opponents expect to see come spring. Winners in eight of their past 10 games, the Bruins have won two straight and they hold onto one of two wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference. A big part of their resurgence comes as a result of goaltender Tuukka Rask’s improved play. Rask had a stellar month of January and most recently turned away 30 of 31 shots faced in the team’s 3-1 win against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
Minnesota Wild: Goaltender Devan Dubnyk is looking like a pretty shrewd acquisition by general manager Chuck Fletcher right about now. Dubnyk stopped 35 of 37 shots he faced Sunday night, helping lead the Wild to their third consecutive road victory, a 4-2 win against the Vancouver Canucks. Since joining the Wild via trade in mid-January, Dubnyk has posted an impressive 5-1-1 record while the Wild have recorded a point in six of their past seven games. Those points are absolutely critical for a club that struggled in the first half and is desperately trying to claw its way back into the playoff mix.
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
The Minnesota Wild entered the All-Star break with 46 points, seven points behind the Calgary Flames, the team the Wild have the best shot at catching in their attempt to crawl back into a playoff spot.
Since the break, the Wild went out and swept their way through a Western Canada road trip, outscoring the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks by a 7-3 margin, winning all in regulation. It was the perfect start to their post-break schedule, but now that it's all said and done they still remain five points behind the Flames. All that for a two point gain.
It's not going to be easy for the Wild, not with the Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars and Los Angeles Kings in front of them, but they're doing what they need to do. They're getting goaltending, they're getting production from Thomas Vanek. Mikael Granlund's return has been a spark. Now comes a stretch that sees five of their next six games at home, one that needs to go just as well as the trip west just did.
read on, including Burnside on the West and LeBrun on Antoine Vermette...
NEW YORK (January 24, 2015) – The National Hockey League announced today the participating Clubs, locations and dates for the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® and 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™ games planned for the 2015-16 NHL regular season.
The 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® will feature the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA, on Jan. 1, 2016. When these long-time rivals meet, Boston will become the first Club to host the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® for a second time, after defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in overtime at the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® at Fenway Park. It will mark the first time the Canadiens will play in the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, and just the second time a Canadian-based NHL team will play in the game, following Toronto’s appearance in 2014.
The 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series will feature two games. On Sunday, Feb. 21, in a first for the Club, the Minnesota Wild will play host to the Chicago Blackhawks at TCF Bank Stadium on the Univ. of Minnesota campus. The following weekend, on Saturday, Feb. 27, the Colorado Avalanche will make their debut in a regular-season outdoor NHL game when they play host to the Detroit Red Wings at Coors Field.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Playing against his first legitimate opponent since being dealt to Minnesota, Dubnyk allowed three goals on 23 shots for a nightly save percentage of .870 as the Wild were beaten 3-1 by a Columbus Blue Jacketws team that had managed just one win in their previous five games.
The Wild's problems go deeper than goaltending, of course, as evidenced by the one paltry goal they scored Monday. In fact, if you ignore their wins over Buffalo and Arizona (which hardly count these days), the Wild have managed to score more than two goals in just two of their last eight games (and they lost one of those games in overtime).
The Wild are in Detroit on Tuesday night for their final game before the All-Star break. They sit eight points behind the Calgary Flames for the last wild card spot in the Western Conference, with four team to leap over to get into the postseason. In other words, whether we see Great Dubnyk (Custance's view) or Average Dubnyk (Burnside's view), the Wild are cooked and GM Chuck Fletcher is going to have to resign himself to being a seller at the trade deadline.
continue for Strang on the Leafs, LeBrun on Flames/Kings and Custance on the Canes...
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
Fletcher said, “We need to find out what our team really is. I’ve been waiting for the answers to come from the inside. I’ve been calling around for weeks. It’s not easy to get teams to sell players early. Most teams are still in and we’ve been waiting and hoping that the answers would come from within, but we’re at a very critical time right now. We’ve got to stabilize here. We’ve got to find a way to win a game and start to play the right way. You’re not just going to snap your fingers and everything’s going to get back to normal, but we’ve shown at points of this year we’re a good hockey team, we have good players, we have good coaches and we need to find a way to become a good team again. Right now we’re not a good team and this is a small step. Everybody’s lost confidence and that happens when you go through these stretches.
“I thought it was time for me to give this team a shot in the arm and we’ll keep trying. We’ll see if we can add more pieces. If we can do it great, but it has to come from the inside too and maybe this is a spark they need to get going.
“I think Mike’s a good coach, and I think we have a good team. But right now we’re in a perilous position for our season and we have to win some games. We’re capable of doing it. But we have to stabilize here. We’ll see where it takes us. We’ve got to get going. We’re better than this. It’s time. It’s more than time.”
Fletcher again said that Yeo is safe.
“We’ve got an overall performance issue here,” he said. “I’m not looking at Mike at all right now. He’s our coach. He’s a good coach.”
Here is the video explanation.
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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