Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Russo of the StarTribune,
For the seventh time in its past eight playoff series, the Wild won a Game 3, but tonight was in the most unexpected fashion possible.
When you give up two goals 4:10 in, the old cliché said in locker rooms is, “There was still a lot of hockey left.”
But that’s easier said than done when you’ve lost seven in a row, are fragile and your home fans are restless and ticked the way the season has gone pear shaped with no wins in the month of April.
However, it was impressive the way the fans never turned on the Wild tonight. Maybe it was because the start – being scored on 26 seconds in and again less than four minutes later on Patrick Sharp’s second goal -- was so stunning. But the Wild slowly got its game together and then got a huge momentum-turning goal by Chris Porter in the waning seconds of the period.
The Wild was fast, physical and defensively hounded the puck.
It came to light after the game that John Torchetti, who visibly challenged Mikko Koivu on the ice this morning, then challenged a “few of us” in the locker room during the first intermission.
Below, watch the highlights of the 5-3 Minnesota win over the Dallas Stars...
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
- Guaranteed to happen because it already has has happened: Some serious chatter reaching Slap Shots that, yes, the Canadiens are more than prepared to listen to offers for P.K. Subban — whose $9 million cap charge that runs through 2021-22 (or the post-lockout amnesty buyout period) is going to be as large a part of the conversation as the Spirit of 76’s persona.
- When the coach of a team that has missed the playoffs four consecutive seasons develops a personal relationship with one of the owners, that generally is not good news for the general manager of the club who has also missed four straight years, is it Don Maloney?
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
At a news conference in Brossard, general manager Marc Bergevin announced there will be no changes in the Canadiens’ coaching staff — although consultant Craig Ramsay won’t be back. Nor will there be changes in the St. John’s IceCaps’ staff headed by Sylvain Lefebvre.
They will all return, said Bergevin, because they’re not responsible for the team’s sharp decline after goaltender Carey Price was sidelined with a knee injury.
“If we had a healthy Carey Price, we wouldn’t be here having this conversation,” said Bergevin. “Yes, we need to get better in some aspects of the game, but we’ll address that. We had the second-most points in the league last year when Carey Price was the MVP and we’re not going to throw everyone out the door based on what happened this year.”
You can also forget those P.K. Subban trade rumours.
And, if you’re waiting for a stud to fill one of those vacancies on the top two lines, you might have to wait three or four years for a top draft pick to develop.
There are some caveats in the pronouncements.
You can’t fault what Subban does on the ice. He goes all-out nearly 30 minutes a game. But even as his team stumbled this season, Planet P.K. was burgeoning into an ever-larger marketing and social-media phenomenon, one that at times seems poised to swallow the Canadiens whole.
At some point, Subban has to decide which is his priority: Planet P.K. or his team. If you want to know how his teammates feel about him, remember they nominated Pacioretty for the King Clancy Trophy for leadership on and off the ice and significant contribution to the community despite Subban’s hospital announcement. The only way you can read this is Subban’s teammates are fed up with his act.
-Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette where you can read more on the Canadiens and Subban.
from Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette at Hockey Inside/Out,
This season is mostly Bergevin’s fault.
The general manager didn’t give Therrien much help, so it’s understandable that Bergevin wants to bring his coach back next season to see what he can do behind the bench with a healthy Carey Price and whatever changes the GM makes over the summer.
And Bergevin will definitely have to make changes.
Price won’t solve all of this team’s problems and with his chronic knee issues can the Canadiens really count on the goalie remaining healthy for an entire season after his 29th birthday on Aug. 16?
When Bergevin first took the Canadiens job, he seemed to have all the right moves, bringing back character and leading the team to the playoffs for three straight seasons, including a trip to the Eastern Conference final two years ago. But this year none of his moves worked — with the exception of claiming Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.
There was Zack Kassian crashing his truck, the Alexander Semin experiment, the John Scott trade, Tomas Fleischmann, Ben Scrivens and — for the final touch — Stefan Matteau.
MONTREAL – Canadiens’ general manager Marc Bergevin announced Tuesday that goaltender Carey Price will not return to action this season. The decision was made last night by the Canadiens’ medical staff, head team physician Vincent Lacroix, head orthopedic surgeon Paul Martineau, with Marc Bergevin and Carey Price.
“Now that Carey Price’s season has officially ended, here is a detailed description of his injury: Carey sustained a medial collateral ligament injury (MCL sprain) to his right knee on November 25th, 2015 in a game against the NY Rangers. The MCL provides support to the inside of the knee and is essential for stability and knee function. Acute, isolated MCL injuries are managed without surgery. Rehabilitation treatments lead to full functional recovery. The recovery process can be long in the case of an elite netminder such as Carey, due to the high demand placed on this anatomical structure by modern goaltending techniques. Although Carey has made excellent progress and is very close to being able to return to competition, he has not presently been cleared to do so. He is expected to make a full recovery over the off-season. This injury was not the same as the one he suffered earlier this season (October 29th at Edmonton), nor in previous years,” said the Canadiens’ head physician, Dr. Vincent Lacroix.
The Canadiens also announced that the following players will also be out for the remainder of the season due to injuries: P.K. Subban (neck), Mark Barberio (concussion), Victor Bartley (groin/broken foot) and Lucas Lessio (right knee).
"I still maintain this, and I'm not saying this to please anybody: If Carey Price is there Montreal is not out of it now. That's how good Price is. You can't lose your top player. He's also a tremendous leader, a silent leader. He doesn't have to yell. It's the way he works, like Steve Yzerman when he was my captain in Detroit."
-Jacques Demers on Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens. Dave Stubbs of NHL.com has more from Demers.
from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,
If I’m Bergevin, the two guys at the top of my list (assuming Vigneault and Claude Julien remain under contract) are Carbonneau and Guy Boucher. Boucher is young, imaginative, dynamic, experienced — and one of the handful of candidates who isn’t afraid to think outside the box.
In that sense, Boucher is a rare animal. How many brainy, innovative coaches are there in the NHL today? How many have there been since the days of Fred Shero? You may disagree with his innovations, but you can’t argue Boucher isn’t an unusually imaginative coach.
I like almost everything about Boucher. He’s paid his dues, he’s original, he might be able to figure out what’s wrong with this team. If I have reservations, it’s because he’s hyper-intense and this market can break a man who can’t relax. But he’s also a very smart, dynamic coach who would bring an original approach to the long list of problems the Canadiens face.
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
We attempt to identify the reason why the TSN Turning Point, if you will - of each team’s journey from playoff (wannabe) contender to pretender.
It all changed: Jan. 24, 2016
TSN Turning Point: Marc Bergevin’s vote of confidence for Michel Therrien
Scoop: You could argue that Carey Price going down on Nov. 25 at Madison Square Garden was the true turning point. You would not be wrong: Montreal is 17-30-4 since then. It’s just too obvious. In late January, after enduring the worst calendar month (December) in the franchise’s 98-season history, the Canadiens still had a glimmer of hope for rebounding. They were three points back of a playoff spot. GM Marc Bergevin held a press conference that day, after the Habs were 4-16-1 in their previous 21, and endorsed coach Michel Therrien as a guy you want to be alongside in a “foxhole.” Bergevin insisted Therrien would not be fired no matter how bad things got. The Canadiens responded by getting pumped by the last-place Columbus Blue Jackets in back-to-back games by a combined 10-4 score. The playoffs were never really a thought again.
read on for the six other NHL teams in Canada...
from Mike Boone of Hockey Inside/Out,
The good news: There are only nine games remaining in your Montreal Canadiens’ wobegotten 2015-’16 season.
The bad news: Eight of the games are against teams likely headed for the playoffs – Anaheim on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre, then Detroit away, home to the Rangersand red Wings, at Tampa Bay and Florida, home to Florida and Tampa (with a visit to Carolina for Game 81.
The good news about bad news: If the Canadiens lose all their remaining games – which is not beyond the realm of possibility – they could improve their first-round position at the draft in June.
Unless Marc Bergevin trades the pick for some Quebec-born stiff whom the general manager will enthusiastically describe as “the next Stefan Matteau”.
Man, what a craptastic hockey season in Montréal.
A Sunday that began with the sun shining down on the St. Patrick’s Parade ended with the Canadiens on the short end of a 4-1 score at the hands of the mighty Calgary Flames.
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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