Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bill Clement at NBC Sports,
Toronto is off to a surprisingly good start. Who would have figured the Leafs to get 14 of their first 26 possible points? Who would have figured that in the first week of November they would be eighth in the Eastern Conference standings after finishing 12th last season? Not many people, maybe not anyone.
Toronto coming out of the gate this impressively raises the very interesting question of can the Maple Leafs keep it up? Can they exceed expectations and most importantly to their faithful, can they end their playoff drought?
“The biggest thing I want the players to know is that it’s really not acceptable last night to come out with a point against that team. I don’t know that it was in the past, but it definitely isn’t in the present. ... That was a team that was down, and we have to recognize that and develop more of a killer instinct. To their credit, they did what they had to do, but it shouldn’t sneak up on you.”
-Tampa GM Brian Lawton after the Bolts lost to New Jersey last night. More at Lightning Strikes…
from Sam Kasan at PittsburghPenguins.com,
Washington Capitals forward Alexander Semin has gotten a lot of attention from the media following his comments about Penguins star Sidney Crosby.
The drama continued today when Pittsburgh head coach Michel Therrien was asked about Semin’s comments. Therrien, who has never shied away from giving his opinion, laughed and then responded:
“Is he talking about the youngest guy to get 100 points in the history of the National Hockey League? Is he talking about the youngest guy to win the Hart Trophy and lead the league in scoring? Is he talking about the youngest captain in the National Hockey League to bring his team to the Stanley Cup Final? That’s all I have to say.”
from Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald,
In the pressbox at the Calgary Saddledome a week ago, longtime Flames followers were astonished by the play of Bruins [team stats] center Marc Savard, reacting with true incredulity.
“Did you see that?” one asked. “Marc Savard just hit someone.”
“He’s on the penalty-kill,” another said in amazement.
“He’s actually back-checking,” added a third.
The times they are a changin’ for Savard, who in his early 30s has evolved into a far more honest and complete player than he was in his first several seasons in the NHL.
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
He stills remembers the Soviet system, which he calls “unacceptable,” and he’s outspoken in his praise of the people who allowed him to escape that system for the NHL.
The type of hockey that he and his teammates played was so effective that much of it was adopted by the NHL and for that, we all owe him our thanks. The game is a much more attractive spectacle today than it used to be and Larionov’s contributions in that regard would be hard to eclipse.
The Hockey Hall of Fame has no shortage of worthy inductees, but it’s hard to think of a guy who is more worthy — in a number of ways — than Igor Larionov.
from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Remember how the Blues blew out of the gates this fall, looking very much like a playoff contender?
Forget about it. Now this hybrid team -– an interesting mix of kids and hardened veterans -– faces a season-defining challenge.
The Blues lost four of the last five games on a seven-game homestand, then opened a five-game trip by losing in Anaheim.
Each week, the NHL on TSN panel voices their opinions on the hot topics of the day in the Wednesday Night Hockey Quiz.
Question No. 3: Which is the best line in the NHL right now - Datsyuk, Hossa and Holmstrom in Detroit; Getzlaf, Perry and Kunitz in Anaheim; Spezza, Alfredsson and Heatley in Ottawa or Thornton, Setoguchi and Marleau in San Jose?
Bob McKenzie: Getzlaf, Perry and Kunitz in Anaheim. This line is as good as it gets right now and if you want to talk about Getzlaf compared to Datsyuk, they lined up against each other in a recent game it was Getzlaf and the Ducks who came out on top.
Keith Jones: Datsyuk’s line and why else but the fact that Marian Hossa is on it. They are a perfect mix with Holmstrom and the best line in the league.
from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News via Inside Bay Area,
This is terrific. This is awful.
This is terrific, how the Sharks are off to their best start in history. They won their 11th game Tuesday night. Let’s put that in perspective. The Sharks of 1992-93, back in the Cow Palace days, won only 11 games in that entire season. And they did not win the 11th game until April 6.
So, yes, the current Sharks are ahead of that pace. By five months.
This is awful, because those of us who have watched the Sharks since the Cow Palace can tell you how meaningless the results of October and November are by the time the NHL gets to the second round of the playoffs.
from Jay Feaster at ESPN,
While we realize fans and media may want to know about injuries, we also recognize there are lots of things they would like to know, from our trade deadline strategy to whether we intend to make a coaching change. Nonetheless, we do not give the public access to this information (except, perhaps, in very general terms) for a host of competitive and business reasons.
The bottom line: the extent and severity of a player’s injury is proprietary business information and most GMs would like to keep it “club confidential,” even if nondisclosure gives members of the press and some fans an upper-body ache.
added 11:47am, from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Because there is proof of targeting, we can buy the players’ safety issue. But our argument would be that the policy should be amended so full disclosure still exists from mid-September (the start of training camps) through March 1 (the beginning of the stretch run). From then through the playoffs, teams can hide injury details all they want.
Holland didn’t shoot down our idea.
“I mean, listen, we’ve disclosed Johan Franzen has a Grade 2 ACL sprain and that he’s out 3-4 weeks,” said Holland. “We disclosed the Andreas Lilja injury. For me personally, I just think over 82 games you’re probably going to play your player when they’re healthy. But the playoffs are different.”
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
But one thing that isn’t sitting well with me is the Avery addition. Mike Modano exploded to the media after last Saturday’s loss in Boston, a game in which the antics of Avery and fellow agitator Steve Ott essentially cost the Stars in a third-period collapse. Avery and Ott got into it with fans and on-ice officials. Modano called it “idiotic and stupid.”
And you might suspect, Tippett did his best to downplay it to me. That’s his job.
“Mike’s got no problem playing with Avery or Ott,” said Tippett. “He’ll be on a line with Avery today at practice. There’s no problem there at all. It’s the frustration of losing that’s got everyone upset.”
Still, Tippett did have a chat with his agitators.
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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