Kukla's Korner Hockey
COLUMBUS, OHIO – Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Pascal Leclaire will undergo surgery on his injured ankle and is expected to be sidelined 10 to 12 weeks, club General Manager Scott Howson announced today. The surgery is scheduled to take place on Friday and will be performed by Dr. Brian Donley at The Cleveland Clinic.
Leclaire, 26, has appeared in 12 games this season and posted a 4-6-1 record with a 3.83 goals-against average and .867 save percentage. He originally suffered the injury in a preseason game vs. the Minnesota Wild on October 3. He missed eight games earlier this season due to the injury and last played in a game on December 18 at Dallas.
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,
Luongo knows allowing nine goals on 60 shots in his last two outings isn’t going to cut it, but didn’t buy the argument that he might be having trouble pushing off his left skate. He seemed stoic when beaten on shootout efforts by Williams and Rick Nash.
“I feel great on the ice and really have no issues,” he stressed. “It [rust] is from not having breakaways or shootouts. Once back on the ice, I didn’t want to go right into shootouts in practice and wanted to be careful. I was kind of antsy on the first [shootout] and went down early.”
from Dan Wood of the OC Register,
The Ducks might need a group rate with a top-notch psychologist if they spent much time comparing and contrasting their efforts in Friday’s dreary 3-1 loss at Pittsburgh and Saturday’s snappy 3-0 triumph at Minnesota.
Then again, if they don’t quickly find a way to duplicate more of the latter and minimize the former, the Ducks will be out of their misery come Stanley Cup playoff time.
Tied with Phoenix for fifth place in the NHL’s Western Conference, the Ducks remain in precarious position because of the jumble of clubs bunched closely behind.
from John Jeansonne of Newsday,
As power plays go, the Islanders’ wink-wink confirmation of a planned preseason game in Kansas City—and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s sympathetic comments about needing to replace “that building” in Nassau County—wouldn’t get past the red line of most skeptics.
We are supposed to make the leap from public knowledge that owner Charles Wang’s “Lighthouse Project” plan to redo Nassau Coliseum is on hold, to the fact that Kansas City has a spanking new arena actively in search of an NHL team. But experts in the matter are tolerably certain that a franchise move is virtually nonexistent, though this well-worn ploy and the veiled-threat manner in which it was presented is not the least big surprising.
“The typical playbook is that teams never come out and say, ‘We’re going to move if you don’t do this for us.’ Fans get angry when you do that,” said Neil deMause, co-author of “Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money Into Private Profit.’‘
from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,
On a club developing chemistry in adverse times, the tightest bond might be the one between coach and general manager.
Hitchcock and Howson don’t always agree, but they share a similar vision for the franchise, one coming into focus during an 8-3 run that has the Jackets in the thick of the playoff race.
“You never know how it’s going to work when you bring people together. There is always a risk,” said Howson, in his second season as Jackets general manager.
“I think we respect each other’s positions. He cares about winning the next game, and my focus is more long term. But he respects the intricacies of the position. He understands you can’t just wave a magic wand.”
Over at NHL.com, I take a look at the 2nd half of the regular season. The race is on for the playoffs!
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The lone division this season with a genuine race for the top spot, which carries with it an automatic top-three seed in the playoffs, is the Atlantic.
“It is a tough division,” Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren told ESPN.com.
The New Jersey Devils beat Nashville 3-1 on Monday night to leapfrog the Rangers into first place with 59 points, followed by New York at 58 and the Philadelphia Flyers at 57. Just two points separate the top three.
“I certainly felt that way going into the season,” Holmgren said when asked if he thought it would be this kind of battle for the division. “Probably the one surprise is where Pittsburgh is at. But they’ve had injuries to their two key defensemen, [Ryan] Whitney and [Sergei] Gonchar. You know they’re going to be in the mix in the end because they’re such a strong team.”
“I try to tell our guys we’re making the equivalent of a 60-foot putt, which Tiger Woods can’t even make, instead of simplifying our game which in golf would be a three-foot putt and in hockey a 10-foot pass,”.”
“We continually try to look long. It looks pretty, but it’s totally ineffective.”
-Toronto coach Ron Wilson after losing to Carolina last night. More on the game from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun.
As you know, my life is consumed with hockey. I check websites, listen to online hockey radio stations and watch as many games as possible on a nightly basis.
Lately, I have been hearing and reading the words “Top 5 player”. “He is one of the top 5 players at his position”, “without a doubt, he is a top 5 player”. Well, I have heard at least 40 names lately that are in the ‘Top 5” How can that be, only five players can be in the top 5, right?
So, and I am asking you to go into this with an open mind, take your ‘homer glasses’ off and name your Top 5. Let’s break it down by forward, defense and goal and to clarify, you can include last season into this equation, but can’t go back any farther than that.
List your Top 5 in the comments below.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
While Schubert has been the most often mentioned defenceman in trade rumours, there is a strong belief Kuba, who can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and is making $3 million US, might be the club’s most attractive commodity. Several teams—including the Rangers, Devils, Flames, Flyers, Canucks, Panthers and Stars—are looking for blue-line help.
“I don’t know how much (the Senators) are going to be able to do,” said a league executive. “It’s so difficult to make deals right now. Not only does it have to be dollar-for-dollar, there’s no chance you can afford to take on salary.”
It will be up to the players to decide what direction Murray takes. Following yesterday’s action, the Senators are in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, 13 points behind the eighth-place Panthers.
Ottawa has teased its fans by earning five points in the last three games.
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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