Kukla's Korner Hockey
via the New York Post,
For the first time since very early in the season, yesterday’s practice saw Scott Gomez reunited with Jaromir Jagr on his wing.
In recent weeks, it seemed that ex-Devil Gomez, in concert with Brendan Shanahan, had begun to find his niche on this side of the Hudson….
The other major shift is Chris Drury being put between Shanahan and Nigel Dawes.
Goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who missed Sunday’s 5-1 loss to Phoenix due to flu symptoms, will be a game-time decision.
I have also heard the Rangers have recalled goaltender Al Montoya
from the Ottawa Sun,
Now that he gets to a podium every day, Paddock takes any and all opportunities to sing the Big Zee’s praises. And yesterday, with his team about to fly off to face Chara and the rejuvenated Bruins, a chance to belt out a new chorus presented itself.
Paddock pointed out the B’s had “no defensive structure” last season, Chara’s first in Beantown since losing to Redden in the Which One Do We Keep sweepstakes the John Muckler regime held in Ottawa.
“As wonderful a defensive player as he is, Zee couldn’t do it by himself,” Paddock said, adding that under Claude Julien’s coaching, Chara is “back to being the type of player he was with us.”
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
So it’s crisis time down on Tobacco Road, although the Hurricanes’ bandwagon did not crash as noisily as the one up north did. For that to happen, the lone hockey writer for the lone newspaper in Raleigh would have to somehow turn the bandwagon into a NASCAR racer, fill it with hockey players and crash it into a pep rallies for the Duke and North Carolina college basketball teams….
No one has any easy explanation for the Hurricanes’ slide. Goaltender Cam Ward is having his ups and downs, but so are a number of his teammates.
“I just think that’s the way the league is now,” Brind’Amour said. “The teams are so evenly matched. If you don’t come out working hard every night, it happens.”
from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Brad Boyes, Paul Kariya and Andy McDonald couldn’t have known a year ago that together they would make up the Blues’ top line one-third of the way into the 2007-08 season. But neither could the Blues, who last December were using a mix of Keith Tkachuk, Petr Cajanek, Martin Rucinsky, Doug Weight and Bill Guerin on their top line.
In a span of 10 months, the Blues have been the architect of a few shrewd moves, using the power of free agency and the ingenuity of some unlikely trades to assemble one of the most dangerous lines the organization has put on the ice in some time.
from the Columbus Dispatch,
The NHL is defensive about its enforcement of the rule book.
Yesterday, NHL director of hockey operations Colin Campbell said the league is constantly on guard against letting the rule fall by the wayside.
“I haven’t seen that slip, but maybe it’s something we need to take a look at,” he said. “I’ll tell you this: It has always been a difficult question.
“How much time do you have to play the man before it’s interference? How much space do you have? … I think our guys do a pretty good job of calling the penalty right.”
Part of the issue, Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock said, is that coaches have spent the past two seasons making adjustments.
from Media News,
Matt Carle was on the ice early for Monday’s Sharks practice. Then he was among the last group skating long after it had officially ended.
“Just come to the rink every day, work hard and try to get better,” Carle said. “I need to prove to the coach that I should be in the lineup.”
It’s a place where, surprisingly, where he has been spotted only sporadically recently. Carle has been a healthy scratch in three of the last four games. Already he has watched six games in street clothes from the press box.
from the Arizona Republic,
When Ulf Samuelsson skates down the ice during a practice, it isn’t difficult to flash back and visualize him as a premier NHL defenseman, causing havoc and driving opponents up the wall (figuratively and literally).
Samuelsson, a Coyotes assistant, coaches like he played, says coach Wayne Gretzky.
“As a player, he prepared really hard, so he prepares hard at coaching,” he said. “He spends a lot of time behind the scenes, (watching) videos, watching guys, watching systems, and he puts a lot of effort into it.
from Alan Ryder of the Globe and Mail,
So-called “power rankings” are not the solution. These are, almost always, an opinion, or a committee view, and they tend to mix up the questions of team abilities and “who is hot and who is not”.
There are, however, scientific approaches to rating teams. Jeff Sagarin is probably the most famous sports team rater on the planet, but there are a couple of others out there worth of note — Ken Massey and Andy Dolphin .
Here is how the NHL and these scientific methods rank the top NHL teams today:
read on and Wings and Sens still rank 1 & 2…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
What they need to do now is demonstrate their turnaround wasn’t just an aberration, achieved at the expense of a handful of struggling opponents, but a sign that the team is finally coming together after a rocky start. Conroy always puts it so well. When the Flames lose, they’re an old team. When they win, they’re experienced — presumably experienced enough to know that all they’ve really done is given themselves a chance to make the playoffs. The real work still lies ahead.
This morning, I pointed to a story comparing the travel miles logged for the Canucks and Devils.
Well, KK member shep has some mile numbers through last night for all NHL teams…
No real stunner about Anaheim and L.A. topping the list. If we pretend their season opening home-and-home was in California rather than the UK, the Ducks would drop down to sixth and the Kings clear to fifteenth.
I confess that I’m surprised at the ranking of some of the Southeast teams (Panthers, Thrashers, Lightning), particularly when you factor in that their division won’t travel any farther west than St. Louis this season.
Check out his work in the comments of that post…
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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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