Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun, Since
Clouston took over from the fired Craig Hartsburg Feb. 3, Ottawa is 11-6-3 and looking like a completely different team. The Senators have won five of their last six games and tonight, facing the desperate Buffalo Sabres, will try to stretch their home winning streak to five.
“He’s made a lot of adjustments,” said forward Mike Fisher. “Some with our forecheck in the neutral zone, a few different things. But he’s really instilled a confidence in our group, and he has confidence in us. We’ve been able to just go out, relax and focus on our game plan, not play uptight.
“We’ve just managed to try and have fun again, and he has helped us do that.”
While he has to like the job Clouston is doing, Murray has not lifted the tag of interim coach, saying again yesterday such a decision will be made at season’s end.
Murray does the like way the team practises under Clouston though, and believes that’s a key factor in the improved results. “We’re playing like we should be playing,” he said..
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Don’t expect Mikhail Grabovski and Jason Blake to exchange Christmas cards any time soon.
For the second time in a month, the two players were involved in an altercation, this time during the Maple Leafs practice at the St. Pete Times Forum yesterday afternoon.
The incident occurred when Grabovski hit Blake from behind during a drill, leading to a scrum that included veteran Jamal Mayers.
A couple of minutes later, Blake skated over to Grabovski and began chirping, causing Tomas Kaberle to come in and calm Blake down.
from Stan Fischler of Game On,
All you had to do is watch the Canadiens on Saturday night, losing 3-1 to the Devils to understand why the Blueshirts have a legit chance to make it two in a row.
The Habs forwards appeared to be allergic to shooting and the defense had more giveaways than The Ford Foundation. G.M./coach Bob Gainey’s embattled Czech goalie, Jaroslav Halak, appeared ready to jump on the next jet to Bratislava; except Gainey wouldn’t pay for the ticket.
Not that John Tortorella’s troops have two points in the bag already. (As a matter of fact, they don’t even have the bag. But that’s a Satchel for another Paige!)
Hey, we’re talking about a Canadiens club that’s right up there, standings-wise, with New York and the Guy Carbonneau-less Habs have shown in the past that they occasionally have had the Rangers number.
However, the Blueshirts’ numerology has dramatically changed since the teams last met.
Capitals lose to the Thrashers 5-1 last night. Caps coach Bruce Boudreau talks about the loss.
from Mike Milbury at Blogs and Columns at CBC,
Give GM Glen Sather credit for recognizing that Plan A was not working out. And blame him for putting together Plan A, while you’re at it. The game humbles us all, including the hall of fame GM and coach with a fistful of Cup rings on his resume. And befitting the competitive son of a gun that he is, Slats went to work.
Not only did the coaching change occur, personnel moves followed rapidly. Sean Avery, who from the beginning told associates that he had made a mistake by signing with Dallas in the summer for the most cash as opposed to playing where he wanted to be, made an impact with teammates and fans akin to prodding a lazy cow.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Stamkos, who has nine points (4-5) in his last nine games, played a season-high 22:15 on Saturday in a 4-3 shootout win over the Florida Panthers. He’s seeing the ice well, feeling more comfortable in his decisions and with the puck.
This is the Canadian junior star we’ve waited for. To his credit, he didn’t self-destruct in the fall when many a teenager might have. Picked to win the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in many September predictions, he game out of the gates with only four points (2-2) in 17 games amidst the controversy of his low playing minutes under former coach Barry Melrose. But, through it all, he persevered.
from John McGourty of NHL.com,
There never has been another Rocket Richard, a fiery blend of speed and strength, a stocky body with overwhelming strength, plus a wild look in his eyes as he bore down on goalies. A product of Montreal who played for the Canadiens, Richard also embodied Gallic pride and wore his ethnicity as a chip on his shoulder. It’s doubtful the city and all of Quebec ever will embrace an athlete as it did “The Rocket,” who died May 27, 2000, at age 79.
By the same token, there hasn’t been a player since Richard that so closely resembles him in size, strength, skating, shooting and scoring as Ovechkin, whose passion for winning closely rivals Richard.
“I think that’s a great comparison and as good a comparison as I’ve heard in a long time,” Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. “The only thing Alex doesn’t have is the temper that Rocket had, where he would blow up and go nuts. Alex is the same fiery type of guy with the same physical attributes that Rocket had in his day that Alex has in this day.”
via Tim Sassone of Between the Circles,
Hawks coach Coach Joel Quenneville said after practice Monday that Sammy Pahlsson would make his Hawks debut on Wednesday at Columbus.
Meanwhile, Nikolai Khabibulin will start again Tuesday in New Jersey when Devils goalie Martin Brodeur goes after his NHL-record 552nd career victory.
The Hawks are actually looking forward to trying to deny Brodeur his place in history - at least for a few days. “It’s going to happen. We’d just like to postpone it,” Coach Q said.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
What is most surprising about the Columbus Blue Jackets’ pursuit of their first playoff berth?
Well, one of the most interesting components of the Blue Jackets’ surprising play in the second half is a move that received almost no attention. When the Thrashers unloaded veteran forward Jason Williams in mid-January, it was part salary dump and part getting rid of a guy who didn’t seem to fit. Well, the undrafted 28-year-old has fit like a glove in Columbus. He has eight goals and 11 assists since becoming a Blue Jacket and has chipped in on a power play that has languished at the very bottom of the NHL for the entire season.
“He’s been caught up in the atmosphere, that sense of urgency,” coach Ken Hitchcock told ESPN.com on Monday. “I think he’s responded properly to being in that atmosphere. He’s working hard. He’s playing the game honestly.”
more on the Flames, Sabres, Canes, Flames and fighting…
NEW YORK (March 16, 2009)—New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, Calgary Flames center Olli Jokinen and Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending Mar. 15.
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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