Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
We might not see Joe Sakic this year after all.
The Avalanche captain and franchise icon met with the media this morning, and while saying it remains his goal to play before the season is over April 12, he isn’t sure it will happen. Citing a loss of strength in his left leg – aftereffects of back surgery to repair a herniated disc and sciatic nerve damage to the leg – Sakic said it may not be possible to fulfill his goal.
“I lost a lot of strength in my leg,” Sakic said. “I’m not too sure where we stand yet. I’m just trying to work as hard as I can to make it back. Next week is obviously going to decide a lot.”
From Scott Burnside at ESPN:
Leave it to the Anaheim Ducks, seemingly always on the vanguard of thinking outside the hockey box, to bring science and hockey together in an unlikely yet wholly fascinating marriage.
Thanks to a $2 million endowment from the Ducks, the Science of Hockey, the first permanent science exhibit devoted to the game of hockey and how it works, will open its doors to the public Thursday in a 3,000-square-foot space at the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, Calif.
“It’s trying to teach kids science using hockey, and it’s trying to teach hockey using science. You can look at it from both perspectives,” Ducks CEO Michael Schulman told ESPN.com. “We’re always thinking of ways to get hockey in the minds of our youth. This is just another way to help it.”
More on the story here. Video on the exhibit below:
NHL Network profiles one of the NHL’s signature voices, Montreal Canadiens play-by-play man Pierre Houde Thursday at 7:30pm ET.
NEW YORK—Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward, Vancouver Canucks center Henrik Sedin and Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Rick Nash have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the month of March.
from John Grigg of The Hockey News,
So without further ado, we give you THN.com’s Top 10 NHL Russians, right now.
10. Slava Kozlov, Left Winger, Atlanta
Kozlov played his first NHL game during the 1991-92 season as a Red Wing and has tallied 346 goals and 821 points in 1121 NHL games. The 36-year-old is currently enjoying one of his best campaigns with 24 goals – including 12 on the power play – and 70 points in 76 games.
9. Nikolai Khabibulin, Goaltender, Chicago
Khabibulin makes the grade, but barely. He had pretty much sewn-up the No. 1 job with the Blackhawks before an injury in mid-February….
from Justin Del Giudice at The Hockey News,
Doug Weight, a 16-year NHL veteran, was just entering high school as the Steve Yzerman era was beginning in Detroit. Only five years his senior, Stevie Y was the kind of player Weight modelled himself after.
“Yzerman was always my favourite player,” said Weight, a Warren, Mich., native and self-proclaimed Red Wings fan. “The way he played, the way he carried himself, that’s what made him great.”
Few would dispute the fact Yzerman was one of the greatest players in NHL history. Besides his knack for scoring big goals and racking up impressive statistics, it was Yzerman’s leadership that marked him as a true great, captaining the Wings for nearly two decades.
According to Weight, Yzerman is the benchmark for what great leadership really is: being genuinely dedicated to the team.
from Terry Frei at ESPN,
How far have they fallen?
The Colorado Avalanche are last in the Western Conference.
They had lost seven in a row going into Wednesday’s game in Denver against Phoenix. They’re in a chase of the Islanders for the league’s overall basement that has the most wacko of conspiracy theorists musing that it’s such a “tank” job, the Pepsi Center Zambonis might as well be painted to resemble World War II-era Shermans.
But the truth is, the combination of injuries and the effects of management failures in the past few seasons have led to the Avalanche having a lineup on most nights during the stretch run that simply is in over its head.
from Brian Duff at The Hockey News,
To date, 19 players from this year’s Traverse Tournament have played at least a game in the NHL this year. As of Monday, five of those 19 were among the top 20 rookie scorers and four were in the top 11.
Bogosian will be an absolute force; Voracek is already responsible and productive; Neal trails only Bobby Ryan in rookie goals; Clutterbuck has set an NHL record for hits in a season; Berglund is the most prolific power play threat in this year’s Calder class.
And then there’s Oshie.
During one of our tournament broadcasts St. Louis’ president of hockey operations, John Davidson, joined us for an entire period to give us an overview of the organization’s prospects.
I’ll never forget how passionate he was when describing Oshie, who was expected to make the Blues after three consistent, productive years at the University of North Dakota.
“He’s tireless,” said Davidson glowingly. “He just never stops working.”
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
The difference was obvious in practice Tuesday as the Buffalo Sabres prepared for tonight’s game against the Atlanta Thrashers. The Sabres were smiling and loose, calm and confident, during a short workout. They were together. They found what had been missing for most of the season: life.
It’s amazing how three straight victories, including wins on back-to-back nights for the first time all year, can quickly improve the collective psyche of a team. If you didn’t know any better, you would have thought the Sabres rattled off 10 straight and were surging toward the Eastern Conference title.
“It can only help,” goaltender Ryan Miller said. “We’ve been uptight, and look where it’s gotten us. We’ve come to the rink feeling sorry for ourselves. We’ve come to the rink holding our heads low a few times. It hasn’t gotten us anywhere. We’ve put together a good run, and we’ve had some good victories. We should feel good about it.”
from Stan Fischler at the Hockey Journal,
Of all the major pro sports in this country, the NHL is a most interesting phenomenon; a team can lose a game yet still move up in the standings.
Giving a point to a team that lost in overtime once made sense. Coaches knew that when overtime rolled around, if they played defense and didn’t take many chances, they would still be a point waiting for them at the end of the game by finishing in a tie.
This type of play became the modus operandi of just about every team in the league. Overtime became a battle of who could get back on defense and not give up a goal.
continued with other hockey notes…
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