Kukla's Korner Hockey
What Nashville does year after year - from GM David Poile, to player personnel director Paul Fenton, to Barry Trotz - is remarkable. They also have one other thing going for them. The players they select and trade for are generally hard workers and quality people. If they can just give a former No. 1 draft pick David Legwand directions to the opponents net, that might help. He hasn’t scored a goal in 31 games.
-Ray Ferraro of TSN. More from Ray on the Predators and additional hockey notes too.
via a tweet by Frank Seravalli,
Jeff Carter out 3-4 weeks with a non-displaced fracture in the arch of his foot.
NEW YORK (March 22, 2010)—Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne, New York Islanders center John Tavares and Anaheim Ducks right wing Teemu Selanne have been named the NHL ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending Mar. 21.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
The Detroit Red Wings might be forced to play with 17 skaters—one under the limit—tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins, depending on the status of defenseman Brad Stuart.
Stuart did not skate this morning. Coach Mike Babcock said he was hurt in Saturday’s game in Vancouver but the club did not find out about the injury until today. Babcock would not reveal the injury, saying “he’s getting checked out right now.’‘
Forwards Patrick Eaves (sore back, neck) and Dan Cleary (sore groin) will not play tonight.
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
Many have asked about the availability of free agent defensemen, and there will be plenty out there.
But the big names that are available:
1. Want a lot of money.
2. Probably aren’t changing teams
3. Are too old
4. Aren’t really game-changers.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
They’re being bloodied on a lot of nights. They’re losing games, and might wind up as the fourth seed in the West rather than the first if Phoenix catches them.
If they roll through regular season and go out early in the playoffs, people always say, “So what else is new?” If they stumble, like all teams, in league play, inquiring minds want to know if they’re worried.
“Gee, I hadn’t heard that before,” laughed defenceman Dan Boyle.
“I’ve asked our guy (Sharks beat reporter) a hundred times to quit asking (that question),” deadpanned Boyle. “But, until we win, it’s not going to end.”
Coach Todd McClellan knows the score. “The playoff reputation is certainly out there every season,” he said. “But what happens every year is you change your team, the look of it, and all you get is the opportunity to win, like everybody else. The analogy I use is the basketball tournament in the NCAA. You qualify and then, who knows what’ll happen after that?”
“It’s definitely hard, we don’t get that many opportunities to score goals, but when we do we usually hit the goalie or miss the net. Eventually it’s going to turn around. We definitely want to turn it around as quick as possible. Me personally. I’d love to score. Who doesn’t? But there’s nothing I can do (but) just continue to play hard and things will turn around.
“I’m happy about my game. I’m trying to do as much as possible to help the team.”
-Alex Kovalev of the Ottawa Senators. Kovalev is -10 with no points in his last nine games. More on the Senators from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun.
from Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull,
In Sunday’s loss, Atlanta goalie Ondrej Pavelec (44 saves) outplayed a shaky Brian Boucher (28 saves), moving ninth-place Atlanta to within four points of the Flyers in the Eastern Conference.
The Flyers have 79 points, the same number as Montreal and Ottawa. All three teams are tied for fifth (excluding tie-breakers) and have 10 games left.
The Flyers play at struggling Ottawa Tuesday, host Minnesota on Thursday, and then travel to Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Ottawa, which has lost five straight, plays at Montreal on Monday. That means the Flyers will drop to sixth or seventh before their next game.
Suddenly, the playoffs aren’t a lock.
from Dave Vest of PhoenixCoyotes.com,
The Coyotes, a team many observers in and around the NHL community left for dead before the season started, have climbed into first place in the Pacific Division standings and are tied for the most points in the Western Conference.
That’s right. Phoenix has officially risen.
Adrian Aucoin – aka ‘The Closer’ – and Radim Vrbata scored shootout goals to lead the Coyotes to a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on Sunday at the American Airlines Center. Vrbata’s goal came with Phoenix down 1-0 in the bottom of the third round and Aucoin, per usual, ended the game by scoring his goal in the fourth round.
The victory was Phoenix’s ninth in a row and it enabled the Coyotes to set a new franchise record for points in a season (97). The Coyotes will look to set another franchise mark – 10 consecutive wins – on Tuesday against the Chicago Blackhawks, the only team above them in the conference standings.
from Damien Cox of the Spin at the Toronto Star,
The Thrashers swept the stumbling, goaltender-less Flyers over the weekend after beating both Buffalo and Ottawa last week and are hot on the trail of eighth place Boston. While ex-Leafs may be killing the Calgary Flames — could you believe Vesa Toskala got the start last night in Minny? — they’re powering the Thrashers’ playoff drive as Nik Antropov and Pavel Kubina play key roles.
GM Don Waddell took the public hit for not signing Kovalchuk, but the reality was this wasn’t a team that could pay one player $9- or $10 million a season and hope to flourish. Now, without Kovalchuk, they’re playing better hockey.
So much for star power.
Meanwhile, Kovalchuk’s future as an unrestricted free agent will be fascinating to watch. He didn’t exactly light it up last week when he came to town with the Devils. Despite all the talk that the KHL will come calling with an offer of $15 million a season, some attendance numbers out of the IIHF this morning provided some sobering news about just how big the Russia-based league actually is.
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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