Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Aaron J. Lopez of the Rocky Mountain News,
Two guys hunched at the ready, sweat dripping, sticks drawn, eyes focused.
The puck drops, the hands move, the feet slide and the battle is won or lost in a split second.
Welcome to the faceoff, often taken for granted, but a subtle part of hockey that can go a long way during the course of 60 minutes.
“When you don’t have to chase the puck all the time, it’s a big thing,” Avalanche forward Ian Laperriere said. “It’s something that people don’t notice, but as players, we know how important it is.”
With an emphasis on speed and skill in the post-lockout NHL, “puck possession” has become the buzz phrase around the league during the past three seasons.
continued with some faceoff stats
from Dashiell Bennett of Deadspin,
...That three-day break was their only chance to get home before the holiday, and the team had arranged for a commerical flight to take the players back to Chicago right after their game against the Leafs on Saturday night. General Manager Dale Tallon was staying behind, to attend his father’s funeral in rural Ontario. Take it away, crazy anonymous emailer.
This plane departs on schedule, but without a single member of the hockey team. Back in the locker room a vote is taken after the game was complete, and a unanimous decision is made by this young team to skip this flight and stay one more day. They make arrangements to check back in the hotel and on a frozen Sunday morning charter two buses that have no heat and begin a journey two hours straight north into a sparsely inhabited Canada , but where hockey is its passion. They arrive at their destination to the surprise of the teams general manager who is there attending his fathers wake.
Thanks to a KK reader for the pointer and I did confirm with the Blackhawks the story is indeed true.
from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Several players took blows to the head in Wednesday’s game between the Blues and Anaheim Ducks, but none was more serious than the one on goalie Manny Legace….
On the play in which Legace was injured, George Parros buried a rebound for a 1-1 score, and skating by the front of the net, Carter lifted his knee into Legace’s head.
“I’m a little foggy,” Legace said. “All that I know is that the goal is in and he comes skating by and there’s nobody pushing him and there’s nobody on him. He could have avoided it. It’s something to look at.”
Blues coach Andy Murray said there should have been interference called on the play, but the officials told him they didn’t see the collision happen.
read on and watch the video of the goal/injury below…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
“We had a players-only meeting on Monday in which we discussed the need for each individual to be prepared to play, because if we’re not prepared individually, we can’t succeed collectively,” Steve Valiquette told The Post following last night’s 3-2 overtime victory over the Thrashers on Scott Gomez ’ put-back at 0:18.
“We’ve had too many first periods in which we’ve had too many passengers who just haven’t been into it, and if there’s one passenger on the ice, then five players are messed up. We talked about how we needed to get back to basics, how each player had the responsibility to be prepared before coming to the rink.
“You can’t just show up and skate. Tiger Woods doesn’t just show up and hit off the first tee. He does put an immense amount to prepare himself before each round, and that’s the same mentality we have to have before each game,” said Valiquette. “We’d gotten away from what we’d been doing early in the year when we were winning so many games….”
from Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times,
Owner Len Barrie disputed former coach Barry Melrose’s assertion he was being told whom to play. He also called Melrose’s preparation before the season “total negligence.”
“I knew we were in trouble when we went to Prague,” Barrie said Wednesday of the season-opening trip with the Rangers, “and Barry wanted to play the (defensive) left wing lock.”
It was the latest salvo in the war of words between Melrose and the team. Barrie said he wants it to stop but added, “I wanted to respond for our organization and our guys.”
from Gary Shelton of the St. Petersburg Times,
A little advice for Barry Melrose.
Honestly, Barry. Give it a rest. At this point, the more you say, the worse you look.
We get it. You think you were hosed by the new Lightning owners. You were blown up after 16 games, and there were those in the front office who wanted you out by the time the team plane landed for the opener in Prague.
from The Good, The Bad And The Duthie,
• I know this topic comes up in every bar, coffee shop, and illegal massage parlor in the National Capital Region, but it needs to repeated…emphasized…SCREAMED! Alfredsson, Spezza, and Heatley have accounted for 53% of Ottawa’s goals this season. That’s the highest percentage for one team’s top three in the entire NHL. Secondary scoring is not a problem in Ottawa, it is THE problem. It has replaced goaltending as the team’s greatest crisis, and fatal flaw.
• You are the NHL guru of your office (or school), right? You know it all. You are the next Liam Maguire. Allrighty then, name the NHL team the following goalies play for (they’ve all appeared in games this season):
from Flames Insider at the Calgary Herald,
Calgary led by a pair at the near-midpoint of the third period Wednesday before the Wings flexed their muscles.
“It is disappointing,” conceded Keenan. “We had an opportunity to come out of here with two points. But in the context of the scheduling — four games in six nights and a 3:30 (a.m. arrival in Detroit because of weather delays coming out of Montreal), we’ll go home with the point and get ready for Florida (Friday at the Saddledome).”
Keenan gave rookie Curtis McElhinney high marks for his play in the first two periods but suggested the seldom-used backup showed signs of nerves in the final frame.
“That’s the next challenge for him,” suggested Keenan, “to be able to close out a game when you have a two-goal lead. It wasn’t like we had a barrage of pucks coming at us.”
more on the Flames
The NHL’s mobile cooling unit departs Mobile, Alabama enroute to Wrigley Field, the home of the 2009 Winter Classic.
from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,
Kovalchuk, who can become a free agent in 2010, is the subject of numerous trade rumors. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reported that Waddell has held serious discussions with several teams about trading Kovalchuk.
“I can tell you 100 percent on my grave, whose ever grave you want, I’ve never spoken to one team about trading Ilya Kovalchuk,” Waddell told SportingNews.com.
Seems clear enough, but sometimes hockey executives like to play semantics. So when he says he hasn’t talked to a team, maybe he really means he’s been e-mailing the entire league about Kovalchuk’s availability.
Or text messaging. Or sending assistant GM Larry Simmons out to do the dirty work.
Waddell laughed at those suggestions, but continued to eliminate options just to be clear.
Each week, the NHL on TSN panel voices their opinions on the hot topics of the day in the Wednesday Night Hockey Quiz.
Question No. 3: Former Lightning head coach Barry Melrose says Steven Stamkos is not ready to play in the National Hockey League this season. Do you agree?
Bob Clarke: What’s the matter with Melrose saying something that dumb? This is a great young player who needed good coaching that he obviously didn’t get. But he’s going to be a great player in this league.
Bob McKenzie: I will say absolutely. He can play in this league and we saw an example of it on Wednesday night against Buffalo when he assisted on a goal by Martin St. Louis….
John Tortorella: Yes - there was no structure and coaching going on for those first 16 games…
more questions and answers…
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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