Kukla's Korner Hockey
... On Frozen Blog breaks down Puck Daddy.
from Steve Rosenbloom of RosenBlog at the Chicago Tribune,
...amid all the good signs I’ve seen from the Hawks this year—at this time of year—the one thing that struck me Tuesday night was Martin Havlat’s empty-net goal.
Perhaps it shouldn’t have seemed so jarring, but it was. In a vaccuum, I’m thinking, whoa, what’s Havlat doing on the ice at the end of a game when the Hawks are trying to protect a one-goal lead?
Yeah, I know, that was the question about the old Havlat, the one-way Havlat, the usually injured Havlat. I guess it still takes some getting used to. It also bears reiterating: This is not your father’s Havlat.
Contract year motivation or not, the guy has been a stud. He has been to the forwards what Duncan Keith is to the defense and what Khabibulin has been in goal.
Havlat leads the team in points with 73. He leads the team in assists with 45. He’s a plus-28, if you can believe that, second only to Keith. And he has missed only one game all season. One game. One game from the Czech version of Mark Prior.
Of all the things coach Joel Quenneville has done right this season, ranking near the top of the list is convincing Havlat he could be a game-breaker on the checking line.
more on Chicago…
“He’s going to see the doctor and go through a couple of days of testing. If he’s good, and we expect good things, we’ll see ... if he needs another two weeks, he needs another two weeks.”
“I don’t think there’s any risk. He won’t play if there’s any risk. Paul is a smart guy. As long as the doctors say he can play ... if the doctors said that Erik Johnson could play, we’d look at that too, but he can’t. If the doctors say he’s ready and he says he’s ready, he’ll be ready.”
-Blues President John Davidson on Paul Kariya. More on the Blues from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
from Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News,
While special-teams sturdiness has always been a fair barometer of post-season success (if you’re top five on the power play and penalty kill, you’re in good shape), what other stats can we break down for the purposes of crystal ball material?
I present to you the giveaways/takeaways corollary. Seems pretty simple, really. If your best players give away the puck more times than they take it off the other team, it’s not a good sign. Sure, some giveaways may be meaningless neutral-zone turnovers that don’t harm the team, but with goals at a premium in the playoffs, do you really want to take that chance?
from Luke DeCock of the News & Observer,
So now the playoffs await, only the opponent and the seeding uncertain. Two years of pent-up excitement and enthusiasm is ready to explode at the RBC Center and not just in the stands.
For the 10 holdovers from the 2006 championship team, the return to the playoffs has been a long time coming—far longer than any of them could have expected on June 19, 2006.
“With our talent level and our team in general, we should be in the playoffs,” said Hurricanes forward Eric Staal, who recorded his eighth career hat trick Tuesday. “We attained that goal. The last two years we didn’t, and that’s what made it so disappointing and difficult.”
No matter what happens now, whether the Hurricanes go out in the first round or make it to the finals for the third time in the past seven seasons, at least they’ll go down fighting, if they go down at all. It took them three years, but they’re finally going to defend their title.
The top five hits from the 2008-09 regular season.
from Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters,
Since the league adopted a playoff format of four rounds of best-of-seven-games series in 1986-87, there have been 25 different teams with two or more 100-point scorers, excluding this season’s Penguins. Of those 25, only four have lifted the Cup later that spring. That’s 16 percent. Furthermore, only six teams have even advanced to a conference final.
from Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Burnside: ...The real issue is the injury-riddled Habs. They are without defensemen Mathieu Schneider and Andrei Markov and could miss the playoffs if they lose their final two games against Boston and Pittsburgh and the Panthers knock off Atlanta and Washington, neither of whom have much to play for with the Capitals pretty much locked into the second seed in the East.
But let’s look West, as the shocking St. Louis Blues continue their assault on an unlikely playoff berth. They looked to have had the hardest road with six of their last seven on the road, but they are now eighth after beating Phoenix 5-1 and Nashville losing a 4-2 heartbreaker at home. Don’t really believe there’s such a thing as destiny when it comes to playoff berths, but gee, the Blues sure look like they have it with Dallas Stars castoff B.J. Crombeen scoring twice Tuesday night.
much more on the rush to the playoffs…
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province via Faceoff.com,
When Colin Campbell called Alex Burrows on Monday, the NHL’s disciplinarian didn’t wish the feisty winger good luck in the postseason. He wished Burrows would stop pushing the envelope.
In that regard, Campbell gave Burrows a slap on the wrist by slapping him with a $2,500 US fine for reaching out from the bench Saturday and punching Oilers enforcer Zack Stortini in the final minute of play at Edmonton. Burrows got a 10-minute misconduct.
“I wasn’t too happy about it [fine], and I let him know,” said Burrows. “He said I was on his watch list for a while, and he said there were two incidents from last year and with my reputation, he was watching me. But I told him I’ve been good lately, and I don’t know why I should be on that watch list….”
Just in time for the Stanley Cup™ Playoffs, today Energizer Canada Inc. announced a new sponsorship arrangement with NHL™ superstar Alex Ovechkin. While the full program is gearing up for a Fall 2009 launch, it centers around Energizer’s Ultimate Lithium product *“The World’s Longest Lasting ‘AA’ Battery in High-Tech Devices”
“With our Ultimate Lithium product offering 8X the power of our premium alkaline, it only made sense to partner with The Great #8 as he is the World’s Best Player (in my view)” said Kent Hatton, Brand Group Director of Energizer Canada Inc. “Alex is known throughout the league to play with incredible energy, determination and intensity, a perfect fit with the Energizer Bunny and our Keep Going® brand promise”.
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.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com