Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,
To debunk the misconception that the long and gruelling regular season lacks meaning, one only needs to look at the nine most recent Stanley Cup winners.
Under the current conference configuration, teams that have finished first overall have won the Cup four times while a fifth finished first in its conference. The other four champions were no worse than tied for second in their conference.
The Sharks, while not exactly a surprise given their form in recent seasons and some key upgrades in the summer, have been the most impressive thus far.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Senators coach Craig Hartsburg couldn’t find the single word to describe his team’s play last night.
We’ll do it for him: Atrocious, brutal, cruddy, deplorable ... you get the point.
The Senators reverted to the uninspired hockey that has haunted them so many times this season and they heard the jeers as they left the ice following a 4-1 loss to the Devils at Scotiabank Place….
“In the third period, we lost every battle. It wasn’t even close,” said Hartsburg. “When we talk about inconsistency in our game, that’s usually where it starts. It’s competing for pucks. We had a four-minute power play and never won a battle, never won a loose puck….”
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Chiarelli, the 44-year-old former Harvard captain who was hired as Mike O’Connell’s replacement in June 2006, is in year No. 3 of a four-year deal he signed upon coming to the Hub from the Ottawa Senators.
“He’s my GM right now, and hopefully we can work something out . . . I’d like to see him here long term,” said owner Jeremy Jacobs, at the TD Banknorth Garden last night to see his Bruins defeat the Capitals in overtime, 3-2.
“I’m working on it, but we’re not there yet,” said Charlie Jacobs, the owner’s son and the club’s executive vice president. “We’d like to have something done before he enters the final year of his contract.”
from Mark Hermann of Newsday,
This might be the first time in sports history that a team finishes first and then sneaks up on everybody. Who knew that the top of the standings would be such a good hiding place?
That is the spot the Rangers have been finding themselves in, even if most of the hockey world and the world at large has not quite found them yet. They have been at or near the top of the Atlantic Division standings all season—they are one point behind the Devils right now—but it really doesn’t seem that way.
When hockey observers talk about the elite teams in the NHL, they generally don’t mention the Rangers. To be honest, they are not the type of club that takes your breath away. They are not very flamboyant, witnessed again by a 3-2 win over the Hurricanes at the Garden Tuesday night. Still, they are pretty good.
from the CP via TSN,
Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin, the leading goal-scorer in the NHL and the league’s reigning MVP, left Tuesday night’s game against the Bruins after awkwardly crashing into the boards following a hook from Boston defenceman Zdeno Chara.
Ovechkin hit the boards behind the Bruins goal with his right shoulder and head, then remained motionless on the ice for about 15 seconds before rolling over and rubbing his face with his glove.
update 8:55pm, The headline now states Ovechkin Returns but the story has not been updated, so it looks like AO is back.
video added below on 1/28/09…
from David Pollak of Working the Corners,
This wasn’t part of the plan. Dan Boyle finally got to play in an NHL All-Star game and the competitive defenseman gets hurt.
The injury was serious enough that he’s in San Jose, not here, for tonight’s game against the Avalanche. But one Sharks source, calling it a tweak, said there’s a decent chance that Boyle could be ready to go against Phoenix at home on Thursday.
Coach Todd McLellan only would that it’s an upper-body injury and that No. 22 is day-to-day.
continued and Rob Blake will play tonight…
No update yet on Zetterberg who walked down the tunnel late in the first period during tonight’s game against the Blue Jackets.
He is not on the bench for the 2nd period.
update 8:54pm, Lower back spasms, will not return.
update 9:04pm, Wings have called a 2:00pm press conference for tomorrow,. Speculation is Zetterberg contract extension.
One of the most eminent sports psychology experts in the country, Paul Dennis has a PhD in sports psychology and teaches at Toronto’s York University. The Leafs player development coach, Dennis has worked for the club for 19 years.
Mapleleafs.com’s Mike Ulmer visited with him to talk about what everyone wants: a return to the winner’s bracket for the Maple Leafs.
Ulmer: What are the impediments, other than talent, to winning?
Dennis: The individual’s mindset: self-doubt, self-criticism, worry. These are all aspects the athletes is in control of.
Ulmer: Are athletes more or less insecure than the average person on the street?
Dennis: I think they are considerably more insecure. A lot of people would see the glamour and not agree with my assessment. They see hockey players as successful and skillful. That is true and the term we refer to is ‘self-efficacy.’
Pittsburgh Penguins’ forward Matt Cooke has been suspended two games for a hit to the head of Carolina Hurricanes’ forward Scott Walker.
added 5:47pm, Official Release
TORONTO (January 27, 2009) – Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke has been suspended for two games, without pay, as a result of a blow delivered to the head of Carolina forward Scott Walker during NHL Game #687, Jan. 20 against the Carolina Hurricanes, the National Hockey League announced.
Cooke was assessed a minor penalty for interference against Scott Walker at 12:58 of the first period. Walker left the game and did not return.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Cooke will forfeit $12,903.23. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Cooke will miss games against the New York Rangers on Jan. 28 and New Jersey on Jan. 30. He will be eligible to return Jan. 31 at Toronto.
via Mike Knobler of Thrashers Blog at the AJC,
Kovalchuk has been credited with getting Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin to end their feud over the weekend. Kovalchuk, in typical fashion, downplayed his role.
“I don’t know what they’re talking about,” Kovalchuk said of his reported role as peacemaker. “They’re both Russians. They were always friends. Russians hit each other on the ice, they make a big deal about it. Canadians fight all the time, and they don’t say anything.”
Ovechkin did some guest DJing at a club. Kovalchuk didn’t spin any tunes.
“He was pretty good. I just was listening,” Kovalchuk said. Did Ilya dance? “A little bit,” he said.
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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