Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ian McIntyre of the Vancouver Province,
Roberto Luongo haters, you’d rather have Ilya Bryzgalov in goal heading into the playoffs?
No one’s been better since the Olympics than Bryzgalov, but the Russian backup at the 2010 Games was beat by Alex Burrows from a bad angle at the top of the circle on the game’s first shot, then by Mason Raymond on a no-look whip-around along the ice on the game’s second shot Tuesday night.
And, just when his team had gotten back into the game with a power-play goal, Bryzgalov handed the puck to Henrik Sedin behind the Coyotes net and Sedin tucked it in short-handed to make it a two-goal Canucks’ lead again heading into the second period.
“My goalie was better than their goalie,” Alain Vigneault stated simply.
from Ted Leonsis of Ted’s Take,
I received a very interesting email from a local sports fan today. It snarled that the Caps were good just because we were lucky that we got to draft Alex Ovechkin. I disagreed on the overall sentiment of the email but I do agree that luck has a lot to do with success. Not as much as having a plan, a strategy, a culture, and an infrastructure focused on excellence but luck is a key component. We did also draft Semin, Green, Backstrom, Carlson, Schultz, Varlamov, Nuervirth, Fehr, and Alzner too. Lucky bastards that we are . Malkin was the second pick in that draft that Ovechkin went number 1 too. Penguins got lucky too, I guess.
from Curtis Zupke of Ducks Blog,
And Ward, like Selanne, seems to be in the twilight of his career. An unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, Ward, 37, can’t help but think about his future.
“When you get to this stage of your career, you let the season end and then you let everything settle and you go from there,” Ward said.
“First off you have to generate interest and then you have to determine whether or not you’re ready to play. At this point I’m ready to play. I’m looking forward to next season.”
Whether that would be with the Ducks remains to be seen as a transition stage looms for the club. Selanne and captain Scott Niedermayer might retire, and the Ducks could use Ward as a mentor for their younger defensemen.
But if Ward retired no would blame him.
from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider,
For those keeping score at home, tonight’s 5-4 loss to the Senators marked the 10th time in the past 18 games in which the Caps went to extra time.
While annoying - particularly for writers on tight deadlines - going to OT isn’t the reason fans should be getting concerned. This is why: For the second straight season, the Caps are closing out the regular season with a thud instead of a bang.
from Tim Sassone of Between the Circles,
So it’s come to this for the reeling Blackhawks, trying to find positives in a loss.
That’s so five years ago.
“That was a major progression from the last two (losses) for me,” coach Joel Quenneville said after Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to the Blues.
The Hawks have lost seven of their last nine games and right now don’t look like a team that’s even going to get out of the first round of the playoffs.
Happy Birthday Gordie Howe
thanks to Snapshots for the pointer
Kesler received 5 for boarding, a 10 and game misconduct.
Kevin Bieksa and Morris received 2 for roughing.
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
Patrik Elias did not want to get into specific or talk about the officiating at all, but it was clear he wasn’t happy with the job referees Kelly Sutherland and Dan O’Rourke did tonight in the Devils’ 1-0 overtime loss to the Bruins.
He wasn’t the only one in the Devils’ locker room that felt that way, but he was the one who told the officials so after Patrice Bergeron scored teh OT winner for Boston. He picked up a game misconduct for whatever he said.
“I voiced my opinion,” was the most Elias would reveal about what he did to earn the game misconduct.
“It’s not worth me even saying anything about their job tonight,” he said.
from Vicki Hall of the Calgary Herald at the Times-Colonist,
Calgary Flames head coach Brent Sutter lashed out at Jarome Iginla’s critics on Tuesday.
The captain has popped just one goal in his last 10 games, with the Flames desperately fighting for their Stanley Cup playoff lives.
“Do you need Jarome Iginla to score goals here down the stretch?” a reporter asked Sutter after a brisk practice.
“I’ve told you guys this before,” Sutter responded. “We need our team to be a good team. You guys focus on one guy so much.
“To me, it’s not right.”
from Bruce Brothers of the Pioneer Press,
Wild fans knew this would be a transition season from former coach Jacques Lemaire’s defensive-minded system, and the goals-against average of 2.44 a game last year has worsened by more than half a goal. That translates into perhaps half a dozen additional losses, certainly enough to drop Minnesota from playoff contention.
Richards planned to counter that with offense and installed an aggressive system of forechecking that required some adjusting by his players early in the season. But during a grueling March when the Wild played 15 games in 27 days, that forecheck has been only intermittently evident.
The result is a 7-6-2 record this month plus long stretches in the defensive zone, which lead to penalties, all of which makes life tough on the goaltenders.
Backstrom, whose goals-against average of 2.33 last season has bumped to 2.67 this season, says it’s not about numbers.
“We are out of the playoffs,” he said. “I don’t think anyone is happy in the locker room. That’s the only thing you play for is to get there.”
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.
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