Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News,
The Stars have three games in five days at home against one team that’s likely to make the Western Conference playoffs and two that are virtually guaranteed of it. Edmonton, trailing the Stars by a point, is followed by Chicago, a team that has had its way with the Stars lately, and the conference-leading San Jose Sharks.
The Stars not only need to collect their share of points in those games, they need to do it with someone other than Turco leaving the ice as the No. 1 star.
Not having Richards makes it harder, but it has to be done. Winning games the way they beat Columbus on Monday almost isn’t worth it.
If Turco is going to have to be that good – 41 saves, 3-for-3 on shootout stops – while playing every game for more than two months, then I’m sorry, he’s not going to have left what it takes to make a significant playoff run.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Even though the Kings were 4-3 winners over the Ducks on Wednesday at a far-from-sold out Honda Center, showing pluck and patience after they squandered a 2-0 lead, they have too many shootout losses and not enough wins to think they can leap several spots in the tight West playoff scramble.
The Kings likely will finish a few points out of the top eight and that’s not a bad fate. They’re playing pressure games for the first time as a team—many players for the first time in their NHL careers—and they can only get better for it.
“It was probably one of the more important games in our franchise history the last five, six years,” said Patrick O’Sullivan, who gave the Kings a 2-0 lead at 9 minutes 18 seconds of the first period.
These teams have passed while moving in opposite directions, the Ducks disintegrating more quickly than the Kings are maturing.
from Jay Greenberg of the NY Post,
The Rangers can’t afford to open it up more with defensemen who have minimal offensive ability. They cannot pretend that Markus Naslund is any longer the player he was in Vancouver, nor can they expect that veteran B or B-plus players will morph into team-carrying players this late in their careers.
Sather, responsible for this big miscalculation, can keep Zherdev, an upcoming restricted free agent, or save that cap room for somebody more often going to show up.
But unless the Rangers swallow Redden’s cap-choking contract for five long years, there will be little maneuverability to sign the level of scorer the team badly needs.
And making a coaching change isn’t going to bring him.
more about the Rangers…
from Matt Kalman of The Bruins Blog,
If you think Boston Bruins center Stephane Yelle is smart on the ice, you should see and hear how wise he is when insults and innuendos start flying across the Bruins’ dressing room.
The 34-year-old Yelle knows just how to toss in a phrase or two and then get out of the conversation unscathed.
“He’s dry. He’s really dry. He’s always throwing his little bombs from the corner,” Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference explained to TheBruinsBlog.net about his longtime teammate this week. “We call him a giant, wooden spoon. He just likes to stir the pot and then kind of get out of there once the water’s moving around.”
Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette quoting Guy Lafleur,
- “If I were in (Alex Kovalev’s) skates, I’d have played my last game for the Canadiens.
No player with his talent would accept being humiliated like that. ... I don’t know what (Bob) Gainey is trying to prove in front of everybody.”
- “If you’re paying guys $4 million, $5 million a year, give them the tools to make sure they’ll produce. You just can’t switch lines and try things every night and hope something will come out of it.”
- “I don’t think this club has a team spirit. They don’t play for each other. They’re not playing as a team and they’re not ready to sacrifice themselves to win.”
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
Thomas Vanek is back doing some light exercise but the Buffalo Sabres’ leading scorer says returning in 3-4 weeks from his fractured jaw may be an overly optimistic timetable.
“I hope that I haven’t lost too much of my fitness but we’ll see about that once I start skating again,” Vanek wrote in a diary entry posted on his official Web site for fans in his native Austria. “The doctors said that I would miss at least four weeks altogether but it also could be five to six weeks. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,
Here are the NHL’s 10 biggest disappointments, with the Canadiens and Penguins leading the way.
1. Underachieving Pittsburgh
“We’re still confident we can make the playoffs,” Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis told SportingNews.com on the night Therrien was fired. They might be the only ones.
The Penguins could get a boost with the firing of Therrien, but the bigger boost comes from the return of defenseman Sergei Gonchar. Even with Gonchar, this team is still a scoring winger away from returning to the playoffs
from Dan Wood of Ducks Blog at the OC Register,
“We’re in a situation where if we don’t get points, it’s a grim outlook,” Coach Randy Carlyle said.
With the NHL trade deadline looming March 4, it is by no means a stretch to think a number of Ducks might have played their final home game at Honda Center. Having seen the club go from Stanley Cup champions to potentially missing the post-season in only two years, General Manager Bob Murray is undoubtedly considering dramatic personnel moves in an effort to re-tool the team sooner rather than later.
“That’s really not up to us,” Niedermayer said. “Our job is to go out there and compete and focus on being a good hockey club here, and I think that’s what we’ll do. So I don’t expect anything.”
Alexander Ovechkin scores a goal from his back last night against the Canadiens.
added 11:12am, Japers’ Rink breaks down the goal.
According to a report in Montreal’s La Presse, Habs’ forward Alex Kovalev is not expected to rejoin the team after he was sent home on Tuesday by general manager Bob Gainey.
Gainey is reportedly in the process of attempting to move the veteran forward prior to the NHL Trade Deadline on March 4th.
“Bob called everybody about Alex Kovalev,” one unnamed agent told La Presse. “This player is on the market for the next two weeks; it’s not a secret around the hockey community.”
added 8:35pm, TSN has updated the same link after speaking with Kovalev directlty.. The story has now changed since it was first posted.
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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