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Category: NHL-Teams

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Lightning/Capitals, 1/12/11

Yesterday, the aim here was to reaffirm the realistic goal of a Southeast Division championship for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Keeping pace with the three-time defending champion Washington Capitals through 43 games was enough, at face value, to establish that. But, in shutting out the Caps for a second consecutive meeting and, really, dominating last night’s game throughout, the Lightning have taken things a step further.

The road to the Southeast Division championship goes through Tampa.

Clearly, nothing’s been settled yet. 38 games remaining games for each club – with two more against each other – dictates as much. But the tides have turned in the Lightning’s favor since the acquisition of Dwayne Roloson, who has now blanked Washington twice in a week for his new club.

The difference between being outscored 12-3 in two losses to the Capitals earlier in the year and not allowing a single goal in two since goes far beyond a goaltending upgrade.

“We were trying to play their game,” Tampa Bay head coach Guy Boucher said of the first two meetings with Washington this year, “And, to be honest with you, at their game, they’re better than us.”

“We focused a lot less on the other team (in the two wins) and a lot more on ourselves.”

In doing so, the Bolts have flipped the script on their division rivals and sit alone atop the Southeast standings.

And while Washington has struggled to find consistency during a shift in identity from the offensive dynamo they’ve been in recent years, Tampa Bay has continually improved all season long.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alex+ovechkin, dwayne+roloson, guy+boucher, mattias+ohlund, sean+bergenheim, semyon+varlamov, steven+stamkos, victor+hedman

Morning Line

“Ovi comes out of the penalty box, the puck instead of bouncing forward—I don’t know how in the hell—it bounced backwards on him or he has a breakaway.  [Nicklas Backstrom] gets chances in the slot and it flubs off his stick. Ovi breaks sticks when he’s shooting. There’s a lot of things not going right for them and they’re pressing really hard but [their slumps are] not for a lack of want and will.

“it’s tough when you’ve got a team that’s used to scoring,.  There’s a lot of guys that’s used to scoring a lot of goals, being up at the top in a lot of categories and when they’re not scoring they get frustrated.”

-Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau after losing 3-0 to Tampa Bay last night.  Quote is via Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: bruce+boudreau

The Posing Goalies

First it was Carey Price last week, last night Marc-Andre Fleury struck a pose.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carey+price, marc-andre+fleury

Blues Trying To Find More Offense

from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

(Kyle) Wellwood has agreed to a one-year, two-way contract with the Blues, according to sources. However, he is not eligible to play in Peoria this season because the Blues missed the Dec. 15 deadline that would have allowed him to be paid a two-way contract. Therefore, if signed, Wellwood must either play with the Blues, or be paid an NHL salary if he is waived. A deal may still happen, but currently it’s being held up.

The Blues also had interest in forward Jamie Langenbrunner, a veteran who would have been a solid midseason addition before being traded to Dallas from New Jersey. But the Blues weren’t able to pull off a deal with the Devils, in part because of financial constraints that continue while the club finalizes its paperwork with new investors.

In the meantime, the Blues are moving forward with no definitive timetable on the returns of McDonald and Perron, and with Oshie, while practicing, still not ready to join the lineup.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Avs Need To Find Their Identity

from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,

I’m not an NHL coach. Those guys really do know the game better than me. But I think I’ve seen enough hockey and been in enough locker rooms by now to know when something’s amiss on a team. The vibe I’m getting right now in the room is one of confusion, a sense that the much-heralded “team identity” that Sacco often preaches just isn’t there right now. Some guys seem to think the identity is one of pushing the puck, run-and-gun-and-have-some-fun. Others seem to think it means painstaking checking and attention to every defensive detail.

I was in the room tonight and it was not only very quiet, but it just seemed like guys were walking on egg shells around each other in a weird way. In a way, it seems like this team still isn’t a real unit yet. Not saying it’s a divided team like that. Just saying, there’s a lack of swagger and belief in the guy next to each other that I sense.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Ron Wilson Wins, Leafs Lose

from Damian Cox of the Toronto Star,

The NHL has informed the Maple Leafs they will be fined an undisclosed amount for violating the league’s salary cap rules after head coach Ron Wilson rewarded his players with a small cash bonus after winning his 600th game in San Jose on Tuesday.

Part of the cap system instituted in 2005 was intended to make sure there were no more side deals between teams and players that were not specifically part of the Standard Player Contract. Teams used to routinely keep unofficial agreements “in the drawer” that allowed players benefits, cash or otherwise, that the league never knew about.

Article 26 of the current collective bargaining agreement states clearly “Neither a Club nor a Club Actor may pay or provide a Player anything of value except as provided in his (contract).”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Too Many Soft Goals Given Up By Kiprusoff

from Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun,

Say what you want about unfortunate deflections, screens and a lack of strong defence in front of him, Kiprusoff isn’t stealing points for his team the way he has in the past. He’s costing them some.

Flames head coach Brent Sutter is holding his star goaltender accountable, and there’s a good chance backup Henrik Karlsson gets the start Friday against the Ottawa Senators. If he plays well and wins, maybe Karlsson goes again the next night in Toronto against the Maple Leafs.

“Kipper is obviously a very good goaltender but right now he’s fighting it,” Sutter said after the 6-5 shootout loss to the Hurricanes Tuesday night in Carolina.

He left his five-hole wide open on a backhander from Eric Staal that gave the Canes a two-goal cushion early in the second period and was yanked in favour of Karlsson after allowing a fourth puck to get past him on eight shots.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: miikka+kiprusoff

Don’t Look For Many Trades Until The End Of January

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

Burke knew the Leafs had turned the corner when the tone of phone calls he took from other GMs suddenly changed after New Year’s Day.

“When you’re struggling, you’re very popular and the offers you get are mostly garbage. When you’re playing well, you’re not as popular and the offers you get are a little better. It definitely makes a difference, the kind of cycle you get in.”

That said, Burke said his phone bill for the past few weeks “could feed a small country”, but nothing will likely shake down until the GMs and governors congregate at the all-star game in Raleigh on Jan. 30 and the actual trade deadline approaches Feb. 28.

“It’s hard to trade in the cap system,” Burke reminded. “But it takes some pressure off of me when the team is winning.”

more on the Leafs…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

No Beach Mansion For Jack Johnson

from Dan Arritt of ESPN Los Angeles,

Now that Kings defenseman Jack Johnson will be around a while, signing a seven-year $30.5 million contract extension last weekend, time to start looking for that mansion on the beach that’ll be perfect for the summers, right?

Maybe if it’s on the banks of Lake Michigan.

Johnson, who turns 24 on Thursday, said his new riches won’t change his offseason ritual of returning to Ann Arbor and splitting time between his parents’ home and a bachelor pad with his former defense partner at Michigan, Matt Hunwick of the Colorado Avalanche.

“The reason I like going home in the summer is I like the change of pace,” Johnson said. “It’s not that I don’t like being in L.A. during the summer, it’s just that when I’m in L.A. I associate it with work and hockey.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Crosby Still Has Concussion Symptoms

from Arpon Basu at NHL.com,

Sidney Crosby is still feeling the effects of his concussion, and until those go away there is no point discussing his possible return, Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Wednesday.

“I believe he’s getting tested again this week, and he’s getting better,” Bylsma told reporters at the Bell Centre in advance of Wednesday night’s match-up against the Montreal Canadiens. “But we’re not going to progress forward until the symptoms subside.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sidney+crosby

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com

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