Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Simpson on Hockey,
The fact that the Edmonton Oilers are even in the playoff race with nine games to go is in itself an accomplishment.
But winning nine of 11 at such a critical time in the season to get them there is even more impressive….
The players who head coach Craig MacTavish hoped would someday be the leaders of this team have developed at such a fast pace that they are leading this team through one of its most challenging seasons.
from the Star-Telegram,
The Dallas Stars’ latest run has been forgettable.
They’ve lost five of their past six games. They’ve lost their lead in the Pacific Division. They’ve lost, at least for now, home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
They’ve just done too much losing.
But, after a two-day hiatus from the ice, the Stars say they haven’t lost their focus. In Stars land, the glass is still half full.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
For Maple Leaf head scout Dave Morrison, however, there’s a professional poignancy to that concept given the status he shares with the rest of the club’s management, coaching and scouting staff. Morrison’s job, come June, will be to correctly identify the teenage prospect most likely to brighten the team’s future in the NHL entry draft, all the while knowing a new boss will arrive in the next few months and possibly clean house.
“To say we as scouts haven’t talked about that would be a lie,” said Morrison. “But we can’t control that, and we’ve got a chance to do something special in this draft.”
Given those circumstances, you might think Morrison would be hoping for the Leafs to sink as low as possible in the standings by season’s end to maximize their chances to select one of the high-profile prospects.
from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,
While the Senators’ winning percentage with McCreary as one of the two referees (eight out of potential 14 points; .571) is just a little lower than their winning percentage overall (87 out of a potential 146 points; .596), the ammunition for McCreary conspiracy theorists is Senators opponents have been given almost twice as many power plays in those seven games as the Senators.
According to the NHL game sheets, the Senators have had 23 power-play opportunities in games in which McCreary has worked; their opponents have had 42. That’s an average of 3.29 power plays vs. six short-handed situations in those seven games.
Ilya Kovalchuck hits 50 last night in a 3-2 loss ot Philadelphia.
From John Buccigross at ESPN,
The Penguins have to at least consider and discuss trading Evgeni Malkin this summer if he is looking for an Alexander Ovechkin-type contract ($9-10 million per season. Term doesn’t matter. You always will be able to trade a great player if he is healthy), and the team concludes that paying a combined $17 million for two players on their roster will greatly affect their Stanley Cup plans.
NHL teams will have to look at things as NFL teams do. You won’t be able to fall in love with players, and you can’t talk about being a contender for 10 seasons. You have to look through smaller windows. Otherwise, you could have a very good season, then be mediocre for the next five. You have to keep looking forward, keep building.
more... odds and ends on Bucci’s mind
From Greg Logan at Newsday,
The organization has decided to send goaltender Rick DiPietro for an MRI examination Tuesday of the hip injury he suffered in the All-Star Game skills competition on Jan. 26.
Islanders coach Ted Nolan acknowledged DiPietro’s absence from the lineup at the morning skate Tuesday and said results of the MRI will be evaluated Wednesday.
“He’s been having it for a while,” Nolan said of DiPietro’s hip injury. “It’s the same as our team. We have nine guys out of the lineup, and we have two guys that probably shouldn’t be playing (Tuesday night). It’s one of those things where the injury bug hit us, and unfortunately, it hit Ricky.”
Update 11:11pm ET: From TSN—
It looks as though Rick DiPietro’s season is over.
Sources tell TSN the New York Islander goaltender has a right hip problem that is going to require surgery. The decision was made after DiPietro underwent an MRI today. It’s expected the surgery could be performed as early as Wednesday.
Update 11:54pm ET: Greg Logan at Newsday—
For the second time in two seasons, Islanders franchise goaltender Rick DiPietro will have season-ending hip surgery. The operation will take place Wednesday at Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colo., an NHL source said, and DiPietro is expected to recover in time for training camp in September.
From Dan Steinberg in the DC Sportsblog, mention of a press release:
Hair Cuttery, the largest privately-owned chain of hair salons in the country, announced today that it has signed NHL Washington Capitals’ hockey star Alex Ovechkin to a 6-month partnership agreement commencing in October.
Ovechkin proves that even if you’re a multimillionaire, you can still appreciate a good haircut at a great price. After signing a 13 year, $124M contract - the richest in NHL history - the 22-year-old Washington Capitals’ left wing is still a regular client at the Ballston Common Hair Cuttery in Arlington, Virginia.
$14 haircuts. Interesting, this odd world of hockey endorsements. (And it seems like it would’ve been a decent gig for Jose Theodore, too.)
*hat-tip to Rick Couchman at Hockey.com for the link
From Pierre LeBrun at CP,
Along with the NHL-leading Detroit Red Wings, we argue the three Pacific Division contenders make up the best four teams in the NHL. And one will almost surely be out in the first round. Hence the urgency of the six total games involving the Sharks, Ducks and Stars.
“Those games against Dallas and San Jose are critical,” said Carlyle.
If you think you’ve seen this movie before, it’s because you have. The same three clubs also came down to the wire last season and finished three points apart, the Ducks winning the division with 110 points followed by San Jose (107) and Dallas (107).
Update 4:58pm ET: Link fixed, changed to the original CP report via Google. Sorry ‘bout the botched one earlier.
From Dave Stubbs in The Gazette, it seems that Carey Price has some sharp new goalie gear…
And if you think he’s excited, wait until the minor-, garage-league and semi-pro goalies of the world get wind of it.
On goalie-populated Internet forums and bulletin boards, where all things netminding are rumoured, discussed and debated, Price’s new gear isn’t likely to cause a ripple of interest, but a tsunami.
The graphic scheme is expected to be available at retail stores sometime this summer, at roughly $1,700 for the pads and $500 and $325, respectively, for the trapper and blocker.
The interest among goalies in what’s worn by the top pros, says Achenbach, “is goofy, crazy ... Star Wars hype times 10.”
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