Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
One of the more interesting races to monitor between now and the end of the season is the Devils’ pursuit of the Bruins for top spot in the Eastern Conference and home-ice advantage throughout the first three rounds, which could be critical since Boston has only four home losses in regulation this season and Washington just six.
Parise’s emergence, and Patrick Elias’s return to form, has changed the Devils’ identity slightly this year – eight forwards have a chance to crack the 20-goal barrier this season and that doesn’t include Brendan Shanahan, who has four in his first 15 games since returning to the team as an unrestricted free agent.
If the Devils have a perceived shortcoming, it is the lack of offence from the blue line, although of late, Johnny Oduya, a free-agent signing back in the summer of 2006, has been quite effective in that role.
read on and many more topics including Eric’s return to NYC.
A look at the NHL games tonight and below find a breakdown of the remaining NHL schedule which helps you decide who may have an advantage in the playoff race.
from Greg Cote of the Miami Herald,
A large sign in the Panthers’ dressing room is a one-word declarative in two-foot letters, white on red:
Eight consecutive years out of the playoffs and you lose that.
You have to play your way back in to begin to get some back.
That is where the Panthers are today. This is not a franchise fully reborn. Too many empty seats in the house Thursday to say that.
But blind hope has been replaced by a reason to believe.
It didn’t happen Thursday night, but these Cats are clawing, fighting to make this team matter again in the constant shadow of Dolphins and Marlins, Hurricanes and Heat.
It has been way, way too long.
from Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald,
To understand how long Mark Recchi has been in the NHL, consider this: He is one of the fast-dwindling cast of veterans who actually played in the old Boston Garden.
Does that bring it home for you?
So when the new Bruin stood in front of his locker last night, talking about the team’s lackluster 2-1 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes, he had no problem using the word “we,” as in: “I’m just a small piece of the puzzle . . . We have to go out and play with energy and play the right way . . . if we do that, things will eventually happen for our team.”
from Mike Sundheim of CarolinaHurricanes.com,
A few weeks ago WTVD’s Kerith Burke contacted me with a unique idea for a fun little story. Essentially, she wanted to learn the ins and outs of fighting in hockey from Hurricanes defenseman Tim Gleason. After some negotiating with Gleason (“I don’t want to hit a girl”), we managed to bring him on board for what I’m sure will be a must-see feature when Burke puts it together to air.
I snapped some shots of the proceedings with my BlackBerry. I think you can tell that it ended up being a lot of fun, even when the reporter got a little overzealous with her left hook. Tim spoke to Kerith about everything from how a fight starts to proper positioning (Keep that chin down).
from Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald,
Olli Jokinen’s first game in Flames silks. Two goals.
Jordan Leopold’s first game back in Flames silks. One goal.
It added up to a strikingly easy 5-1 triumph over the Flyers in National Hockey League action, making Calgary general manager Darryl Sutter look like a genius in the process.
“You want to get a feel for how your linemates are playing,” said Jokinen after his morning skate’s spin with Jarome Iginla and Cammalleri. “Usually, the best thing, as a player, is to keep it simple. I think the key is not to try to make pretty plays. To get a chance to play with those two guys is pretty amazing. There’s all the elements to have a good line there, you know.
“You always get anxious when you put a new jersey on . . . but it’s more exciting than nervousness.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,
“These last 20 games are going to be important, so we [have to] continue to play the right way,” winger Adam Burish said. “If we do that, we will create some momentum going into the playoffs. That’s the most important thing.
“Anybody who has been in a postseason knows you don’t want to go in there flat-footed, you don’t want to go in a little dead. You want to go in there with momentum and playing your best hockey.”
With 13 of their final 20 games at home, the Hawks could exceed the franchise-record 107 points of the 1970-71 and ‘71-72 teams. They need 13 victories to match the ‘70-71 team’s record of 49. That club went to the Stanley Cup finals.
“We want to get on a good run,” defenseman Brent Seabrook said. “We want to enjoy it and embrace it. But we know how tough it’s going to be. We have to get our game finely tuned for the playoffs.
“In the West it’s so tight that anyone from Nos. 5 or 6 to 12 is within five points. It’s going to be a battle to the end, and every game is going to be a tough one.”
Joe Pavelski, Brian Boucher and Head Coach Todd McLellan addressed members of the media after San Jose’s 4-3 (OT) loss to the Minnesota Wild.
added 10:40am, Watch below one goal Sharks goaltender Brian Boucher would like to have back…
via Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
The trade deadline is past, and with GM Bria Lawton’s intention to, as he said Wednesday, “get younger,” it seems as if Gary Roberts’ career might have come to an end. No official word from anyone, but it makes sense that the 42-year-old, 21-year veteran might take this opportunity to retire.
The left wing, a perhaps future Hall of Famer, has said this was going to be his last season, anyway. He even put on a pretty good show on the ice while being showcased as Wednesday’s trade deadline approached. But he was not at Thursday’s practice at the Ice Sports Forum and his locker no longer had a name plate.
The Lightning declined to say anything about Roberts, and his agent, Rick Curran, was cryptic.
“I’m not quite sure what’s going to happen,” Curran said. “No decisions have been finalized. He’s still a member of the team.”
from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider,
“We want to take it easy and make it’s going to be okay,” Ovechkin said, standing rather comfortably. “Me and [head trainer Greg Smith] tried some things this morning but it didn’t work. We decided to see what’s going to happen the next couple of days.”
Asked if he’s going to be able to face the Penguins (Sunday), he said: “We’re going to see. Probably.”
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