Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Cullen of TSN,
Early in the season, we took a look at which line deserved to be called the best in the NHL. Now that the NHL season is well into the second half, it’s a good time to take a deeper look at which lines have been best.
Given that some lines have played together much more than others, I’ve set a minimum number of 400 even-strength shifts to qualify a line for this list.
While the most value of a line comes from even-strength production, that doesn’t mean that other production is irrelevant in determining the value of an individual player, so overall production (including power play and shorthanded) counts towards an individual player’s rating.
continued and more hockey topics discussed…
from Elliotte Friedman of Blogs and Hockey at CBC,
It was the NHL lockout, and the co-owner of the WHL’s Tri-City Americans needed somewhere to practice. So, he went back to Washington, and met the team’s goalie. His name was Carey Price.
“I remember thinking, ‘When I was 18, I was nowhere near as polished as this guy,’” Olaf Kolzig said Friday. “I knew right there how good he was going to be. Goalies don’t mature until their mid-20s. To see where he was then ... you could see how special he was going to be at 25.”
We’re coming up on the one year anniversary of Cristobal Huet’s trade from Montreal, the day Bob Gainey made Price his number one man. Ron Tugnutt remembers watching as Price led the Canadiens to a stunning regular-season Eastern Conference crown.
“I said, ‘This is the guy who will lead Team Canada for years.’ His footwork is incredible.”
from Spector at Fox Sports,
Having previously examined the needs of those jockeying for postseason berths in the NHL’s two conferences as the trade deadline approaches, here’s a look at the needs of the top seeds in the conferences.
Detroit Red Wings: The defending Stanley Cup champions are sticking close to the Conference-leading Sharks in the standings. Offensively they’re still powerful, leading the league in goals and power-play percentage. Injuries have taken a bit of a toll as defenseman Brad Stuart and workhorse forward Tomas Holmstrom are out indefinitely although both should return in time for the playoffs. The real area of concern is between the pipes, where playoff hero Chris Osgood has struggled this season although they’ve gotten good goaltending from backup Ty Conklin. They rank 18th in goals against despite giving up the fifth-fewest shots, but GM Ken Holland insists he’s not in the market for a goalie.
From Ken Campbell at The Hockey News:
“Right now,” [Mike] Green told the Washington Post recently, “if it’s on my stick, I’m shooting it.”
The question that needs to be asked now, though, is if Paul Coffey’s record of 48 goals, the hallmark for markers by a defenseman in one season, is going to be in jeopardy in the next few seasons? Are we looking at a defenseman who is capable of becoming the first 50-goal scorer in NHL history?
Don’t laugh; it could happen. Green is only 23 years old, which means he could still be five years away from hitting his peak as a player. And look at what he’s doing already.
From David Pollak at Mercury News:
A very sad day here in Western New York, but there will be hockey tonight.
Several Sabres players live in Clarence Center, the suburban-rural area where the commuter flight from Newark crashed and they talked about the experience. Defenseman Teppo Numminen heard both the sound of the plane coming down and the noise from the impact. He and his wife opened the shade on the bedroom window and could see the flames and the red sky. Goalie Patrick Lalime lived even closer. Former Shark Craig Rivet lived nearby, but far enough away that he and his family weren’t aware of the 10:20 p.m. crash until they woke up this morning.
continued… with more on the Sharks
From Roger Hensley at STLtoday.com
Obviously injury-riddled all season, the Blues offered early hopes, sank in the standings, then made a big run right before the All-Star break. It even had some, myself included, talking playoff possibilities as recently as earlier this week. Of course it was a long shot. But since I mapped out the “Ten Nights in February” posting a couple days back about the import of the next ten games, beginning with Vancouver, the Blues have responded with a resounding thud.
That has brought me to the precipice of capitulation. Not on the team, mind you, but on the realities of this season. This decision did not come easily, but is one that had to be made. It was either that or I end up sticking a fork in my eye during one of these games.
from John Romano of the St. Petersburg Times,
You see Tampa Bay beat Toronto 6-4 and you begin to believe the worst is finally in the past and the future is closer than you ever imagined.
For the first time in a long while, the Lightning has direction. Not like last season, when confusion was everywhere. And not like the first few months of this season, when confusion was upgraded to chaos.
The Lightning has gone 12-9-2 since Dec. 23. Maybe that doesn’t translate into Stanley Cup fever, but it’s the franchise’s best 23-game stretch since the end of 2006-07.
After all this time, a plan is in place. An honest evaluation of assets and liabilities has been made. And the remaking of the Lightning brand is under way.
Brenden Morrow of the Dallas Stars when asked if he thinks he will be back for the playoffs…
I do. That’s how I approach every day when I get to the gym is to make sure when the playoffs are here, I’ve done everything in my ability to be up to speed.
A few more questions for Brenden from Mike Heika of the Dallas Stars blog…
from Jason Kay of the Hockey News,
If Curtis Joseph’s NHL career indeed comes to an end at the conclusion of this season, he’ll retire with the fourth-most goalie wins of all-time and a giant question begging to be answered: has he done enough to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame?
Most people I talk to instinctively say no. He was a very good goalie, who wove an excellent 19-year tapestry – at times he was stellar – but didn’t set himself apart enough to become an Honored Member. He never won a Stanley Cup or appeared in a final, never earned a post-season all-star berth, never captured a Vezina Trophy.
For the past 13 seasons, Ray Tufts has been San Jose’s head athletic trainer. He’s been working with professional athletes for more than two decades. Before coming to the Sharks, Tufts was on the training staff of the San Francisco 49ers and worked with the likes of Pro Football Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Jerry Rice.
Most fans envision the trainer darting onto the ice when a player is injured, but much of Tufts work goes into preventing injuries from occurring.
“We’re in the business of keeping the players as healthy as possible without injuring or re-injuring them based on something that we do,” said Tufts…
Before practice and on game day, Tufts and his staff work on keeping players muscles warmed up and ready for action. Following practice and games, they also work on helping players cool down their bodies to help recover.
The training staff also knows that one size doesn’t fit all – in other words, everyone has different needs.
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.
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