Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
Just two months after referring to his Senators as one of the top five teams in the league and predicting they’d go “deep” into the playoffs, owner Eugene Melnyk was somewhat more reserved with his comments Friday.
In fact, Melnyk had to address the possibility that the Senators might yet be guilty of one of the greatest collapses of all-time and miss the post-season tournament altogether.
“I have absolute confidence that with the players we have and the coaching staff we have, we will obviously make the playoffs,” Melnyk said in an interview on Toronto’s FAN 590, before adding in his usual brash fashion: “There’s no question in my mind and once the playoffs start, it’s a whole new ballgame and our guys are going to rise to the top.”
That’s not the easy sell it once was, to be sure.
First puck drops just after 1:00pm ET today.
Also, don’t forget the free preview of the NHL Networks begins today.
View today’s NHL schedule below…
from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,
If the league’s got any desire of actually fixing these type of mistakes by referees and show them when they’ve blatantly erred, I’d hope referee Stephane Auger has an email waiting for him Saturday morning from Director of Officiating Terry Gregson with a video clip.
There is no way any rational league executive can look at the replay of Kris Russell’s tying goal and say that R.J. Umberger didn’t blatantly break Rule 69.1 (interference with a goaltender), which in part reads, “The overriding rationale of this rule is that a goalkeeper should have the ability to move freely within his goal crease without being
hindered by the actions of an attacking player. If an attacking player enters the goal crease and, by his actions, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to defend his goal, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.”
Auger blew it, plain and simple. Sometimes this rule is gray because the goalie will stray outside the blue paint. In this case, it is plain as day. Harding’s in the blue. Umberger backs into him BEFORE Russell’s shot gets there and Harding is impeded from making the save.
more and watch a video of the goal although the interference being suggested can only be seen at the end of the video…
Brian Rafalski of the Detroit Red Wings scored with two/tenths of a second left on the clock which gave the Wings a point in the standings.
Edmonton won the game in a shootout in a game I am sure Detroit fans were looking for a victory.
How will that one point be looked at when the regular season is completed?
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
After weeks of consternation, peppered with catcalls and boos throughout many of their recent home dates, the Flames earned uproarious praise last night.
As part of the latest twist in the Flames seasonal drama, the lads were cheered off the ice after taking a 2-0 lead over San Jose into the first intermission.
After upping their lead to 4-1 in the second the masses broke into an unabashed “Go Flames Go.”
Just like old times — ya know, before the Slide n’ Purge of 2010.
The mood was such that the locals even threw a few fists in the air in support of “Pretend to be an NHL Team Night” at Rexall Place, where the Oilers’ early 2-0 lead over Detroit drew love. And hope.
“I’m just happy we found something right for both myself and the team. Obviously, we have most of our core guys signed, and signed for long, and it’s something we’re excited about in the room. I believe in those guys, I think we believe in ourselves, and in bringing the Stanley Cup here this year — we don’t want to wait. Now is our time.
“That’s the goal. It’s our goal, to win a Cup for the fans. They’ve been waiting long enough.”
-Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks. More on Kesler from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun.
New York, NY (March 19, 2010) – NHL Network U.S. will broadcast the Phoenix Coyotes vs. Chicago Blackhawks match-up Saturday, March 20 immediately following the conclusion of the Network’s Hockey Night In Canada telecast of the Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (7 p.m. ET). Both telecasts are available in HD.
The puck will drop in front of a sold-out crowd in Phoenix’s Jobing.com Arena at 9 p.m. ET, as the red-hot Coyotes take aim at the Blackhawks and first overall in the NHL’s Western Conference.
This game is among the highlights of NHL Network’s free preview week in the U.S., running March 20-27. With participating networks of the free preview including Comcast, DIRECTV, Dish Network, Time Warner Cable, Cox and RCN Cable, NHL Network will be available in 60 million homes across the country. Fans are encouraged to check their local listings for details. This free preview is subject to participation cable or satellite providers.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
It was said that if the NHL could ever figure out how to excise the neutral zone trap from the game – or shrink goalie equipment – or do whatever it took to up the scoring ante, that the best goalies would still be the best goalies; the only difference would be that their statistical numbers would be higher across the board. That prediction actually came true.
Now, the most efficient team defensively is the Phoenix Coyotes with a cumulative 2.33 GAA, which would have been 10th best in the 03-04 season.
The problem is that people got so used to those tiny miniscule pre-lockout numbers that they try to compare today’s numbers to those and create goaltending controversies everywhere. It can’t be done in any fair manner because it’s an apples to oranges comparison; two widely different eras.
more plus other NHL topics…
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Starter Michael Leighton left Tuesday’s game in Nashville with a high-ankle sprain, and the club announced late Thursday afternoon that he is gone for eight to 10 weeks.
Now, what looked to be a significant risk—turning over the Flyers’ netminding chores to an untested journeyman like Leighton—has quickly evolved into what appears to be a monstrous blunder.
It is true Holmgren did take a run at Florida Panthers netminder Tomas Vokoun at the March 3 trade deadline but backed off when the cost was going to include sniper Jeff Carter.
But when Plan A failed, what happened to Plan B or even Plan C? In Philadelphia, where goaltending isn’t a storyline but a recurring nightmare, we are talking Plan Z here.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
I bring you back to an August conversation I had with Shane Doan. The Phoenix Coyotes captain was insisting anyone picking his team to be brutal this season was making a big mistake.
“As bad as everything you hear about us, we just don’t think we’re that bad,” Doan told me six months ago. “We don’t think we’re the worst team in the league even though everybody seems to be picking us to finish last.”
Fast forward to late Thursday night. Doan was about to board a plane in South Florida with the Coyotes a few hours after erasing a three-goal, third-period deficit to beat the Florida Panthers 4-3 in a shootout. The victory set the all-time Coyotes/Winnipeg Jets franchise record for wins in a season with 44.
Just another day at the office for the team everyone wrote off before the season.
I mentioned our August conversation and Doan laughed.
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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