Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,
Despite a surprisingly suspect defense, the Detroit Red Wings have still managed to keep pace with the red-hot San Jose Sharks on top of the Western Conference standings. The biggest reason is that there isn’t a better power play in the league. Entering Friday’s game, the Red Wings were scoring on 29 percent of their power plays, easily the best conversion rate in the NHL.
Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom has been around some pretty good power plays in Detroit; is this one the best he’s been a part of? “I’ve played on some great teams, I think it’s right up there,” Lidstrom told SportingNews.com. “We had some strong ones with Hull, Shanahan, Yzerman, Robitaille, Larionov, Fedorov—guys that bring a lot to a team and a power play—but this ranks right up there with the teams we’ve had.”
continued plus additional NHL topics…
from Dave Stubbs at Habs Inside/Out,
From The Gazette’s Pat Hickey, at practice in Brossard:
• Carey Price did not practice today. He’s not feeling well, and Hamilton’s Marc Denis is on standby. This isn’t to rule out Price in goal vs. Washington tomorrow. If Halak gets the call, it will be his third consecutive game.
• Saku Koivu will miss Saturday’s game and probably Tuesday’s in Carolina. He will see a doctor later today about what’s suspected to be a foot injury suffered last night.
the injury list continues...
from Scott Cullen of TSN,
In this week’s edition of Backchecking, here’s a look at the top rookies in the NHL this season:
1. Patrik Berglund, C, St. Louis (9-10-19, plus-10 in 23 GP) - Skilled Swede has the size to be a prototypical No.1 centre.
2. Derick Brassard, C, Columbus (9-14-23, plus-11 in 27 GP) - Slick playmaker had a brief slump, but has still been remarkably consistent.
3. Kris Versteeg, RW, Chicago (7-15-22, plus-12 in 25 GP) - Scrappy Bruins cast-off has thrived in a scoring role with th Blackhawks.
continued plus more NHL bits…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Every team endures them; that part never changes, new or old NHL. Some teams endure them better than others. Some even discover that they’re a blessing in disguise, because it obliges a team to test its depth and put young players into elevated roles. If they can handle the extra ice time and responsibility, it makes them stronger organizationally once the injured players drift back.
Put the Pittsburgh Penguins down as exhibit A for the second year in a row.
Last year, during Sidney Crosby’s 29-game absence, Evgeni Malkin put the team on his back offensively and emerged as a legitimate Art Ross Trophy candidate. This year, he and Crosby are running 1-2 in the NHL scoring race, a feat reminiscent of the Mario Lemieux/Jaromir Jagr years in Pittsburgh – or for those with really long memories, the Wayne Gretzky/Mark Messier era in Edmonton.
Would Malkin be the player he is today if he hadn’t had a chance to develop and flourish during Crosby’s absence? Maybe not.
read on plus more NHL topics…
From Stephen Johns at The Torontoist:
Tomorrow, for the first time since March 16, 1996, the Toronto Maple Leafs won’t be playing on a non-holiday, regular season Saturday. They play tonight in Buffalo; they won’t be in action again until next Tuesday.
The Maple Leafs’ non-appearance on Hockey Night in Canada is mildly intriguing. The Leafs are a cash cow for the CBC; everyone knows this, even sports reporters who regularly lament the Leafs’ constant presence on CBC Sports’ flagship program irrespective of their on-ice performance (we salute you, William Houston of The Globe and Mail!).
Tarik El-Bashir, the Caps beat writer for the Washington Post, did an online Q & A today…
Annandale, Va.: My neighbor Alexandria wouldn’t ask you about Nylander, but I will. He is definitely struggling. Do you know if the Caps are still trying to move him?
Tarik El-Bashir: All of the injuries put the brakes on the Nylander to Chicago trade speculation. But now that the Caps are getting healthy again, I expect them to start heating up any minute now.
Nylander is really struggling to find his place on this team and in Boudreau’s system. It’s to the point now where I’m not sure he ever will. The problem is it’s really, really hard to make a trade, especially when the player is older (36) and has a big cap hit ($4.875 million).
much more on the Capitals…
From Dan Rosen at NHL.com:
The 200-by-85-foot rink will be situated between first and third base.
The center-ice faceoff dot will measure exactly 112 feet from home plate and 288 feet from the center field wall. The penalty boxes will be precisely 9 feet behind the pitcher’s mound.
Behind the team benches will be a 60-by-56-foot auxiliary rink constructed over the outfield grass. It will be used during the game by the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois. To the left and right of the auxiliary rink will be team logos that measure 40 feet long and 40 feet wide. Also draped on the outfield grass will be American and Canadian flags that measure 90-by-45-feet.
Update 1:28pm ET: The Hockey Show has more on the video below—
from Mike Brophy of Sportsnet,
Guess you haven’t checked out teams’ websites then. That’s because there are deals to be had, plenty of amazing deals. In some cases you wonder how people can afford to not go to games.
Take the Florida Panthers. One of their ticket packages includes a $5 gas card, free parking and a Coca-cola combo meal. You get all of this for a whopping $17….
...in Columbus fans can purchase tickets to see three games against the Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks - all primo opponents - and spread their payments out over four months….
n Los Angeles fans can purchase a Holiday Pack Special starting at $99. That gets you two tickets to four games (four games!), a $50 ESPN zone game card as well as a LA Kings collectable glass and coaster set.
The Nashville Predators are offering a Saturday Hockey Holiday 3-Game pack starting at $63.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
Since joining the team on Nov. 29—not coincidentally, the last game before Latendresse began his exile—D’Agostini has four goals in six games and his energetic play has revitalized linemates Saku Koivu and Andrei Kostitsyn. It’s folly to think he can maintain this offensive pace, but 20 pounds heavier and two years smarter, he’s equipped to do all the little things that turn a prospect into a pro. At this point, a job is his to lose.
The same can’t be said for Latendresse, who seems ill prepared to handle his struggles. His confidence shot and his opportunities limited, he’s likely to remain on the outside looking in.
Could Latendresse have benefited from a more cautious route to the pros? Watching D’Agostini make the argument nightly, it’s hard to think otherwise.
Also, in the KK Member Blog a few days ago, Slasher98 weighed in on D’Agostini too.
from David Amber of ESPN,
Q: With Jared also on the NHL horizon, there will soon be four Staal brothers in the league. How much do you notice when you’re on the ice against one of your brothers?
A: You notice every time. They’re pretty good players, so you need to keep an eye on them or they can do some damage against you. We’re all competitive guys, so every time they’re on the ice I recognize the situation. It makes it fun, but no one wants to lose to their brother.
Q: Would you ever drop the gloves with one of your brothers?
A: [Laughs] I don’t know. I think I would just start laughing if it ever came to that. I remember against Marc at [Madison Square Garden], we were up by a couple of goals with the time running out and we were in the corner, and I got him in a headlock and I was laughing. I couldn’t stop laughing. He got really mad at me, but we didn’t drop the gloves.
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