Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jeff Z. Klein of the New York Times,
“Twenty-one games into it, it’s way too early to be looking at standings,” Tortorella said Friday. “But having said that, we need to play more consistently, especially at home. I don’t want to get too far ahead as far as what’s going to happen if we lose. But we have concerns about our consistency, and that’s what we’re trying to work on.”
The Rangers are 6-4 at the Garden — not a good sign, because, as Tortorella said, “You have to take care of business at home.”
There are other signs of diminishing returns. The explosive attack that yielded 46 goals in the first 12 games has produced only 17 in the nine games since — and one of those 17 was a goal the league automatically credits to the team that wins a shootout.
Only the kinetic pairing of Marian Gaborik and Vinny Prospal has continued to score at a high rate, while almost everyone else has hit a slump. Gaborik has 15 goals, tied with Washington’s Alex Ovechkin for most in the league, and 27 points, second only to Anze Kopitar of Los Angeles.
via John Glennon of the Tennessean,
One game after Predators Coach Barry Trotz ripped into the organization’s clock operator, the NHL offered a little assistance.
Dave Baker, the NHL’s manager of officiating, flew into Nashville and worked with the clock operator before the game against New Jersey on Thursday.
Two days earlier during the win over San Jose, there had been a couple of late-game delays caused by the clock running after the whistle — and the ensuing time needed to reset the clock.
Trotz was upset that the delays allowed San Jose to rest its top players and put them back on the ice during a close game. On Thursday, Trotz sensed that practice paid off for the clock operator, who is new to the role this season.
“I was very happy with the way they got the clock going,’’ Trotz said. “They finally got it right. They did let the clock go one time, but it was fixed within seconds this time.’‘
from Joe Warmington of the Toronto Sun,
Despite all of the bombastic banter, and off-season acquisitions, the Leafs at the 20-game mark have won just three and lost 17. Spare us the argument that overtime or shootout losses are ties!
The “pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence” Burke promised seems to have instead become poor, pathetic, pitiful and pomposity.
Still Burke woos always wishful Leafs Nation with sweet-talking BS about “like a movie” one day the Leafs will “ride off with the girl on the horse followed by a parade.”
Problem is this movie so far is a flop and a lot of Burke’s promises so far have amounted to nothing but hot air as we saw with the charade he played while in Anaheim when he was rumoured to come here?
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
So if the water keeps rising, and it’s rising very quickly around the Leaf enterprise right now, Burke may ultimately get pushed into doing something he is dead set against.
The guess here is that Wilson has 10 more games to show some noticeably positive results.
The team is healthy, particularly the key players, Wilson was lucky enough to have a pure scorer in Phil Kessel added in early November and he’s working with a team that isn’t overly inexperienced.
The club, however, was dead last in defence and penalty killing last year. It still is. Youngsters like Luke Schenn, Nikolai Kulemin and John Mitchell are going backwards or sideways.
Whatever Wilson and his assistants are preaching either isn’t getting across to the players, or it’s a game plan they can’t execute.
When asked to share his opinion on Stars forward James Neal’s hit on Blue Jackets winger Derek Dorsett, which cost Neal two-games via disciplinary action from the NHL, Roenick didn’t pull any punches in labeling the Stars’ leading goal scorer.
‘‘If Neal would have done this 20 years ago, he would have been blackballed from the league,’’ said Roenick. ‘‘If you’re going to get challenged, then drop your gloves and go to it - fight, but don’t come back later on and then give a cheap shot to a guy who has already challenged you.
‘‘To me, that’s kind of gutless and I’m sure a lot of guys in the league think that’s gutless also.’‘
more from Roenick on different topics…
from Evan Weiner at NHL.com,
One of the most overlooked front office jobs in hockey is that of a scout. The scout provides preliminary information on players, and his reports are the first to be analyzed by the personnel people.
There are different types of scouts. One might specialize in watching junior players and try to project what a 16- or 17-year old might become by the time he is 22, 23 or 24 years old. Other scouts, like Pete Mahovlich, ride around sections of North America looking at minor-league talent or taking in NHL games to evaluate players.
Mahovlich, now a pro scout for the Atlanta Thrashers, has been scouting talent for a long time after a very successful NHL career.
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
So many of you have been asking to see what these new third jerseys look like, well, this is pretty close.
The team has done a good job of being secretive about these jerseys and this is what I would call an ‘‘artists’’ rendition*.
Dallas Stars left wing James Neal was suspended two games by the NHL on Friday for a hit from behind on Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Derek Dorsett at 13:01 of the second period of Thursday’s game.
Dorsett was among a group of players battling along the wall for the puck when Neal came charging in. Neal appeared to leave his feet to deliver a blow to Blue Jackets defenseman Marc Methot, but instead he hit Dorsett in the back. The force of the blow drove Dorsett face-first into the glass. He fell to the ice and could not get up.
In case you missed the hit, watch it here.
NEW YORK (November 20, 2009)—Fewer than five months after hearing their names called as first-round selections at the National Hockey League Entry Draft, John Tavares of the New York Islanders, Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche and Evander Kane of the Atlanta Thrashers have helped key turnaround performances by their teams in the first quarter of the NHL season.
As the 1,230-game schedule passes the quarter mark with tonight’s games, seven clubs that did not qualify for the 2008-09 Stanley Cup Playoffs currently hold a top-eight Conference position – four in the Western Conference (#2 Colorado, #4 Los Angeles, #7 Phoenix and #8 Dallas) and three in the East (#3 Buffalo, #6 Ottawa and #7 Tampa Bay). The Islanders and Thrashers are a whisker behind the Eastern pack through a first quarter-season that saw outstanding individual and team performances along with stunning last-minute, game-changing dramatics.
from Phil Coffey of NHL.com,
But even with the season still relatively in its infancy, there still are plenty of questions, so let’s get to the answers now.
1. How come there have been no coaching changes?—A number of teams made their changes over the summer, and some teams that have gotten off to disappointing starts, like Carolina and St. Louis, are coming off playoff seasons, so there hasn’t been as much impetus to make a move. With this being an Olympic year, the guess is any changes will come prior to the Winter Games, so teams can hit the ice hard for the sprint to the playoffs in February.
2. Pick one—Chris Pronger or Dany Heatley?—No disrespect to Heatley, but I build from the goal out, so I’ll take Pronger, who as legendary Scottish announcer Hamish MacPherson once described Cam Neely, is “a beast of a man.” Any time you can add a proven defenseman who is playing over 26 minutes per game, you do it.
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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