Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
Months after undergoing back surgery and also suffering three broken fingers and tendon damage in a losing faceoff with a snowblower, Avalanche captain Joe Sakic has started skating again….
The goal, it seems, is for him to be back in the lineup for the final few games of the regular season — which in this case means the final few games of the Avalanche’s season, period.
This all begs the question: What the heck for?...
The only reason for him to try to play again this season, even if it’s only the back-to-back home games against St. Louis and Vancouver in the final weekend, on April 11 and 12, is to wave goodbye.
from Dan Wood of the OC Register,
An impressive 6-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes at Honda Center, marking the club’s first three-game winning streak since November, moved the Ducks into ninth place in the NHL’s Western Conference, one point behind Nashville, which holds the eighth and final postseason spot.
Next up for the Ducks (35-31-6) is a Tuesday night date with the Predators in Music City.
“We’re digging ourselves out of a hole, but we’re still in it,” Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger said. “The beauty of it is the teams that are ahead of us are the teams we’re playing right now.”
from Dave Stubbs of Habs Inside/Out,
Réjean Tremblay of La Presse reports this morning, confirmed by Canadiens president Pierre Boivin, that Habs majority owner George Gillett Jr. has engaged a number of financial firms, including North America’s BMO Capital Markets, to study all of his global holdings.
from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail,
The last call came less than two weeks ago. It was from former NHL player Walt Poddubny and he left a message saying he was eager to get started on the story.
“Let’s do this,” he said. “I think it’s important because I know there are guys out there like me who could use some help. Okay? So let’s talk soon. Bye.”
The plan had always been to sit down with Poddubny in his hometown of Thunder Bay and write about his life and the hardships that had befallen him since he left the NHL.
It would be a cautionary tale, he had said over a handful of conversations. He would talk at length about the highs - being a Toronto Maple Leaf and a 40-goal scorer with the New York Rangers - to the lows: being out of the game, too hobbled to hold a regular job, too broke to undergo surgery; a guy who was living in the basement of his sister’s home.
And then the news came crashing Saturday that Walt Poddubny had passed away suddenly. Cause of death: unknown. He was 49.
from Brian Stensaas of the Star Tribune,
The Wild likely took a direct hit on its hopes for postseason action when forward Mikko Koivu left the game because of a knee injury.
After exiting the penalty box midway through the first period following what replays showed to be a phantom interference call, Koivu’s next move was into the Edmonton zone, where he got tangled up with Ales Kotalik. Koivu fell backward as the two battled for position. Koivu twisted awkwardly and his right knee appeared to buckle.
Koivu, who leads the team with 62 points this season, will be re-evaluated today. But there wasn’t much optimism being thrown around by Wild personnel after the game.
“Mikko’s been our best player game in and game out,” coach Jacques Lemaire said. “He hasn’t had too many days off this year. Losing him, it’s a huge loss for our team. But, you know, as I always say, if you’re going to lose players—and sometimes you lose your top players—somebody’s gotta step up and do some of his work.”
more on the Wild…
added 1:53pm, from the CP via TSN,
Assistant general manager Tom Lynn says Koivu had an MRI and saw team doctors on Monday and will be out at least seven days. Lynn also said Koivu could miss all 10 games through Minnesota’s regular-season finale on April 11.
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
“We want to be very aggressive,” Tippett said. “The times we’ve had success as a team is when we’re pushing and moving. The times we don’t have success is when we’re chasing the game.”
The problem with the philosophy is that being aggressive can lead to a team chasing the game. There’s a reason NHL coaches choose to be conservative – because it works. If you chip and chase, set up a wall in the neutral zone and simply look for a mistake from the opposition, you can get on the counter-attack. Many scoring chances in the NHL come when conservative teams force turnovers by aggressive teams….
“We can’t just abandon defense, but we have to be able to sustain an aggressive attack for 60 minutes. That’s the only way we’re going to be able to do this and make any kind of run at the playoffs,” winger Steve Ott said.
from Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette,
This is not a slump, folks. Not a bad stretch. It’s a collapse, pure and simple. A team-wide, catastrophic reversal of play over a stretch which encompasses more than a third of the season and which cannot be explained away by the loss of Robert Lang on Feb. 1….
But the really critical problem is with Carey Price. Price is flopping around like a seal that is a couple of flippers short of making the circus. Price was weak on the second and fourth goals against Ottawa Thursday, but his reaction on the second goal the Rangers scored Tuesday was downright frightening.
He threw both hands to his head, covering up like a guy who has just learned that he’s under a falling piano.
Like all sports, hockey is a game of confidence, and Price’s confidence is somewhere down around his ankles.
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
“Going into the game, we knew we were going to be seeing a lot of him (Chara), our line was,” Parise said. “A few times, we were able to get in there, but I think we’ve got to do a better job against him. We have played well against him before in the last couple of games, but tonight we couldn’t get much going.”
Devils coach Brent Sutter said it’s up to Parise to fight through that sort of thing and not his teammates to protect him.
“Every time someone gets touched, it’s a big deal because someone gets touched,” Sutter said. “Your best players have to play through some things too. This time of the season and come playoffs, you’re going to have to take punches to the head for the benefit of the team. Did he intimidate us? He certainly didn’t intimidate us out there. He’s a competitor and Zach has to learn to play through stuff too. That’s part of being a good player. You’ve got to play through some things maybe you don’t like. You have to fight through it. I’m not saying he doesn’t. I’m just saying that every time someone gets hit in a game doesn’t mean you have to respond or a positive or negative way either. We know how to handle that. It’s not like we don’t know how to handle these things.”
“I think first and foremost, I want to win the Cup and whichever team is going to give me the best chance to do that is the team I want to be with,. I love Vancouver, it’s a great city with great fans. So far, I’ve really enjoyed my time there. Obviously, this year and next year are going to be a key role in my decision.”
-Roberto Luongo on ‘After Hours’ on HNIC last night. More from Jason Botchford of The White Towel at the Vancouver Province.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Patrick Roy begat Martin Brodeur who begat Roberto Luongo. All goalies from Quebec, all the best at their trade. But who is going to take the torch from them?
Who is the next great one? Is there anybody out there who could win 500 games? Even Luongo, as good as he is, only had 224 going into Saturday’s play.
Have we run the course with goalies from Quebec? Is it going to be a European? Like Finn Pekka Rinne? Or maybe an unassuming kid from Ontario, Steve Mason, who wasn’t even the best goalie on his junior team when drafted?
continued and more hockey discussion…
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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