Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Stan Fischler at the Hockey Journal,
Of all the major pro sports in this country, the NHL is a most interesting phenomenon; a team can lose a game yet still move up in the standings.
Giving a point to a team that lost in overtime once made sense. Coaches knew that when overtime rolled around, if they played defense and didn’t take many chances, they would still be a point waiting for them at the end of the game by finishing in a tie.
This type of play became the modus operandi of just about every team in the league. Overtime became a battle of who could get back on defense and not give up a goal.
continued with other hockey notes…
from Len Ziehm of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Cristobal Huet once thought he was the Montreal Canadiens’ goalie for the long term. After winning 37 games spanning two seasons as a part-time player, he had a 21-12-6 record for them last season when he was traded.
Huet made his return to the Bell Center on Tuesday and didn’t get the result he wanted. His Blackhawks teammates gave him little support in a 4-1 loss, another indication a good season might be fading away. The result dropped the Hawks into fifth place in the Western Conference standings—and out of home-ice advantage in a first-round playoff series—with seven games left.
from Chris Pinkert of St.LouisBlues.com,
It’s been a busy few months for Larry Pleau, the team’s Sr. Vice President and General Manager. With the trade deadline passing in early March and the team’s recent surge toward the postseason, we thought now was a good time to catch up with Pleau to discuss a variety of Blues topics.
Q: Considering how the team has battled since early January, do you think they are “playoff tested” already?
A: We’ve been playing ‘desperate’ hockey, I would say, since the end of December. I think the coaches have done a great job of keeping the players focused on the game-to-game situation, preparation, the opponents they’re playing against and understanding how important the games are: even if it was a game in January, it (was) going to affect where we end up in April.
from John McGourty of NHL.com,
Whenever you see a defensive back inexplicably drop the football on what appeared to be an easy interception, the announcers invariably will say, “That’s why they’re not wide receivers—bad hands.”
But it’s different in hockey. Don’t assume that because someone’s playing defense, they have no shot with a shot.
Eleven NHL defensemen have scored goals in shootouts this season. Five have two or more goals and three are tied for the League lead among blueliners with three goals—Jack Johnson of the Los Angeles Kings, Andrei Markov of the Montreal Canadiens and Marek Zidlicky of the Minnesota Wild.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Five weeks and 16 games of 9-5-2 hockey into his tenure, what stands out about John Tortorella’s crash course from behind the Rangers bench?
1: Well, the head coach’s oft-repeated pronouncements that he “isn’t an X’s and O’s guy,” and that the game “isn’t about X’s and O’s,” seem to be hogwash. Indeed, Tortorella appears to be every bit as much about using video to teach as was his predecessor, Tom Renney, not that that’s a bad thing.
Tortorella may encourage more instinctive play from his athletes than many of the league’s more defense-oriented coaches, and he might be a greater believer in the upside of risk/reward hockey than the individual he replaced, but Tortorella, too, has a system he teaches. It’s not freestyle hockey by any means.
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
This was to be Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj’s chance to take the next step — asserting himself as an unquestioned standout No. 1 for an entire season . . . and beyond.
By any standard of judgment, whether statistical or eyeball, Budaj has failed to do that this season.
“I definitely haven’t taken advantage of that chance,” Budaj said Tuesday after the Avalanche’s practice at the Family Sports Center. “The organization has been great. They stood behind me for the entire year. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get it done the way I wanted, and I’m pretty sure not the way they wanted….”
from Ted Leonsis of Ted’s Take,
So while we have lots of work left to do this season and in the playoffs, let us lay off some of the bad mouthing about this team’s play of late. We have actually been one of the better performing teams and most consistent teams in the NHL this year.
from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,
There is no excuse — none — that Jacques Lemaire didn’t use Marian Gaborik on the 1:32 4-on-3 to open overtime. I know this is Monday morning quarterbacking. If the Wild scores, it’s a forgotten element.
Gaborik should have been on the ice. Lemaire said he went with the same crew he’s gone with all year — Koivu, Brunette, Zidlicky and Bergeron, and that 4-on-3 is about puck movement and knowing what to do.
Sorry, don’t buy it. In must-wins, you should use your best weapons during the best opportunities. Here, Sami Salo hands the Wild a gift by errantly sending the puck into the scorer’s table. And Gaborik’s on the bench. There isn’t a team in this league whose best scorer would have been on the bench in this situation.
Enough said on that.
This was a heartbreaking loss for the Wild, which held the Canucks, now first in the Northwest, without a single shot in the third period.
from Japers’ Rink,
Winning the Stanley Cup is relatively simple: All you have to do is win four games out of every seven in the playoffs. With that in mind, I thought I’d look at the top cup contenders and check, for every seven game stretch in the season, how often they won 4 or more and how often they had a losing record. I treated losses and overtime losses as the same thing, since they’re the same in the playoffs.
continue and a chart explaining the above…
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
Put tags on the Edmonton Oilers’ toes.
And put a noose around Craig MacTavish’s neck.
The 2008-09 Edmonton Oilers are deceased and MacTavish’s coaching career here likely ended at the same time he made a call in a stick measurement which will be remembered for years and years after all other details of last night’s 5-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks are long forgotten….
The measurement came after Dennis Grebeshkov and Zack Stortini had scored late third-period goals to get the Oilers back in it, MacTavish called for a stick measurement on Teemu Selanne. Instead of a power play, the Oilers ended up a man short when Teemu’s stick was judged legal.
“We had some what we thought was really good, reliable information,” said MacTavish, a stand-up guy right to what was probably his end in Edmonton.
“Visually it looked to be not even close. I was that sure, I made the call. Obviously it was a terrible mistake.
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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