Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun,
Small things. At Tuesday’s practice, Mats Sundin didn’t tag along behind Daniel and Henrik Sedin on the first power play, but confidently ran a second unit. The day before, Sundin not only survived the practice-ending conditioning skate, but led it. He had terrific scoring chances the last two games and finished one of them.
But so far, all Sundin has been able to offer are small things, dropped hints that he may be getting close to the player he was the last 17 National Hockey League seasons.
It is the big things from Sundin the Canucks are still awaiting and desperately need. A month into Sundin’s return to hockey, it’s about time he delivered them.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
Losing 10-2 on their first game back from the All-Star break after having won five of their previous six going into the break was a world-class dive into the toilet, a sheet- soiling like few you have ever witnessed since way back ......
Every time the Oilers get excited, they get evicerated.
“We weren’t ready from the start,” said Sheldon Souray, just back from the All-Star Game in which he played for a team that scored 11 goals and lost.
“The game was essentially over in the first few minutes.
“That was embarrassing plain and simple. Everything, everything was horrible. I don’t care if we had lost our last 10 games. Who cares about that?
“We can see that we’re not just looking at, if we get lucky we might squeak in (the playoffs). We’re looking up and seeing that people are catch-able. We’re not pretending we’re in a race; we’re in a race, a battle and the players recognize (the situation). Games matter, every point is important and he’d be the first to recognize the complete change over in the fans. There’s a different atmosphere in the building and they have a sense of urgency, just as we do.”
-Columbus coach Ken Htichcock after defeating the Red Wings last night. More post-game quotes at ColumbusBlueJackets.com.
from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,
To debunk the misconception that the long and gruelling regular season lacks meaning, one only needs to look at the nine most recent Stanley Cup winners.
Under the current conference configuration, teams that have finished first overall have won the Cup four times while a fifth finished first in its conference. The other four champions were no worse than tied for second in their conference.
The Sharks, while not exactly a surprise given their form in recent seasons and some key upgrades in the summer, have been the most impressive thus far.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Senators coach Craig Hartsburg couldn’t find the single word to describe his team’s play last night.
We’ll do it for him: Atrocious, brutal, cruddy, deplorable ... you get the point.
The Senators reverted to the uninspired hockey that has haunted them so many times this season and they heard the jeers as they left the ice following a 4-1 loss to the Devils at Scotiabank Place….
“In the third period, we lost every battle. It wasn’t even close,” said Hartsburg. “When we talk about inconsistency in our game, that’s usually where it starts. It’s competing for pucks. We had a four-minute power play and never won a battle, never won a loose puck….”
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Chiarelli, the 44-year-old former Harvard captain who was hired as Mike O’Connell’s replacement in June 2006, is in year No. 3 of a four-year deal he signed upon coming to the Hub from the Ottawa Senators.
“He’s my GM right now, and hopefully we can work something out . . . I’d like to see him here long term,” said owner Jeremy Jacobs, at the TD Banknorth Garden last night to see his Bruins defeat the Capitals in overtime, 3-2.
“I’m working on it, but we’re not there yet,” said Charlie Jacobs, the owner’s son and the club’s executive vice president. “We’d like to have something done before he enters the final year of his contract.”
from Mark Hermann of Newsday,
This might be the first time in sports history that a team finishes first and then sneaks up on everybody. Who knew that the top of the standings would be such a good hiding place?
That is the spot the Rangers have been finding themselves in, even if most of the hockey world and the world at large has not quite found them yet. They have been at or near the top of the Atlantic Division standings all season—they are one point behind the Devils right now—but it really doesn’t seem that way.
When hockey observers talk about the elite teams in the NHL, they generally don’t mention the Rangers. To be honest, they are not the type of club that takes your breath away. They are not very flamboyant, witnessed again by a 3-2 win over the Hurricanes at the Garden Tuesday night. Still, they are pretty good.
from the CP via TSN,
Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin, the leading goal-scorer in the NHL and the league’s reigning MVP, left Tuesday night’s game against the Bruins after awkwardly crashing into the boards following a hook from Boston defenceman Zdeno Chara.
Ovechkin hit the boards behind the Bruins goal with his right shoulder and head, then remained motionless on the ice for about 15 seconds before rolling over and rubbing his face with his glove.
update 8:55pm, The headline now states Ovechkin Returns but the story has not been updated, so it looks like AO is back.
video added below on 1/28/09…
from David Pollak of Working the Corners,
This wasn’t part of the plan. Dan Boyle finally got to play in an NHL All-Star game and the competitive defenseman gets hurt.
The injury was serious enough that he’s in San Jose, not here, for tonight’s game against the Avalanche. But one Sharks source, calling it a tweak, said there’s a decent chance that Boyle could be ready to go against Phoenix at home on Thursday.
Coach Todd McLellan only would that it’s an upper-body injury and that No. 22 is day-to-day.
continued and Rob Blake will play tonight…
No update yet on Zetterberg who walked down the tunnel late in the first period during tonight’s game against the Blue Jackets.
He is not on the bench for the 2nd period.
update 8:54pm, Lower back spasms, will not return.
update 9:04pm, Wings have called a 2:00pm press conference for tomorrow,. Speculation is Zetterberg contract extension.
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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