Kukla's Korner Hockey
... when Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane collided during last night’s game against Columbus.
Both seemed to be OK and played the remainder of the game.
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
As outlined in a handful of player meetings leading up to the game, the Flames not only wanted to stop a three-game slide, they knew this was their chance to prove to themselves, the Wings and the league they could skate with anybody.
The comments from the hosts following the game revolved around the relentless forecheck and aggression of the Flames, which eventually wore them down in a third that saw the road-weary visitors outshoot the Wings a stunning 17-2.
While that aggressiveness should have cost them the game, it ultimately won it for them, setting the tone for a playoff mentality that should see the even bigger, faster Flames focus on physically punishing whomever they play.
from Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times,
“I try to be a complete player on both sides of the red line,” said St. Louis, who has 67 points, with 25 goals, and is plus-6.
Besides, he added, “Offense comes from good defensive positioning.”
Plus-minus is a tricky statistic in that it depends so much on one’s teammates and situations that can be out of one’s control.
In short, a plus is awarded for being on the ice when a player’s team scores. A minus is assessed for being on the ice when the opposition scores. So in a season in which Tampa Bay has been outscored 175-224, a differential of minus-49, being plus-6 is pretty extraordinary.
via Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,
“Of course, we want to go in there and beat ‘em, be a spoiler,” Smyth said. “And we’re still not mathematically out of it ourselves. So, it’s a big game for us too.”
The Avs entered Friday in 15th place overall in the Western Conference, 11 points out of the eighth — and last — playoff spot with 14 games left.
A “Hockey Night in Canada” broadcast, in front of what will be a sold-out crowd, is always a great time in a city such as Edmonton. Smyth, who experienced many such nights with the Oilers, said few things compare.
“It’s an awesome atmosphere,” he said. “It’s going to be an energized building, and it’s exciting to play in. But we want to come out with the win, and we want to make it a quieter building.”
from Adam Kimelman of NHL.com,
Flyers teammates don’t call Scott Hartnell “Samson,” but maybe they should. As the power forward’s hair has gotten longer, he’s gotten better.
The ever-thickening mane of curly brown locks hasn’t been trimmed in about 18 months, and is pushing his helmet to maximum capacity.
“It’s just kind of a fun thing I’ve been doing,” Hartnell told NHL.com. “It’s pretty crazy in the mornings, but I have fun with it. I’ve gone this far into the season, so I might as well let her go.”
continued and the Flyers will be holding a Scott Hartnell Wig Night later this month.
from Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun,
Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson held a meeting yesterday to suggest summer vacation plans.
Essentially, Wilson reminded his players that the organization will expect them to report to training camp next fall in much better shape than last year—and that means they’ll be given off-season training regimens to follow, which will be probably be more intense that what they’ve had in the past.
“I want to keep hammering this point home until everybody realizes what’s going to be expected of them this summer,” Wilson said yesterday, following practice at Lakeshore Lions Arena. “This isn’t, ‘Thank God we got through the season and I’m taking two months off, and you’ll see me on the beach in the Bahamas.’ No. We’re talking right now about making sure that everybody understands the importance of conditioning and taking care of themselves.”
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
There’s an unintended consequence to Nikolai Zherdev’s disappointing production that, unlike the winger’s mediocre 19-31-50 numbers, actually stands to benefit the Rangers.
Barring a goal-scoring spree over the final 14 games, which the Blueshirts would more than welcome, the impending 24-year-old Group II free agent will not be in position to hit a salary arbitration home run should he fail to reach a contract agreement with GM Glen Sather before July 1.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
They will have no tough guy in the lineup today when they visit the Blues. While their toughness is often questioned, particularly after physical games in which they surrender several goals, such as Thursday’s 6-5 shootout loss to Calgary, the Red Wings don’t believe it is an issue.
“People always look for weaknesses in our team. If people want to point to that as being the weak part of our game, I think we’re doing all right,’’ defenseman Brad Stuart said. “When you get into the playoffs, the further along you go, the less important that stuff gets. The most important thing is to stick up for yourself and each other. I don’t think we have any problems there.’‘...
“I’m playing hockey,’’ Franzen said. “It wouldn’t be very smart to fight if you’ve never fought before. If you’re (up against) a guy who fights on a regular basis, he’d probably break my skull because I’ve never fought.’‘
from David Staples of The Cult of Hockey,
It might be a helluva good idea for the Oilers to rent out some beautiful houses on the river valley, houses with great views of the city, near good schools, so that when new veteran players come to town, they can be rapidly set up in excellent quarters, nearby to their teammates.
How about the team buying up some houses in Daryl Katz’s neighborhood? Then the players and their kids can go for a dip in that his pool. That might even have kept a society lady like Lauren Pronger happy….
Over-paying any player is the new dread disease of NHL management. Why couldn’t all the Oiler contracts be so fine as Hemsky’s $4 million a year deal? I know there are reasonable answers to this question, but it’s also an issue that haunts the Oilers, a franchise that is pressed right up against the top end of the cap, but isn’t pressed right up against the top end of the standings.
Some NHL hockey bosses, such as Ken Holland, spend dozens and dozens of hours with their top prospects, impressing on them the lessons they will need to learn if they are going to make it as good people and good players. If an NHL exec isn’t doing this, if it’s not out there constantly teaching and mentoring these young draft picks, that NHL team is squandering its talent base.
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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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