Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Zipay & Katie Strang of Newsday,
John Tortorella isn’t the only new face behind the Rangers’ bench. Assistant general manager Jim Schoenfeld, who joined the coaching staff as an assistant for the rest of the season when Tortorella arrived, has been instrumental not only in helping Tortorella learn new personnel but in working with the defensemen, especially the younger ones, during the transition to a new system.
“It’s meant a lot because he’s played so many years in the NHL, he has so much experience and he’s been around the game for so long,” Dan Girardi said. “He really concentrates on the little things, the angles of your stick, the body positioning, things like that that really help you.”
Girardi’s defense partner, Marc Staal, said Schoenfeld’s vocal style has helped them adjust.
from Rick Sadowski at NHL.com,
About a dozen current and former patients from The Children’s Hospital in Denver, along with family members, strolled through the room to pose for pictures with players who happily chatted with the youngsters and signed autographs.
Not surprisingly, forward Ian Laperriere’s locker was the most popular destination for the kids. A hard-nosed agitator on the ice, “Lappy” is a soft touch away from the rink, especially when it comes to children.
“Everybody stopped by and talked to the kids and put a smile on their face,” he says. “I just can’t imagine being in their shoes. For me and my teammates, we know we’re lucky in life, being in the NHL. If we can change these kids’ lives for even a minute ...
read on and nice to see Rick (formerly of the Rocky Mountain News) continue his hockey writing.
via Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
• Speaking of talent, Dominic Moore misses (Jason) Blake and Blake misses Moore. The two were far more productive together than they are apart.
• Not coming up with an adequate backup goalie will cost the Buffalo Sabres a playoff spot.
• Some of their biggest names will tell you that whatever playoff success the Sharks have will come in direct proportion to how much Roenick can play and how healthy he will be by playoff time.
• Trying to put the lid on Alexander Ovechkin, the most entertaining player the league has seen in decades ... And yeah, I really care what Rick Tocchet, the former bookmaker, thinks of Ovechkin showing people up. Like his values make him a quality judge.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
The future of Montreal captain Saku Koivu is in question. Among 10 looming UFAs on the roster, there’s a strong belief Koivu won’t be back—especially if the Habs miss the post-season. The talk is Koiuv could join brother Mikko in Minnesota. The Wild will need scoring help ... Former Islanders C Alexei Yashin could return to the NHL next season. He has been one of the top players in the Kontinental Hockey League and would be willing to accept a one-year NHL deal.
more and a look at a few coaches who soon may be out of work…
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
The Flyers, boosted by Danny Briere’s return to good health, and the sizzling Pittsburgh Penguins will meet today in a nationally televised game that could be a first-round playoff preview and might factor into who gets home-ice advantage in that round.
The teams are tied for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference with 86 points, though the Flyers have three games in hand.
“If we win this game, it’ll be a huge swing for us,” Briere said.
continued and below find the NHL schedule for today…
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
With 10 games left in the franchise’s eighth NHL season, the Blue Jackets need simply to hold serve the rest of the way—a 6-4-0 or 4-4-2 record, for instance—to finally reach the Stanley Cup playoffs.
If that happens, don’t be surprised to see the Jackets mentioned by analysts as a sleeper pick to pull off a first-round upset, or go deeper into the playoffs than most expect.
Even at this stage of the season, the Blue Jackets are popping up on teams-that-nobody-wants-to-face lists as the playoff picture starts to come into focus.
Why? Two reasons.
First, rookie goaltender Steve Mason.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
This is not a team that needs a new coach, and the parts are the parts, the same ones that were almost good enough 2-4 months ago to run away and hide. But it is a team that needs a surge now in its compete level (read: effort) and an attitude adjustment. Skill got them to a point, but they then turned a little lazy, and that led to confusion. Lazy and confused are the left hook and right uppercut that lead to quick KOs.
They have to play bigger and they have to play dirtier and nastier, which is always what makes for playoff success. This is a team with enough goods to extend the season into June. What the Bruins must find now is an inner anger, an emotion that will rain down on their heads in sheets and buckets, or else they’ve turned 2008-09 into nothing but a tease.
more plus othe NHL notes, including Sakic in a Canucks sweater next season…
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Chris Chelios was the pain in the neck the Detroit Red Wings hated to play against and their fans loved to hate.
Then, suddenly, he joined them. Monday marks the 10th anniversary of the day Chelios, a player so closely identified with the Chicago Blackhawks, switched allegiances, following a surprising trade to Detroit.
And though he is playing sporadically as his career winds down—this surely will be his final season, at least with the Red Wings—he has left his mark as one of the cornerstones of Detroit’s defense since 1999.
from Larry Brooks of he NY Post,
• Guaranteed to happen at the Entry Draft in Montreal, or the money back you spent to read this on the Internet: Vincent Lecavalier traded to the Canadiens.
There remains no more overrated coach in the NHL than Jacques Lemaire, whose teams have combined to win three playoff rounds (one with the Devils as a conference No. 1 seed in 1997, two with the Wild in 2003) since leading New Jersey to the Stanley Cup in 1995.
• But that’s what happens when a coach believes systems and not players win championships.
more from Brooks including ‘tanking’ & Tortorella…
from Brian Biggane of the Palm Beach Post,
For the third time in six games, Florida carried a lead into the third period Saturday night and was unable to hold it, falling 3-1 to Columbus at the BankAtlantic Center.
What made this one even tougher is the Panthers still clung to their 1-0 lead with three minutes to play before the Blue Jackets’ Raffi Torres got the tying and winning goals 1:13 apart.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org