Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider,
For those keeping score at home, tonight’s 5-4 loss to the Senators marked the 10th time in the past 18 games in which the Caps went to extra time.
While annoying - particularly for writers on tight deadlines - going to OT isn’t the reason fans should be getting concerned. This is why: For the second straight season, the Caps are closing out the regular season with a thud instead of a bang.
from Tim Sassone of Between the Circles,
So it’s come to this for the reeling Blackhawks, trying to find positives in a loss.
That’s so five years ago.
“That was a major progression from the last two (losses) for me,” coach Joel Quenneville said after Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to the Blues.
The Hawks have lost seven of their last nine games and right now don’t look like a team that’s even going to get out of the first round of the playoffs.
Happy Birthday Gordie Howe
thanks to Snapshots for the pointer
Kesler received 5 for boarding, a 10 and game misconduct.
Kevin Bieksa and Morris received 2 for roughing.
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
Patrik Elias did not want to get into specific or talk about the officiating at all, but it was clear he wasn’t happy with the job referees Kelly Sutherland and Dan O’Rourke did tonight in the Devils’ 1-0 overtime loss to the Bruins.
He wasn’t the only one in the Devils’ locker room that felt that way, but he was the one who told the officials so after Patrice Bergeron scored teh OT winner for Boston. He picked up a game misconduct for whatever he said.
“I voiced my opinion,” was the most Elias would reveal about what he did to earn the game misconduct.
“It’s not worth me even saying anything about their job tonight,” he said.
from Vicki Hall of the Calgary Herald at the Times-Colonist,
Calgary Flames head coach Brent Sutter lashed out at Jarome Iginla’s critics on Tuesday.
The captain has popped just one goal in his last 10 games, with the Flames desperately fighting for their Stanley Cup playoff lives.
“Do you need Jarome Iginla to score goals here down the stretch?” a reporter asked Sutter after a brisk practice.
“I’ve told you guys this before,” Sutter responded. “We need our team to be a good team. You guys focus on one guy so much.
“To me, it’s not right.”
from Bruce Brothers of the Pioneer Press,
Wild fans knew this would be a transition season from former coach Jacques Lemaire’s defensive-minded system, and the goals-against average of 2.44 a game last year has worsened by more than half a goal. That translates into perhaps half a dozen additional losses, certainly enough to drop Minnesota from playoff contention.
Richards planned to counter that with offense and installed an aggressive system of forechecking that required some adjusting by his players early in the season. But during a grueling March when the Wild played 15 games in 27 days, that forecheck has been only intermittently evident.
The result is a 7-6-2 record this month plus long stretches in the defensive zone, which lead to penalties, all of which makes life tough on the goaltenders.
Backstrom, whose goals-against average of 2.33 last season has bumped to 2.67 this season, says it’s not about numbers.
“We are out of the playoffs,” he said. “I don’t think anyone is happy in the locker room. That’s the only thing you play for is to get there.”
from Kevin Dupont at NBC Sports,
Hey, where have these guys been? For those who lost track this season of the Red Wings, forgotten among the Western Conference also-rans, suddenly the Winged Wheels are anything but past tense.
In fact, the Wings could win the whole thing, which wouldn’t be all that novel (four Cup wins dating back to ‘97), but it would remind us all once more the key of the regular season is: survive to thrive.
As recently as the mid-Februrary Olympic break, the Wings remained in the ‘‘We’ll-get-it-together-maybe-one-of-these-days’’ mode, still unable to inch their way into the playoff-qualifying top eight seeds. Then March became their month to roar, including a dazzling 11-2-1 run through March 29 that has them leapfrogging up the standings.
continued plus more hockey talk…
from Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago,
If the Hawks need further motivation for Tuesday night’s contest against the Blues, how about this: They are the only team in the NHL this season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, not to endure a three-game, regulation losing streak. In other words, they have not gone three games this season without getting at least a point. That could end Tuesday evening.
Joel Quenneville continues to mix and match his lineup, though he will leave his top two pairs of defensemen unchanged from last game. That means Brent Sopel and Duncan Keith will skate together again, though they were minus two against Columbus on Sunday. Sopel has taken his fair share of criticism and is an even player for the season. That’s worst amongst the Hawks’ defensemen.
“One thing about Sopel, I think he’s a pretty smart player,” Joel Quenneville said in defense of the veteran. “Defensively, his positioning is always in the right spot. I think his smarts puts him in a lot of great spots. I was fine with his game.”
from Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider,
After today’s morning skate, Terry Murray was asked what his message was to the team today. There is plenty of subtext to today’s game, with the ever-tight playoff race, the Kings’ four-game winless streak and their seven-game winless streak against the Nashville Predators. The Kings held a morning skate today, which isn’t typical before the second of back-to-back games. Also not typical is the fact that 14 skaters, and all three goalies, participated, a larger-than-normal number for any optional skate. Afterward, Murray talked about his message to the team…
MURRAY: “This is part of a process that you go through, and I’ve seen it with other teams that I’ve coached. We’re a little bit on that `afraid to win’ side right now, where your game is a little out of sync and the hesitancy is there in the early part of the game. As we go into later in the game and we’re down by a goal, two goals, now we start to play the way that we have shown most of the year.
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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