Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ulf Samuelsson at the Hockey News,
It’s hard to understand why teams play so much better at home than on the road. Every coach has pulled all the stats and all the data you can gather to try and break it down and analyze it, but I don’t think there’s any one fact you can put your finger on.
If you look at our team in Phoenix, we’re playing pretty well at home this year, as we just seem to be more comfortable there. We have a lot of young players who aren’t used to being on the road as much as you are in the NHL’s Western Conference.
Especially going to places like Montreal, where we recently played for the first time in a couple years. It was a Saturday night game and we got to the rink in the morning and there were a lot of people watching the morning skate.
Fans submitted questions for Ryan Smyth…
Q. What is it like to make a living in the front of the net in today’s NHL, and exactly how has it changed from the NHL of a few years ago?
Smyth- “Good question Joseph. I don’t want to say it’s not as physical, but it’s not as wrenching on your back as it used to be. You still compete for your territory, but you don’t take as many cross checks to the back as before.”
from Christopher D. Kirkpatrick of the Charlotte Observer,
Charlotte dentist Robert Pappert prized the hockey stick he bought New Year’s Day after a special NHL game in Chicago.
That is, until he learned it was stolen from a 14-year-old Detroit Red Wings fan who was given the souvenir after the game by a star Wings player.
Horrified, Pappert overnight-mailed the stick back to the young fan on Monday – an act that has made him a hero of sorts for what some in hockey circles are calling the “Miracle of Nice.”
“The stick was never mine, it was that little dude’s,” said Pappert, a diehard fan who flies with his wife around the country to attend NHL games.
Two important footnotes. First, and just to finally clear up this lingering doubt, the Tribune’s Problem Sover column showed a photo of Bobby Pappert to Plew, and “the teenager said categorically he was not the man who approached him and took the stick.” Which of course means that the jerkwad that stole the kid’s keepsake in the first place still hasn’t ‘fessed up.
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
Campbell’s new team meets his old one tonight in the United Center, where the atmosphere will mimic that of HSBC Arena three years ago. Fans who stayed away for a generation are lining up to fill the building, standing alongside newcomers who want to be part of the ride. A bunch of kids are winning and igniting the city’s spirit, and Campbell is there to tell them how special the moment is.
“It’s a lot like Buffalo was right out of the lockout,” Campbell said Tuesday. “The only difference is this started right at the start of the year, while Buffalo took about 10 games before it just was blowing up. There’s so many similarities that I see in my head about these guys that it’s unbelievable. It’s nice to relive it again that way.”
from Dave Waddell of the Windsor Star,
Generously listed at five-foot-10, the 191-pound Rafalski is the poster boy for the NHL’s smaller, skilled defencemen.
“It’s nice to hear guys (scouts, general managers) say we have a Brian Rafalski-style of defenceman,” said Rafalski, who is quietly putting together a career-year with 32 points and a plus-13 through 42 games….
“He opened the door for a lot of players,” said Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill, who handles Detroit’s drafting. “You didn’t see many small defencemen in the league, Phil Housley and (Reijo) Ruotsalainen in Edmonton, but Brian can move the puck better than those guys.
“He’s made everyone sit back and look at why he’s successful. Everyone has got one (small, skilled defenceman) now.
“He’s got his own style. Small guys, if they’re going to survive, you have to play like Rafalski.”
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
The woods are full of theorists who say Mike Fisher’s lack of production is related to a contract that pays him $6 million this season and a total of $21 million by the time it expires in 2013.
Mike Fisher says that’s hogwash.
“I signed the contract before last season, and I had the most goals I’ve ever scored (23, in 2007-08),” the Senators centre said before the 500th game of his NHL career.
“I don’t really see it as that. What you make or whatever, to me it doesn’t affect how
I play or how I work. I’ve done a lot of the same things (this season). It’s been frustrating. I know I’m going to get out of it. I’ve been a streaky scorer at times. I just need a few to get me rolling, and things will be fine.”
from Mike Ulmder of MapleLeafs.com,
In dropping a 2-0 decision to the Nashville Predators, Tuesday, the Maple Leafs lost their fourth straight game.
During that time they have been outscored 16-6.
Four hundred and fifty Americans, and by extension 45 Canadians, fall out of bed and die every year.
The Leafs, playing without skill defenceman Mike Van Ryn and the suspended Mikhail Grabovski, could only garner 17 shots on winning goalie Pekka Rinne and a puny four shots on five power plays.
In North America, a new case of dementia presents itself every seven seconds.
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
A couple of things after a 5-3 Vancouver loss to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, a game that was signed and sealed with a 3-0 Jersey lead after one period.
1) The Canucks looked like a team that wanted to get its coach fired. And Alain Vigneault sounded like he did at the end of last season, when his job was on the line following seven losses in the last eight games, which kept Vancouver out of the playoffs….
2) The Canucks are in a stretch that may get general manager Mike Gillis looking to make a move earlier than the trade deadline. (Gillis might do that anyway because he is not in the least a conventional guy who is going to be bound by an arbitrary date of March 4.)
Two names to watch: Atlanta defenceman Mathieu Schneider and Islanders forward Doug Weight.
Yesterday KK readers chimed in with some of the hockey catchphrases that bothered them.
Last night, a donnybrook broke out, but I am still looking for it!
from Ben Kuzma of Canucks Nation at the Vancouver Province,
Roberto Luongo pushed hard to convince the coaching staff he should play Tuesday. He should have pushed harder. Much harder.
On a night when the Vancouver Canucks needed great goaltending, an air-tight defence and turnover-free forays through the neutral zone to avoid feeding the transition monster New Jersey Devils, they often looked lost in their own zone and simply waited much too long to force the issue offensively in a 5-3 loss at GM Place….
Where was the early resolve to turn around too many horror shows on home ice? Where was the early leadership? Where was the early goaltending?
more on the Canucks loss to the Devils…
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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