Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bruce Dowbiggin at the Calgary Herald,
To the consternation of Vancouver management and fans, their best player simply hasn’t stepped up as advertised. Luongo’s erratic play largely escaped criticism while the Canucks’ forwards and defenceman were red-hot in their 20-5-1 streak. The whiffs and bobbles were written off to rust from the extended six-week stay Luongo spent on the injury list. Give ‘im time, they said.
Well, time has passed, but with the club slumping to three straight losses as they head into tonight’s showdown with Calgary at GM Place, followers of the Canucks are coming to the uncomfortable conclusion that Vancouver may have to win in spite of their highly paid goalie. Holy Stan Smyl, could it happen at a worse time for fans of the Orcas? (Or a better time for Flames’ fans?)
Radio talk shows in this city are buzzing with complaints about their one-time hero. Luongo is being roasted for not committing to the Canucks past the end of his contract in 2010 and getting too big for his hockey britches for taking the captaincy. A loss against the Flames and he’ll likely be pilloried for starting the subprime mortgage mess.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
We’ve made our way down to Naples, Fla., to spend a few days with wife Stacy and baby girl Melanie before the two-month playoff road trip begins. Can’t wait.
But first, the playoff before the playoffs continues Tuesday night with a busy slate that includes five games that have our eye. In those games, we bring your attention to five players:
Panthers at Flyers, 7 p.m. ET
The star Florida defenseman has five points (1-4) and an even-rating in his last five games while playing over 27 minutes a night, which has helped key four wins during that stretch. No doubt GM Jacques Martin is feeling a little better.
continued and tonight’s full schedule can be viewed below…
Steve of Puck The Media posts the 2nd part of his Jack Edwards interview,
PTM: [Clunky Transition] Well, speaking of entertainment value, there was this huge, huge hulabaloo in the online hockey community last week at that Philadelphia game where you did sort of the Vincent Price laugh after that Randy Jones hit. First of all, how did that come into your mind, and do you think people are making too much of it? I think it was just fun…
JE: Okay, first of all, everybody has a right to his opinion, and I enjoy strong opinions. What I don’t respect is people who call names and throw mud and don’t actually follow through and consider what the story really is.
If you go back and if you listen to the illegally posted, copyrighted material thats on YouTube [we both chuckle] I clearly refer to “the crowd wants a call for a hit from behind”. That is what was so hilarious. Because even before we knew that Patrice Bergeron had a broken neck on the 27th of October, 2007. Even before we knew what the result of the examination was. While he was still unconscious, the Flyers had issued a public relations release, and the Philadelphia media swallowed it whole, to the point that some columnist in Philadelphia actually wrote that Bergeron knew the hit was coming.
more and if you missed the Edwards call, watch it below…
via Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Canadiens defenceman Mike Komisarek yesterday ripped into Grabovski for his actions, insinuating Grabovski is a coward.
“You are enraged and you are pissed off that a player like that, when the game is out of hand, runs one of your top players like that,” Komisarek told reporters in Montreal. “He knows (Markov) is in a vulnerable position. There’s no need for that.
“Early on in the game, there was a scrum and Grabovski wouldn’t even look you in the eye. (He) runs away from any confrontation with his tail between his legs. So for him to hit Markie like that, it’s something you don’t like to see.”
The hit in question came in the third period of the Habs’ lopsided 6-2 victory over the Leafs at the Air Canada Centre Saturday. While the check itself did not seem dirty, it did come late, something the Canadiens immediately took notice of.
When I first posted this topic a few days ago, the majority of KK readers thought it was a clean hit. Has anything changed since?
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,
Something the young Blackhawks have learned during their run to the postseason is that the more important the game, the more defense-minded the style of play.
Open ice and scoring opportunities are at a premium in late March and early April. Any time an opening arises, teams need to take advantage.
Which brings us to the Hawks’ power play.
The once-powerful unit has been struggling mightily, and if the Hawks plan on making a deep run in the playoffs, they need to flip the switch on the power supply.
It has been five games and 22 opportunities since the Hawks cashed in with a man advantage, their longest skid of the season. In fact, the Hawks have just two power-play goals in the last 42 chances over nine contests. That has dropped them to 14th in the league with a 19.3 percent success rate.
from Chuck Gormley at NHL.com,
(Bill) Guerin says he could not have landed in a better place, saying the fresh start he’s been given in Pittsburgh has been the perfect elixir for an otherwise painful season.
“Without a doubt I feel young again,” Guerin said of his transfer from the Eastern Conference’s last-place team to one battling to return to the playoffs one year after reaching the Stanley Cup Final. “It’s a great feeling to be here and I feel rejuvenated. To be in a playoff race like this is just what I needed.”...
Suddenly, the aches don’t hurt as bad. Guerin, always the optimist, is experiencing the joy of winning meaningful games.
“I love it,” he said. “We’re winning and the line is doing all right, so it can’t be all bad.”
Having played on some of the best lines in hockey, Guerin said the unit of Crosby, Kunitz and himself reminds him of the success he enjoyed in Edmonton while playing on a line with Doug Weight and Ryan Smyth in the late 1990s.
from the Buffalo Sabres,
Buffalo Sabres netminder Ryan Miller debuted a new look against the Red Wings on Monday night, sporting a mask inspired by traditional Japanese tattoos.
Featuring a tiger, dragon and a tribute to his cousin Matt, the helmet is Miller’s first modification in two years.
RDS is reporting that former Montreal player and general manager Serge Savard is spearheading a local group of investors that are interested in purchasing the Canadiens franchise, should current owner George Gillett be interested in selling it.
The group, Thibeault-Messier-Savard, has reportedly raised the funds to finance such a purchase.
At this time, Gillett has yet to indicate if the Canadiens are indeed for sale.
from John Glennon of the Tennessean,
The Predators head into tonight’s home finale against Chicago knowing they’ve achieved one critical off-ice goal — reaching the 14,000 paid attendance average necessary to receive the NHL’s full revenue-sharing package.
That’s big news for management, because it likely will mean more than $10 million dollars to help the franchise remain financially competitive with larger-market teams.
The Predators must satisfy one other requirement for full revenue-sharing: making sure their hockey-related revenues this season have increased by a percentage equal to or greater than the NHL’s overall hockey-related revenue.
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
The Sabres’ rough road to the postseason is now a rock-strewn, virtually impassable trail. The Sabres handed over the game in hand they held over the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers. They remain four points back of the tie for eighth place, but now only three games remain.
“A lot of strange things have happened,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “We’ll pick up the hope tank, try to fill it up and hope a lot of things go right for us.”
Things are so dire, the hope tank needs to be large enough to house all the crumbling debris from Memorial Auditorium. In basic terms, if the Rangers or Panthers win just one of their three games and go to overtime in another, the Sabres are officially eliminated.
“Tough situation to be in,” Sabres captain Craig Rivet said. “We’re going to have to win the next three games, and obviously with the way the standings are now, we’re going to need some help from some teams.”
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 email@example.com