Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
This was to be Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj’s chance to take the next step — asserting himself as an unquestioned standout No. 1 for an entire season . . . and beyond.
By any standard of judgment, whether statistical or eyeball, Budaj has failed to do that this season.
“I definitely haven’t taken advantage of that chance,” Budaj said Tuesday after the Avalanche’s practice at the Family Sports Center. “The organization has been great. They stood behind me for the entire year. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get it done the way I wanted, and I’m pretty sure not the way they wanted….”
from Ted Leonsis of Ted’s Take,
So while we have lots of work left to do this season and in the playoffs, let us lay off some of the bad mouthing about this team’s play of late. We have actually been one of the better performing teams and most consistent teams in the NHL this year.
from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,
There is no excuse — none — that Jacques Lemaire didn’t use Marian Gaborik on the 1:32 4-on-3 to open overtime. I know this is Monday morning quarterbacking. If the Wild scores, it’s a forgotten element.
Gaborik should have been on the ice. Lemaire said he went with the same crew he’s gone with all year — Koivu, Brunette, Zidlicky and Bergeron, and that 4-on-3 is about puck movement and knowing what to do.
Sorry, don’t buy it. In must-wins, you should use your best weapons during the best opportunities. Here, Sami Salo hands the Wild a gift by errantly sending the puck into the scorer’s table. And Gaborik’s on the bench. There isn’t a team in this league whose best scorer would have been on the bench in this situation.
Enough said on that.
This was a heartbreaking loss for the Wild, which held the Canucks, now first in the Northwest, without a single shot in the third period.
from Japers’ Rink,
Winning the Stanley Cup is relatively simple: All you have to do is win four games out of every seven in the playoffs. With that in mind, I thought I’d look at the top cup contenders and check, for every seven game stretch in the season, how often they won 4 or more and how often they had a losing record. I treated losses and overtime losses as the same thing, since they’re the same in the playoffs.
continue and a chart explaining the above…
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
Put tags on the Edmonton Oilers’ toes.
And put a noose around Craig MacTavish’s neck.
The 2008-09 Edmonton Oilers are deceased and MacTavish’s coaching career here likely ended at the same time he made a call in a stick measurement which will be remembered for years and years after all other details of last night’s 5-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks are long forgotten….
The measurement came after Dennis Grebeshkov and Zack Stortini had scored late third-period goals to get the Oilers back in it, MacTavish called for a stick measurement on Teemu Selanne. Instead of a power play, the Oilers ended up a man short when Teemu’s stick was judged legal.
“We had some what we thought was really good, reliable information,” said MacTavish, a stand-up guy right to what was probably his end in Edmonton.
“Visually it looked to be not even close. I was that sure, I made the call. Obviously it was a terrible mistake.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
The Vancouver Canucks have done a great job down the stretch reeling in the Calgary Flames in the battle for the Northwest Division title. The biggest reason why may be the play of a pair of youngsters.
You can colour me surprised because if you had told me at the beginning of the season that Alexandre Burrows and Ryan Kesler would be the top two players on the Vancouver Canucks, I would have said ‘I don’t think so.’ Valuable guys yes, but most valuable? Well that’s exactly what they are.
via Vicki Hall of Flames Insider,
“I think he’s had a year of growth,” Keenan said. “Again, he’s 23 years old. People forget that. He’s learning. He’s learning more about his game. He’s learning more about the defensive aspect of his game. He’s learning more about the offensive aspect of his game.”
In 76 games, Phaneuf has 11 goals and 45 points with a plus-minus rating of minus-13.
“He will have fluctuations for a while yet, because of his age and his inexperience,” Keenan said, of the former Norris Trophy nominee. “He’s had some very strong games. For example, I told him he was a force in the Pittsburgh game. He was probably the best player on the ice. Because (Sidney) Crosby and (Evgeni) Malkin were non-decript. They didn’t want anything to do with them. They certainly knew he was on the ice. They were looking for him. And he was a force in our game against Minnesota, and he was very much a part of the game last night.”
from Mike Knobler of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Thrashers coach John Anderson routinely offered his oldest players the option of skipping a morning skate. Former Thrasher Mathieu Schneider, 39, frequently took him up on it. Kozlov didn’t.
His work didn’t start when the season did.
“I was here most of the summer, and he was in the gym every day,” Anderson said.
Kozlov learned those work habits when he broke into the league with the Detroit Red Wings. He was an 18-year-old Russian kid who could bench press 130 pounds twice.
“I was so skinny,” Kozlov said. “Detroit was patient with me.”
He watched his Russian and Canadian teammates. He learned from Steve Yzerman, who didn’t smoke, didn’t drink and always worked out.
“Fitness is No. 1,” Kozlov said. “If you’re not going to take care of your body, it’s going to be tough to play. When I was 18, 20, I didn’t go to the gym every day. Now, I do.”
“My point is that, six games from now, we’re going to play a team that’s been in the playoffs for a month and half. That team will have engaged physically every night for a while now. They’ve had their heart and soul in it. They’ve built momentum. We’ve been in a different scenario. We’ve had another good season; we’ve got 107 points right now, 49 wins, we’ve had good individual numbers. But the reality you and I both know is that they’re going to drop the puck and the team we’re playing is going to battle for every inch of ice.
“There’s no switch to prepare you for that, so we have six games to make a conscious decision that we want to win, and if you make that conscious decision, that means you’re all in.”
-Wings coach Mike Babcock. More on the Wings from Pierre LeBrun at ESPN.
via Rich Hammond of Inside the Kings,
Kyle Quincey is expected to have back surgery tomorrow, to repair his herniated disc, and (obviously) will miss the rest of the season.
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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