Kukla's Korner Hockey
NEW YORK—Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward, Vancouver Canucks center Henrik Sedin and Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Rick Nash have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the month of March.
from John Grigg of The Hockey News,
So without further ado, we give you THN.com’s Top 10 NHL Russians, right now.
10. Slava Kozlov, Left Winger, Atlanta
Kozlov played his first NHL game during the 1991-92 season as a Red Wing and has tallied 346 goals and 821 points in 1121 NHL games. The 36-year-old is currently enjoying one of his best campaigns with 24 goals – including 12 on the power play – and 70 points in 76 games.
9. Nikolai Khabibulin, Goaltender, Chicago
Khabibulin makes the grade, but barely. He had pretty much sewn-up the No. 1 job with the Blackhawks before an injury in mid-February….
from Justin Del Giudice at The Hockey News,
Doug Weight, a 16-year NHL veteran, was just entering high school as the Steve Yzerman era was beginning in Detroit. Only five years his senior, Stevie Y was the kind of player Weight modelled himself after.
“Yzerman was always my favourite player,” said Weight, a Warren, Mich., native and self-proclaimed Red Wings fan. “The way he played, the way he carried himself, that’s what made him great.”
Few would dispute the fact Yzerman was one of the greatest players in NHL history. Besides his knack for scoring big goals and racking up impressive statistics, it was Yzerman’s leadership that marked him as a true great, captaining the Wings for nearly two decades.
According to Weight, Yzerman is the benchmark for what great leadership really is: being genuinely dedicated to the team.
from Terry Frei at ESPN,
How far have they fallen?
The Colorado Avalanche are last in the Western Conference.
They had lost seven in a row going into Wednesday’s game in Denver against Phoenix. They’re in a chase of the Islanders for the league’s overall basement that has the most wacko of conspiracy theorists musing that it’s such a “tank” job, the Pepsi Center Zambonis might as well be painted to resemble World War II-era Shermans.
But the truth is, the combination of injuries and the effects of management failures in the past few seasons have led to the Avalanche having a lineup on most nights during the stretch run that simply is in over its head.
from Brian Duff at The Hockey News,
To date, 19 players from this year’s Traverse Tournament have played at least a game in the NHL this year. As of Monday, five of those 19 were among the top 20 rookie scorers and four were in the top 11.
Bogosian will be an absolute force; Voracek is already responsible and productive; Neal trails only Bobby Ryan in rookie goals; Clutterbuck has set an NHL record for hits in a season; Berglund is the most prolific power play threat in this year’s Calder class.
And then there’s Oshie.
During one of our tournament broadcasts St. Louis’ president of hockey operations, John Davidson, joined us for an entire period to give us an overview of the organization’s prospects.
I’ll never forget how passionate he was when describing Oshie, who was expected to make the Blues after three consistent, productive years at the University of North Dakota.
“He’s tireless,” said Davidson glowingly. “He just never stops working.”
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
The difference was obvious in practice Tuesday as the Buffalo Sabres prepared for tonight’s game against the Atlanta Thrashers. The Sabres were smiling and loose, calm and confident, during a short workout. They were together. They found what had been missing for most of the season: life.
It’s amazing how three straight victories, including wins on back-to-back nights for the first time all year, can quickly improve the collective psyche of a team. If you didn’t know any better, you would have thought the Sabres rattled off 10 straight and were surging toward the Eastern Conference title.
“It can only help,” goaltender Ryan Miller said. “We’ve been uptight, and look where it’s gotten us. We’ve come to the rink feeling sorry for ourselves. We’ve come to the rink holding our heads low a few times. It hasn’t gotten us anywhere. We’ve put together a good run, and we’ve had some good victories. We should feel good about it.”
from Stan Fischler at the Hockey Journal,
Of all the major pro sports in this country, the NHL is a most interesting phenomenon; a team can lose a game yet still move up in the standings.
Giving a point to a team that lost in overtime once made sense. Coaches knew that when overtime rolled around, if they played defense and didn’t take many chances, they would still be a point waiting for them at the end of the game by finishing in a tie.
This type of play became the modus operandi of just about every team in the league. Overtime became a battle of who could get back on defense and not give up a goal.
continued with other hockey notes…
from Len Ziehm of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Cristobal Huet once thought he was the Montreal Canadiens’ goalie for the long term. After winning 37 games spanning two seasons as a part-time player, he had a 21-12-6 record for them last season when he was traded.
Huet made his return to the Bell Center on Tuesday and didn’t get the result he wanted. His Blackhawks teammates gave him little support in a 4-1 loss, another indication a good season might be fading away. The result dropped the Hawks into fifth place in the Western Conference standings—and out of home-ice advantage in a first-round playoff series—with seven games left.
from Chris Pinkert of St.LouisBlues.com,
It’s been a busy few months for Larry Pleau, the team’s Sr. Vice President and General Manager. With the trade deadline passing in early March and the team’s recent surge toward the postseason, we thought now was a good time to catch up with Pleau to discuss a variety of Blues topics.
Q: Considering how the team has battled since early January, do you think they are “playoff tested” already?
A: We’ve been playing ‘desperate’ hockey, I would say, since the end of December. I think the coaches have done a great job of keeping the players focused on the game-to-game situation, preparation, the opponents they’re playing against and understanding how important the games are: even if it was a game in January, it (was) going to affect where we end up in April.
from John McGourty of NHL.com,
Whenever you see a defensive back inexplicably drop the football on what appeared to be an easy interception, the announcers invariably will say, “That’s why they’re not wide receivers—bad hands.”
But it’s different in hockey. Don’t assume that because someone’s playing defense, they have no shot with a shot.
Eleven NHL defensemen have scored goals in shootouts this season. Five have two or more goals and three are tied for the League lead among blueliners with three goals—Jack Johnson of the Los Angeles Kings, Andrei Markov of the Montreal Canadiens and Marek Zidlicky of the Minnesota Wild.
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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