Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
After a nice, long run as a line mate to Marty St. Louis, rookie Steven Stamkos likely will start tonight’s game with the Bruins on a line with Vinny Prospal and Brandon Bochensky. This isn’t just coach Rick Tocchet switching up lines looking for some jump, though after Sunday’s snoozer against the Senators, Tampa Bay could use it.
No, this is Tocchet sending a message to Stamkos to make sure he continues to compete at a high level. He has not done it the past few games, Tocchet said. The punishment is losing St. Louis as a line mate.
“When you play with Marty, that’s a privilege,” Tocchet said. “The message is, ‘If you’re going to play with Marty, you have to compete like he does.’ “
Almost six minutes of the best goals, saves and hit from the past week in the NHL.
from Charlie Teljeur of The Hockey News, ‘
Tis the time of year when everyone seems to be naming their all-star selections (no, not that All-Star Game thingy - that was done by three mischievous kids at MIT with a brilliant binary algorithm) so it seems high time for me to name my all-stars.
And by name I mean NAME all-stars. You know, the kid who might not be able to skate or pass and has hands reminiscent of medium-sized boulders, but he has 15 letters in his last name (three of them Xs) and it’s printed diagonally on his jersey. Or he’s from Upper Sloptovia and has a name that rhymes with rutabaga. Yeah, that’s my kind of player….
Goaltender – Antero Niittymaki (Philadelphia) – You know when you get really drunk and you start to sign your name and you write the first part fairly close to perfect, but then you lose concentration and the last part comes out as a big pile of jumbled letters and reads like inane gibberish? Yeah, Niittymaki.
Defense – Fedor Tyutin (Columbus) – The three best names for clowns I’ve ever heard are (1) Bozo the Clown, (2) Mr. Bubbles, and (3) Fedor Tyutin. Next time he skates by, grab his nose and see if it honks.
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
1. Ducks at Oilers: At game time, the Ducks and Oilers find themselves in the Western Conference’s not-so-coveted ninth and 10th spots, respectively. On home ice with just 36 wins (a key tiebreaker), the Oilers probably need this one a tad more than the Ducks….
2. Predators at Blue Jackets: Remember when the Central Division was the Red Wings and four other clubs? That’s no longer the case. Heading into Tuesday’s games, all five Central teams held down playoff spots. The injury-riddled Preds roll into Columbus off a come-from-behind win in Detroit. If they can beat the Jackets in regulation time, the teams will have identical records….
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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