Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Craig Custance of The Sporting News,
Chris Chelios is back in the NHL. An NHL source told SportingNews.com on Wednesday morning that the 48-year-old defenseman will be called up by the Atlanta Thrashers from their AHL affiliate.
After three days of meetings in Boca Raton, Florida, the National Hockey League’s general managers have put forward a recommendation for a rule change to address hits to the head in league games.
The following language was agreed to unanimously by the group:
“A lateral, back pressure or blindside hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and or the principal point of contact is not permitted.
A violation of the above will result in a minor or major penalty and shall be reviewed for possible supplemental discipline.”
With a twist. Who said this?
“I’ve been under-appreciated my whole career, but that’s helped me to keep my head small. But I made it to an All Star game and I’ve had some good years.”
from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star,
For the first time in two decades, it’s looking increasingly possible that the Stanley Cup playoffs will be held without the Wings.
Squandering a 2-1 third period lead, Detroit fell 4-2 to the Flames Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena, and as a result, tumbled to ninth overall in the National Hockey League’s Western Conference, one notch below the final playoff spot.
In a game in which the Wings knew a win would solidify their hold on a post-season position, they once again liquefied their assets at the most critical time.
After watching his team pull the chute, Wings coach Mike Babcock pulled no punches.
“We didn’t respond with a good enough effort,” Babcock said.
from Dan Steinberg of D.C. Sport Bog,
Sure, playoff hockey is different. Sure, you’re not going to win a Cup with a shaky goaltender or a rickety defense. That said, a good offense has seemed a better predictor of playoff success than a good defense in recent years.
If my math is correct, each of the four post-lockout Cup winners ranked at least sixth in regular-season goals scored. Only one of them ranked in the top six in regular-season goals against.
In two of the past three years, the regular-season scoring champion advanced to at least the conference finals.
from Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Whether all the angst is a reflection of the goaltending or the shrillness of sports discussion in this city is a question for another day. I will say that if I see one more despondent Hawks fan jump into the Chicago River after a loss, I’ll probably pick up a phone and report it, just to save his life out of spite.
I’ll also say that faith is a dwindling natural resource these days.
You might as well buckle up and get behind the goalies. Huet or Niemi (or both) is going to be your playoff goaltender. After tonight’s game against the Kings, the Hawks have 16 games until the postseason begins. There’s enough time to calm the sea. Niemi gets the start against L.A.
Hockey people like to say that hot goalies can win playoff series almost singlehandedly. Who’s to say Huet or Niemi won’t get hot?
And who’s to say that whomever the Hawks had acquired before the trade deadline wouldn’t have turned lukewarm in the postseason?
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun via the Chatam Daily News,
The sudden talk of Jimmy Howard being a Calder Trophy candidate has a nice ring to it.
The Detroit Red Wings rookie goaltender can’t listen.
“I’m not going to lie—I hear those things, but I try to let it go in one ear and out the other,” said the goalkeeper who has worked his way into be the No. 1 man for the defending Western Conference champions. “I’m not worried about it. First and foremost, we’ve got to make the playoffs.”
Still, he has to be following the other fabulous freshmen. Right?
from Robyn Norwood of the LA Times,
The Ducks’ 5-2 loss to a Columbus team that was blown out by the Kings, 6-0, the night before left them in 13th place, seven points out of the final Western Conference playoff spot with 16 games left.
Asked whether it would take a miracle to reach the postseason now, winger Bobby Ryan didn’t mince words.
“Probably,” he said. “The odds aren’t in our favor.”
It isn’t only the ground the Ducks would have to make up or the number of teams they would have to overtake, it is the way they have performed coming out of the Olympic break.
“You can’t come out of the break looking to make a playoff run and drop four straight. It’s unacceptable,” Ryan said, calling the run “ugly” and “embarrassing.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The Coyotes are still, on an interim basis, owned by their 29 NHL contemporaries, after the league took control of the team’s operations coming out of U.S. bankruptcy court in Arizona. But instead of conveniently and meekly falling by the wayside as so many suspected they would, the Coyotes (39-22-5) are in the thick of the playoff race, routinely defeating teams with higher payrolls and higher-profile players.
Nor did the NHL do their primary chattel any favours in terms of scheduling this season. After today’s home date with the Vancouver Canucks, Phoenix plays 13 of its final 17 games on the road – unimaginably bad timing, given interest in the Coyotes is just starting to pick up.
“But that’s okay,” said Shane Doan, the Coyotes’ irrepressible and long-serving captain. “We want to stay as far below the radar as possible. Everyone keeps talking about how bad it is in Phoenix and nobody’s even noticed that we’re keeping up. The other day, we were fourth overall in the NHL. I’m sure not a lot of people would put us fourth overall if they looked at the standings.”
from the CP at TSN,
Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero doesn’t think it was fair Sidney Crosby received criticism after declining an opportunity to appear on the “Late Show with David Letterman.”...
Shero noted the Penguins star has had a packed schedule since scoring the winning goal at the Olympics and that the team was entering a stretch where it will play four games in six days.
“At some point there’s a responsibility, that he takes very seriously, about being a hockey player and preparing,” Shero said Tuesday at the NHL’s GM meetings. “To me, any criticism for Sidney isn’t warranted. He does so much for the game, so much for the league. ...
“He’s trying to do it all and it’s unfortunate he can’t do it all. But he does a lot.”
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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