Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
Here’s the problem: they didn’t win the game. And another: that wasn’t the real Sharks they played tonight. That was San Jose’s B Team. No Joe Thornton, no Evgeni Nabokov, no Rob Blake. First-line center, starting goalie, arguably the top D-man – not in the lineup.
That’s why I’m not really buying into the “If we play like that down the stretch, we’ll be OK…” company line espoused afterward.
This was another big wasted opportunity tonight. They should have found a way to get something, but kicked it all away. Yes, those third-period goals by San Jose were lucky bounces, but what seemed lost a bit on the players were the things they did before those goals, that allowed them to happen. Both times, the Avs had the puck with good time and space to get it out of the zone, and both times they made soft plays and turned it over. If the puck gets out of the zone, there is no chance for either lucky goal to happen.
from Tim Sassone of Working the Corners at the Chicago Daily-Herald,
Coach Joel Quenneville would never admit his team is tired – or at least those key players that went to the Olympics.
But there’s no denying Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook and even Marian Hossa haven’t been the difference makers they were before they went to Vancouver last month.
After losing 4-2 to 14th-place Columbus on Sunday night, the Hawks have won only five of 13 games since the Olympic break.
Keith is minus-7 since the Olympics and Seabrook minus-4. Toews is minus-8 in those 13 games with 3 goals. Kane is minus-8 with only 3 goals.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
For going on 15 years now – or dating back to Brian’s days as the team’s coach – a succession of Sutters has been telling a succession of Calgary Flames teams that the solution to their various and sundry problems was to work harder.
Brent Sutter, the third Sutter brother to man the Flames’ bench in that span, was riffing on that theme again Saturday on the heels of a dismal 5-0 loss to the Boston Bruins in which they frittered away their last best chance of landing a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Yesterday’s 5-3 victory over the Washington Capitals notwithstanding, the Flames are now at a point where they either need to change the message or change the messenger – and given their recent freefall in the NHL standings, the postmortems can start already.
A top-to-bottom evaluation of the organization is in order, beginning with president Ken King, but focusing primarily on general manager Darryl Sutter, whose panic moves before the NHL trading deadline were designed to salvage a season teetering on the brink
via David Pollak of Working the Corners,
Joe Thornton won’t be in the lineup tonight and is day-to-day with a lower body injury. No estimated time for his return. And, yes, this means his consecutive game streak with the Sharks ends at 379 as Thornton has played every game here since being acquired from Boston in November 2005.
Todd McLellan said he’s still tinkering with his lines, but that Jamie McGinn would be back in action after missing one game.
On defense, Jason Demers has been called up and Rob Blake will sit out. Call it a “maintenance day.”
Stan Fischler with his Top 5.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
The Hart Trophy hardly ever goes to a goaltender, give or take the odd Dominik Hasek or Jose Theodore.
But this may be one of those years when voters select a goalie as the recipient of the NHL’s most valuable player award. In large part, voters shun selecting a goalie because netminders have their own award, the Vezina Trophy, to contend for, just as Major League Baseball voters figure pitchers have the Cy Young Award.
This season, however, NHL voters should get their heads out of the sand.
About 7 1/2 hours of hockey action today and by my trained hockey eye, it looks like the home team would be the favorite except for the Devils/Flyers game.
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
The Los Angeles Kings will make the playoffs for the first time since 2002, and that’s a wonderful story.
So is the fact the upstart Phoenix Coyotes, surprising Colorado Avalanche and diligent Nashville Predators will join the postseason party.
But while the Detroit Red Wings put to rest any chase for the final spot and the San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks each take turns trying to give away first place, it does create an interesting question in the West: Who is the favorite out here?
from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,
Over the remaining seven games of the season — starting Sunday night here (Pittsburgh) against the Maple Leafs — Crosby and company will prepare to launch a deep playoff journey for the third consecutive spring.
But are they good enough?
These Penguins wouldn’t be the first Cup winners to have dull moments during the long haul of a season hard on the heels of a short summer. Throw in the Olympic break and the schedule hell it created plus the fact that they can’t seem to beat New Jersey or Washington and the Penguins are vulnerable favourites at best.
“At times we haven’t had that focus,” Pens general manager Ray Shero said Saturday following an impressive 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. “I wouldn’t say it’s a hangover, but it’s a long grind, a long year. Most of these guys have been in the final two years in a row.
“Now they see the light at the end of the tunnel and are paying the attention to detail that is needed.”
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
I wasn’t one of those “They’re playing Craig Anderson too much, they need to play Peter Budaj more” people. But after tonight’s 6-2 drubbing at the hands of Wojtek Wolski and the Phoenix Coyotes, I might be inching a little closer to the “Andy is overworked” camp.
Hockey people often say that, when a goalie is struggling, pucks start “going through” them. Andy allowed a couple tonight where, indeed, it seemed as if the puck kind of went right through his body and into the net, as if he was just an apparition.
That said, it’s not all Andy’s fault why things are starting to slide for the Burgundy and Blue. The defense looks old and slow, one of the top two lines – if not both – always seem to have the “off” switch in effect, and the same with the two special 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.
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