Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
For some reason, perhaps because they’ve yet to make the playoffs, the Jackets rarely get the benefit of doubt. Heck, they don’t even get the clear calls. Remember Rick Nash’s high stick in Minnesota? Manny Malhotra’s kick-in in Dallas?
Last night, there could have been a hooking call on Madden, a slashing call on Clarkson and a no-goal call from Toronto—all on the same play, the one that ultimately decided the game.
Where’s the balance?
from Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post,
There have been long stretches this season when Coach Claude Julien has rotated his goalies. There also have been times when he has ridden the hot one, though neither has started more than five games in a row. Both are No. 1 goaltenders to the veteran coach, who said the careful management of their playing time is a good problem to have.
“I know there have been situations where it has been” a problem with other teams, said Julien, whose Bruins face Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals tonight at Verizon Center in a showdown between the Eastern Conference’s top two teams. “But not in our situation. Both goaltenders have reacted very well and have been very supportive of each other. It’s been our position of strength.”
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
Unlike today, doors were open to the media. The Garden’s press box was close to the ice, so it was only a short trip to the clinic, where I found Plante, his nose only inches away from a mirror. He probed at the cut with his fingers.
“Pretty ugly, isn’t it,” he said quietly.
“I guess you could say that,” he was told.
Plante continued to study the wound until the Rangers’ doctor interrupted.
“That’s enough of that,” he snapped. “Get over here on the table. We’ve got to sew you up.” A few minutes later, Plante was on his way to the Canadiens’ room. He wasn’t a pretty sight. He also wasn’t prepared to return to the game unless he was allowed to wear the mask he had been trying out in team practices. Coach Blake wanted no part of it, but with no other goalie, he had no choice but to allow it. The Canadiens won 3-1.
from Jessica Bliss of the Tennessean,
But as the Predators prepare to play an Eastern Conference opponent for the 12th time tonight, they already have mixed feelings about the round-robin setup that features games against every other team in the league at the expense of some meetings with division foes….
“There are plusses and minuses,” General Manager David Poile said. “As a fan I want to see everybody and I want to play everybody, but from a competition standpoint we find ourselves out of the playoffs, and every game we play right now we want to play against our division or our conference to give ourselves the best chance of making the playoffs.”
Every team’s 2008-09 schedule includes eight more games against the opposing conference and eight less against division opponents — Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis and Columbus, in Nashville’s case — but some players said a win is beneficial regardless of the opponent’s conference.
“All the other teams are in the same position,” defenseman Dan Hamhuis said. “When they lose to the East it’s great for us. As long as we take care of winning it shouldn’t matter.”
Alex Burrows of the Vancouver Canucks breaks down the NFL Conference Championship games.
from John McGourty of NHL.com,
...Julien recently reacted as if a reporter had tossed him a hot brick when he asked if center Marc Savard was a leading candidate for this year’s Hart Trophy that goes to the regular season’s most valuable player.
Julien hates bragging more than he hates turnovers, but he still gave Savard his due, albeit a little reluctantly.
“Oh, you’re not going to get me to talk about those things,” Julien said, laughing. “I think he deserves a lot of credit for what he’s done so far this year, there’s no doubt about that.
“But really, we’ve pushed all those things aside as a group and we’ve focused on team accomplishments. If that happens, so be it, but we’re just trying to stay away from all that kind of stuff.”
Yet, the credentials for a Hart candidacy are there.
Savard, Boston’s first-line center, leads the NHL with a plus-29 rating and is tied for third with 38 assists. His 52 points place him fourth in NHL scoring. Savard has 17 multiple-point games, including a high of four points on Dec. 18, an 8-5 home victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings have activated defenseman Jack Johnson from the injured reserve list and have assigned forward Brian Boyle to the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced today.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
The Blackhawks’ 2008-09 slogan is, “One Goal.”
Perhaps that should be amended to include, “Plus Two Referees.”
Look, the Rangers New York Rangers have brought a lot of adversity on themselves this season, but the mindless, bush-league exhibition here last night by officials Mike Hasenfratz and Dean Morton was impossible to assimilate. The referees somehow saw their way to awarding Chicago five distinct five-on-three power play advantages amounting to 5:15 of time.
“I haven’t seen anything like this in my 15 years in the league,” Markus Naslund said after the Rangers somehow surmounted it all to register a 3-2 victory…
added 10:15am, Tom Renney wasn’t too happy either, watch below…
from Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun,
Brendan Shanahan’s signing with the New Jersey Devils received barely a fraction of the ink that Mats Sundin got when he became a Vancouver Canuck, but one could argue that Shanahan might mean as much to his new team in the stretch run and into the playoffs….
Shanahan will take three Stanley Cup rings into the Devils dressing room, a cache that Sundin can only dream about. That kind of winning brings instant credibility, but in the case of Sundin, it’s something that still has to be earned. Shanahan won’t be looked upon as a saviour with the Devils, but more as a piece of the overall puzzle that could get the Devils deep into the playoffs. Sundin? Well, he has been treated as the second coming in Vancouver.
read on and more hockey notes…
via David Pollak of Working the Corners,
Defenseman Rob Blake will miss the next two games because of an injury suffered when a deflected puck struck him on the chin during Thursday night’s 3-2 loss to the Calgary Flames.
A team source did not disclose the specific injury, but did rule out a concussion after Blake underwent tests last night and again today. He will miss tonight’s (Saturday night’s) game against Detroit and Tuesday’s against Vancouver, but is expected to be ready to return after the NHL All-Star break. San Jose does not play again until Jan. 27 in Colorado.
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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