Kukla's Korner Hockey
“I’m just happy we found something right for both myself and the team. Obviously, we have most of our core guys signed, and signed for long, and it’s something we’re excited about in the room. I believe in those guys, I think we believe in ourselves, and in bringing the Stanley Cup here this year — we don’t want to wait. Now is our time.
“That’s the goal. It’s our goal, to win a Cup for the fans. They’ve been waiting long enough.”
-Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks. More on Kesler from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun.
New York, NY (March 19, 2010) – NHL Network U.S. will broadcast the Phoenix Coyotes vs. Chicago Blackhawks match-up Saturday, March 20 immediately following the conclusion of the Network’s Hockey Night In Canada telecast of the Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (7 p.m. ET). Both telecasts are available in HD.
The puck will drop in front of a sold-out crowd in Phoenix’s Jobing.com Arena at 9 p.m. ET, as the red-hot Coyotes take aim at the Blackhawks and first overall in the NHL’s Western Conference.
This game is among the highlights of NHL Network’s free preview week in the U.S., running March 20-27. With participating networks of the free preview including Comcast, DIRECTV, Dish Network, Time Warner Cable, Cox and RCN Cable, NHL Network will be available in 60 million homes across the country. Fans are encouraged to check their local listings for details. This free preview is subject to participation cable or satellite providers.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
It was said that if the NHL could ever figure out how to excise the neutral zone trap from the game – or shrink goalie equipment – or do whatever it took to up the scoring ante, that the best goalies would still be the best goalies; the only difference would be that their statistical numbers would be higher across the board. That prediction actually came true.
Now, the most efficient team defensively is the Phoenix Coyotes with a cumulative 2.33 GAA, which would have been 10th best in the 03-04 season.
The problem is that people got so used to those tiny miniscule pre-lockout numbers that they try to compare today’s numbers to those and create goaltending controversies everywhere. It can’t be done in any fair manner because it’s an apples to oranges comparison; two widely different eras.
more plus other NHL topics…
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Starter Michael Leighton left Tuesday’s game in Nashville with a high-ankle sprain, and the club announced late Thursday afternoon that he is gone for eight to 10 weeks.
Now, what looked to be a significant risk—turning over the Flyers’ netminding chores to an untested journeyman like Leighton—has quickly evolved into what appears to be a monstrous blunder.
It is true Holmgren did take a run at Florida Panthers netminder Tomas Vokoun at the March 3 trade deadline but backed off when the cost was going to include sniper Jeff Carter.
But when Plan A failed, what happened to Plan B or even Plan C? In Philadelphia, where goaltending isn’t a storyline but a recurring nightmare, we are talking Plan Z here.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
I bring you back to an August conversation I had with Shane Doan. The Phoenix Coyotes captain was insisting anyone picking his team to be brutal this season was making a big mistake.
“As bad as everything you hear about us, we just don’t think we’re that bad,” Doan told me six months ago. “We don’t think we’re the worst team in the league even though everybody seems to be picking us to finish last.”
Fast forward to late Thursday night. Doan was about to board a plane in South Florida with the Coyotes a few hours after erasing a three-goal, third-period deficit to beat the Florida Panthers 4-3 in a shootout. The victory set the all-time Coyotes/Winnipeg Jets franchise record for wins in a season with 44.
Just another day at the office for the team everyone wrote off before the season.
I mentioned our August conversation and Doan laughed.
Vancouver, B.C. - Vancouver Canucks President and General Manager Mike Gillis announced today that forward Ryan Kesler has agreed to terms on a six-year contract extension through the 2015-2016 season.
“Today is an exciting day for the Canucks organization,” said Mike Gillis. “Ryan Kesler has excelled as a two-way player and in his role as an alternate captain. Ryan has showcased his ability to perform under extreme pressure and we are looking forward to continuing to see Ryan develop into one of the League’s premier players.”
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
They’re still outside the Western Conference’s elite eight, one point back of the Red Wings for the final playoff spot.
They still need to claim more “huge” wins — which is what seemingly every player called the 3-2 victory over Colorado.
Maybe as many as nine more over the final dozen remaining on the regular-season schedule.
If not, they’ll need help from other teams around the league.
NEW YORK (March 19, 2010) – The National Hockey League (NHL) will unveil its new Stanley Cup Playoffs campaign tomorrow, March 20 during the CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada. The campaign reminds viewers that “History will be made” during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
It’s time to worry.
Not to panic, but to be concerned that since the Olympic break the Kings have lacked the drive and cohesion that had fueled their turnaround season and now bear an unpleasant resemblance to the bad, old Kings who would stumble through March and be done by early April.
Despite preparing with two vigorous practice days, the Kings were lifeless Thursday during a 3-0 loss to the Blackhawks, who had played the previous night at Anaheim. The loss, the team’s third in four games and first home shutout loss since Feb. 12, 2009, dropped the Kings’ record since the Olympics to 3-4-1.
“There was not much good out there tonight,” Coach Terry Murray said.
“It was more important that we got the two points. We’re in a battle here, and it was great to get the win here in New York. To get to 400 is a nice thing to happen, but I’ve been fortunate in my career to play with a lot of great players and received a lot of great passes. Terrific play.”
-Paul Kariya of the St. Louis Blues after scoring his 400th goal. Via Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
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