Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
When they were at their best, the Bruins dominated time of puck possession by transitioning swiftly, employing a straight-line attack, and using their speed and skill to cycle deep in opposing zones.
Recently, general manager Peter Chiarelli has seen his passive players regrouping with the puck far too often, indicating that they’re not confident enough to turn up ice and fly into the teeth of other teams’ defenses.
“Now your forwards have to come back and everything has to move this way instead of that way,” Chiarelli said, pointing to the defensive side of the ice. “I’m not blaming the defensemen. I’m not blaming the forwards. I’m not blaming anybody. It’s something where the confidence isn’t there.”
It’s an affliction that is not unique to the 2008-09 Bruins.
from Mark Everson of the NY Post,
One giant record broken, the other wobbling. They should attach the replacement netting to Martin Brodeur’s goal cage with Velcro, just to save us all time.
“I think it’s going to be this year,” Devils center Travis Zajac said of the timetable for Brodeur breaking Terry Sawchuk’s 40-year-old NHL record of 103 shutouts.
Fresh from one successful record chase, Brodeur started his second hunt of the month with his fifth shutout in 20 starts this season and the 101st of his career, a 4-0 triumph over the Wild in Newark last night.
“It could be a long time if you guys are going to start that [hoopla],” the Gretzky of Goalies warned.
from Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post,
Let the Great Eight celebrate.
The last thing the NHL needs is to inhibit its most exciting star for the sake of maintaining the decorum that every other major sport abandoned 30 years ago.
That includes Bruce Boudreau, the Capitals’ excellent but old-school coach who apparently paddled Alex Ovechkin in private yesterday, then said: “I’ve never seen him do a celebration like that. But I don’t expect it to happen again.”
If it does, just take a few deep breaths. Join the 21st century, or, for that matter, the last quarter of the 20th. Ovechkin doesn’t need to stop his goal-glorifying antics, not even his controversial premeditated “hot-hot-hot stick” pantomime on Thursday night after scoring his 50th goal of the season.
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
The Sabres are just 1-4-1 in the last six games, an ugly number in itself. It’s even more hideous when the Sabres look at what the slump has done to their spot in the Eastern Conference.
On March 7, prior to the collapse, the Sabres were in every postseason conversation. They were tied with Carolina for ninth place with 73 points. Florida, Pittsburgh and the New York Rangers had 74. Only one more point and the Sabres were in sixth place.
Now? Sixth place seems further than Siberia. Heck, eighth place may as well be England.
The 10th-place Sabres are five points out of a playoff spot and seven back of sixth. They have 11 games left, starting tonight with a visit to the Rangers in Madison Square Garden.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
Bob Gainey insisted that he hasn’t made any final decisions on the Canadiens’ lineup for Saturday night’s game against the Maple Leafs, but it appears defenceman Mike Komisarek and forward Andrei Kostitsyn will be among the healthy scratches.
“Sometimes you send a message,” Gainey said when asked about the status of the two veterans who appeared to be extras at a late-afternoon practice in Brossard. “You see how they practise and how they respond to that. We have all our players available to us and we’ll decide tomorrow.”...
Komisarek had a plus-1 rating Thursday, but saw his ice time reduced as the game went on. He played 16:30 at even-strength while his partner, Andrei Markov, played 21:34 at even-strength and a total of 26:53.
Komisarek, who is known as a physical defenceman, had only one hit and no blocked shots.
“He’s hesitating,” Gainey said. “He has to be the first guy on the puck and he isn’t.”
via Empty Netters,
Malkin clearly went after the player’s head. Additionally, there was less than 10 seconds left in the game. If that’s a Flyer delivering a blow, the suspension is almost automatic. Malkin shouldn’t be exempt because he’s a star player. But the NHL has a game on NBC Sunday to worry about so don’t expect Colin Campbell and company to take any action on this.
from Mike Knobler of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
The Thrashers are out of the playoff race but remain in an attendance race with millions of dollars at stake. Entering Friday night’s game against the Red Wings, the Thrashers were averaging 14,323, their worst announced attendance since 2002-03. Another, unannounced attendance figure is the one that counts, though.
The Thrashers need to match the league’s average revenue growth rate and reach a paid attendance threshold of 14,000 or the average NHL paid attendance, whichever is lower, to receive the full amount of NHL revenue sharing aimed at helping teams in non-traditional hockey markets.
from John McGourty of NHL.com,
Thursday marked the 185th time the 50-goal milestone has been passed. The legendary Maurice “Rocket” Richard was the first to do it when he scored 50 goals in 50 games during the 1943-44 season, and the mystique of 50 goals has held ever since.
Why is scoring 50 goals still considered an important benchmark when it’s been done so many times?
“Because goals are down,” said Scotty Bowman, the NHL’s all-time victories leader among coaches. “The game has become pretty high-tech with all the information available. Coaching staffs are huge now, too. A friend of Ron Wilson, the Toronto Maple Leafs coach, visited him recently and was amazed to see all these coaches working at six computers in the room. We didn’t have that 10 years ago.
from Scott Cullen of TSN,
As the NHL regular season nears an end, here’s a look at the Top 100 rookies of this season, ranked in terms of long-term potential, with some allowances made for immediate impact….
This list of 100 will include only those players that have played at least ten games this season.
1. Steve Mason, G, Columbus
Stats: 29-17-3, 9 SO, 2.25 GAA, .918 SVPCT in 50 GP
Comment: It’s no sure thing that a successful rookie season will mean a long and fruitful career, particularly as a goaltender, but Mason has the chance to be a franchise goaltender.
2. Bobby Ryan, LW, Anaheim
Stats: 24-21-45, plus-13, 22 PIM in 53 GP
from Damien Cox at The Spin Blog,
Maybe tomorrow night the Habs will get back on a winning track against a Leaf team that is hustling to stay competitive in the final weeks of this season.
But there will be lots of Leaf fans there, helping once again create what is the most colorful hockey atmosphere in North America these days.
If it all goes bad for the Habs, it could get ugly.
more and other hockey topics…
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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