Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post,
With back-to-back games against the torrid Boston Bruins slated for tonight at the Wachovia Center and Saturday afternoon in Boston, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren assessed his team’s recent play with these words:
“I think we’ve struggled lately,” he said of the Flyers’ 5-4-2 stretch. “We’ve got 33 games left and it’s going to be a dogfight. In my opinion, we’re not playing good enough to get into the playoffs.”
Message sent. But was it received as intended?
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The NHL’s trade deadline is exactly one month away from today. Between now and then, the speculation will ramp up and much of it will be unfounded. But hey, fans love this stuff, right?
Take, for instance, the crazy rumor we heard Tuesday. Someone we were talking to told us he had “heard” the Florida Panthers, Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers were working on a three-way deal that would send Jason Spezza to the Big Apple, Jay Bouwmeester to Canada’s capital and Scott Gomez to South Florida.
“Gee, should I make the deal?,” Senators GM Bryan Murray said sarcastically when reached by ESPN.com on Tuesday. “Seriously, I don’t know where that comes from, but I can guarantee you, at least from my end, that that was never talked about. It’s unbelievable what people will say.”
continued with more trade talk…
added 10:15am, Spector gives his views on the trade talk too.
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal answers a few questions from fans…
Q: The trade deadline is coming up. What players do you think might be on the trading block for the Oilers and whom do you see coming to Edmonton via trade?
A: After missing the playoffs for the last two years and it being imperative that they make it this time (probably to get a cacophony of fans off coach Craig MacTavish’s back even though they are close to 50 games over .500 in his tenure), the Oilers will almost certainly be buyers, not sellers. They need (a) a left-winger to play with Ales Hemsky, and (b) a defensive, big-body centre who can win faceoffs (Jerred Smithson and Radek Bonk ate them up in the Nashville game)....
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
“I don’t know what the right words are, but my heart is pounding out of my chest. Can you tell?” Graves said.
Always the consummate teammate, Graves said it was his hope to go off the ice with his former teammates Mike Richter, Mark Messier and Brian Leetch. However, it was Messier who made Graves stay on the ice to absorb the final applause from one of the most adoring and appreciative crowds I have ever seen.
“Mess is Mess,” Graves said. “He gets greater joy out of other people’s success than his own. That’s just the type of guy he is. That’s Mark.”
more and watch the Graves tribute video below…
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Stars Blog,
So, are the Stars out of the woods yet in this very strange season? Hardly. But if this team can play like this on a fairly regular basis, then they definitely can win a lot of games.
Dallas (24-18-7, 55 points) now touts the fifth best points percentage in the West. That’s what happens when you win five straight.
Of course, as Brad Richards reminded, this can also go the other way if they put together a bad week.
Buf you have to love the gumption this team is showing right now. Are they a playoff team? Probably. Should they just ride out the chemistry and not do a thing? Hmmm. Have they earned the right to add a key player at the trade deadline (or earlier)?
from Mick Kern of NHL Home Ice,
Not sick-in-the-head, though many would advance that theory. Sick as in “Man, I can’t get outta bed, it hurts so bad” sick. One wicked case of sinus infection, which seems to happen this time every year.
Stuck at home, feeling like I blocked an Al MacInnis slapshot with my forehead, until the drugs kicked in. Dragged myself to the basement TV room couch. Thankfully, there were a lot of NHL games on this particular Tuesday evening.
Started with Pittsburgh in Montreal. Talk about a game both teams wanted to win. The Penguins trying to claw their way back into an Eastern Conference playoff spot; the Habs trying to hang onto theirs.
from Tom Reed of Puck-rakers,
The Jackets are as healthy as they have been in weeks – Steve Mason’s bout with mono aside—but they can’t seem to get their game back.
Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock was steamed and with good reason.
“It’s gonna have to change,” he said. “It’s going to change, immediately. We’re going to go back and play the way we did before, which was very successful. We have to get back to that. It’s going to be a drag for us to get it back to that. It’s the only way we can have success. If the players don’t recognize it now, they’ll recognize it by the time we go to Pittsburgh.”
Forward R.J. Umberger, who scored a power-play goal, and was the Jackets most noticeable player, had a similar take.
“We definitely waited,” he said.” We’re just not playing the style we were – aggressive, getting the puck in deep, just using our size and our speed to outwork them. We’re trying to play a skill game. In the third period we did everything right; we got it in deep, we got pucks to the net, we played hard, but sometimes you come up short when you just play one good period.”
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
After last night’s 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Dallas Stars, the Calgary Flames GM had the media shuffled out of the dressing room, closed the door and let his charges know losing—and how they were losing—wasn’t acceptable.
Especially away from the Saddledome.
“We’re pretty bad on the road,” said Flames centre Craig Conroy, after the doors were re-opened. “Who cares what we’re doing at home? We’ve got to do it on the road. Don’t kid yourself—we’re not where we want to be. We’ve got to be better, and to a man we believe that. Everything (Sutter) said was true.
“It’s one thing about Darryl, he tells it the way it is. We’ve won one game on the road in 31 days, and that’s not good enough.”
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
That the Devils played poorly in the first two periods of tonight’s 5-2 loss to the Capitals wasn’t really debtable.
They still had a chance to win the game, however, after Jamie Langenbrunner’s shorthanded goal 41 seconds into the third period cut what had been a 3-0 deficit to 3-2.
The Devils controlled play after that until Mike Rupp was called for goaltender interference at 9:09 of the third by referee Bill McCreary. It appeared that Washington’s Tom Poti reached in with his stick, tripping Rupp as he drove to the net and causing him to slide into goaltender Jose Theodore.
Devils coach Brent Sutter said it was clearly a trip.
“No question the video showed he was tripped on the play,” Sutter said. “He’s driving to the net and a guy trips him. How do you stop? Not every time a goalie gets touched does it mean there’s a penalty. Sometimes there are circumstances leading into it that make it happen. It clearly shows he was tripped on the play. He’s cutting to the net and gets tripped by the defenseman.,.That’s a penalty and we get it called against us when it should have been called the other way.”
Also from Tom...
the Devils traded defenseman Sheldon Brookbank to the Anaheim Ducks for the rights to center David McIntyre.
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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