Kukla's Korner Hockey
from John Kreiser of NHL.com,
Here’s a look at some of the key numbers from the first few weeks of the season:
37.9 — Shots per game by the Sharks, the most in the NHL. The Sharks have allowed just 26.0 shots against per game, second to the Los Angeles Kings; San Jose’s differential of 11.9 per game is by far the best in the League.
45 — Games that have gone to a shootout this season. Home teams have won 23; road teams have taken 22. The key to winning seems to be scoring first; just five of the 45 winning teams have rallied after allowing the first goal of the shootout. The Rangers are tops with four wins; Chicago has played the most shootouts (6) and lost the most (4).
How would you respond to the critics who say you’re past your prime or may question your decline in point production over the past few seasons?
It’s no secret that as you get older you tend to change your game a little. I still think there are things I can offer. When you get older, you need to find a team where a role is going to fit you. You can come in here and see this is a real good team. You can come and fit in right away and not have to do too much. Every night you just try to do something to help them win. My biggest thing is to fit in on a team capable of winning.
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post,
Knuble, perhaps selfishly, thinks the Flyers are fine without Shanahan.
Through 17 games, Knuble is tied for third on the team with seven goals and leads the club with three power-play goals.
“I totally respect what Brendan can bring to a team and to a (locker) room,” Knuble said. “But I think we grew as a group last year. Would one guy be able to come in and change a lot of things? I don’t know. We don’t have one of those yeller-screamer personalities, but we have guys who step up and say the right things.”
At 36, Knuble is three years younger than Shanahan and believes he can be a productive player for the Flyers beyond this season. Knuble makes $2.8 million this season, a fair price for a player on pace for 34 goals.
more on the Flyers…
from Len Ziehm of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Byfuglien and defenseman Brent Sopel were scratched for the game against the Stars. Both have been mentioned in recent trade speculation. Quenneville said Sopel, often injured this season, was a healthy scratch and was in the Hawks’ locker room after the game.
Most prominent of the trade rumors have Byfuglien going to the Capitals in a deal that would bring Nylander back to the Hawks. A straight-up deal was nixed by the Hawks this week, apparently because they couldn’t stay under the salary cap if they acquired Nylander. Adding Sopel to the deal would allow them to do that…
from Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun,
Craig Conroy twice experienced the wrath of Patrick Roy.
On his first day on the ice as a rookie with the Montreal Canadiens, a high shot in warmup brought about a confrontation with the Hall-of-Fame goaltender…
“It was actually my very first day on the ice. Patrick was on my team for the scrimmage,” said Conroy, who was a little excited in warmup and watched his first shot at Roy get away from him.
“It kept rising and hit him in the head. He kind of stopped everything, cleared off his crease, then he came out and actually punched me in the head with his blocker.
“I thought, ‘What do I do?’ He’s Patrick Roy. I’m just nobody. I didn’t throw any punches or anything. I just kind of took it and they broke it up. I was sent down (to the AHL Fredericton Canadiens) pretty soon after that.”
more from Conroy on Roy…
via Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Holmstrom, who was supposed to be on the first line with Pavel Datsyuk and Marian Hossa, had back spasms. Little wonder, with all the cross-checks he takes in front of the net. Holmstrom took the pre-game skate but couldn’t go.
“I’m sure it’ll stiffen up on the bus to the airport and the flight, but we’ll see how it is,” Holmstrom said.
Kronwall has a sore ankle.
“I hurt it last game (Monday against the Oilers in Detroit) when I fell down with a player on top of me, and slid into the boards. Nothing major,” Kornwall said
Also missing the game was Wings TV color-man Larry Murphy. His daughter was involved in a car accident and surgery is planned for today but a full recovery is expected.
Filling in for Murphy was Craig Simpson, who did a great job. Sometimes it is nice to ‘hear’ a different voice in the booth and Simpson as always, was bang-on with his game analysis.
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
The Sabres spent most of October at or near the top of the NHL in goals-against average. They entered Thursday’s play just 16th at 2.83.
“The time is now,” Ruff said after Thursday’s practice in HSBC Arena. “This is not just a couple little mishaps. This is a stretch of poor games that has been poor in a lot of areas.
“. . . Every team will have a segment of season where your goaltending will be tough, your special teams won’t get the job done, offensively you can’t seem to score. In an 82- game season, you deal with all these highs and lows and there’s never a team that doesn’t go through them. Maybe this is our little segment but now is the time to come out of it.”
The Sabres started November with back-to-back shutouts. Since then, they’ve been pillaged for 29 goals in just six games.
from Dan Ellis of the Nashville Predators at the Hockey News,
You would think after 10 years of hockey the city of Nashville would be crazy about the sport, but that’s not necessarily the case.
I think our ownership group has done a good job emphasizing a connection to the local community to get support. Now the team just needs to continue to have success and bring more and more fans out.
from Terry Frei at ESPN,
The elite ...
… or the men who get the most out of their rosters, regardless of how good (or otherwise) those rosters are.
Mike Babcock, Detroit
Any quarrel here? Other than the fact that the rich got richer, which isn’t his “fault”? His broad-based background, his Stanley Cup résumé, his adaptability all add up to this: He should be at the top, or near the top, of any list. Stock: Up.
Jacques Lemaire, Minnesota
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You’ve got to give the devil—or ex-Devils coach—his due.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The NHL’s rookie race looks nothing like what the preseason pundits predicted.
Steven Stamkos, Kyle Turris and Fabian Brunnstrom were far and away the leading September picks to challenge for the Calder Trophy this season.
Someone forgot to tell Derick Brassard, Kris Versteeg, Mikhail Grabovski, Jakub Voracek and Patrik Berglund—the top five scoring rookies through Wednesday night.
Fellow rookie forwards Blake Wheeler, Mikkel Boedker and Oscar Moller also have been impressive as the NHL season reaches its quarter pole, as have first-year blueliners Alex Goligoski, Drew Doughty and Luca Sbisa.
Still, let’s be honest here. For the first time since the lockout, the NHL has a wide-open rookie race without the big-name attraction.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org