Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
After a nice, long run as a line mate to Marty St. Louis, rookie Steven Stamkos likely will start tonight’s game with the Bruins on a line with Vinny Prospal and Brandon Bochensky. This isn’t just coach Rick Tocchet switching up lines looking for some jump, though after Sunday’s snoozer against the Senators, Tampa Bay could use it.
No, this is Tocchet sending a message to Stamkos to make sure he continues to compete at a high level. He has not done it the past few games, Tocchet said. The punishment is losing St. Louis as a line mate.
“When you play with Marty, that’s a privilege,” Tocchet said. “The message is, ‘If you’re going to play with Marty, you have to compete like he does.’ “
Almost six minutes of the best goals, saves and hit from the past week in the NHL.
from Charlie Teljeur of The Hockey News, ‘
Tis the time of year when everyone seems to be naming their all-star selections (no, not that All-Star Game thingy - that was done by three mischievous kids at MIT with a brilliant binary algorithm) so it seems high time for me to name my all-stars.
And by name I mean NAME all-stars. You know, the kid who might not be able to skate or pass and has hands reminiscent of medium-sized boulders, but he has 15 letters in his last name (three of them Xs) and it’s printed diagonally on his jersey. Or he’s from Upper Sloptovia and has a name that rhymes with rutabaga. Yeah, that’s my kind of player….
Goaltender – Antero Niittymaki (Philadelphia) – You know when you get really drunk and you start to sign your name and you write the first part fairly close to perfect, but then you lose concentration and the last part comes out as a big pile of jumbled letters and reads like inane gibberish? Yeah, Niittymaki.
Defense – Fedor Tyutin (Columbus) – The three best names for clowns I’ve ever heard are (1) Bozo the Clown, (2) Mr. Bubbles, and (3) Fedor Tyutin. Next time he skates by, grab his nose and see if it honks.
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
1. Ducks at Oilers: At game time, the Ducks and Oilers find themselves in the Western Conference’s not-so-coveted ninth and 10th spots, respectively. On home ice with just 36 wins (a key tiebreaker), the Oilers probably need this one a tad more than the Ducks….
2. Predators at Blue Jackets: Remember when the Central Division was the Red Wings and four other clubs? That’s no longer the case. Heading into Tuesday’s games, all five Central teams held down playoff spots. The injury-riddled Preds roll into Columbus off a come-from-behind win in Detroit. If they can beat the Jackets in regulation time, the teams will have identical records….
from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
When Ron Wilson stepped behind the bench of the Toronto Maple Leafs last summer, he knew he was taking over a team that was in the first year of a long-term rebuilding project. He knew that developing players - not qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs - was the immediate objective. And he knew that there would be “bumps and pratfalls and potholes in the road ahead.”
Of course, knowing the NHLseason would end this way does not make accepting it any easier.
“You want to play in the playoffs,” Wilson said. “That’s what I’m used to; going at least two rounds, if not farther for the last four years, so that will be a little tough to take.”
from Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger,
1. Book them on commercial flights to and from Ottawa next week. Private team jet? How about traveling like the rest of us and going through Customs at the Canadian border? And let them get their own transportation to and from the airport. It’s truly fun.
2. An appearance from Lou Lamoriello in the dressing room. That might scare some people, especially this late in the season. Their eyes would immediately zoom in to see if the GM had his skates on. Lamoriello is good at frightening his employees, whether they are office personnel or players.
Update 3:02pm ET: From Stu Hackel at the New York Times’ Slapshot—
In fact, the Devils are having a devil of a time (sorry) on offense. In their current slide, which has now reached five games (!!!), they have only six goals. They’ve lost six of seven, a slump that began after Brodeur broke Patrick Roy’s record for career victories and, when you read Coach Brent Sutter’s post-game statements on their lack of urgency, you have to wonder if the club emotionally peaked to help Marty go on that great run when he returned from injury.
from Woody Paige of the Denver Post,
Revenir au pouvoir, Pierre, Patrick, Bob, Eric and Joe.
Come back, Avs, come back.
Stan Kroenke — who owns the Avalanche, the Nuggets, the Rapids and the Mammoth, the arena, the soccer stadium and the Paramount Theatre (and, for all I know, my house) — has just forked over about $60 million to purchase another 5,000 shares of Arsenal and now owns 20.5 percent of the English Premier League football (soccer) club — and could be negotiating to buy out Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith.
As an aside, because of the tumultuous economy, Kroenke Sports Enterprises has laid off an unspecified number of personnel who did not make nearly $70 million altogether.
Hey, Stan The Man, can you spare some change for the Avalanche?
Aren’t the Avs as important as the Ars?
from Damien Cox of The Spin,
But once more, we see a system in which the top 10 teams in the league are basically just spinning their wheels, biding time until post-season play commences with little to be gained by finishing much higher in the standings.
So what if San Jose finishes ahead of Detroit? The Sharks get nothing for it. Does it really matter a whole bunch if Philly finishes fourth or Carolina does?
Until the league starts rewarding teams more for winning their divisions and accumulating more points than is the case now, you’re going to get this sense of inertia in cities when the good teams are just waiting for the season to be over.
At the other end of the spectrum are the teams that won’t be making the playoffs, a group of nine teams or maybe 10 if you believe the Wild are done.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Six points separate sixth-place Columbus from 11th-place Minnesota with Nashville, St. Louis, Edmonton and Anaheim sandwiched in between. Five of those six clubs play Tuesday night as the dance continues.
Every game matters, every single point is crucial. We know we’ve been talking about parity for a few years, but seriously, have you ever seen anything like this?
“No, I have not,” Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock told ESPN.com. “And teams have been in this playoff mode for a long time. There’s about eight of us that have been in this mode for a long time. We’re just used to playing this way.
“We’ve been saying around here, ‘You play 82 playoff games just to get into the playoffs.’ And that’s exactly what it is.”
from JoAnne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal, “
We have to win tonight. That’s where we start,” said captain Ethan Moreau.
“The burden has to be shared by everybody,” coach Craig MacTavish said. “Everybody has to step up. A lot of times you go to great degrees trying to complicate it or explain it or rationalize it, but it’s very simple. We need everybody in here to play the game hard, play with intensity, and execute. Everybody has to add something.
“The canvas will be finished over these next six games. How is it going to frame us? We still have an opportunity to turn it around.”
more and watch the video as the Oilers ask for fan support…
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.
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