Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
Turns out you can quantify effort.
In the aftermath of last night’s 3-2 defeat to the St. Louis Blues, Flames head coach Mike Keenan had the proof in black and white.
“Probably the most telling stat for me tonight, and it is a compliment of the effort of all the players on St. Louis’ side, is they had 24 blocked shots to our six,” Keenan said. “If you look at that statistic, it’s pretty telling about A) their effort, and B) their desperation to win a game.
“I think they came out with that determination certainly in the third period when we had taken the momentum of the game away from them. They established their game and pushed us out of our game.”
from Larry Wigge of NHL.com,
We see the Detroit Red Wings give up five, eight and eight goals on successive Saturdays in late February and March and we’re certain that long run to the Stanley Cup last spring can’t possibly be repeated, right? For me, the analytical world we live in today has gone too close to the edge of negativity for my liking (and for the record the Red Wings were 10-1-1 in their first 12 Saturday games this season).
Don’t the Red Wings still have Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski and Niklas Kronwall and Brad Stuart on defense? Isn’t that still Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Tomas Holmstrom and Dan Cleary up front? And isn’t it good enough that the Wings added Marian Hossa to their lineup for a shot at repeating?
Did I forget something? Oh yeah. the goaltending. But aren’t you the same fans that said the Red Wings could win in spite of having Chris Osgood in goal? In 1998? And again last spring?
read on and numerous NHL topics…
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.
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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