Kukla's Korner Hockey
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
So many of you have been asking to see what these new third jerseys look like, well, this is pretty close.
The team has done a good job of being secretive about these jerseys and this is what I would call an ‘‘artists’’ rendition*.
Dallas Stars left wing James Neal was suspended two games by the NHL on Friday for a hit from behind on Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Derek Dorsett at 13:01 of the second period of Thursday’s game.
Dorsett was among a group of players battling along the wall for the puck when Neal came charging in. Neal appeared to leave his feet to deliver a blow to Blue Jackets defenseman Marc Methot, but instead he hit Dorsett in the back. The force of the blow drove Dorsett face-first into the glass. He fell to the ice and could not get up.
In case you missed the hit, watch it here.
NEW YORK (November 20, 2009)—Fewer than five months after hearing their names called as first-round selections at the National Hockey League Entry Draft, John Tavares of the New York Islanders, Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche and Evander Kane of the Atlanta Thrashers have helped key turnaround performances by their teams in the first quarter of the NHL season.
As the 1,230-game schedule passes the quarter mark with tonight’s games, seven clubs that did not qualify for the 2008-09 Stanley Cup Playoffs currently hold a top-eight Conference position – four in the Western Conference (#2 Colorado, #4 Los Angeles, #7 Phoenix and #8 Dallas) and three in the East (#3 Buffalo, #6 Ottawa and #7 Tampa Bay). The Islanders and Thrashers are a whisker behind the Eastern pack through a first quarter-season that saw outstanding individual and team performances along with stunning last-minute, game-changing dramatics.
from Phil Coffey of NHL.com,
But even with the season still relatively in its infancy, there still are plenty of questions, so let’s get to the answers now.
1. How come there have been no coaching changes?—A number of teams made their changes over the summer, and some teams that have gotten off to disappointing starts, like Carolina and St. Louis, are coming off playoff seasons, so there hasn’t been as much impetus to make a move. With this being an Olympic year, the guess is any changes will come prior to the Winter Games, so teams can hit the ice hard for the sprint to the playoffs in February.
2. Pick one—Chris Pronger or Dany Heatley?—No disrespect to Heatley, but I build from the goal out, so I’ll take Pronger, who as legendary Scottish announcer Hamish MacPherson once described Cam Neely, is “a beast of a man.” Any time you can add a proven defenseman who is playing over 26 minutes per game, you do it.
from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,
The Senators will also be without fourth-line winger Shean Donovan tomorrow and maybe for the rest of the season. He sustained a right knee injury on a knee-on-knee hit by Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke. The exact extent of the injury won’t be known until more tests are completed today, but Senators general manager Bryan Murray said it was serious.
“It’s his MCL (medial collateral ligament) for sure and he’s having an MRI to see if it’s the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), too. We won’t know until tomorrow,” said Murray.
He contacted NHL executive vice-president of hockey operations Colin Campbell to discuss the hit, but Murray said he didn’t expect there would a suspension coming for Cooke.
“If it was any other player, you wouldn’t say anything, but it’s happened several times,” said Murray of Cooke.
Dave Mishkin of the Lightning Radio Network with the call.
Adam Proteau of The Hockey News answers some email,
Adam – Gordie Howe has, for the past couple of years, expressed much admiration for Alex Ovechkin. So, even though he is just 24, I’m ready to put Ovechkin as the first team left wing on my all-time all-star team, which would have Howe at right wing, Gretzky at center and Bobby Orr at one of the ‘D’ positions.
The great Red Army goaltender, Vladislav Tretiak, strikes me as the all-time best goalie, but I could be convinced otherwise. Who would you put at goal and at the other all-time ‘D’ position?
Ovechkin would be on my all-time team as well, as would Gretzky, Howe and Orr.
However, I think your supposition that Tretiak is the best netminder would cause many a longtime hockey observer to wave his hands in the air as if he did in fact care and demand you consider Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur or Glenn Hall in that category instead.
Personally, I’d go with Brodeur. And my other defenseman would be Nicklas Lidstrom – although I could probably be persuaded to slot Ray Bourque in there.
more Q & A…
from Damien Cox of The Spin,
Two things seem abundantly clear this morning.
One, this notion that sending big-money Leafs to the minors — Jason Blake is the most obvious target — will somehow fix what ails the club is just wrong. Blake may not be much use this season, but unless he is clearly a detrimental figure in the dressing room, just getting rid of him is essentially pointless and probably just symbolic.
Unless you have a replacement, dumping a player isn’t much of an answer.
Two, whatever is wrong with this team, Ron Wilson seems powerless to fix it.
The Leafs were the worst defensive team in the NHL last season and the worst penalty killing team. Today, they are the NHL’s worst defensive team and worst penalty killing team.
from John Kreiser of NHL.com,
Here’s a look at some of the key numbers from the first few weeks of the season:
0—Home losses in regulation by the Tampa Bay Lightning (5-0-4) and San Jose Sharks (6-0-2)—the only teams that haven’t dropped a home game in 60 minutes so far this season.
6—Dany Heatley’s plus rating in the San Jose Sharks’ 6-3 win against Columbus on Oct. 8. He’s the first player to go plus-6 in a game since Ottawa’s Andrej Meszaros did it in an 8-4 win at Tampa Bay on Jan. 24, 2008.
7—First-period goals allowed by the Philadelphia Flyers in their 18 games, by far the fewest of any team in any period.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
• The St. Louis Blues’ Paul Kariya, coming off surgery on both his hips last season, scored two goals in his first game of the season – over in Sweden, against the Detroit Red Wings – and had a respectable five points in his first six games, but has been in a dismal slump ever since and thus far has managed zero points in November. The three-time Olympian had hoped that a fast start might put him in the mix for a fourth Olympic appearance in his hometown of Vancouver. So far, he isn’t on the radar screen.
• Meanwhile, Dallas Stars captain Brenden Morrow had managed just one point in the month and might have been slipping down the chart for Canada’s 2010 Olympic team until a rib injury sidelined the Los Angeles Kings’ Ryan Smyth for a minimum of four weeks. The link between Kariya and Morrow: Both are veteran players, coming off major operations (Kariya hip, Morrow reconstructive knee surgery) who haven’t come close to returning to their previous form.
• How much of an effect will Smyth’s absence have on Anze Kopitar, the NHL’s leading scorer? Hard to say, but the chemistry is demonstrably different with Alexander Frolov playing on the top line. Smyth likes to go to the net; Frolov generally does whatever he can to stay on the outside. If coach Terry Murray sticks with that line, it means Justin Williams will need to do much of the dirty work on the line
much more from Eric…
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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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