Kukla's Korner Hockey
In a season already filled with bad news, the Toronto Maple Leafs received another helping on Friday.
Defenceman Mike Van Ryn is expected to announce that he has decided to undergo extensive knee surgery which could potentially spell the end of the 30-year old’s NHL career.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
At 4-1, Columbus is off to the best start in franchise history. Except for a four-minute lapse against the San Jose Sharks that resulted in a 6-3 loss, they have been relentlessly consistent thus far this season.
“We all have these ideas about how a team is going to play and how you want to play, but then you find out, you gotta drag one guy in at a time,” explained coach Ken Hitchcock in an interview. “As much as you want your team to play committed and everything, it’s like you pull in one guy one day and one guy the next day and that’s what we’re doing. We’re trying to get to the level, where every player feels committed to compete for every puck every day on every shift.”
Hitchcock is in his fourth season with Columbus, joining them in November, 2006, after he’d been dismissed by the Philadelphia Flyers. Accordingly, he has been in place long enough that his message is familiar to the players that matter -beginning with team captain Rick Nash - and they’re on board with what he’s trying to sell.
read on plus many additional hockey topics duscussed…
via Craig Custance of the Sporting News,
I was talking to Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown before the game, and asked him about the Calgary Flames defense, one that I consider the best in the league (or at least I did until that Chicago meltdown). Brown made an interesting comment.
“For me, Calgary’s defense - I don’t mind as much as a Nick Lidstrom,” Brown told SportingNews.com. “A physical confrontation is okay, if I have to chase the puck all night, that’s when it gets frustrating.”
It’s not as flashy is a big Dion Phaneuf hit, but Lidstrom can drive opponents crazy by making them chase the puck all night.
“He can,” Brown said. “He’s good with his stick. He’s incredibly smart on the ice and that’s tough to play against.”
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
Craig Anderson showed why he’s the absolute steal of the free agent season so far. He allowed two goals tonight – one on the power play and the other that should never have counted. A puck hit the mesh behind him, which should have nullified the sequence that led to Plekanec’s tying goal, and then there was the issue of Kyle Quincey getting his stick illegally knocked out of his hands right after that.
I still haven’t seen Anderson let in a truly soft goal yet. He’s just been very, very good.
more on the Avalanche…
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
Five games into the season, the pressure’s already mounting for a Wild team lacking confidence and cohesion, and parked on the Western Conference floor.
Three games into a five-game trip, the Wild has yet to win and faces its first Northwest Division meetings tonight and Saturday at the Oilers and Canucks.
If Martin Havlat misses tonight’s game because of a groin injury—he didn’t practice Thursday—the Wild will be without four of its top nine forwards—or arguably, four of its top six.
“There’s no excuses. We have to find a way. There’s a way [to win tonight],” coach Todd Richards said.
So much has been made the past few days about how youngsters James Sheppard and Benoit Pouliot must step up with so many injuries.
But the Wild needs much better play from its go-to guys as well: Havlat (one goal, minus-6), Mikko Koivu (one goal, minus-5), Brent Burns (one point, minus-7) and Kim Johnsson (minus-6).
Nicklas Lidstrom with 2 assists tonight becomes just the fourth player in team history to record 1,000 points in a Red Wings sweater:
1. Gordie Howe - 1,809 (786g-1023a)
2. Steve Yzerman - 1,755 (692g, 1063a)
3. Alex Delvecchio - 1,281 (456g, 825a)
4. Nicklas Lidstrom - 1,000 (229g-771a)
Nick also became the second Swede (Mats Sundin) to join the 1000 point club in the NHL.
added 10:24pm, Forgot to add this, but the Wings TV crew mentioned Nick was the fastest (games played) to reach the 1000 point mark for the Wings.
udate: If you read the comments here, the TV crew corrected their mistake regarding Nick being the fastest to 1000 points. That makes much more sense.
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
...with the Stars boasting a lineup that typically features eight players who are 25 or younger, Dallas has entered a new era. And with the players buying into coach Marc Crawford’s system of aggressive skating, the Stars don’t look old and slow. What’s more, they seem to have forged an identity pretty quickly.
“It’s a fun way to play, it’s an effective way to play,” said center Mike Ribeiro. “What’s not to like?”
The Stars, after five games, rank second in the NHL in goal differential at plus-1.80 and fourth in shot differential at plus-7.6. In other words, they have been better than the opposition while putting up a 2-0-3 record (.700 in points percentage).
But the test of that identity will come this weekend, as the Stars play host to the Bruins tonight and travel to Chicago on Saturday. The games aren’t do-or-die, but they will give a better idea of what’s different about this team.
from Joe Haggerty of the Big Bad Blog at WEEI,
“We haven’t played Bruins hockey, and played the way that this team has grown its identity over the last couple of years,” said Mark Recchi. “We have to get back to it and realize how hard it is. Get our focus back. I really believe it’s not that far away. This is a little bit of a wake up call, and this isn’t a bad time to go through this.”
With that in mind, here are three things the Bruins can do turn things around just five games into their 82-game schedule:
1. Will the real Looch please stand up — The bruising 21-year-old winger might have been in too much of a light-hearted mood after becoming the B’s newest millionaire several weeks ago, and by his own admission lost some of his surliness over the last few games.
Anze Kopitar with a water bottle ritual.
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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