Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ryan Dixon of the Hockey News,
When I look around the league, I’m excited by much of what’s new, but thrilled to see teams we knew enjoying success again.
The Original Six are back. Not since the early 1990s have all six clubs looked this strong, headlined by the incredible renaissance of the Chicago Blawkhawks and the Boston Bruins’ shocking rise to power.
How far have these teams come? A few short seasons ago, a lot of time at THN was devoted to coming up with clever cover sells to depict the atrocious state of these two old-time clubs. Chicago was ‘Original Sick’ and New England home to the ‘Boston Ruins.’
But look at you now, baby.
Not only are the Bruins and Hawks back on the scene, the good times don’t figure to stop rolling any time soon. These squads are built for sustainable success by competent, knowledgeable management teams – just like the Detroit Red Wings, the current Cup champs and model franchise for every team, young and old.
from Eric McErlain of AOL Fanhouse,
Well, the big day is finally here, and FanHouse is ready and on the ground in Chicago for the 2009 NHL Winter Classic. The twittering will start early and often on gameday, so be sure to check back frequently for updates all the way through the game and the postgame interview sessions.
continue for some pics and video from yesterday.
from Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
The Red Wings ran at Patrick Kane every chance they could on Tuesday with a Dan Cleary hit knocking the Hawks’ leading scorer out for most of the first period with a twisted right ankle….
“He’s the biggest spoke in their wheel,” Cleary said Wednesday. “Everything they do offensively goes through him, so you’ve got to hit him and not let him wheel and deal because he’s such an exceptional talent.”
Perhaps the game plan Wisniewski referred to consists of the Hawks making Detroit’s best players, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Marian Hossa, targets for physical play.
“They were throwing their weight around a little bit, and we have to go out there and respond,” Hawks rookie winger Troy Brouwer said. “We can’t get pushed around.
“At the same time you’ve got to try and push around their guys a little bit, too.”
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
The Sabres say they are trying to hold each other accountable. They also are hinting their friends are taking it personal.
“We’ve got to demand out of each other more,” Sabres center Jochen Hecht said Wednesday. “We’ve got to be able to give the other guy a hard time when he’s not playing well, be able to tell him. It’s something that’s hard when you’re good friends, but usually you think if you’re good friends you would take whatever he says seriously. That’s what we’ve got to do, hold each other accountable.”
Hecht’s words about accepting advice came 14 hours after goaltender Ryan Miller made a similar statement.
“We’ve got to maintain a close team, and a team that we have to [be able to] offer constructive criticism,” Miller said after Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to Washington. “Guys have to be able to be able to take it. Guys can’t be immune to it.”
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
Less than an hour before 2008 turned to 2009 in the Eastern time zone, Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason played his way into the club’s record books during a 2-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks in the Honda Center.
Mason made 27 saves for his third straight shutout, giving him 181 minutes, 59 seconds—and counting—without allowing a goal.
“I’ve never even had two shutouts in a row (before this),” Mason said. “It was a tight game. Very tight. The guys played great in front of me. I didn’t really have to make too many really good saves. It was a pretty routine game.”
read on for a game recap….
from Russo’s Rants,
Speaking of not being 100 percent, Gaborik did not skate this morning even though the team updated us yesterday that he was supposed to skate. Via a spokesman, Tom Lynn said today, “it was decided he needed to get a good skate without pain before a move into full practice.”
After today’s ”feeling out” skate, Lynn said the team decided to hold him out. Translation: He’s hurting again, meaning uh-oh….
Back to Gaborik, he has often told us he doesn’t want to play unless he’s 100 percent. The team is freefalling. I’m pretty sure not all Wild players are playing at 100 percent. I asked Jacques Lemaire if he had a problem with having a player not willing to play at 100 percent, and he said, “Well, Nolan is not 100 percent and he asked me to play tonight. And I know he’s not 100 percent because he only had that little practice today.”
Pretty big indictment, although Lemaire later said when pressed further, “I don’t know how the guy feels … physically,” so give him the benefit of the doubt, essentially.
The NHL Network is doing a great job covering the WC Practice at Wrigley. Great interviews, coaches are mic’d up and the scene is just great.
A bit of a concern with the ice, the players were asked not to do many quick turns in the corners since the ice is still not in the best of conditions right now.
Chicago is on the ice now, followed by the Wings.
The show is being hosted by Brian Duff and Larry Murphy with Gary Green handling the interviews.
added 12:45pm, Watch below the live strean of the WC Practice session at Wrigley…
from John Grigg of the Hockey News,
This week THN takes a look at the NHL’s Cy Young candidates; the players leading the way when it comes to goals scored as a percentage of points totalled. For our purposes, we’ll call it the Wendel Clark Award….
Please note, only players with 12 or more goals this season — the top 60 — are eligible for the list and we only use one player per team. Ties are broken by the number of goals players would be on pace to score if they played a full 82-game schedule.
10. Bryan Little, Center, Atlanta, 19 goals, 12 assists
The super-sophomore is having a breakout season; he’s tied for sixth in goals, accounting for 61 percent of his points.
9. Patrick Sharp, Center, Chicago, 19-11
After a breakout season of 36 goals in 2007-08, Sharp’s is on pace for 45 this year, good for 63 percent of his offensive output.
from Mark Masters of the National Post,
He is the first to tell you that most of the criticism he has faced is fairly accurate. Through 35 games this season he has just four goals and 10 assists and is minus-10.
“It has probably not been the best start I had envisioned for myself and the team,” he said. “It’s definitely been an adjustment coming from the juniors and I have learned a lot so far. The NHL is the best league in the world and these guys are the best players around and it’s going to take some time to make that jump, but I’m starting to feel as comfortable as I can be right now.”
He even understands Melrose’s position that he is not ready for the NHL. He will not turn 19 until February and still has the body of a teenager.
“I’m going against men now and you know they’ve got 10 years of physical maturity over you and you kind of realize that when your battling in the corners. And that’s something I’m going to have to work on in order to be more successful.”
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY, USA TODAY hockey writer Kevin Allen offers 10 things to look for in the second half:
1. The Boston Bruins will choose one goalie: It’s always easy to talk about the benefits of a two-goalie rotation in the regular season, particularly when Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez are playing sharply. You’ve heard it all: Neither goalie will be worn out, each will be ready for the playoffs, they’ll push each other. But historically, coaches don’t like rotations in the playoffs, and only a few NHL teams have won a Stanley Cup with a rotation….
2. The Columbus Blue Jackets will consider a bold trade: The Blue Jackets have immensely loyal fans even though the team has never made the playoffs. Despite a major trade with the New York Rangers and the signing of Kristian Huselius, Columbus isn’t in a playoff position….
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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