Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun,
Given the struggles they endured in January, you would expect the Vancouver Canucks to be downright giddy over the three-game winning streak they carry into tonight’s game here against the Phoenix Coyotes.
But they’re not. Three wins can’t mask the fact that the team is still struggling in some key areas. The Canuck penalty-kill has been abysmal and goalie Roberto Luongo clearly hasn’t regained his form since returning from injury.
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN The Magazine,
Since the 2004-05 lockout, the NHL’s top priorities have been to improve game flow and boost scoring. On the flip side, slowing an opponent’s attack has become the No. 1 goal of coaches. Nowhere is that challenge more daunting than on penalty kills, thanks in part to rules changes that limit obstruction. It’s not just a question of giving up a goal in a close game—it’s what happens afterward. “It demoralizes your team,” says Red Wings coach Mike Babcock.
Here are six ways coaches keep teams from getting down when they’re a man down.
from Len Ziehm of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Nikolai Khabibulin, who sparked the Blackhawks’ 3-1 victory at Atlanta on Wednesday night, suffered what the club termed a “lower body injury” in the late stages of that game and isn’t able to practice today….
The Hawks list Khabibulin as day-to-day and said that Cristobal Huet would start in goal on Friday when the Hawks visit the Blues to conclude at eight-game road trip. Whether Khabibulin will be available for Saturday’s home game against Dallas is uncertain.
From Justin Kendall at The Pitch:
I called Neil deMause a couple of weeks ago. He’s the author of Field of Schemes, a Web site devoted to the ins and outs of stadium deals. He also lives in New York. deMause told me that “everybody’s freaking out” about the possibility of the Islanders skating to KC.
“The tabloids are in at least in 50 percent panic mode,” deMause said. “What are we going to do? This means we need to get an arena deal done. If that was the intent, then it’s working really well.”
But deMause added some clarity.
“You don’t leave New York for Kansas City,” deMause said. “Even in a down economy, there’s more opportunities to make money in New York.
“Maybe if Nassau Coliseum were literally falling down, and they felt like we’re not going to get anything, but they’re pretty close to getting deal in Long Island,” he added. “It’s just a matter of getting the local government to sign off on some of the approvals. It’s not like there was $300 million gap or something like there was in Seattle.”
From Bill Witz at the LA Times:
“As a team, we never lost sight of the playoffs,” said defenseman Matt Greene, a veteran on the NHL’s youngest team. “I don’t think there’s any change in the attitude, but maybe we’re starting to find our groove a little bit more.”
Said Quick: “The biggest thing right now is the momentum of the team. Everyone is playing more confident and playing off each other. One guy has a good shift and that leads to the next guy having a good shift.”
According to the Camden Courier-Post, [former coach John] Paddock feels general manager Bryan Murray should be in the crosshairs if Senators owner Eugene Melnyk hands out any more pink slips.
“I think now he’s next in line,” Paddock told the Courier-Post. “We were 14 games over .500 when I was fired. They’re seven under now. Somebody needs to take responsibility for that. Whether the coaches he hired and fired were good or not, they’re his players and they’re either not playing good or can’t play, one or the other.”
But Paddock, who is currently the head coach of the AHL’s Philadelphia Phantoms, doesn’t think coaching is the issue in the nation’s capital.
“The players are not very good, that’s the problem,” Paddock told the Courier-Post.
from Ryan Dixon of the Hockey News,
In light of Mike Green lighting the lamp for a seventh straight game Wednesday night versus the Rangers, I thought it pertinent to reprise the debate here for a broader audience: How many true No. 1 defensemen are out there and where do you draw the blueline when determining what defines that label?
The first part of the question came up after we’d collectively denied about eight names of No. 1 status.
“What, Finland’s ‘I can’t believe it’s not Lidstrom!?’ No way.”
“He’s not even the best defenseman on his team!”
“Nah. He and Brent Seabrook are co-dependant.”
Steve of Puck the Media gets this news today…
The Sharks’ 5-2 victory against the Bruins on Tuesday was the highest-rated and most-watched regular-season game in Versus’ four years with the NHL. It drew a 0.54 household rating nationally (550,000 viewers) and was 69 percent above the network’s average for the season.
via John Shipley of the Pioneer Press,
There were 11 NHL scouts at Wednesday night’s game, including four from the Boston Bruins. Also represented were San Jose, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, Tampa Bay, Detroit and Montreal.
Wild general manager Doug Risebrough has expressed a willingness to deal from his team’s strength, defense, to shore up its weakness, offense.
Outside of Brent Burns, one of the Wild’s untouchable young core, the Minnesota defenseman that would bring the most in a trade is probably veteran Kim Johnsson, who has one more year on a deal at a salary cap hit of $4.85 million.
Johnsson played a team-high 21:41 Wednesday.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Hossa called Datsyuk the most complete player in the NHL. Captain Nicklas Lidstrom said he should be a Hart Trophy candidate as league MVP.
Datsyuk takes a nine-game scoring streak (five goals, 11 assists) into tonight’s game against Minnesota at Joe Louis Arena.
The surge has bumped him up to fourth in the league in scoring with 68 points, behind only Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, and last season’s MVP, Alex Ovechkin of Washington.
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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