Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
Two nights after the high point of their season, the Canucks played the first three minutes like they were serious about sending a message to the Kings, watched in horror as Roberto Luongo fanned on a balloon from noted goal scorer Denis Gauthier, then spent the next 37 minutes or so looking worse than Mickey Rourke slow dancing with RuPaul.
True, they managed to make things interesting in the third period but if they think what they offered was good enough, they’re delusional. They can talk about brave comebacks and Daniel Sedin’s goalpost until they’re blue in the face.
The real story of this game was their 12 shots on goal in the first 40 minutes. It was the four icings in about a five-minute span in the first period. It was Mats Sundin turning two odd-man rushes for the Canucks into odd-man rushes for the Kings on the same shift. And it was Sundin taking a ridiculous minor in the offensive zone which led to Jarrett Stoll’s game-winning goal.
from Vicki Hall of the Calgary Herald via the National Post,
Brent Sutter sounds every bit the part of a frustrated Alberta rancher lost in an urban jungle.
Homesick? You bet.
Thinking of walking away from his job as head coach of the New Jersey Devils to move back to his farm and family?
“The hockey side ... that part’s been fun,” the New Jersey Devils head coach said in his office on the west side of the Hudson River, across from the madness that is Manhattan.
“It’s the other things. Between the ranch back home and the junior team, the [Western Hockey League’s] Red Deer Rebels, being away from all that hasn’t been the easiest thing for me.”
from Mark Whicker of the Orange County Register,
They’re four points behind sixth-place Columbus (did I just write that?) and there are only 15 games left. They need to get very hot — really, for the first time since November, when Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Chris Kunitz were the NHL’s best line.
Some say an 11-4 finish is imperative. That might be tough, since the schedule offers up three bouts with San Jose. The other drawback, unexpectedly, is a home-heavy schedule. The Ducks have the worst home record in the West.
“I have no explanation for that,” Selanne said. “This used to be a very tough barn to play in. I don’t know what’s going on there.
“What’s weird is that we’re losing and I think we’re playing good. We have a lot of chances. We just can’t get any pucks in the net. We make a mistake and it ends up in our net, and we can’t capitalize on the mistakes somebody else makes. That’s very frustrating. I can’t wait until our next game.“There might not be many left.
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
Any way you crunch the numbers, the postseason seems an impossible dream for the Avs, short of anything approaching a 16-0-0 run.
Colorado not only would have to make up considerable ground, it would have to pass at least seven teams in the conference standings, a task rendered even more difficult because of many games remaining between the contenders for the final spots.
Somebody has to win those games, and it’s a safe assumption that some of them will be tied at the end of regulation and end up “three-point” games — two for the winners, one for the losers.
So what can the Avalanche hope to accomplish? That question is posed not as a marketing issue for the Kroenke Sports Enterprises operation, hoping to sell season tickets for next season, but as a hockey-only issue for the 2008-09 Avs themselves.
It comes back to pride, professionalism, at least holding out hope for the equivalent of a meteor strike, and perhaps in some cases saving jobs.
from John Glennon of the Tennessean,
With patience, rest and gradual rehabilitation, Nichol has worked himself back into condition, ridding himself of headaches, dizziness and sensitivities to noise and light along the way.
After a 38-game absence, he’s expected to return to the lineup tonight when the Predators play host to the Washington Capitals.
“We get a guy who’s real committed, helps the penalty kill and is a real battler,’’ Predators Coach Barry Trotz said. “Right now he gives us some depth and we haven’t had a lot of that lately. We’re going to need everyone to ramp it up again and go from there, so it’s huge for us.’‘
more on the Predators…
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
Two straight losses to clubs sitting outside the playoff picture can bring about a reaction from the fans.
The Flames can understand a bit of panic on the snowy and cold streets of Calgary these days.
In the room?
“No, not yet, anyway,” said defenceman Jim Vandermeer after yesterday’s practice in preparation for tonight’s clash with the New Jersey Devils.
“There’s definitely concern, but we still know we’re a good team. These kind of things happen. We lost a couple of guys and have to work some guys in, so I think it’s working out the kinks.
“It’ll take a bit of time, but to make it as short of a time as possible, we all have to bear down.”
from David Staples at The Cult of Hockey,
There’s something wrong with this year’s Edmonton Oilers. It’s been wrong from the start of this year. The problem has haunted the squad all season. It hasn’t abated, hasn’t been rectified.
The problem is not the coach. It’s not the general manager. It’s not the lack of one more top scoring forward, or the lack of a third-line center who can take face-offs or of a shut-down defenceman. These are all red herrings.
And the problem is not Dustin Penner, who report has it is going to be benched for the Montreal game. Penner is the biggest, reddest herring of them all.
No, the problem is that this Edmonton Oilers team is neither aggressive nor is it united. Instead, it’s lifeless and divided. It’s not really a team at all, at least if you go by its on-ice performance. It looks, sounds, acts and performs like a group of individuals or, at best, an assemblage of factions.
from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider,
I started looking for common themes in the losing streak based on my observations, Boudreau’s postgame comments and the score sheets. Here’s what I came up with as I sat (emphasis on “sat”) on Rt. 66 this morning.
I’m talking about secondary scoring. The Caps have scored eight goals in the four losses. For the mathematically challenged, that’s two per game, significantly down from their season average of 3.22….
None of those goals were of the “ugly” or “dirty” or “hard work” variety that all teams need. The Caps have also out-shot their opponent by a combined total of 111-81 in the past three games. Someone needs to crash the net, screen the goalie and bang in a rebound. That needs to be an every-game thing, not a once-in-a-while thing.
While the Caps competed much harder against a Penguins team they despise, that same sense of urgency wasn’t there in the previous three games. The Caps are comfortably in a playoff spot and are one of the most skilled teams in the league. But skill doesn’t equal wins—especially in hockey—if the work ethic is not there.
George James Malik at his SnapShots Blog at Mlive covers the GM meetings. Go there for complete coverage.
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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