Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the CP,
The NHL handed out 230 fighting majors through Sunday (201 games), up from 167 through the same number of games last year. All around the league, tough guys are taking names and leaving lumps.
The surge in fisticuffs early this season flies into the face of what had been happening. Fights have steadily gone down the last few years, especially after the lockout. In fact, this year’s pace is still behind the pre-lockout numbers. There were 299 fighting majors handed out in 2003-04 through the same number of games.
But the numbers are back up this season.
From Kevin Dupont at MSNBC,
All these years later, considering that the likes of Holmstrom, Datsyuk and Zetterberg make up arguably the NHL’s best line this season, a casual hockey fan (not you, of course, dear reader) might figure the Winged Wheels had first dibs each of those years when it came time to selecting the game’s future stars.
But it was hardly the case. In fact, the Red Wings selected Masseurs Holmstrom, Zetterberg and Datsyuk so late in those respective drafts, it is nearly an embarrassment to the world’s international scouting brotherhood.
from the News & Observer,
More than two weeks after the Carolina Hurricanes forward tore cartilage in his chest, Walker is still in excruciating pain. He has no idea when he’ll be able to sleep comfortably, let alone ride an exercise bike, lift weights or get back on the ice.
“I wear a brace around my chest that holds it, and that feels the best,” Walker said Sunday. “Other than that, I’m just getting to the point where I can get in and out of bed without too much discomfort. It’s frustrating because every day you wake up and hope it’s going to be better. It’s just one of those things where they told me it’s going to take some time.”
continued... I saw the injury occur and thought to myself, this is not good. Scott could barely move his upper body without being in pain.
from the STATS Blog,
The Columbus Blue Jackets are the surprise team in the early going, and their goaltender, Pascal Leclaire, has been stellar, posting a league-high five shutouts in his nine starts. It shouldn’t come as a shock that Leclaire, who turns 25 on Wednesday, also ranks first among his peers with a 1.12 goals-against average and .957 save percentage.
In the last 10 days, Leclaire has secured wins despite facing his two highest shot totals of the season. On Oct. 25, he faced a season-high 36 and stopped all of them for a 3-0 win over St. Louis. In Los Angeles on Halloween, Leclaire was 33-for-34 in a 4-1 decision against the Kings. He hasn’t lost when facing 30 shots.
read on for some interesting stats when goalies face a high amount of shots…
via the Pioneer Press,
The Minnesota Wild will throw another depleted lineup on the ice tonight when they play host to the Edmonton Oilers. Marian Gaborik is out, Pavol Demitra is out and Wes Walz hasn’t come back.
Gaborik and Demitra have groin injuries; Walz hasn’t returned from an excused, and unexplained, absence and will miss his third game.
Gaborik played the past two games and played well, scoring five points, including a two-goal game in Saturday’s 4-1 victory over Calgary. He sat out practice Sunday, but reporters were told he was simply given the day off.
Asked if something changed between Sunday and this morning, when Gaborik was pulled from practice, coach Jacques Lemaire said, “Something changed a bit.”
from ESPN Fantasy Talk,
A little birdie (aka a report in the vaunted Chicago Tribune) told me that Havlat may be back in the active lineup at some point during the current Chicago homestand this week. Say what you will of Havlat’s fragility—and much has been said, after all—but he’s shown he’s capable of point-per-game pace when in the lineup, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t achieve that upon his return.
read on for more fantasy talk…
Mike Brophy of the Hockey News ranked the NHL teams today…
Spezza signed, sealed and delivered
Ozzie has been really good
Look who’s bouncing back to life
Leclaire unbelievable with five shutouts
read on and Columbus should be going hockey crazy…
from Darren Eliot at Sports Illustrated,
Many people are going to jump to the conclusion that Ilya Kovalchuk’s amazing run of goal-scoring—nine in seven games—is a direct result of the Atlanta Thrashers removing head coach Bob Hartley after the team’s 0-6 start. Well, that assessment might be right for the wrong reasons.
You see, the coach and the prodigy co-existed for four-and-a-half seasons. Hartley brought needed structure and consistency to both a young franchise and a young player with star potential. But once it was clear that Kovalchuk had absorbed the lessons of accountability, his offensive verve wasn’t quite the same. His kinetic dashes down the left wing—once filled with the promise of brilliance—became tempered, or even worse, predictable.
Update 3:41pm ET
Transcript of Kovalchuk’s NHL press conference call today:
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
One day Feaster will have to fire Tortorella – eventually, every GM does it – but that day doesn’t look as though it will happen any time soon.
What’s more likely to happen is the Lightning looking for goaltending help. Johan Holmqvist’s play was problematic on Saturday night and the Lightning were out-goaled by Rick DiPietro on Long Island last week. Prior to that, in games against New Jersey and the New York Rangers, the Lightning looked lethargic and uninspired, which helped fuel some of that Tortorella talk.
added 3:11pm, from Lightning Strikes on a trade for a goalie,
Never say never, but as it stands now, such a trade is very, very remote for several reasons. The Lightning already is about $2-million over its self-imposed $44-million salary cap, so any trade, unless ownership had a 180-degree change of heart regarding how much it is willing to pay, would have to include payroll going out. Who do you get rid of?
Theo Fleury will be joining the Calgary Flames broadcast crew doing the color commentary on tonight’s Pay-Per-View match against the Colorado Avalanche.
Which reminds me of this from Eric Duhatschek’s post on the Globe & Mail hockey blog just last week:
Asked if he had any plans to come of retirement, Fleury retorted: “Just for the shootout. I think I can still do that. I’m pretty good at it, in the basement, playing with the kids.”
Otherwise, Fleury says he’s through with hockey (“I hate it. I really do,” he said).
Love it or hate it, I guess he just can’t stay away from it.
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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