Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Here’s a rundown on the awards races as the season winds down.
Injuries have pretty much taken Brodeur and Roberto Luongo out of the equation. Kiprusoff is just eight wins away from tying Brodeur’s single-season record for victories (48) but his goals against (2.88) is lofty. Lundqvist, Nabokov, Backstrom, Ward and Mason all are having fine seasons.
SUN PICK: Tim Thomas (Bruins). He entered play yesterday dominating the league stats, ranking fourth in wins (30) and first in save percentage (.932) and goals against (2.06).
from Dan Wood of Ducks Blog at the OC Register,
A 1-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks wasn’t the only thing that left a sour feeling in the Ducks’ locker room Sunday night.
Ducks right wing Corey Perry accused Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov of using his skate to deliver a kick to Perry’s arm after play had stopped near the San Jose net during a Ducks power-play opportunity late in the third period.
“Everything was over,” Perry said. “I was still lying there on my knees. All of a sudden, Nabokov just turned and kicked me. He rolled onto his side and kicked me with his right leg. He hit me with his toe.”...
“I didn’t kick him,” Nabokov said. “I was moving my legs to get up, to get out of there, so whatever he was saying is his problem.
“Ask him what he did.”
from A.J. Perez of USA TODAY,
Question: Before you were traded last summer, you spent the first six seasons of your career in Carolina. What was it like to spend time in a market that takes its hockey a little more seriously than Raleigh, N.C.?
Cole: It’s obviously different on a day-to-day basis. There’s a lot more media coverage. They tend to overanalyze things a little bit more than other markets. At the same, it was exciting. It keeps you focused on the details and you make sure you’re working hard up there because they’re pretty savvy and recognize when a player isn’t working hard every night.
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
Wild veteran Andrew Brunette faces major right knee surgery after the season.
While General Manager Doug Risebrough and Brunette declined to identify the exact injury, it’s believed Brunette’s playing on a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament that may be fully torn.
“At the end of the year, we’re going to have to make a decision whether he’s going to need surgery or not,” Risebrough said. “It’s up to him, but he’s had two incidents of sprains, so that shows you a dysfunction of some sort.”...
Asked why he doesn’t shut himself down, Brunette said: “It’s the same approach I take to every hockey game I play. I want to play. I’m part of this team and I want to help this team win. I would sell myself short if I didn’t try to help this team. You’ve got to look yourself in the mirror, and if I can get out there, I can help this team.”
“There has to be a competition amongst the group to see who’s going to show that they want it. f you want it, you have to go get it. That’s the biggest thing…We have skill, we just have to make sure that we want it enough. And that’s every single guy, myself included. There has to be a willingness to do whatever it takes and you have to be scared of losing.”
-Shane Doan of the Phoenix Coyotes. More from Dave Vest of PhoenixCoyotes.com.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
When the New Jersey Devils beat the Canadiens 3-1 Saturday night, they outshot the Habs 48-23. The opposition has taken 509 shots and averages nearly 10 shots a game more at 36.3.
The Canadiens are fond of saying that the shots aren’t that important. A few days before he as fired, deposed coach Guy Carbonneau said it was important to focus on scoring chances and he noted that these had not increased significantly from previous years.
But shots are a reflection of the time of possession in a game. The team that controls the puck usually gets more shots and it’s difficult to shoot the puck when you don’t have it.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Avery got into the Flyers’ heads early in confronting Jeff Carter-What; touch Philadelphia’s 38-goal-scorer???-and the Flyers not only never got over it, they responded in their historical nature by trying to take off their opponents’ heads, witness the Braydon Coburn match penalty of a high stick across Nik Antropov’s face late in the second.
“We got emotional and used it the wrong way,” said Flyers’ head coach John Stevens. “I think [Avery’s] probation period is over and now he’s back to his old antics and we got sucked in, to be quite honest.
more and watch the Coburn hit on Antropov below…
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
Flames general manager Darryl Sutter made bold moves at the NHL trade deadline in landing centre Olli Jokinen and defenceman Jordan Leopold. He was hopeful the additions would push Calgary into the elite of the Western Conference alongside the Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks.
But Sutter’s splash has barely resulted in a ripple in the win column. While Jokinen has swelled his statistics with eight goals and 10 points in six games with the Flames, including a three-goal, two-assist effort in an 8-6 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre last Saturday, Calgary has only two wins in the six games since the March 4 trade deadline.
Even Flames head coach Mike Keenan was scratching his head when queried as to whether his team was ready to challenge the Wings or Sharks for the conference title when the playoffs begin next month.
In his first NHL start and second appearance, Islanders goaltender Peter Mannino stopped 40 shots and beat the Black Hawks 4-2 today.
Red Wings, Sharks Could Clinch Stanley Cup Playoff Berths Today
The Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks could become the first clubs to clinch a berth in the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs today. The Red Wings need to earn to at least one point at Columbus, while the Sharks need a victory at Anaheim. The Red Wings are on the verge of earning their 18th consecutive trip to the postseason—the longest active streak in pro sports—and setting an NHL record with their ninth consecutive 100-point season, passing the Montreal Canadiens’ eight-season run that began in 1974-75.
Playoff Race Notes
* 23 of the 30 clubs are within five points of a Stanley Cup Playoff berth.
* The six clubs ranked fifth through 10th in the Eastern Conference are separated by just four points.
* The six clubs ranked seventh through 12th in the Western Conference are separated by just four points.
* The three top clubs vying for first place in the NHL overall standings are separated by just one point.
* None of the 30 clubs has officially clinched a Stanley Cup Playoff berth.
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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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