Kukla's Korner Hockey
The good, calming news for all three of our Met Area clubs is that parity in the NHL is real and, as the Islanders already proved last month; a winning streak can propel any one of the trio right back into the playoff hunt.
Advice to Rangers, Islanders and Devils fans: Relax; the race is a marathon, not a sprint!
-Stan Fischler at the Daily Freeman where you can read more on the Rangers, Islanders and Devils.
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
Scary scene on the ice here tonight when Ballard’s head was driven into the red dasher on top of the boards at the visiting bench in the second period. Ballard was bleeding from the face (Nate Prosser said there was blood on the dasher) and players said Ballard initially looked unconscious and was convulsing.
Athletic therapist quickly turned Ballard on his side to open up his airway and doctors surrounded him and called quickly for paramedics. After a few minutes, Ballard was assisted to his feet and helped slowly off the ice.
First, the hit. I’ve watched it a dozen times and every time I watch it, I think it was more and more needless by Matt Martin. Whether Ballard was dodging the check or not, it was an absolutely needless hit, plain and simple, and came well after Ballard dumped the puck into the corner. Just look at the replay. There is nobody else in the screen but Ballard and Martin because the puck was long gone.
Yes, Ballard turned to avoid the check, but it was Martin that drove Ballard recklessly into the red dasher in my opinion.
more on the hit and the Wild comeback win...
Watch the incident below and Mike Yeo post-game...
Watch the hit below...
Two minutes, tripping.
Carl Gunnarsson did not return to the game and the Blues listed him with an upper-body injury. No penalty on the play.
from the CP at Sportsnet,
Maybe Jaroslav Halak just needed to feel wanted.
First the goaltender was second fiddle to Carey Price in Montreal then got pushed out in St. Louis for Ryan Miller. Nothing more than a rental in Washington, Halak last June heard from a team that wanted to turn the reins over to him and invest in him for the long term.
Now the New York Islanders are atop the Metropolitan Division, riding the wave of Halak’s all-star-calibre play during his franchise record 11-game winning streak.
"This team showed interest in me and interest in signing me," Halak said. "Interest was on both sides, and I’m glad it worked out well."
It has worked out for the first-place Islanders because general manager Garth Snow was willing to trade a fourth-round pick for Halak’s rights two weeks after the regular season ended and even more willing to give him a long-term contract. Halak did his homework on the Islanders, talking to current and former players, and ultimately signed a US$18-million, four-year deal.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
There's so much more work ahead before they fully convince everyone, but Tavares appears to have been rewarded for his decision to remain loyal to the team that took him first overall in the 2009 NHL draft.
"They drafted me, invested a lot in me as far as being part of turning things around," Tavares told ESPN.com on Sunday in a phone interview. "And I thought it would be something pretty special to be part of bringing the Islanders back to competing for the playoffs and hopefully competing for Stanley Cups every year. We know the history of the team; for many years there have been tough times.
"Really, I just want to be part of something special. There's still a long way to go, but certainly being here every day, I knew what the organization wanted to accomplish and how much they care. I really enjoy playing here."
These are heady days in the place some people once mockingly called Fantasy Island. All those high draft picks are producing results on the ice this season to the tune of a 17-7-0 record. What a send-off. Those battered Islanders fans, who have witnessed just two playoff berths since the 2004-05 lockout, are rocking the Coliseum these days, their patience and loyalty finally rewarded.
from Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post,
Denis Potvin was at the Coliseum on Saturday night, the team’s legendary defenseman coming as the second leg in a year-long celebration of the dynasty teams of the 1980s, in this, the final year of this suburban hockey barn. But instead of just reminiscing, and being somber about the halcyon days of hoisting Stanley Cups, this was Potvin sending a message to the new squad, doing their best to honor the spirit of the old teams while writing their own bit of history.
“Take a look at us, and there’s nothing you can do about it, nothing we can do about it — it’s history,” Potvin said before the Islanders’ 3-1 victory over the Devils. “Now, it’s like that torch is really being passed to them and they’ve got a chance to do something. It’s all about them. I really think that you can’t be dreaming, you can’t be thinking about the organization.
“You don’t have to prove yourselves to us, or to the 1980 team or ’82, ’83. They have a great opportunity now to write their own history. And it’s real. We can see that. The way they’re playing hockey, the steps they’ve made over the last couple of years. This is probably 1975 for this team. And it doesn’t get any better than that.”
from Sports Illustrated,
Welcome to the latest installment of our 2014–15 NHL Power Rankings. We've passed the first quarter mark of the season and there have surely been some surprises, most notably on Long Island, in Nashville and out west in Calgary and Vancouver.
Once again our three scribes—Allan Muir, Sarah Kwak and Brian Cazeneuve—have submitted their choices for the league's Top 10 teams....
#1 NEW YORK ISLANDERS
LAST WEEK: 7, RECORD: 15-6-0
MUIR (1): Coach Jack Capuano says his Islanders have a bit of swagger in their game right now, and who can blame 'em? They may not be the best team in hockey, but they're the best team in hockey right now. Their home-and-home weekend sweep of Pittsburgh and a thoroughly dominant performance on Monday night against the Flyers made that abundantly clear. Jaro Halak has been lights out, stopping 180 of the past 188 shots he's faced while posting seven consecutive wins.
KWAK (2): Isles fans shall hail the shootout! Indeed, their team is an impressive 5-0 in the skills competition this season, picking up valuable points and joining the Penguins at the top of the rather dumpy Metropolitan Division. Those points have come on the sticks of Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo, who are each 4-for-5 this season.
CAZENEUVE (2): It has been refreshing to see the Islanders reaching for new glories. They've won four straight, but more important, with that home-and-home sweep of the Penguins, they are positioning themselves very well should they happen to meet Pittsburgh in the playoffs. They then beat the Flyers, 1-0, in a shootout, proving that this emerging young team can play high- or low-scoring contests and survive the tests.
read on for the rest...
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org