Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Neil Best of Newsday,
It's hockey season, New York!
"I am pretty excited about it," MSG analyst and former Islander Butch Goring said of the Islanders-Rangers game, which will feature two of the best teams in the sport so far this season. "It's been a long time since the game had some meaning. We always talk about the rivalry, but the standings dictate it wasn't nearly as important for so many years now."...
There is no more objective measure of sports interest than TV ratings, and they tell a stark story. Through 36 games on MSG, the Rangers are averaging 1.54 percent of area homes -- up 27 percent from this point last season -- and the Knicks are averaging 1.71, down 24 percent....
The Islanders are averaging 0.53 percent of area homes, up 26 percent from this point in 2013-14.
from Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post,
How big can a hockey game be in January?
Big enough that Rangers coach Alain Vigneault already had a name for it, just a day before his team was to play host to the first-place Islanders at the Garden on Tuesday night.
“It’s going to be a New York classic,” Vigneault said after Monday’s practice. “It should be a lot of fun for both teams. They’re the best in our division, and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
from Allan Kreda of the New York Times,
The Islanders, 26-11-1 heading into Sunday’s game at Edmonton, have 14 victories in 18 home games and certainly are giving LoFaso and friends many reasons to celebrate. The top two rows of the fans’ section and the arena itself — where members of the so-called Blue and Orange Army stand for the entire game — are emblematic of the Islanders’ rabid fan base.
“We’re like a family up here because we’ve been together for so long,” said Tom Ballantyne, 22, part of the Section 329 crowd since the 2006-7 season. “We’re not just jumping on the bandwagon. Like this team, we’ve grown up together.”
Section 329 does not have an official membership list, but LoFaso said that as many as 60 fans congregated there, singing and chanting and wearing Islanders scarves.
Most are too young to remember the last time the Islanders won a playoff series, in 1993, not to mention the four straight Stanley Cups of the early 1980s.
For Jeremy Musella, a 22-year-old Hofstra senior, the gatherings are amusing and life-affirming.
“We may get carried away saying stuff with varying levels of appropriateness, but it’s all in fun,” he said. “The best part is we’re all friends because of how much we love hockey. I can’t imagine anything bringing this many people together like this has.”
from Rich Chere of NJ.com,
The call? A slashing minor.
“Zid stepped up in the neutral zone on him with a clean hit,” Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. “It looked from the bench like (Tavares) speared him. I don’t know why it was a slashing call.”
Zidlicky confirmed he was speared.
“I don’t think that was necessary what he did,” the defenseman said.
Was he hurt?
“A little bit the first couple of seconds. He hit my stomach,” Zidlicky said. “I’m okay.“
more on the game... and video of the spear is below...
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.
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 email@example.com