Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Remember those halcyon days of mid-October when the New York Islanders were everyone's darlings? Seems like only yesterday. After a 4-0 start that had everyone raving and talking playoffs the Islanders have landed with a thud, and it's the same old issues that plague the Isles. They were beaten 5-0 Thursday night by the Avalanche, putting them at 2-4 in their last six games having allowed 24 goals in that stretch.
Jaroslav Halak, the big offseason acquisition in goal, hasn't been very good and has lost three in a row, and backup Chad Johnson hasn't been much better. It's not all the goaltending (or team defense), either.
The Islanders are 3-for-27 on the power play in their last six games. And here's where it gets interesting: Thursday's loss in Denver was the first game in a stretch during which they will play seven of eight on the road. Oh, and their next three stops are San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles. A trip like that has the potential to make those recent glory days seem like a hundred years ago.
read on for notes on the Blues by Custance, the Avalanche from LeBrun and more...
via tweets of Gary Craig, a reporter for the Democrat and Chronicle,
Thomas Vanek has been linked to gambling with alleged Rochester ring.
Over next few Tweets I'll detail gambling allegations that could point to hockey superstar Thomas Vanek.
Records seized from alleged bookmakers show payments from Vanek, sources have said. He testified before grand jury in Rochester.
Read more from Craig's recent timeline...
Nikolai Kulemin received five for boarding and a game misconduct.
Mark Stuart did return to the game.
The job here is to state an opinion, support it with available facts, and hope it’s right. It’s much easier to do that, and to say “thumbs up”, when indisputable evidence is discovered. Lo and behold, there is indisputable evidence that the New York Islanders are going to host playoff games in their final year at Nassau County Coliseum. Here it is - the Islanders scored seven goals last night against the Dallas Stars, and John Tavares didn’t score any of them.
Furthermore, he didn’t assist on any of them. When the Islanders can score seven times without a point from their leading scorer, the guy who led the league just a couple of days ago, they’re a playoff team. So thumbs up to the Islanders and a proper end to their time at the Nassau Coliseum. Count on it, as you count the points that Tavares will surely get the next time the Isles score seven goals.
-Dave Hodge of TSN who also gives the "thumbs down" to the San Jose Sharks.
Part of the reason the team has been getting a positive amount of attention this year is due to the fact the Islanders now have a good mix in their lineup. When healthy, this year the Islanders have center Mikhail Grabovski as well as his former Toronto Maple Leaf teammate Nikolay Kulemin, along with proven scorers John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Michael Grabner, Frans Nielsen, and Brock Nelson. And, of course, there’s a new goaltender to: Jaroslav Halak.
It helps, too, that the team’s captain, 24 year-old John Tavares is 100% healthy. You probably recall he missed the important stretch run last season after suffering a debilitating knee injury while playing for the Canadian team in the Sochi Winter Olympics when Latvian defenseman Arturs Kulda pinned him against the boards and Travers wound up tearing his left knee’s medial collateral ligament. After several months of recovery, Travers is confident that he can lead his team like the captain he is.
from Eric Wilbur of Boston.com,
As part of one of the worst moves the NHL has seen since Arizona hockey, Johnny Boychuk was traded to the New York Islanders for a pair of draft picks, in addition to a conditional 2015 third-round pick if the Islanders trade the defenseman to an Eastern Conference team this season.
Just throwing this out there: Does that include the Boston Bruins?
Less than three weeks ago, Thursday night’s game against the Islanders was little more than an early-season throwaway game for the Bruins. That was before Peter Chiarelli went and angered the masses by trading popular defenseman Boychuk to an NHL franchise that might as well be in Siberia for all the relevance they should muster this season.
Now, Thursday night is as much about Bruins fans welcoming Boychuk back to his old haunts as it is sticking it to Chiarelli, who created the very salary cap shambles that forced him to surrender a top-four defenseman on the eve of what might be another run at the Stanley Cup.
Meet John Ledecky and Scott Malkin.
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
“It’ll be awkward. I’ve played with him for a while, and some guys have played with him for five plus years,” said Seidenberg. “It’s definitely going to be a bit of a different feeling when guys have to fore-check him, and have to hit him. Or when I stand in front of the net and he shoots.
“It’ll be different, but in the end it’s about winning a hockey game. We’re focusing on that. It’s funny and it’s awkward. If you have to chip a puck behind him and them hit him, that’s when it feels a little bit weird or different.”
The Bruins have played against former teammates before: Phil Kessel, Tyler Seguin, Tim Thomas and Andrew Ference among others. Ference has probably the closest thing to the popularity and goodwill felt toward Boychuk in the B’s dressing room. He was a member of highly accomplished Bruins group for five seasons that won the Cup and friendly with everybody on the team.
So, it should be one of the more emotional returns for an ex-player to TD Garden, but Claude Julien didn’t expect to need to say anything different or special to his players in preparation.
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
“Every team’s going to go through spells throughout the year when they lose some games, but the good teams find a way to not lose three, four in a row,” Okposo said. “They find a way to eliminate that, and they find a way to get points. That’s one thing that we have to learn from. It has to be this year. We have to learn now, because not playing in the playoffs isn’t fun. We want to get back there.
“Last year was tough. Once you get in the playoffs, you never want to go back (to missing them).”
Only one more chance to get back to the playoffs in Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Only one more chance to cram the fans into the old barn, to feel the shake.
“I love playing there,” Okposo said. “I love it. It’s loud. It’s intense. It’s not like some of the buildings that are brand-new and kind of dull and quiet. It’s got a lot of character.”
from Allan Kreda of the New York Times,
The Islanders opened with four straight wins for just the third time in franchise history, and that momentum to begin their last season at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum — despite their first loss at Pittsburgh on Saturday — made Brett Yormark happy.
Yormark, the chief executive of the Nets and Barclays Center, the Islanders’ new home starting next fall, could not ask for better timing to embark on an extensive marketing plan to attract new fans in Brooklyn.
On Monday, Barclays Center will begin a “Brooklyn Scores” campaign through direct mail, social media, cable television commercials and print advertising to persuade potential fans in the city’s most populous borough to try live hockey next season. About 20,000 direct mailers — 75 percent in Brooklyn with the rest in Manhattan and Queens — will be sent out periodically over the next four months, with an emphasis on season-ticket sales.
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.
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