Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
It is seven straight now without a goal for Nash, still one shy of 40 and now third in the league behind Alex Ovechkin’s 45 and Steven Stamkos’ 40. And if this slump — one goal in the past 10 and two in the past 14 — were almost inevitable, it raises uncomfortable questions at this time of year because of what happened last year (and the year before) in the playoffs.
It is the elephant in the room for the Blueshirts and for Nash, who is always diligent in all three zones, who always approaches matters with the utmost preparation and professionalism. But the record is indelible, at least until No. 61 can erase it, and that’s the record that shows Nash with three goals in the playoffs last year, all against Montreal, and four in 37 postseason games as a Ranger.
Given the spotlight (or is it, microscope?) under which he will operate from the opening puck drop of Game 1, it behooves the Big Easy to sprinkle one or two in the rest of the way so his mind is clear when the dance begins.
“That’s a good question,” Nash said to The Post in response to being asked how much of a goal-scoring slump becomes mental. “I want to stay positive, and be here for the team, but I know that me helping the team is by scoring.
“So, it’s frustrating, but I’m trying to stay positive and continue to do all of the things away from the puck and in the defensive zone that helps us win.
“It seems like I’m getting my opportunities. I’ve just got to stick with it.”
from Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register,
In trying to put a tourniquet on the bleeding that a rout by the New York Rangers was producing, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau called his team over and read it the riot act.
The team that is pushing for 50 wins for a second straight season and the regular-season points title for the first Presidents’ Trophy in franchise history. The team that was absorbing a 7-2 loss Sunday night from one that’s right behind in the chase for the NHL’s top spot.
All of it while being captured in front of a national television audience. A few other choice words in the rant probably wouldn’t be suited for a child’s ears but a feeling of embarrassment emerged out of the visitors’ locker room at Madison Square Garden.
“We looked more like No. 30 than we did No. 1 tonight,” Boudreau said. “But it’s over. It’s a good, old-fashioned butt-kicking. We couldn’t look at anybody that was really good. We were all in the same boat.”
The night is still young, but a great goal by Jesper Fast.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
• I asked a scout earlier this week about what the trade value of Rangers’ backup/late-season hero Cam Talbot is likely to be. The answer won’t thrill New York’s fans. “Best-case for the Rangers? If they find someone really desperate? Maybe a second rounder,” the scout said. “More likely, though, a third and a little something on the side. Depends on where the [acquiring team] is picking.” He also said that unless he was blown away by the offer, he’d be inclined to retain Talbot if he was Rangers GM Glen Sather. “He’s cheap [$1.45 million] and reliable. You never know what can happen. He’s quality insurance.”
• The same scout on Toronto’s Phil Kessel: “He's a unique talent, but I don’t know about him. I think he’d excel as a supporting player on a top team, but if that’s true do you want to assume the risk that comes with him? You’d have to have faith in your leadership’s ability to bring him into the mix [and] find him a place where he fits in. It would take him a long time to get out from under [this] cloud, you know? I'd prefer a guy with a lower ceiling who was lower maintenance.”
many more hockey topics...
from Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post,
After all this, Henrik Lundqvist isn’t about to rush.
The Rangers franchise netminder said on Wednesday night “it’s been a long six weeks,” and it sure has been since he first suffered a blood vessel injury in the back of his neck on Jan. 31. Yet he was cleared Tuesday to practice, and he was cleared to speak to the media before the Rangers’ 1-0 loss to the Blackhawks, when he said he will rejoin the lineup only when he’s good and ready.
“I’m not going to force it,” Lundqvist said. “It’s not about me, it’s about what’s best for the team, too. I’m not going to just jump out there because I want to play. I want to make sure when I go out there, I feel ready and I can make a difference and help the team. Before that, it’s better for everyone if I just stay in practice and work on my game.”
The plan is for the 31-year-old Lundqvist to practice as much as possible — which, with the Rangers’ upcoming schedule, isn’t very much. They have just two full-team practices over the next week, Friday and next Wednesday before they leave for Ottawa for the beginning of a two-game, four-day trip, which Lundqvist plans to be on.
NEW YORK, March 17, 2015 – Following an exam and consultation with specialists, Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has been cleared to return to practice with the team.
Lundqvist was injured on Jan. 31. The Rangers all-time wins and shutouts leader posted a 16-4-0 record, along with a 1.82 goals against average, a .938 save percentage, and one shutout in his last 20 appearances prior to suffering the injury. For the season, Lundqvist has a record of 25-11-3, along with a 2.25 goals against average, a .922 save percentage, and five shutouts.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
You know what? This is real. This sustained run of superior hockey on and off Broadway the Rangers have produced over the last 14 calendar weeks that has reached a crescendo in the absence of Henrik Lundqvist is merely affirmation of this team’s upper-echelon status in the NHL.
You can’t win the Stanley Cup in March, and no one is pretending the Rangers have won anything yet. And no one is pretending the Rangers have won anything over the last four seasons — the first two with John Tortorella behind the bench, these last two with Alain Vigneault calling the shots — other than respect.
But step-by-step, year-by-year, the Rangers and their core have established a base of expectations. No, they haven’t won the Cup since 1994, but they have won the most playoff rounds in the East the last three springs and over that span, only the acknowledged powerhouse Blackhawks have as many, and only the two-time champion Kings have won more best-of-seven series than the Blueshirts.
The Rangers did not practice today and there has been no update on the status of Martin St. Louis.
NEW YORK, March 12, 2015 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that defenseman Kevin Klein will be sidelined three-to-four weeks with an upper-body injury.
Klein has skated in 65 games this season, registering nine goals and 17 assists for 26 points, along with a plus-24 rating and 25 penalty minutes. He has established career-highs in goals, points, and game-winning goals (four), and has tied his career-high in assists in 2014-15.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Anyone and everyone has to be a little bit surprised at this turn of events, even the man of the hour himself, who spent a hockey hour fending off repeated attacks and assaults led by the irrepressible Alex Ovechkin.
“To this extent, maybe a little bit,” Talbot, who has recorded a .923 save percentage and 2.27 goals against average since Lundqvist went down, told The Post. “To go on a run like this, you never really see it coming.
“With so much parity in the league, to beat the top teams the way we have over this stretch, it’s kind of unbelievable. Except that we do believe in this room and we always have.”
The Rangers completed a five-game stretch against the Predators, Red Wings, Blackhawks, Islanders and Caps by going 4-0-1, winning the final two against tough, physical teams on back-to-back nights, yielding one goal to each opponent. They are — get this — 31-7-3 since a Dec. 6 defeat in Detroit.
“I think we’ve had confidence all along in our ability to play any style necessary to win,” said Ryan McDonagh, resolute with partner Dan Girardi in their matchup against Ovechkin. “We understand what it takes and we’re willing to do 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.
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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