Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The New York Rangers have a fast-approaching object in their rearview mirror. It’s orange and has a gap in its teeth.
The Philadelphia Flyers are four points back of the Atlantic Division-leading Rangers with four games in hand, a red-hot stretch of 12-1-3 in their last 16 games rocketing them up the Eastern Conference standings.
“We started to play our best hockey of the season about a month ago,” Flyers star winger Simon Gagne told ESPN.com last night.
Gagne has been clutch on a line with Mike Richards and Mike Knuble. Jeff Carter is pumping in goals as well on another line with Scott Hartnell and Joffrey Lupul.
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post via USA TODAY,
It has been 33 years since Reggie “The Rifle” Leach victimized goalies with a lethal slap shot that produced a league-high 61 goals.
No Philadelphia Flyer has led the NHL in scoring since then, but Jeff Carter could become the next. Thanks to a wrist shot that many consider the best in the league, the center has 20 goals, second in the league and two behind the league-leading total of Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres….
“His shot is the hardest shot I’ve ever seen in my life,” Flyers goalie Antero Niittymaki said. “The reality is that he can score goals from the blue line. He has a long stick, and it’s always tougher when you face a big guy with a long stick.”
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Left winger Simon Gagne yesterday pointed to a players-only meeting in October as a reason the Flyers turned around their season….
Gagne said that the meeting was “relaxed” and that players talked about taking responsibility for their specific positions.
“And from there, everybody has played better,” he said. “There was no panic. It might be better if [the losing streak] happened in the beginning of the season than the end of the season.”
Kimmo Timonen was extremely vocal at the meeting, and captain Mike Richards “kind of closed it,” Gagne said. “A couple of guys spoke up, and from there, things are going well. We didn’t have [another] meeting yet, so that’s a good sign.”
from Craig Custance of the Sporting News Today,
Q: Who do you look at as your biggest competition to come out of the East?
A: I think it is a crapshoot right now. You look at the standings from one, right to the bottom,... The Rangers have a good team, Ottawa has a good team. Boston has only lost a handful of games this year too.
from Wayne Fish of phillyBurbs,
Despite some skepticism from fans, media and maybe even some teammates, friends and family members, the Flyers’ Simon Gagne claims the only reason he left Thursday night’s game in the second period was because of symptoms that felt like the flu….
If there’s any connection between this situation and last year, Gagne said, it has more to do with the fatigue of the rigorous schedule right now.
“Not playing for eight months last year, coming back, and if you look at the last two weeks, it’s just hockey, day off, hockey,” Gagne said. “It’s a lot of games. I knew this year I would have some ups and downs.”
Gagne said no tests related to a concussion were performed.
“There’s no point,” he said. “I didn’t get hit. It’s just natural for people to get sick, so you don’t have to run a test for a concussion if you just get sick.’’
from Pierre LeBrun at his ESPN Blog,
“[Wednesday] was a tough day,” Briere told ESPN.com Thursday.
An MRI revealed a significant groin strain, knocking the Philadelphia Flyers forward out of the lineup until the new year.
“We found out exactly what the problem was and we found out I’ll be out another 4-5 weeks,” Briere said. “It’s very frustrating. It feels like I’m letting the fans down, my teammates, the coaches, the whole organization.
“But I can’t control it. It is what it is. I have to move on. I did my pouting [Wednesday] and now it’s time to get back to work. I need to rehab and get ready to come back in 4-5 weeks and be at the top of my game.”
more and some Ducks talk too…
from Tim Panaccio at CSN Philly,
Both Gagne and general manager Paul Holmgren denied after the game he was concussed. Gagne said he had either the flu or a stomach virus, since he has been experiencing digestion problems for two days. Holmgren said Gagne was dehydrated and that’s all.
Gagne, like another famous Flyer, Keith Primeau, suffered multiple concussions last season and has experienced post-concussion syndrome.
Neurological experts say anyone who has suffered from post-concussion syndrome can experience concussion symptoms many months or even years later because they have suffered multiple brain trauma.
In other words, Gagne could have concussion symptoms without being hit or incurring an injury in a game.
from the Delco Times,
Scottie Upshall didn’t think he was going to be penalized for his check on Tampa Bay’s Evgeni Artyukhin, but the morning after being slapped with a major penalty and a game misconduct, Upshall found himself talking to NHL discipline boss Colin Campbell.
Upshall wasn’t suspended, or even fined, but he was given a stern talking to by Campbell who is on a mission to take dangerous hits and eradicate them from the league entirely.
“I’m glad I’m not suspended, but I definitely don’t think I should have been kicked out of the game,” Upshall said. “(Campbell) wanted me to try my best to let up on guys who are in a vulnerable position and that’s what I try to do. He said we’re not going to suspend you, but we’re trying to crack down on these hits….”
from Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull at the Philadelphia Inquirer,
The Flyers said yesterday that high-scoing center Danny Briere will miss four or five weeks because of a “significant” groin strain.
They also said the injury had nothing to do with rushing him back to action.
Maybe. But something sure looks fishy.
Earlier this season, Briere had abdominal surgery and missed six games. He then returned to the lineup much quicker than expected, played two games and suffered a groin strain. Originally, the club said the groin injury was not related to the abdominal problem.
Yesterday, Briere said doctors told him the injuries WERE related.
via On The Fly at PhiladelphiaFlyers.com,
Flyers center Danny Briere will be sidelined for the next four-to-five weeks with a groin strain, according to general manager Paul Holmgren.
Briere left last night’s 4-3 overtime win over Tampa Bay after the second period. Prior to that game, he had missed the 14 of the previous 16 games with various injuries.
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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