Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Don't you love those games where history takes a front-row seat? Like in Philadelphia on Thursday night when former Flyers netminder Sergei Bobrovsky, cast off by the Flyers only to win a Vezina Trophy last season in Columbus, blanked his old team with a 37-save effort in the Blue Jackets' 2-0 win.
Bobrovsky was especially strong in the second period, when he faced 17 Flyers shots.
The victory kept the Blue Jackets one point ahead of Toronto for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference and also moved Columbus to within two points of the Flyers for third place in the Metropolitan Division. Both teams have six games remaining and there is significant incentive for Columbus, Philadelphia and Detroit to avoid being the second wild card and drawing the Bruins -- the best team in the East by a country mile -- in the first round of the playoffs.
read on for Custance on Drew Doughty and the Kings, LeBrun on Chara and Strang on Patrick Roy...
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
They still control their playoff destiny and still are in a favorable position, but their offense has disappeared, and they have lost five of their last six games (1-3-2), including Thursday’s 2-0 defeat to tight-checking Columbus at the Wells Fargo Center....
The Flyers had 37 shots, but most were from the perimeter. They outplayed Columbus in just one period _ the second _ but couldn’t connect on any of their 17 shots, and they allowed a power-play goal late in the period.
“We just didn’t play sixty minutes,” said captain Claude Giroux, who had his third straight point-less game _ his longest stretch since he was blanked in the season’s first five games. ‘I think the second period we did a lot of good things, we played the way we wanted to, and they got a goal… and we got away from that.”
Ex-Flyer Bobrovsky outplayed his counterpart, former Blue Jacket Steve Mason.
“He challenged the puck a lot,” said Giroux, referring to Bobrovsky. “He comes out of his net and takes the angles off. He’s so quick that it’s tough to beat him.”
from Anthony SanFilippo of the Philadelphia Flyers website,
Following the loss to St. Louis, I posted a blog about how the Flyers have been playing as we approach the playoffs and in the process, I used the term “elite” to describe them as a team.
I stand by the use of that adjective even if it caused some consternation on the Interwebs.
I guess the reasoning is there is no true definition for “elite.” And who’s to say what “elite” really is in the NHL from season to season? Is it the top four teams in the league? Is it anyone who has a strong chance of reaching the Stanley Cup Finals? Is it the highest scoring team? Is it the team with the best defense?
There are a lot of variables. And to be honest, I didn’t really think about what the parameters were for my usage of the word. The reason being, having watched as much hockey as I have this season, I was just under the impression that the Flyers are one of the three best teams in the East, have a chance to reach the Finals with the way they are playing (I don’t just say that lightly either, even if they are a longer shot than some other teams) and have shown it by playing strong, if not exceptional hockey, against the other top teams in the league.
But, I was put to task by some fans who felt that I was using the word in far too cavalier a manner. After all, how could I consider a team who hasn’t clinched a playoff spot, who is in third place in their division, and, until recently had a negative goal differential for the season, an elite squad?
from Dave Isaac of the Courier-Post,
Vinny Lecavalier was one of the first players to step out on the ice for morning skate Friday. The 33-year-old veteran of 14 seasons will find himself in a new spot when the puck drops between the Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs: fourth line center.
Ever since he returned from a back injury Dec. 21, Lecavalier had been playing left wing instead of his natural center position. He had admitted that if he had his druthers he’d still be in the middle, but this isn’t what he had in mind.
“No,” said Lecavalier, who will be the pivot on a line with Zac Rinaldo and Adam Hall, “but I’ll do my best tonight and make sure that our line is ready to go.”
Coach Craig Berube voiced his concern Wednesday night after a loss to the New York Rangers. He didn’t think his team had energy. This shake-up should certainly ruffle some feathers.
“It wasn’t working where it was, so I put him in the middle there,” Berube said. “That’s where we’re gonna start right now.
“We’ll take it shift-by-shift right now.”
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
Wayne Simmonds may be one of the league’s most underrated players, with an impressive 24-goal, 54-point campaign he brings into Wednesday’s action. Though Giroux is pacing the field in scoring (24 goals, 50 assists), Simmonds ranks second among the Flyers, ahead of even Jakub Voracek. His contributions on the power play and in the defensive end have been absolutely vital in helping the Flyers solidify their position for a playoff spot with 11 games remaining.
The 25-year-old Toronto native has five goals in his past five games, while the Flyers have secured eight of 10 possible points in the standings during that span.
"He’s been a very good player for us. One of our most consistent guys," Flyers coach Craig Berube said Wednesday after the team's morning skate at Madison Square Garden.
While the Flyers still have some question marks lingering -- defense and goaltending chief among them, and a lack of even-strength success -- specialty teams have undoubtedly been the club’s biggest strength. The Flyers rank in the top 10 in both their power play and penalty kill and boast the league’s best power-play unit on the road with a dazzling 25.8 percent.
Three 'tings' for Lecavalier on the same shot...
from Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull,
Carter will play at the Wells Fargo Center Monday for the first time since he was dealt to Columbus. He had a broken foot when the Blue Jackets played in Philadelphia during his partial season with the team, and he wasn’t with the Kings yet when they played here.
“It’s exciting,” Carter, minus his two front teeth from getting hit with a stick last season, said of his return. “We had six good years here; I obviously loved playing here and had a lot of fun. Just looking forward to getting out there tonight.”
Carter, who leads the Kings with 24 goals, said he didn’t expect a warm greeting from fans Monday.
“It seems like everybody that goes back to play against their old team gets booed, so that’s just the way it is,” he said. “It doesn’t really bother me; you just go out and play the game.”
Carter was upset when the Flyers traded him, but said time has healed the wounds.
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
"When I went to Calgary in December, [Berube] was still on that team and then I didn't play him that much," said Sutter, the Kings' coach. "We talked about it right away. He was more like 'Whatever you want me to do. If you want me to play, I'll play. If you want me to coach, I'll coach.' That was his role already."
Sutter was proud of Berube when he was first elevated to head coach in Philadelphia in October after the Flyers started 0-3-0. Berube, for his part, has cited Sutter as a key influence.
The Flyers, who play the visiting Kings on Monday, are the talk of the NHL and happen to be on a stellar run, having won five straight games. They've lost two games in March, once in regulation and the other in overtime.
"You want them young guys to do good. Not just come in and be a one- or two-year [coach]," Sutter said. "That's the problem in the NHL, a lot of these guys are given, well, not given but they get these head coaching opportunities. And they want the contract. So instead of taking the right situation, they just take the job.
"…A head coach, you know the guys who are really strong bench coaches. You know the guys who are strong locker-room guys. You know those guys. There's only a handful of 'em."
Watch the play below...
from the Financial Review,
It’s small, it measures more than 100 fields of data and it’s discretely worn under the jerseys of AFL footballers, the shoulder pads of NHL ice-hockey players and even the waistcoats of Spanish bullfighters.
GPS tracking devices for professional sportsmen and women are becoming increasingly important to sports scientists and coaches to measure player movement and fatigue during matches and training – everything from how quickly an athlete accelerates to how their heart changes – to improve game strategy and training programs.
And the world’s biggest provider, Catapult Sports, is operating out of small factory in South Melbourne.
“We’re on the way to being a billion-dollar company one day,” says Catapult chairman Adir Shiffman. From modest beginnings, with a few AFL players as clients, the company has sold its devices to the Dallas Cowboys in the US’s National Football League, Italian soccer giant AC Milan and recently picked up its first ice-hockey team, the Philadelphia Flyers.
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