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The Colorado Avalanche Continue To Roll

from Mike Chambers of the Denver Post,

Suddenly, the NHL’s worst team last season has put together the league’s longest winning streak this season; center Nathan MacKinnon has become a Hart Trophy candidate, and coach Jared Bednar is being mentioned as a Jack Adams Award nominee.

A year ago at this time, MacKinnon was having the worst season of his career and somewhat embarrassed to represent the Avalanche at the All-Star Game. And fans were calling for Bednar’s firing just five months after he was hired. Colorado was 13-30-2 at the time.

The league’s Hart (MVP) and Jack Adams (coach of the year) awards are side stories to what has become one of the NHL’s biggest stories — the Avalanche and its winning ways. Next to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights being in President’s Trophy contention as the regular-season’s top point producer, Colorado is eyeing the playoffs and grabbing hockey headlines throughout North America.

Behind MacKinnon and goalie Jonathan Bernier — again — on Saturday, the Avs won their ninth consecutive game, defeating the New York Rangers 3-1 before a sellout crowd of 18,056 at the Pepsi Center.


Below are the game highlights...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Video- Coach’s Corner Tonight

Don Cherry and Ron MacLean discussed a few topics tonight including one of the differences between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens, Freddy Andersen's comments on the Leafs and Al Secord on Don Cherry.

Plus a few more topics including Hockey Day in Canada.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Doug Weight On Josh Ho-Sang

from Arthur Staple of Newsday,

“[The fans] can be upset he’s not here,” Weight told Newsday on Saturday morning. “They see his skill, they look at analytics. I understand that. But why did Tanner Fritz get an opportunity? Why did Steve Bernier come up right away? That is how you build your whole organization, with accountability. And there has to be accountability. There has to.”

Weight said Josh Bailey’s injury on Jan. 5 should have been the perfect opportunity for Ho-Sang to come back to the Islanders, where he began this season. But the Islanders organization — that’s GM Garth Snow, Weight (who is also an assistant GM), Bridgeport coach Brent Thompson and assistant GM Chris Lamoriello — didn’t see where Ho-Sang would have learned much since he wasn’t, in their view, working hard in the AHL.

“It’s a crying shame he’s not playing with John Tavares when Bails goes down,” Weight said. “We had six guys out. It was a perfect opportunity. And Josh should be upset with himself.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: josh+ho-sang

Notes By Brooks

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

- ... When the NHL invites the person known as Kid Rock to perform at next Sunday’s All-Star Game in Tampa, it is not about entertainment, it is offensive.

Further, it is mystifying why this league, whose embrace of the You Can Play program and creation of its Hockey Is for Everyone initiative puts it at the professional sports vanguard on gender issues, would damage its reputation by inviting this barely relevant person to share the spotlight with its greatest athletes.

- ... The young swashbucklers took their talents to Game 7 of the first round against the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Caps.

You wanted to see the Maple Leafs. More than that, you wanted every team around the league to be the Maple Leafs. Because that was entertainment.

But just as Dean Smith was the only coach who could stop Michael Jordan while together at UNC, Mike Babcock became the coach to put an end to what he obviously perceived as the foolishness in Toronto, making certain to pound his square pegs into the round holes of the homogenous NHL.

- The Wild always seem to be just a little less than expected, aren’t they? It is worth noting Minnesota has only two playoff round victories in the Zach Parise-Ryan Sutter Era that began in 2012-13 and has six more seasons to run on the homeboys’ twin 13-year, $98 million contracts....

more on each of the above plus other hockey topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Hockey By Hitchcock

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

There were stretches in St. Louis where David Backes met with Ken Hitchcock every day. Backes exited some of those meetings with less-than-fuzzy feelings for his boss.

“Sometimes I left the rink cussing him and not very happy with him,” Backes recalled. “You look back on it a couple weeks later and you go, ‘Oh, he was doing that for a reason — to make us better.’ ”...

The Stars no longer play fast and loose. They are applying their legs differently: sprinting to and staying in high-danger areas, reducing space in open ice, and getting in opponents’ faces to limit their touches. It is Hitch Hockey, applied previously with success in St. Louis, Columbus, Philadelphia, and Dallas the first time around. The Stars are within the Western Conference’s top eight, ahead of Minnesota and Chicago in the Central Division.

“He’s got guys with high levels of skill, and he’s got them playing hard in the dirty areas,” Backes said. “They’re winning puck battles along the wall, committed to back pressure and backchecking so they can get turnovers and go back the other way.

more plus other hockey notes...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ken+hitchcock

The Anaheim Ducks Defeated The Los Angeles Kings In A Pacific Division Battle

from Curtis Zupke of the LA Times,

The Kings and Ducks have always produced a tug-of-war dynamic, spiked with as much hatred as any rivals in the NHL. But they decided to keep their gloves on Friday to exchange different kinds of blows.

The Ducks continued to pull themselves up with a 2-1 win that drew them even with the Kings with 53 points in the Pacific Division. The Kings got pushed further down with their sixth straight loss and no end in sight for an offense that has scored three goals in three games.

Ryan Kesler delivered the game-winner on a deflection with 7:39 to play in the third period and the Ducks fended off the extra-attacker surge by the Kings in front of an announced 17,258 standing-room only crowd at Honda Center.

“That was a huge win for us, coming off the last game and trying to keep this going, keep the momentum going at home for this homestand,” said Adam Henrique, who gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead in the third period. “I thought we played well. They were in a back-to-back situation and we were trying to take advantage of that in the first period and get pucks and bodies to the net. They came back with a push in the second period and I thought we did a good job responding and coming out hard in the third.”

read on

Game highlights are below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Today Is Hockey Day In Canada

Probably my favorite regular season day of the hockey season.

TORONTO (January 16, 2018) Sportsnet is heading to the west coast of Newfoundland and Labrador this Saturday to celebrate the 18thannual Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada – Canada’s biggest single-day hockey celebration. Hosted live from Corner Brook, NL, the 12.5-hour marathon broadcast features four must-see matchups with all seven of Canada’s NHL teams in action, beginning at 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT on SportsnetCBCRogers NHL LIVE and Sportsnet NOW.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, CBC HNIC, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Memories Of Red Fisher

from Dave Stubbs of NHL.com,

One of the greatest and most respected observers of hockey the game has ever known died Friday at age 91. There isn't a player Red covered, an owner or general manager whose team he was around, or reader who absorbed his every typed or broadcast word who doesn't have a memory or a story to share.

For a few years at the Montreal Gazette, Red was my sports editor. For a few years, our roles would be reversed.

As crusty as he forever tried to make himself look, this is the Red Fisher I knew:

In many long talks, plumbing his reservoir of stories, I gained a great love of hockey history that I bring to many features about the game of yesterday.

read on

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, NHL Media, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: red+fisher

NHL Short Notes

Home Team in Caps

FLORIDA 4, Vegas 3 (OT)
Montreal 3, WASHINGTON 2
ANAHEIM 2, Los Angeles 1

On the night franchise founder Wayne Huizenga was honored at BB&T Center as part of the club’s 25th anniversary celebrations, Aaron Ekblad scored 40 seconds into overtime to power the Panthers past the Western Conference-leading Golden Knights.

Aleksander Barkov (1-2—3) scored his League-leading fifth shorthanded goal of 2017-18, tied for the second-most in a single season in franchise history. Only three players since 2010-11 have scored more thanfive shorthanded markers in a single campaign: Jean-Gabriel Pageau (7 in 2015-16 w/ OTT), Frans Nielsen(7 in 2010-11 w/ NYI) and Michael Grabner (6 in 2010-11 w/ NYI).  

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Imagine Being A Fan Of The Vegas Golden Knights

All they do is skate, pressure, skate pressure, team defense, team offense.

Hockey betting experts had them at 50/1 to win the western Conference a week and a half before the start of the season.

Timely saves, play as a unit, no elite players, no pressure, just keep winning.

That's all they do. And a lot of it.

There is no time and space with this team, they only go in one direction right to the net.

The experts had it all wrong.

Hockey fans in Las Vegas probably think this is easy, little do they know how jealous other fan bases may be.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: vegas+golden+knights

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com


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