Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
Unless the Canucks are like a character in a John Woo movie and rip a mask off their face in December to reveal another identity, they’ve pretty much established who they are. The question is, can they pull this defence-and-goalie thing off for 5 1/2 months or are they fated for another slow descent in hockey hell?
So what’s it going to be, boys?
“You’re always concerned when you lose three in a row,” said winger Jannik Hansen, shortly after the Canucks’ 3-0 loss to Ottawa. “Yeah, we got off to a good start (with four straight wins) but, I don’t want to say we played mediocre teams, but they weren’t the same calibre we saw in California.
“It wasn’t good enough tonight.”
Tuesday night’s meeting with the Senators offered the worst and, er, less-worse aspects of the Canucks’ personality, but in the end, the lasting impression was a team which has started a downward spiral. The loss, their third straight, was one thing. But it’s the cumulative effect of those first seven games and the warts that have been revealed that is the real issue.
Where to begin?
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
The volume will be turned up real loud now.
It’s bound to hit a pitch Frederik Andersen never previously experienced while spending three years tending goal for the Anaheim Ducks, or prior to that as he made his way from Denmark to Sweden and eventually North America.
This became his fate the minute he signed a five-year contract with the Maple Leafs over the summer, but the 27-year-old can be forgiven if he thought it would take longer than five starts before his first “crisis” arrived.
In Toronto, this is what happens when the goalie struggles. When he has a slow start to the season and allows seven goals on 24 shots, just as the jackals are circling.
Andersen hasn’t looked the least bit comfortable during his brief time in Leafs colours and acknowledged after Tuesday’s 7-3 loss to Tampa Bay that there’s a pretty good reason for that.
“Well, it’s definitely an adjustment,” he said. “But you’ve got to just keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t try to change too much. I think that’s something I’ve got to do better – just play my game and the results should come.”
Catch the game highlights below...
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
The last thing Claude Julien wanted to do was hook Malcolm Subban again.
On Feb. 20, 2015, Julien pulled Subban in his NHL debut after the goalie allowed three goals on six shots against St. Louis. On Tuesday against Minnesota, Subban’s second NHL start finished just like his first: with him on the bench and a three-spot on the wrong side of the scoreboard.
“I’m not going to lie. There’s some goals we thought our goaltender should have had,” the Bruins coach said after a 5-0 wipeout by the Wild at TD Garden. “But I’m not here to talk about a goaltender who’s in one of his first few games because he let in a couple bad goals. We were terrible in front of him. We weren’t any better. That’s the big picture. That’s more important.”
Game highlights are below...
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
So the reality is, folks, that by 2020 there are going to be exciting and probably formidable teams in Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg, and possibly Toronto as well. Individually, you could have legitimate superstars in Price, McDavid, Gaudreau, Laine and Matthews. Maybe Puljujarvi, Bennett, Scheifele and Marner as well. That will surely help Rogers and its $5.2-billion investment, and create a wave of interest in Canadian teams unseen since the late 1980s and early 1990s.
My radio pal Bob McCown disagrees, but my belief is that if and when the Leafs rise to where Brendan Shanahan believes they will rise, the excitement created over the past 18 months by the Blue Jays will seem moderate by comparison. We’ll see, and this being the Leafs, of course, it may never happen.
So that’s what Stamkos will miss. Being a part of all that in his prime. The fact that all seven Canadian teams missed the playoffs last season made it easier last summer to glance at the hockey landscape in the Great White North and see desolation, defeat and pressure without reward. By contrast, the Lightning are an excellent franchise poised to win now, and the sunshine of Florida feels that much more comfortable than Canada in January.
But in a few years, that contrast will seem less vivid, and Canada will be where the NHL action will be. Folks and media in various U.S. hockey cities will sneer at what they will perceive to be an undeserved sense of shinny superiority up north, particularly in Toronto, and that’s okay. They’re probably right. We haven’t had a Cup winner since ’93, after all.
more including more on Stamkos...
Home Team in Caps
PITTSBURGH 3, Florida 2
Minnesota 5, BOSTON 0
NEW JERSEY 5, Arizona 3
PHILADELPHIA 4, Buffalo 3 (SO)
DETROIT 4, Carolina 2
Tampa Bay 7, TORONTO 3
Calgary 4, ST. LOUIS 1
DALLAS 3, Winnipeg 2
Ottawa 3, VANCOUVER 0
SAN JOSE 2, Anaheim 1 (OT)
LOS ANGELES 3, Columbus 2 (OT)
THIRD-PERIOD RALLY POWERS FLYERS TO VICTORY
With Philadelphia facing a 3-0 deficit in the third period, 19-year-old Travis Konecny (first NHL goal) and 38-year-old Mark Streit (1-2—3) each scored to help spur the Flyers to an eventual shootout victory.
* Elias says that the Flyers won after trailing by at least three goals in the third period for the first time since Dec. 19, 2013 vs. CBJ (trailed 3-0; 5-4 W). It also marked the third such comeback of the 2016-17 season, with Winnipeg claiming the others on Oct. 13 vs. CAR and Oct. 19 vs. TOR.
* The Flyers, who also overcame a multi-goal deficit to win Saturday vs. CAR (trailed 2-0; 6-3 W), have at least evened the score in a game after trailing by multiple goals four times this season. The other instances: Oct. 15 at ARI (trailed 3-1; 4-3 OT L) and Oct. 18 at CHI (trailed 4-0; 7-4 L).
Ben Bishop lost his two front teeth on a nasty shot to the mask from Peter Holland:
from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,
- With Matt Murray returning to Pittsburgh’s lineup, one has to think Mike Condon will be back on waivers. I could see Boston bringing home the Massachusetts native, since both Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin are banged-up.
- Don’t look now, but looming large over Winnipeg’s goalie situation is Ondrej Pavelec. The Jets have allowed 19 goals in five games. There are conflicting reports on how seriously they talked to Los Angeles, with some sources indicating they wanted to get rid of the contract and others saying they always intended to keep him as an insurance policy.
- One goalie coach on Toronto’s Frederik Andersen: “Everything stems from the fact he can’t get his feet set.” Mike Babcock likes his goalies to be aggressive, and Andersen is still getting used to that. All of the difficulties (including trouble catching the puck) stem from the footwork.
- From a friend of mine who is a gambler: “Best bet in the NHL? The Ottawa Senators and the ‘over.’”
from Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times,
The saga of a proposed arena project for Sodo District took a dramatic twist Tuesday with entrepreneur Chris Hansen now saying he’s prepared to do an all-private proposal.
Hansen’s project had been in limbo since May, when the Seattle City Council turned down his request to vacate a part of Occidental Avenue S., so the land could be used for the facility. A funding deal between Hansen, the city and King County called for up to $200 million in municipal-bond funding for the project if an NBA franchise was first obtained.
But now, with the all-private proposal, that money no longer would be in play. In return, Hansen, who also says he’ll kick in money for an overpass that would potentially ease Sodo traffic congestion, says he wants the city to give up the portion of Occidental needed for arena construction to begin....
As well, the NHL has expressed interest privately about putting a team here as well several times over the past few years.
By going all-private, Hansen would eliminate the need to acquire an NBA team within a specific time period. His Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the city and county had required the team to be in hand by November 2017.
But by using private money to build, that clock stops ticking and frees Hansen’s group to apply for an NBA team when the league is ready to set its expansion plans in motion. Hansen also could acquire an NHL team in the interim and wait until the NBA is ready to follow.
from Tal Pinchevsky at ESPN,
One game with the Fort Wayne Komets of the ECHL. That's all it took for Angelo Esposito to decide he was done.
It was a fun game too, in which the Komets scored four third-period goals to force overtime against the Indy Fuel before winning in a nine-round shootout. Not a bad way to kick off the 2014-15 season. That is, unless you had been tabbed for greatness as a teenager but found yourself still toiling in the minor leagues seven years later.
Esposito let his coach know the next day that he was going back home to Montreal. With that, one of the top prospects in the 2007 NHL draft was ready to call it a career after a nomadic, injury-plagued pro run that never included a regular-season NHL game.
"I went to the East Coast, and [during] that first game I didn't feel comfortable anymore playing. I thought to myself, 'Maybe it's time I moved on,'" said Esposito, now 27. "Honestly, the first month [off], I did absolutely nothing. I didn't step on the ice until December, and then I started playing with my buddies in their beer league just for fun."
He ultimately decided to come back, and his return to pro hockey last year helped him gain a new perspective on hockey and life.
from Joe McDonald of ESPN,
It's still too early to see whether the changes will work in Minnesota. The Wild enters Tuesday's game against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden with a 3-2-1 record.
"Hard to make what kind of team they are [this early]," said one Western Conference scout. "They've had slow starts and their first periods have been awful, but they seem to wake up and play pretty well. They're scoring goals but need to give up fewer than they are. [It's a ] funny team right now and I'm not sure what you'll see from game-to-game."
In the locker room and on the ice, the players are still getting used to Boudreau's system and personality.
"It's been a great transition. It's been a lot of fun around the rink, around the room," said Wild forward Zach Parise. "As a team, there's still a lot we need to get better at, but we're seeing it in spurts throughout games. The closer we can get to doing it more consistently, and more often throughout a game, it's going to translate into more wins for us. It takes work and we've got to continue to get better and keep learning. But, in the long run, it's going to make us a better team."
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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