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Afternoon Line- Mike Babcock

“I don’t care when you peak or any of that stuff, I just want to get in the playoffs to give ourselves a chance.

“We’re playing better right now and finding a way to win games and that’s what we have to continue to do. Last year, I didn’t look at the standings one time (when the Leafs finished 30th overall in the National Hockey League) and now I look at it every single day. Obviously, there must be a reason to look at them.”

-Mike Babcock, head coach of the Toronton Maple Leafs.  Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun has more.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+babcock

Video- Jack Skille Injured After Hit By Charlie Coyle

Skille was in pain for a few minutes and needed help off the ice.

Looks like a left ankle injury to me.

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: charlie+coyle, jack+skille

Maintaining High Performance In Hockey

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

Adam McQuaid plays best when he’s angry. When he feels a teammate has been slighted, McQuaid turns into the Hulk.

But as soon as the final buzzer sounds, McQuaid’s blood plummets from full boil to room temperature. Even after a high-intensity affair, the Bruins defenseman can usually count on a good sleep when he retires to his home or hotel room.

“It can be hit or miss sometimes,” McQuaid said between back-to-back games earlier this year against Florida and Carolina. “But we got in relatively late last night. So it was pretty easy to wind down. Probably got about 7½ hours. Not bad.”

It is easier said than done to shut off the postgame adrenaline. But there are few things more important than winding down promptly and rebooting for the next game, especially this year because of the compressed schedule. A player’s performance for one game depends greatly on how he recovers from the previous match. 

continued plus many more hockey topics...

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The Final Wild Card In the Eastern Conference Is Wide Open

What team gets in?

 

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A Double Standard Exists

from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,

Crosby's stick to the groin of Ryan O'Reilly was a social media sensation Tuesday night. It was spearing and went unpenalized. It happens a lot in the game undetected but the camera doesn't lie. In this case, Crosby was caught red-handed.

"At the time it hurt and it threw me off guard. I didn't know it was him until he came up to me on the ice and apologized," O'Reilly told this corner after practice Friday. "It was kinda weird having played with him too in the World Cup. It happens. It would have been nice to get a penalty, get a power play off it. It's definitely a penalty but sometimes things get missed.

"He apologized after said he didn't mean to do it. Once I looked at it, of course, it looked pretty deliberate. After he said, 'Sorry about that, I was going for your stick and I don't know what happened there.'"

Sorry, Sid. You weren't close to O'Reilly's stick. But it's a smart play if you get away with it. You would think referees would be on the lookout more. But as Boston's Brad Marchand often proves, repeated slimy moves caught on replay doesn't make them any more likely to be caught by the stripes.

"He's the best player in the game and he might have a little bit more leeway,"  a smiling O'Reilly said of Crosby. "Not necessarily something referees are doing on purpose but just in general. He's one key guy people are buying tickets to see. I don't know how else to explain it."

Crosby deserved a penalty, and maybe a fine, for the O'Reilly play. The Methot play is totally different. Yes, a slash to the hands is pretty common -- another issue entirely. Why it's not called more is baffling. But this one caused a bloodied, shattered finger that will keep one of Ottawa's top blueliners out for weeks. Methot sits fourth on the Senators in average ice time at just over 20 minutes per game and has a plus-13 rating in 67 games this season.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Toronto vs. Buffalo

from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,

On the warm Buffalo evening last summer that Auston Matthews was selected first overall by the Maple Leafs in a boo-filled KeyBank Center, a small pocket of Toronto fans sitting in the stands proudly showcased their T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Auston 20:16.”

“He’s going to be our saviour!” one of them yelled, trying to have his voice heard over the loud jeers of the locals who were anti-anything-Toronto-related.

Truth be told, the loyal sports-loving zealots of Buffalo have plenty of legitimate fodder to despise The Big Smoke when it comes to the world of fun and games....

One year later, the Sabres wined and dined free-agent coach Mike Babcock and were so encouraged at their chances to land the former Detroit Red Wings bench boss that preliminary plans were in place to introduce him to Buffalo media.

But a last-minute change of heart left the Sabres as the jilted bride waiting at the altar while Babcock, citing family reasons, opted for Toronto’s ground-breaking eight-year, $50-million offer, one believed to be similar to that tabled by Buffalo.

Then came the coup de grace in 2016, when Matthews was picked by the rival Leafs right on Buffalo soil. For Sabres supporters, this was the deepest cut of all.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Will The Real Montreal Canadiens Please Stand Up?

from Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette,

On Monday morning, the city was in a state of euphoria after the Canadiens swept that playoff-like home-and-home, weekend series against the Ottawa Senators to seemingly take firm command of first-place in the Atlantic Division. People were saying things like “bring on the Rangers” and laughing about how we didn’t need to worry about the Sens.

Then came Tuesday night, the most boring game of the year. The sad-sack Detroit Red Wings shuffled into town, put the crowd to sleep (with a little help from the drowsy Habs) and before you could say “this is a familiar scenario,” Longueuil hockey hero Anthony Mantha was laughing in the faces of Alex Galchenyuk and Shea Weber, and scoring the winning goal in overtime. Oops.

But that was nothing compared with Thursday night’s nightmare on Avenue des Canadiens. The Carolina Hurricanes, also way down there in the Eastern Conference standings, taught the Canadiens another lesson in hockey, hammering Les Boys 4-1.

Around the same time, former Hab Mike Condon, deemed to be expendable last year by Habs management, was stopping Sidney Crosby in a shootout to give the Senators a 2-1 victory over the Penguins and pull Ottawa to within one-point of the Canadiens atop the Atlantic Division. Oops, Part III.

In short, all is not right in Habs Nation. So why is our team so inconsistent? Well in fact, they’ve been inconsistent all year. This is, as is so often the case with recent Canadiens squads, a Jekyll and Hyde team.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

NHL Short Notes

FRIDAY’S RESULTS
NY Islanders 4, PITTSBURGH 3 (SO)
Tampa Bay 2, DETROIT 1 (OT)
DALLAS 6, San Jose 1
ANAHEIM 3, Winnipeg 1
 
EXTRA TIME VICTORIES FUEL WILD CARD RACE
The Islanders (35-26-12, 82 points) and Lightning (36-29-9, 81 points) earned victories in the shootout and overtime, respectively, to improve their standing in the Eastern Conference Wild Card race:
 
John Tavares (0-2—2) recorded the 300th and 301st assists of his career and netted the shootout winner as the Islanders overtook the Bruins (38-30-6, 82 points) for the final Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference. Tavares – who became the first member of the 2009 NHL Draft class to reach the 300-assist plateau – extended his point streak to five games (2-4—6). New York and Boston will conclude their season series on Saturday.
 
Nikita Kucherov (1-1—2) recorded his fourth straight multi-point game – including his first overtime goal of the season – to help the Lightning move within one point of the Islanders and Bruins for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Kucherov (38-40—78), who has recorded 17-12—29 in his last 16 games, moved into sole possession of second place in the Rocket Richard Trophy race, four goals behind Sidney Crosby (42). Per Elias, Kucherov is the first Lightning player to record four consecutive multi-point games since Martin St. Louis posted 3-5—8 from Jan. 20-31, 2012.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Video- You Make The Call - Islanders/Penguins

Dough Weight not a happy coach.

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

NHL Players On The Olympics

from ESPN,

Do you want the NHL to participate in the Olympics? Why or why not?

Ben Bishop, Los Angeles Kings: "Yes, I think they should go to the Olympics. Fans and players get so excited for it. If we didn't go, it would be a big letdown to both."

Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks: "I think so. Firsthand experience, it was a great experience for myself. I was in Torino and then in Vancouver. I think it's good for hockey, I think it's good for hockey worldwide. It definitely promotes players going and representing their countries and I know players really enjoy it."

Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning: "I can only speak for myself, but my answer might be a little different just because I didn't get a chance to play [in Sochi] because of injury last time, so I really want to go.

continue for more from Stamkos and many more players...

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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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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