Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
So even though the 400-goal milestone is just 43 red lamps away and he’s won two gold medals with Canada at the World Championship, Doan still has his sights on the Cup.
“It’s your dream. It’s the reason why you play,” said Doan, who is signed with Arizona through the 2015-16 season. “It feels like it’s my responsibility to find a way to do it here. Obviously people can laugh at that and find that humourous. We haven’t looked like one of the contenders in the last two years and this year so far, but at the same time, I really like our group, and I think Mike Smith is an unbelievable goalie. And that’s the key.
“I’m really focusing on us, and I’m not even going to worry about what else could be going on.”
“It’s all about the points, so, in that respect, I like where we are at. I’ve liked our commitment level, I like how guys have rallied around and stepped up and filled roles when we’ve needed that. So, that’s been a good sign for our team.
“Overall, to be sitting 8-3-1, I don’t know if we could have asked for better than that.’’
-Jon Cooper, head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning. More on the Bolts from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
I don't think anybody should be surprised to see the NHL's top two powerhouses with middling records as the NHL's second month gets going. For teams like the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks, the regular season just doesn't mean a whole lot.
You won't hear anybody from either team ever admit this, but it's just hard to get up every night during an 82-game season when you know the real hockey awaits in the spring. It's just the truth. So you're going to see stretches like this for the Kings and Blackhawks this year, and each coach is going to use those struggling stretches to find ways to motivate his players.
But these players are human, you can't fool them. Their true hunger comes in the playoffs. Both of these teams have won two Cups apiece over the past half-decade. It's just hard to get excited and pretend to truly care about regular-season division titles. That means a lot more to teams trying to prove they're for real, teams worried about home ice in the playoffs, teams wanting regular-seaon glory. The Kings and Hawks? Sure they want to win every game, but from a mental and physical standpoint, it just wont' be there every night this early in the season.
read on for the rest of the hockey writers at ESPN for Blues/Rangers talk...
TARASENKO POWERS BLUES TO FIFTH STRAIGHT WIN
Vladimir Tarasenko scored a highlight-reel goal, picked up an assist on the tying marker with 5:27 remaining in regulation and then potted the decisive marker in the shootout to lead the Blues to their fifth consecutive victory.
* Tarasenko, who earlier Monday was named the NHL’s “First Star” of the week, now has 6-2—8 in his last four games, including three multi-point performances. He leads the Blues with seven goals and 13 points overall this season.
* Patrik Berglund and Jay Bouwmeester also scored to end their 23- and 44-game goal droughts, respectively.
* Brian Elliott made 36 saves to improve to 5-2-1 with a 2.06 goals-against average, .920 save percentage and one shutout this season.
* The Blues improved to 8-0-1 in their last nine visits to Madison Square Garden dating to Oct. 12, 1998. Prior to this run, they had only won six of their first 56 trips to MSG (6-44-6).
from Andrew Gross of The Record,
Cam Talbot started Monday night and the backup goalie is also likely to be in net for one of the Rangers’ back-to-back games this weekend.
But make no mistake, November will be all about Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers.
The defense corps is decimated right now through injuries to captain Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Klein and Dan Boyle and, an incredibly ill-timed five-game suspension for John Moore.
So the Rangers need their franchise goalie to keep the points coming, probably steal some games as the Rangers are two games into a grueling stretch of 15 in 29 days.
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
Earlier [Monday] when you were talking to the media here you said to be good on special teams you want the percentages on the power play and penalty kill to add up to 105. Why 105? And why has the Blues penalty kill this season been problematic?
"The old number used to 100, but 100 doesn't get you in the top-10 now in the League, especially because the PK numbers are so high. To me 105 is a goal, that if your number reaches there you're winning that game within the game. So that's the goal every 10 games to get to that 105 number. That means special teams are helping you, not hurting you. When the 5-on-5 play is even, either your PK is helping you win the game or your power play is helping you win it. When you get close to that number, you're going to win the special teams game in most games...
read on and four more questions for Hitchcock too...
“He’s gotta go out and play his game. Don’t try and do too much, just play your game. Just be you. Move the puck when you get it. Get out and play the puck and move it. That’s what gets him in the game. And make the saves you’re supposed to make.”
-Craig Berube, head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers on goaltender Steve Mason who has yet to win a game this season. More on Mason from Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
This off-season, rebuilding Edler’s fractured psyche became a priority for the new Canucks organization, and considering how far he fell under Tortorella, that was lot of rebuilding. The bulk of the counselling fell to Linden, the new president who was in his penultimate season with the Canucks when Edler joined the team in 2006-07.
Like most, Linden couldn’t make sense of Edler’s catastrophic campaign in 2013-14. He just knew rehabilitating the lost defenceman was critical to any hope of a team turnaround. The two met a couple of times and Linden said the subjects of their conversations weren’t particularly profound, but they impressed on Edler his importance to the Canucks.
Through 12 games this season, Edler now leads the team in ice time, he’s formed an effective partnership with Chris Tanev, he’s back on his familiar position with the first-unit power play and he’s a plus-player.
Clearly, whatever he wasn’t getting from Tortorella he is getting this year.
“Knowing Alex and knowing the kind of person he is, he needs to be supported,” Linden said. “I think he’s sensed that from the coaching staff.”
“It’s important to know people believe in you,” Edler said. “They made that clear in the summer, that they like me as a player and I’m an important part of the team. It’s good to hear.”
more and note there is an autoplay video on the page...
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Six of the last 10 Cup winners ranked in the top five in goals-against average during the regular season, including each of the last five. That's powerful motivation for the Ducks' early emergence as a committed defensive team.
"Yeah. Who'd have thunk?" Coach Bruce Boudreau said Sunday, after the Ducks ended a trip to Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas and Colorado with a 3-1 record and only five goals against.
"It's good. I firmly believe that if we can keep them to two goals or under that we've got enough offense to win the game."
They're scoring less, averaging 2.69 goals per game, compared to 3.15 through their first 13 games last season, but their team goals-against average of 1.85 ranks second in the NHL and is down from the 2.54 they posted through 13 games last season.
They've allowed two goals or fewer 10 times, compared with seven times in the first 13 games last season. Their penalty-killing is better, too, operating at a seventh-ranked 86.4%. Their efficiency rate was a 29th-ranked 75.6% at this stage last season.
more plus a few more NHL topics...
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Up until (John) Scott went predictably postal, the NHL had played 105 exhibition games and 119 regular-season games without a suspension for supplementary discipline, the longest stretch in the player-safety-department era.
Consider that last year there were seven suspensions in the exhibition season alone (totalling 38 games) and nine more for another 42 games up to and including Nov. 1. Some of the offences were particularly memorable and egregious.
Scott, for example, received seven games for a brutal elbow to the head of the Boston Bruins’ Loui Eriksson; the Buffalo Sabres’ Patrick Kaleta got 10 for a dangerous hit to the head of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Jack Johnson. It was nasty stuff – and didn’t even include a trio of five-game sentences handed out to Maxim Lapierre for boarding Dan Boyle, Ryan Garbutt for charging Dustin Penner and Cody McLeod for boarding Niklas Kronwall. None of those was pretty either.
In short, a year-over-year comparison shows that suspensions are way down – 16 handed out by Nov. 1 of last year compared to just three this year (to Scott, the New York Rangers’ John Moore and the Vancouver Canucks’ Alex Burrows). Of course, there have been three more since the start of the month – Ference, plus two games for the Los Angeles Kings’ Jordan Nolan and four for the Nashville Predators’ Anton Volchenkov.
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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