Kukla's Korner Hockey
So absolutely, this season is a disappointment, and it was destined to be considered that long before the Saturday afternoon confirmation that the Avalanche wouldn't make the playoffs.
For the sixth time in the past nine seasons, there will be no postseason hockey at the Pepsi Center.
This will be the biggest test for Joe Sakic and Roy.
They must avoid denial.
Denial would entail assuming that the run of injuries — including to Erik Johnson and Nathan MacKinnon — explains too much.
-Terry Frei of the Denver Post where you can read more on the Avalanche.
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
The Jackets beat the Penguins 5-3 before a raucous crowd on Saturday. It took the fans back to last spring. That was a fun time, but really, the Jackets didn’t accomplish anything other than hint at a promise of something better. Now, it’s happening all over again.
“For me, what’s forefront is the disappointment of where we’re at,” coach Todd Richards said. “That, to me, has to be the driving force behind our summer. We know what we can do. When we’re all together and healthy … when guys are committed and playing the right way and doing the right things, you can see the results.
“But to me, the driving force has to be the disappointment of our season.”
Roger that. The Jackets are showing what they can do and it both stokes the imagination and feeds the disappointment. That is the very definition of mediocre. We wait for them to get beyond.
from Jonathan Willis of the Edmonton Journal,
It’s an awfully improbable scenario, but it’s wild enough to be worth considering: What happens if the Pittsburgh Penguins miss the playoffs and win the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery?
Pittsburgh dealt their first-round pick this year to Edmonton in January, along with forward Rob Klinkhammer, in the trade that saw David Perron join the Penguins. Perron suited up for his first game on January 3, with Pittsburgh sitting first in the Eastern Conference thanks to a glorious 24-9-5 record and there was every reason to believe that first-round selection would be a low one.
Since that time, the Pens have gone 18-17-6 (five games under 0.500) and have fallen to a wild card spot in the East. They are currently two points up on a red-hot Ottawa Senators team sitting just outside the postseason. The Penguins and Senators meet Tuesday in Ottawa, which gives the Sens a golden opportunity to move into a tie with Pittsburgh with just two games remaining for each team. The possibility of Sidney Crosby’s team missing the playoffs is suddenly worth considering.
4 1/2 minutes of highlights from the 5 NHL games played on Easter Sunday.
Max Pacioretty will not return today after tumbling into the boards.
What little unwritten rule of sportsmanship did Chris Kunitz break on Sunday that sparked an unruly battle between the benches between the Flyers and Penguins?
The Flyers did win the game, 4-1.
from Rich Hammond of the OC Register,
The Kings’ final road trip of the season includes games against Vancouver (on Monday) and Calgary (Thursday). The Kings are three points behind the Canucks for second place in the Pacific Division and one point behind the Canucks, and hold one game in hand over both teams.
It stands to reason that if the Kings win both games, and beat non-playoff teams Edmonton and San Jose, they could finish second in the division and have home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Then again, if the Kings struggle on the road this week, they could miss the playoffs entirely.
''It’s in our hands, and that’s how we want it,’’ center Anze Kopitar. ''We don’t necessarily love the position we’re in right now, but everything is still in our hands, and that’s the way we want it.’’
The Kings currently stand on the shakiest of ground. They hold the second and final Western Conference wild-card spot via tiebreaker, because both the Kings and Jets have 92 points with four games remaining.
FLAMES, KINGS GAIN GROUND IN PACIFIC DIVISION
The Flames (43-29-7, 93 points) and Kings (39-25-14, 92 points) each earned winsSaturday to gain ground on the Canucks (45-29-5, 95 points) – who lost in regulation – as jockeying continues in the Pacific Division. Los Angeles holds a game in hand on both clubs and faces both Vancouver (Monday at VAN) and Calgary (Thursday at CGY) once more this season.
* Jonas Hiller stopped all 27 shots he faced in a relief effort and Dennis Wideman tallied 1-2—3 to power the Flames to their third win in their past four outings overall and a sweep of their five-game season series with the Oilers.
Not everyone will agree with the rationale behind every war room decision. At least the office has an open-door policy, however. Journalists and team executives alike are allowed to sit in. The league wants to erase the idea of an adversarial relationship. Those of us on the other side may never feel the penalties are severe enough to fit the crimes, but the league, must always operate within the confines of the rulebook and CBA. And everyone shares the desire to make the game safer.
-Matt Larkin of The Hockey News who has a great read on the department of player safety.
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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