Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jimmy Hascup of USA TODAY,
Almost two months into the NHL season, five points separate the Eastern Conference's worst team from a wild card spot, and six points separate the West's worst from a playoff position. There is a seven-point difference between the East's best team and the second wild card, while 10 points separate those teams in the West.
Which in many words says one thing (aside from there's a lot of hockey left to be played): There's a lot of parity (or mediocrity, if that's how you want to view it) in the NHL, and It's unclear if there are any great teams.
Do the Chicago Blackhawks, leading the league with 35 points, stand out as a fierce contender? Credit to them: They have survived with a 30th-ranked penalty kill and an injury to Jonathan Toews, who has struggled with 12 points in 25 games. But they are a top-heavy team, with their stars required to do the heavy lifting....
Then there’s the Montreal Canadiens, who at 16-5-2 are second in the league with 34 points. The Canadiens are an improved team over last season, thanks to Carey Price’s health. But a surefire Cup contender now?
“I know my role now has changed from when I first game in, but it's a different game too. The game has changed with blocking shots over the years. You're not getting the same looks that you used to. Plus, on this team, Karlsson is the big guy for us offensively on the backend and I've got to do my job defensively.
“That's what makes teams good and that's what makes teams competitive. Everyone has a job and everyone has to do their job. I still think I have an offensive side to my game, but I'm asked to do more on the defensive side and I enjoy that role.”
-Dion Phaneuf of the Ottawa Senators. Darren Dreger of the Dreger Report has more on Phaneuf.
“I have faith in them, but to me, the start is not a core thing; it’s a team thing. I think you see we’re trying to hold people accountable. We know we have certain guys who can give more, and those guys know they can give more, but it’s not like it’s a whole thing. We’re not as consistent as we need to be. We didn’t win two straight Cups and have that leeway. We have to play with that urgency every night on a consistent basis to be successful.”
-Joe Sakic, GM of the Colorado Avalanche on his core players and team. More on the Avalanche from Terry Frei of the Denver Post.
Home Team in Caps
BOSTON 2, Carolina 1 (SO)
BUFFALO 4, NY Rangers 3
PITTSBURGH 6, Dallas 2
NY Islanders 3, WASHINGTON 0
Philadelphia 3, OTTAWA 2 (OT)
Florida 2, DETROIT 1 (OT)
ST. LOUIS 5, Tampa Bay 4
Edmonton 6, WINNIPEG 3
CHICAGO 4, New Jersey 3 (OT)
Columbus 3, COLORADO 2
Los Angeles 4, ARIZONA 3
Anaheim 3, VANCOUVER 1
TARASENKO (HAT TRICK) LEADS BLUES TO SIXTH STRAIGHT HOME WIN
Vladimir Tarasenko (3-1—4) scored the third hat trick of his NHL career and equaled a career high with four points to help the Blues extend their home point streak to 11 games (9-0-2), including six straight wins.
* Tarasenko has earned at least one point in 11 of his last 13 games (9-9—18) and ranks third in League scoring with 13-14—27 this season (24 GP).
* Jake Allen (22 saves) picked up his career-high seventh consecutive victory, posting a 2.24 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage in those contests.
Hockey Insiders Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun have more on the NHL keeping a close eye on the rematch between the Maple Leafs and Canucks, the Coyotes offering the Flames Anthony Duclair for Dougie Hamilton, the Senators exploring the market for a versatile winger and the possibility of the Canucks and Kings playing an exhibition game in China.
everyone can watch here...
from John Shannon of Sportsnet,
In the salary cap era there have been 48 mid-season coaching changes. The average stint of those coaches behind the bench was 207 games. Just 207 games! That’s about two and-a-half seasons.
So why in the name of God’s green earth would someone want to coach in the NHL? It certainly never appears that any of them are enjoying themselves.
As one coach told me, “It’s like chewing glass sometimes.”
Said another: “You have to be comfortable with being hated.”
Beyond the money (and let’s face it, the money can be good, very good), why would anyone want to go through the rigours, the scrutiny of ownership, management, fans and media, and the embarrassment of being fired?
With that in mind, I talked to 12 current and former NHL bench bosses.
By Time Dolan,
The 2016-17 NHL season has reached the quarter pole, and several marquee games are on tap through the month of December. Interestingly enough, the Nashville Predators will host two of the five priciest games in December despite their middling play in the Central division. The Rangers, Maple Leafs and Blackhawks also make the cut when they return home for games later in the month against the Senators, Penguins and Jets, respectively.
Check out a complete price breakdown of the most expensive games in December below, according to TicketIQ:
Just south of 3 minutes long, via Sportsnet YouTube channel.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org