Kukla's Korner Hockey
via the Edmonton Sun,
Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall will be sidelined for six weeks with a bad ankle the team said is the result of slash in a game against San Jose.
The slash was on his already bad ankle and the team is calling the injury a crack.
It was close to a pre-existing bone bruise, suffered after being hit on the ankle with a puck in practice, but the team is calling it a different injury.
Hall hasn't played since the Feb. 2 game versus the Sharks, where he picked up a goal and an assists and tallied just 10:41 time on ice.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Available: The Hurricanes have a few spare parts that could be attractive to teams looking to fill in around the edges both up front and along the blue line. Jiri Tlusty is about to become an unrestricted free agent and makes only $2.95 million. Tlusty has good skills and might be a good bargain fit in New York or Pittsburgh. Jay McClement is a good two-way forward with good face-off skills.
On the blue line, Andrej Sekera would be attractive to a number of teams looking to add some skill on the back end, although given the Hurricanes' lack of depth along the blue line it's believed Francis will be looking to re-sign Sekera, who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Needs: This team that has more needs than we have space to describe them. In short, there is some promising depth down the middle with Jordan Staal, Elias Lindholm and Victor Rask, and youngster Lucas Wallmark developing in Sweden. The elephant in the room is what to do with veterans Eric Staal -- the captain who recently vacated his normal position at center to play wing with brother Jordan -- and Ward.
Andersen is on short-term IR.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Over the past eight games the Vancouver Canucks have been exactly what many observers thought they would be this season: a decent team, not a great team, one that could challenge for a playoff berth but likely fall short.
The Canucks' loss to red-hot Minnesota Monday night continued a win-one-lose-one pattern that has seen them descend to the very edge of the playoff bubble. Ryan Miller allowed five goals on 18 shots to take the loss and is now 2-5 in his last seven appearances.
Over that period Miller has allowed 21 goals. With the Wild goaltending situation stabilized behind Devan Dubnyk and Jonas Hiller on a tear for the Calgary Flames right now, the Canucks have the kind of team defense and goaltending that seems destined to see them end up just where many thought they would at the start of the season: contemplating the playoffs from the outside looking in.
read on for including LeBrun on the West, Strang on the Flames and Custance on the Sharks...
It’s no secret Kane feels he’s trapped in a fishbowl. Rumours are magnified in such a small, hockey-mad market. He will definitely tell interested teams a change of scenery equals a changed man.
That’s why teams will be interested. If true, you’re the proud owner of an effective, powerful forward.
“Jeff Carter is a talented guy who needed direction, to be shown the way,” one scout said. “Now he’s a different player on and off the ice, a real leader on that team. You wouldn’t have said that previously. I see real similarities between those guys.”
Can Evander Kane convince teams he can do it, too?
-Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet where you can read much more on Evander Kane.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
No one will come out and say it out loud: That the tear-down of the Maple Leafs is about to begin.
That for the first time in the modern history of the club, the Leafs are headed to a bare-bones, strip-the-engine, long-term rebuild.
The expectation from inside Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment is that the Leafs will make at least five deals between now and the NHL trade deadline of March 2 and that the larger, maybe more controversial moves — in what could be a four- or five-year project — will be considered and worked through after the season has ended.
Almost every player on the roster is considered to be in play for the Leafs and the rest of the NHL. According to a variety of sources, teams in the hotly contested Western Conference are expected to be the most active at the deadline, with so much at stake come the post-season.
HILLER, FLAMES SINK SHARKS TO MOVE AHEAD IN PACIFIC . . .
Jonas Hiller made 33 saves, including 14 in the third period, to lift the Flames past the Sharks and to their ninth victory in their last 12 outings.
* At 30-21-3 (63 points), the Flames leapfrogged the Sharks (28-20-7, 63 points) to move into second place in the Pacific Division. Though the teams are equal in points, Calgary has one game in hand and owns the ROW tiebreaker (CGY: 27, SJS: 26).
* The Flames completed their season series against the Sharks with a 4-1-0 record, including a 3-0-0 mark at SAP Center. The last time they won three games in San Jose in one season was in 1995-96 (also 3-0-0).
* The Flames also improved to 6-1-0 in their past seven meetings with the Sharks dating to Jan. 30, 2014.
from Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe,
It’s something that has become nearly routine for the Bruins this season, and in recent years. They are once again last in the NHL in power-play chances, far behind the 29th-place team. The Bruins have had 122 chances this season. New Jersey, in second-to-last place, has had 147 entering Monday. Tampa Bay, in first place, has gone on the man advantage 196 times.
Sunday’s game marked the third time this season that the Bruins received no power-play opportunities; it also happened Nov. 4 against Florida and Dec. 2 at Montreal. It was the 28th time the Bruins had gotten two or fewer power plays in a game.
And it’s something that’s clearly frustrating them.
Asked about his team’s penalty kill after Sunday’s game, coach Claude Julien said, “That’s all we can talk about, right, is our PK, not our PP? They did a good job. Our PK did a good job.”
When the issue of not having any power-play chances was followed up on, Julien said, “It’s always nice to have a PP sometimes. Gives you momentum.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Every year, the Los Angeles Kings hit the road for close to two weeks around the time when the Grammy Awards take over the Staples Centre. And every year, their task is essentially the same: Tread enough water to stay competitive, because all the Kings ever really have to do is make the playoffs, and then good things usually follow....
But this season is starting to look different – and maybe even a little desperate. The Kings, who went into Monday night’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets five points back of the final playoff spot (LA did win), look as if they are the ones who are wearing down – as if the cumulative effect of all that playoff hockey is finally catching up to them.
The road has been especially unkind. Last year, the Kings had the sixth-best road record in the league (23-14-4), which was identical to their home record. This year, they are 16-6-6 at home but 6-12-6 on the road. So they need to put together a winning streak in order to gain ground on the Calgary Flames, who are currently holding on to the second wild-card playoff spot in the West.
Reasons for the Kings’ struggles are varied.
No. 1 centre Anze Kopitar is not playing to the level he was a year ago, and his right-hand man from the 2014 playoffs, Marian Gaborik, has been injured and inconsistent, patterns that have followed him throughout his career. For the first month of the season, the Kings were carried by their That ’70s Line – Jeff Carter flanked by Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson, all of whom had sweater numbers in the 70s. But they have cooled off since October; Pearson is out, likely for the rest of the regular season, and Toffoli is just back after recovering from mononucleosis.
And to make it worse, the Arizona Coyotes won in the shootout.
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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