Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
It was a fantastic goalie matchup in Columbus on Wednesday night, and for two-and-a-half periods it looked like Sergei Bobrovsky would outduel Carey Price. But then the Montreal Canadiens exploded for three power-play goals -- two by Max Pacioretty, who now has 20 goals on the season -- and rallied for a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Price was once again outstanding as he bolstered his Hart and Vezina campaigns.
The Canadiens continue to prove people wrong and now sit just one point behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the Atlantic Division, and the Habs have three games in hand.
For the Blue Jackets, this is a devastating loss. To be up 2-0 midway through the third period and lose like that could be a loss that deflates them. They had rallied hard since Dec. 1 to save their season, but with the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals on fire were unable to make up much ground in the Metropolitan Division, and barely any in the conference overall, either. Now 13 points back after Wednesday's loss, it might be time to start thinking about next year.
read on for Custance on the Wild, Burnside on the Kings and Strang on the Capitals...
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
Tear this thing right down and start over.
Start over? START OVER?? Again? You can hear the groaning of Leaf Nation when that’s even suggested.
But there’s really no choice, and to think otherwise is to pretend....
The team appears to own one young player, Morgan Rielly, who has the earmarks of both stardom and leadership, and that’s it. Outside of Rielly, there are young promising players, but not enough of them.
This isn’t a franchise that owns Drew Doughty, Jonathan Quick, Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar and just needs Justin Williams and Mike Richards to join in and point the way to a championship.
So to build a championship team with the Leafs, priority No. 1 has to be to find other players similar to Rielly, or better.
from Jason Scavone of Vegas Seven,
William Foley’s father was in the Air Force, up in Ottawa for three years in the early 1950s when Foley was just starting elementary school. Under those circumstances, pond hockey isn’t so much something you take up as it is part of the atmosphere. You put on a hat because it’s cold, you go to school because you have to and you play pond hockey because it’s January in Canada.
Foley, the 69-year-old chairman of Jacksonville, Fla.-based Fidelity National Financial who made Forbes’ “Billionaire Up and Comers” list in 2013, drifted away from the game in his subsequent years. When he talks about his favorite hockey teams today, he sounds like a presidential hopeful stumping across primary states. (“I like the Blackhawks. I live in Northern Cal part of the year, so I follow the Sharks. I’ve got to say the Blackhawks and Sharks are kind of my teams.”)
Perhaps not for much longer. That’s because Foley is the head of a group (which includes the Maloof family) that’s trying to put an NHL team in the under-construction MGM/AEG arena by the start of the 2016-17 season. And he’s not shy about his ambitions for what would be this city’s first major professional sports team: “Our feeling is we want to have a really fast team. We don’t want to be the big guys who get into fights. We want to be highly skilled. The first couple of years are going to be difficult. But we’re going to invest in the team, and my goal is to bring a Stanley Cup to Las Vegas within eight years. It may take eight years, but we can do it if we make the right investment in the team. The Islanders did it.”
from Arthur Staple of Newsday,
Of all the eye-catching numbers the Islanders have posted this season, perhaps the best and most important ones are the team's records within the Eastern Conference (20-5-1) and within the Metro Division (13-2-0).
There's no reason to rehash last season's records in those two categories. They weren't good by any comparison. This year's team has shown a new sense of purpose to not only earn crucial points, but earn them against the teams the Isles are trying to outdistance in the playoff hunt....
The 13 divisional wins are tops in the NHL, having beaten all seven fellow Metro teams at least once. And this is not beating up on weaker teams at the bottom. The Isles are 6-2 against the Penguins, Capitals and Rangers, the three teams most likely to join the Isles in the postseason.
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
They could be without Booth, who departed in the third after skating into a stiff elbow from Sami Vatanen....
Horachek did say a Marlie call-up was likely with Booth possibly concussed.
more on the Leafs' 4-0 loss to the Ducks...
Here is the hit and no penalty on the play and the CP at TSN on the elbow
David Booth went to the Leafs' dressing room in the third period after checking Sami Vatanen and getting hit in the head by an inadvertent elbow.
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
Fletcher said, “We need to find out what our team really is. I’ve been waiting for the answers to come from the inside. I’ve been calling around for weeks. It’s not easy to get teams to sell players early. Most teams are still in and we’ve been waiting and hoping that the answers would come from within, but we’re at a very critical time right now. We’ve got to stabilize here. We’ve got to find a way to win a game and start to play the right way. You’re not just going to snap your fingers and everything’s going to get back to normal, but we’ve shown at points of this year we’re a good hockey team, we have good players, we have good coaches and we need to find a way to become a good team again. Right now we’re not a good team and this is a small step. Everybody’s lost confidence and that happens when you go through these stretches.
“I thought it was time for me to give this team a shot in the arm and we’ll keep trying. We’ll see if we can add more pieces. If we can do it great, but it has to come from the inside too and maybe this is a spark they need to get going.
“I think Mike’s a good coach, and I think we have a good team. But right now we’re in a perilous position for our season and we have to win some games. We’re capable of doing it. But we have to stabilize here. We’ll see where it takes us. We’ve got to get going. We’re better than this. It’s time. It’s more than time.”
Fletcher again said that Yeo is safe.
“We’ve got an overall performance issue here,” he said. “I’m not looking at Mike at all right now. He’s our coach. He’s a good coach.”
"We're not waiting around to the trade deadline to make the changes that we feel we need to make. So my attitude is if the deal comes our way sooner rather than later, that's fine. We have to reset and restructure where we're at, how we're going to ultimately be successful here long-term, and that's our goal."
-Don Maloney, GM of the Arizona Coyotes. More on the Coyotes from Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic.
from Shawn Mitchell of Puck-Rakers,
Blue Jackets penalty, Montreal power-play goal. Repeat. Repeat again. Lose three in a row. Do the collapse. A rash of rule-breaking cost the Jackets dearly tonight. Matt Calvert, Jared Boll and Brandon Dubinsky were boxed for slashing, high sticking and boarding, respectively, during a stretch of 4:10 late in the third period. Did they really just take those? Really? Yes, and they led to two power-play goals for Max Pacioretty and another for P.K. Subban.
A 2-0 third-period lead for the Blue Jackets went poof. “We just gave away two points,” Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky said. “Something we don’t want to do is lose two in a row,” Blue Jackets left wing Matt Calvert said. Instead, they lost three in a row, and their already deep hole was dug deeper. The season is half complete. Forty-one games remain. The Blue Jackets are 18-20-3, 13 points out of a playoff spot.
“It’s just disappointing. This one bothers me. We found a way to lose this game.” – Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards.
Just short of four minutes of highlights...
from Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald,
When Johnny Gaudreau’s agent noticed the eye-catching slogan — “Johnny (Effin’) Hockey” — he went to work, applying for “Johnny Hockey” trademarks with patent offices in Canada and the United States.
Understandably, this garment is not something Lewis Gross wanted associated with his client, a hotshot rookie with the Calgary Flames.
“There were a couple shirts, a couple things, that were derogatory,” Craig Conroy — assistant general manager of the Flames, who was represented by Gross during his playing days — said Wednesday at the Saddledome. “Lewis said, ‘We just want to make sure we monitor it.’ And that’s all it was.
“More than anything, it was to make sure that people weren’t selling stuff that made him look bad. I mean, I think that’s what it came down to.”
TSN, with confirmation and reaction from Gross, reported the story Tuesday afternoon.
Immediately — predictably enough — there had been backlash.
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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