Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Christopher Curtis of the Montreal Gazette,
The Canadiens head coach and the defence-first system he employs came under fire Thursday night after his team blew a two-goal lead against the Ottawa Senators, losing 5-2 at the Bell Centre.
It wasn’t so much that the Canadiens have lost five of their last six games — though, that’s certainly part of it. What seemed to irk people was the impression that, after pulling away by two goals, the Canadiens turtled....
“Regarding system and stuff like that,” Therrien said, loudly exhaling. “We’re not changing it. Nothing. I don’t think any team at this time a year is changing anything.”
The coach said he has and will continue to tweak the team’s strategy. In fact, he conceded that he’s shuffling small things around so that the team will be “comfortable” when the playoffs begin next month.
Fundamentally, though, “the system” is here to stay and Therrien is willing to stake his reputation on its merits.
"I wouldn't change anything I'm doing, to be honest with you. I'm working hard. I'm doing my best. If people's expectations are higher than mine, then I can't change that."
-Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins after practice today. More on and from Crosby by Shelly Anderson at the Vancouver Province.
from David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News,
Long-simmering issues between Sharks general manager Doug Wilson and veteran center Joe Thornton boiled to the surface Friday when Thornton had a direct response to Wilson's latest explanation of why the 'C' was removed from his jersey.
"I think Doug just needs to shut his mouth," Thornton said after his team's morning practice. "I think that's the bottom line."
Thornton added: "All I've got to say is I've been here every day working hard. I haven't taken a sabbatical. He just needs to stop lying, shut his mouth."
In a Thursday night meeting with about 350 season-ticket holders, Wilson was asked again about the decision to strip Thornton of the captaincy. The Sharks have gone with four alternate captains this season and Thornton has that leadership role instead.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
Garth Snow won’t be mistaken for Sam Pollock any time soon, but the general manager of the Islanders sure has done a nice job of silencing his critics in the past few months. Through a combination of luck, opportunity and gumption, he’s turned his team into a force in the Eastern Conference and earned himself a lot of respect in the hockey world.
Snow’s latest bold strike was the signing of veteran defenseman Johnny Boychuk to a seven-year, $42 million contract on Thursday. Here’s a guy who was wearing black and gold in the preseason before Snow stole him from the cap-squeezed Bruins before opening night. Since then, Boychuk has been a linchpin of New York’s defense, a smart, physical two-way player who can eat a ton of hard minutes against top opponents, and who sets the tone on the ice and in the dressing room. For a guy who can do all that, $6 million per season is more than fair.
You can’t complain about the length of the deal, either. No, the 31-year-old Boychuk is not expected to be a 25-minute ace when he’s 38, but that’s not the point. Snow gave him seven years because that’s exactly what he would have gotten from another GM on the open market. Snow knows what Boychuk has meant to this team. Why go cheap now?
continued plus additional NHL topics...
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
... the Wild’s next three games are against the three teams that are all tied for the most points (91) in the Western Conference – vs. Anaheim, at St. Louis, at Nashville.
“It’s fun to play games this time of year when everything’s on the line,” Yeo said. “…Right now, this is where you make your money. … You have to find a way to play your best hockey, to go into tough buildings to win hockey games and pick up points and that’s what we’re facing.”
As the standings sit right now, St. Louis is first in the conference, Anaheim is second and Nashville is second in the Central. As the standings sit right now, if the season ended right this moment, the Wild would face the Ducks in the first round.
Parise said it’s too early to really start thinking like that, that the last 15 games is all about improving the team’s game, but “in the back of our mind, everyone knows the standings.”
“It’ll be a tough stretch of games. It’ll be good to see where we are at,” Parise said. “We’ve played some teams that aren’t in the playoffs lately, so it’ll be good to see where we are at compared to these guys (Anaheim) who have had a pretty good hold on their division lead for awhile now.”
from Rick Westhead of TSN,
An executive with China's public broadcaster CCTV says the NHL has pledged to continue to send its players to the Olympics if China wins the right to host the 2022 Olympic Games.
Longmou Li, who has negotiated broadcast rights of National Hockey League games in the world's biggest country, said in an interview that NHL officials have told him that they'd use a China-based winter games to build up the league's popularity in the important emerging market.
An NHL spokesman said it's "categorically not true" that any promise has been made to Chinese broadcasters or hockey federation officials. "No such discussions have taken place," he said. "We have heard that is CCTV's desire, but we have had no discussions and made no decisions."...
Beijing is considered a favourite to win those games after Oslo, Stockholm, Munich, two cities in Switzerland, Denver, Krakow and Lviv in Ukraine all dropped out of the bidding. The only other candidate is Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Since the NBA All Star break, Chinese officials have held several meetings with NHL executives in New York to begin making the case for the NHL to send players to the Olympics, said a person familiar with the matter.
Kadri met with the media after practice today, he is scheduled to play tomorrow night.
Calgary, AB – The Calgary Flames announced today that defenceman Douglas Murray will join the club for practice today on a try-out basis. The Bromma, Sweden native has played for San Jose, Pittsburgh, and Montreal in his nine NHL seasons, featuring in 518 games and recording 64 points (7G, 57A) and 412 PIMs. Murray has spent this season with the Cologne Sharks in Germany’s DEL and had an assist and 24 PIMs in eight games.
ELLIOTT, HITCHCOCK REACH MILESTONES AS BLUES CLIMB STANDINGS
Brian Elliott stopped all 28 shots he faced through overtime – and another two attempts in the shootout – to record his 29th career shutout (fourth this season) and lead the Blues to their third consecutive victory.
* At 43-19-5 (91 points), the Blues moved into a share of first place in the Central Division, Western Conference and NHL standings, where the top six clubs all have 91 points:
* Elliott posted his 20th shutout since joining the Blues in 2011-12, tying Jaroslav Halak for first in franchise history. Only Jonathan Quick (22) has more shutouts in that span.
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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