Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
The San Jose Sharks continue to play their way out of the comfort zone and into playoff danger.
Their 3-1 loss to the red-hot Calgary Flames at the Saddledome on Wednesday dropped the Sharks into third place in the Pacific Division, just two points ahead of the fourth-place Vancouver Canucks, who currently holds down the second and final wild card spot in the Western Conference. And the Canucks have three games in hand. The Flames poured three goals past Alex Stalock in less than nine minutes in the second half of the second period to secure their third win in a row.
The Sharks, meanwhile, lost for the second straight game after falling in a marthathon shootout to the Edmonton Oilers on Monday. That sets up an interesting tilt for the Sharks on Thursday night in Vancouver.
continue for more including LeBrun on the Flames, Custance on the Kings and Strang on the Rangers...
FLAMES SINK SHARKS, MOVE INTO SECOND IN PACIFIC
The Flames scored a trio of second-period goals – by Kris Russell, Jiri Hudler and Mason Raymond – to defeat the Sharks and pick up their third consecutive victory.
* With the win, the Flames (29-20-3, 61 points) climbed two spots in the Pacific Division, leapfrogging the Sharks (27-18-7, 61 points) and idle Canucks (28-18-3, 59 points) to move into second place:
* The Flames improved to 5-1-0 in their past six meetings with the Sharks dating to Jan. 30, 2014, including a 3-1-0 mark this season. The clubs face off one more time in 2014-15, on Monday at SAP Center.
It was rumoured that Florida was asking for JvR+ or Kessel+ for the 1st OA pick. Leafs weren't interested then, but maybe they are now.
JvR + Gardiner
Florida needs help on the wing and they could use size up front. JvR provides both of those needs. Gardiner has been given a hard time this season but has been playing well and settles in as a good 2nd pairing D-man who can play the PP. There were rumors before that Florida was interested when Gardiner was available. Toronto overpays but gets a core piece to build around and begins blowing it up.
Kessel + Bozak(or Holland)
Jones + 1st
Poile has recently said how highly he thinks of Kessel, he saw him be the best forward in the Olympics (not my opinion, he just won the award for best Forward at the olympics). Also Nashville has a need for a top line RW. And honestly 8 million for a top scorer is a solid deal, not sure why people hate on it so much. Kane is get 10+, Stamkos is apparently asking for the same etc... He's a top scorer locked up through his prime for a deal that will look really good in a couple years. Bozak shores up their C depth if they still need it, and someone who can play the PK win draws and play with Kessel. If they want a cheaper option Holland has been having a good year. Right now Nashville's D is stacked and Jones won't get the minutes to best utilize him.
Anyways, think it fits the teams needed and value isn't terrible.
Leafs go forward with a D core of Rielly, Jones and Ekblad and build around that from the blue line out.
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
There’s a feeling in hockey that, at the end of the season, things will even out.
Games you should win but you don’t.
If that’s the case, the Stars believe they’re due for a nice run. Of their last eight losses, you could put six into the category of “undeserved.” Now, that’s a very subjective term, but it does say that each game featured plenty of good play by the Stars and the wrong result at the end of the night.
“It’s tough. It’s frustrating,” defenseman Alex Goligoski said. “We’ve played some good hockey and found ways to lose games. You get mad at times, but if we can get away from that, we have the opportunity to be a pretty good team.”
And that’s silver lining to the rough run. While fans are getting carpet burns from having the rug pulled out from beneath them on so many occasions, Dallas still is a team with a 23-19-8 record in the middle of a playoff hunt.
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
"Everybody [should] be on the same page, playing the system, playing 60 minutes and play every shift like we can," Gaborik said. "We haven't done that lately. We have to do that. We have to be more consistent and just play like we can.
"We know how to do that. We just have to translate it onto the ice."
Could hitting a crisis point like the Washington game be the jolt the Kings needed?
"We can't let it happen to this point where we have a game like that, especially in the position we are in right now," Gaborik said. "We need every point. We need wins, especially on the road. We need to turn it around. Everybody in here has to produce, myself. We need to be better."
Said defenseman Matt Greene: "We're down to crunch time. There's no waiting around anymore, waiting for things to get going, waiting for guys to find their game."
Two of the Kings' better games in the second half came after short breaks. They beat the Sharks following the Christmas vacation and rallied three times from one-goal deficits to defeat the Blackhawks at Staples Center after the All-Star break.
Their championship pedigree has surfaced. But not consistently.
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
An impressive 3-1 win over the Sharks vaulted the Flames from a wildcard spot, over the Vancouver Canucks and the Sharks into second in the Pacific behind the league-leading Anaheim Ducks, who the Flames happen to have a better goal differential than.
With such a perch two months from now come privileges few could have fathomed in October when Johnny Gaudreau was an unproven rookie and Josh Jooris sounded more like a legal term.
That’s how far this Flames team has come.
While the discussion around town has revolved around whether this team can actually shock the hockey world by holding on to make the final playoff spot, few imagined the team would actually ascend the standings.
That’s what winning eight of 10 can do this time of year.
For a day, anyway, the talk is not of how to stave off the Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars, but just how high the Flames could climb.
Steve Yzerman went from being the Detroit Red Wings’ saviour to Tampa Bay’s GM, and Brendan Shanahan has traded his skates for a pen and paper to run the Maple Leafs. Take a look at the differences in their jobs, and who may run a team in 20 years.
from Alex Prewitt of Capitals Insider,
Over the coming month, if he has not already, Washington Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan will field calls from suitors courting the services of defenseman Mike Green. At that moment, MacLellan, his scouts and the coaching staff will judge whether the proposed haul outweighs, at worst, the potential for keeping Green until season’s end then watching him walk, unable to reconcile a contract extension given his demands and their salary cap room. And if the value of Green is being discussed, games like Tuesday night might come to the fore.
MacLellan hasn’t shied away from expressing his opinion on Green, all but proclaiming that only a win-now haul would entice the Capitals into parting with the blue-liner they raised as a 2004 first-rounder. Draft picks and prospects would send the wrong message to the locker room, MacLellan said. Upgrading the defensive corps, rejuvenated under assistant Todd Reirden and bolstered with the offseason signings of Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik, seems beyond the radar. But if an offer comes in that addresses an area of need in the forwards, MacLellan hasn’t ruled out considering that.
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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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