Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Well, that was a fun game to watch. Talk about entertaining. The San Jose Sharks rallied from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 (including an empty-netter) Thursday night in a battle of Cup contenders. It avenged a 5-1 loss in Pittsburgh earlier this season.
What struck me the most was how physical the Sharks were against the Penguins, Brent Burns and Raffi Torres in particular.
The win pushed the Sharks seven points above the hard-charging Kings, winners of six straight, with the California clubs seemingly destined to play each other in the first round of the playoffs.
Home ice is no small thing between those two, with the home team winning all seven games in their terrific second-round playoff series last spring. Mind you, the Sharks haven't given up trying to catch first-place Anaheim, either, with just five points separating them from the Ducks and to games remaining between the teams.
read on for notes from Burnside on the Canucks, Custance on the Avalanche and Strang on Caps/Bruins...
from Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
The story isn't Ryan Kesler. Not at all.
The Penguins swung hard and missed on Kesler. So give 'em credit for stepping to the plate — general manager Ray Shero always does — and let it go. Move on. The story isn't the big fish they did not land or the shrimp they pulled in to play on the top line.
Honestly, it's not about the star they did not get.
It's about the stars they still have.
Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal and Marc-Andre Fleury are the Penguins' highest-paid players (along with injured defenseman Paul Martin). Isn't it about time those guys did something other than fall apart and fail to produce in the biggest games of all?
STAMFORD, Conn. – March 2, 2014 -- NBC’s primetime coverage of last night’s NHL Stadium Series game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks (8-11:15 p.m. ET) from Soldier Field in Chicago registered a 2.1 overnight rating, making it the highest overnight ever on NBC for a non-Winter Classic NHL regular-season game, according to metered market data from The Nielsen Company.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
The troubling news for the faithful is Gillis seems intent on hitting a home run with Kesler. That means the proverbial roster player, prospect, first-round draft pick package which the team was seeking for Luongo, and we all know how that turned out. It doesn’t take a leap in logic to imagine the same script — as the noble Lui suggested — playing out with Kesler, and another botched trade would be a massive blow to this organization’s credibility.
But there’s also a slightly different feel about the market conditions this time around. Because the Eastern Conference is a study in mediocrity, virtually every team in a playoff spot can entertain visions of a long playoff run. Kesler, no matter what else he is, could be a difference-maker to those teams and, unlike Luongo, his contract isn’t a deal-breaker.
Of the suitors, Pittsburgh has the look of a potential match. They have the young centre the Canucks would need coming back in Brandon Sutter. They have prospects — hello, Derrick Pouliot. It’s also believed GM Ray Shero is seeking a return to the three-centre configuration (Sidney Crosby, Geno Malkin, Jordan Staal) they employed in their Stanley Cup years.
from Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, still unsure if he will play hockey again this season, shed light on the details of his stroke.
It was a scary time.
On the morning of Jan. 29, Letang's wife woke up to find him laying on the floor of the couple's bedroom. He was alert but knew something was wrong.
“I was not able to function,” he said.
Letang's mother-in-law is a nurse and was at their home at the time of his stroke, which stopped him from calling 911. He felt better enough later in the day to fly with the Penguins to Los Angeles.
But after a series of tests, it was determined that Letang had a stroke. He said he is still having “good days and bad days” and is still dealing with fatigue.
added 1:24pm, Watch below as Letand discusses his health and playing hockey again.
from Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated,
The stoic man behind the Team USA bench -- dark-framed glasses, arms folded across his chest, tight expression -- used to run naked around NHL dressing rooms banging on a Gatorade tub with a hockey stick to get his teammates pumped for the game.
He has co-authored four books, more than some hockey coaches have read.
He buried the Red Wings in the 2009 Stanley Cup finals months after landing his first -- and five years later -- only NHL head coaching job.
Eleven years earlier, he had buried a daughter he would never know.
These seemingly disparate threads weave into a rich tapestry of a man who deked coming out of college -- he interviewed with top-six accounting firms out of college and ended up a bottom-six forward -- and went top shelf in life. Dan Bylsma is not a Renaissance Man.
If Alex Ovechkin had as much star support as Sidney Crosby the Big 8 would leave The Kid in the dust.
-Stan Fischler of the Fischler Report where you can read more short topics...
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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