Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
It took Dan Bylsma less than an hour.
The Penguins coach quickly canceled Wednesday's practice after an underwhelming 3-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday.
If that performance wasn't enough to convince Bylsma his team is out of gas — and when veterans suggest “pride” and “passion” are lacking or that something is missing — statistics support the possibility.
Eight Penguins — Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz, James Neal, Matt Niskanen, Craig Adams, Tanner Glass and Jussi Jokinen — are receiving significantly more playing time this season compared to last season.
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
Greiss and the Coyotes prevented the Pittsburgh Penguins from clinching a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, which they would have secured with a win. We have no doubt the Pens will lock up a playoff spot soon and their seat atop the Metropolitan Division does not seem at risk -- they lead the second-place Rangers by 13 points -- but dropping five of the last seven games is no way to build momentum rounding the final turn before the playoffs.
The loss was also goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury's fifth straight; he has not recorded a win since a 32-save shutout against Washington on March 11. Fleury (34-17-4, 2.37 GAA, .915 SV PCT) has had a strong regular season for the Pens, but the last thing they need is his confidence to start waning now. He remains one of the biggest question marks for the Pens this spring. You have to wonder if he's been rattled by this recent stretch, having surrendered 16 goals in his last five starts.
read on for Burnside on the Coyotes, Custance on Tim Sassone and LeBrun on the Eastern Conference wild card race...
via the Situation Room Blog,
At 5:34 of the first period in the Phoenix Coyotes/Pittsburgh Penguins game, the NHL Situation Room initiated a review to determine if Jussi Jokinen's shot at 8:09 of the first period crossed the goal line. Video Review conclusively determined that the puck had crossed the goal line. According to Rule 78.6 "When a team scores an apparent goal that is not seen by the on-ice officials and play continues, the play shall be reviewed by the Video Goal Judge at the next stoppage of play. If the goal is confirmed by video review, the clock (including penalty time clocks, if applicable) is re-set to the time the goal was scored. Good Goal Pittsburgh. The clock was reset to 8:09.
Watch the goal below and notice the ref was in good position but did not see the puck go into the net...
By Tom Murray,
So there he was again last Thursday night, doing something dangerous, stupid and inexcusable.
We’re talking about James Neal, of course, the clueless forward for the Pittsburgh Penguins who continues to exhibit dangerous, stupid and inexcusable behavior, with impunity, because the NHL apparently has no interest in imposing a punishment that will even give him pause, never mind stop his reckless behavior.
For those who aren’t up to speed, in the second period of a game against Detroit Neal delivered a vicious crosscheck to the head of Wings forward Luke Glendening. He had plenty of time to think about what he was about to do, like maybe hitting his opponent cleanly. But that’s not how James rolls, is it? And why should he when the league keeps coming up with its laughably toothless responses? In this case it was a $5,000 fine. Chump change for a guy who pulls down a salary of $5 million a year. No hearing, no suspension, no real punishment.
Remember, this is the same guy who got a puny five games last December for going out of his way to deliver a knee to the head of Bruins forward Brad Marchand, who was on all fours at the time.
from Sam Kasan of PittsburghPenguins.com,
“I was on the ice today because I want to return,” Letang said. “I’ll be able to play again. I don’t know when.”
Head coach Dan Bylsma reiterated Letang’s status as being undetermined.
“It’s not like Paul Martin, who has an injury, a surgery and a date where he’s working back to get in the game. There’s no date to be determined for Kris,” Bylsma said. “Right now he’s back in a full practice. That’s a good thing.”
Despite the severity of his situation, Letang has no apprehension about returning to the ice.
“Even the day I had the stroke I asked the doctor when I would be able to play again,” Letang said. “It never crossed my mind that I could have a stroke at 26. It could (happen again) because it happened once. Who knows? I’m not going to worry about that.”
more and watch below, Letang talks with the media after practice....
from Rich Hofmann of the Philadelphia Daily News,
The in-their-heads question was asked a few times after the game. I don't think that's it. The Penguins have a lot of injuries these days, and the Flyers get full marks for taking advantage of them. Yes, they still have Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and that should win them a lot of games, but they are nicked and they know it. They'll be able to rationalize it.
This isn't about the Penguins' heads. It is about the Flyers' heads, and the lessons they seem to be learning about how good they can be.
"This weekend shows, the way we played, we can beat anybody when we play as a team and we work and every line is doing their job," said defenseman Kimmo Timonen, the seasoned voice of reason.
"Moving the right way, the right direction," Timonen said. "It's not easy to get four points out of this weekend - we all know that - but the way we've been playing, every line and Mase is playing really well. When we skate and we play as a team like that, these last two games, you're hard to play against - and we're going to win a lot of games."
via Dave Molinari tweets,
Bylsma says Letang "still has some other things to go through," but doesn't elaborate.
Bylsma says there is no target date for Letang to resume playing.
added 3:55pm, from Sam Kasan of the Penguins' website.
Letang, 26, suffered a stroke on Jan. 29 and has been out of the lineup since. He was on blood thinners for six weeks as part of his recovery period. Sunday marked the final day of that six-week period.
“We had an idea that at this point in time he could possibly be cleared to practice,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “He still has some other things to go through. He’s been working out, skating on his own and doing quite a bit on his own.
“To see Kris return to practice tomorrow will be a good thing for Kris, good thing for us.”
via Sam Kasan at the Penguins' website,
The bad news keeps rolling in for the Pens.
Head coach Dan Bylsma announced that forward James Neal is out indefinitely with a concussion following Friday’s practice at Southpointe.
“You don’t know if you’re talking about 1-2 days or much longer,” Bylsma told the media. “You hope the symptoms subside and it’s shorter than longer.”
Neal, 26, told the Penguins staff that he "wasn't feeling normal" Thursday morning. He met with doctors that afternoon and was diagnosed with the concussion.
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...
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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