Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Nine wins, no Tys. Man, if there was a comeback player of the year or month award, Ty Conklin would be right up there.
It’s like he’s had an out-of-body experience, going from can’t play to, until last night, can’t lose.
It’s not a leap of faith to suggest that the former Edmonton Oilers goalie may have saved the season for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who were spinning their wheels with goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, before he needed ankle surgery, which put him on the shelf for two months.
continued, plus NHL talk from both conferences…
from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
The NHL routinely uses the American Hockey League as a test site for potential rules changes, and there is an interesting one getting a look-see this season.
It calls for all power plays to start with a faceoff in the defensive zone of the team that is killing the penalty. Previously, the location of the faceoff was determined by where play was blown dead and could have been anywhere on the ice.
The obvious intention of the change is to give the power play a head start on applying pressure that could lead to a goal.
“It’s to create offense, certainly,” Penguins general manager Ray Shero said. “That’s what it’s for. Everything is about creating offense.”
Assistant GM Chuck Fletcher, who serves as GM of the Baby Penguins, has given the rule an unqualified endorsement and clearly would like to see it adopted by the NHL.
more on the Pens…
Ovechkin and Jordan Staal wore microphones during a recent game against each other…
Watch the video…
Sidney Crosby will grace the cover of the January 14th edition of Men’s Fitness.
Jarkko Ruutu and Darcy Tucker had a great middleweight fight last night that seemed to send a wake-up call to the Pens.
Empty Netters has a breakdown of the game if interested.
from the National Post,
Canadians may not know his name, but they know his voice. They have been listening to it for decades accompanying highlights of the Pittsburgh Penguins, describing the action on the ice with non-sequiturs such as “scratch my back with a hacksaw,” and “buy Sam a drink - and get his dog one, too.”
Mike Lange does not always make sense. And it has taken years of practice.
Images, if they resonate with you enough, can stick in your brain for quite some time. They stop being just vivid clips running through your brainwaves and become an indelible imprint on your memory. Folks, that image of the 20-year old “Hockey Savior” beating the Michigan State-trained goaltender in a skills competition, sarcasm aside, will be in my brain for many days and months, perhaps years, to come.
Often, when my mind is so aware something is coming, it becomes my mere focus, and I can do little but ponder it. It makes it very difficult to sleep. Perhaps you know the feeling, hockey fans. It’s the first or last day of school. For puckheads, opening night of the playoffs, or perhaps game one or two or three or six or seven of the Stanley Cup Finals.
from Bob DiCesare of the Buffalo News,
The NHL has constantly grappled, and without much success, over how best to sell hockey in the United States. It emerged from the lockout of three seasons ago with a new set of rules and promises of strict enforcement. But enforcement waned and scoring diminished and the sport returned to the stranglehold of coaches with defensive bents, spoiling the game’s natural beauty and attraction.
The league needs to find ways to extract and emphasize the talents of its gifted players and capture the imaginations of its fans. The winning shootout goal scored by Crosby fit the script. But the 65 minutes of rag-tag hockey it took to reach that point did little to enhance the league’s allure.
added 8:10am, from The Good, The Bad and The Duthie,
Heck, NHL iceman Dan Craig got more face-time than Crosby.
At one point, he was out there so long, fixing that nasty hole, I thought he was just going to build a shack and drop a fishing line down.
They really should have mic’d him:
“Who’s M@*&!! F*$*#%!? idea was this?!?!?”
But while it must have been a nightmare for Craig and the ice crew (who, all things considered, did an amazing job), the spectacle was something to behold.
You can watch highlights of the game again or for the first time if you were busy watching football.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The delirious 71,217 fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium, almost all of whom stayed in their seats until the NHL’s brightest star, Sidney Crosby, scored the last goal of the shootout to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 2-1 win, made it official - the league’s second outdoor game, dubbed the Winter Classic, was a roaring success.
There was snow, which ranged from light to heavy, but it was never heavy enough to present a serious problem. There were winds, but not as strong as the weather forecasters predicted. And the temperatures stayed around freezing, making conditions for the game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Penguins as close to perfect as possible for an outdoor game.
Update 8:16pm ET: From Scott Burnside at ESPN, grading the Winter Classic on the crowd, the weather, the warm ups, and so on.
Update 8:32pm ET: Adam Proteau at The Hockey News, pronounces the Winter Classic a success.
Update 10:33pm ET: The “Perfect Snowstorm” says the NY Times.
note: photo credit belongs to Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images
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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