Kukla's Korner Hockey
Matthew Barnaby and Steve Kouleas talked about a possible rift between Sidney Crosby and Mario Lemieux today on SiriusXM NHL Network Radio.
You can listen to the short blurb below...
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
For six consecutive years, Sidney Crosby has been ranked the No. 1 NHL player on TSN’s Top 50 list, but the Pittsburgh Penguins star is not even among the NHL’s Top 125 scorers through the first quarter.
Crosby’s sudden plunge in productivity makes him the NHL’s biggest individual disappointment at the quarter pole of the season. The second quarter officially begins Monday night with game No. 308 of 1,230 when Buffalo hosts St. Louis.
Crosby, 28, has been held pointless in 13 of 20 games and is on pace for just 41 points. For perspective: Crosby netted 37 points in just 22 games in 2011-12 while battling post-concussion symptoms. In his last 61 games under Mike Johnston, Crosby has been kept off the scoresheet in nearly half (27) the games.
There has been no shortage of theories on what ails Crosby, ranging from a poor fit with Johnston’s system, to Crosby playing more of a perimeter game, to age suddenly catching up with Crosby’s once tireless legs. There was even a focus on Crosby breaking sticks in key moments of games with open nets – it has been that perplexing.
His struggles may well be a combination of all those distinctions. One fact is undeniable: Crosby does not seem happy.
continued plus more NHL topics...
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
"It’s a joke,” Dubnyk said of this one. “I just don’t understand it. That’s two now I don’t understand. I mean even the explanations don’t make sense. He tells me that the first play would have been no goal because it’s goalie interference, yet the only reason the goal happens was because of the first play for starters, which makes no sense. Then he tells me that I was on my stomach not knowing where the puck was, which was true until Hornqvist just decided to start digging underneath me when the puck was nowhere to be found, which he’d been doing all night. Turned me on my side, eventually my back and the puck ends up in the net. I’ve seen calls where a guy gets his hand touched and they call it no-goal and I’ve had two now where the explanations don’t make sense. I don’t know. I don’t understand it, and it changes the game, so it’s frustrating how they can watch the play over and over and over again, …
“You watch Hornqvist. He just starts digging, and the puck’s not there. He did it all night. … I mean Hornqvist is an effective a player as it is. If they’re going to let him do what he wants, he’s going to be even more effective. That’s exactly what he wants. It’s disappointing because we’re comfortable in a 2-1 hockey game and that opens it up a little bit. It’s just confusing.”
more on the play and game...
from Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
In these parts, if you're not scoring, you're boring. The Penguins are boring. They don't score anymore. They are 27th in the NHL in goals per game (2.06) after finishing 19th last season. If that doesn't change real soon, Johnston, fairly or not, likely will go the way of King Con and Mad Mike (who, ironically, has a high-scoring team in Montreal).
I'm not saying Johnston should go. I'm saying he probably will if this movie doesn't stop putting people to sleep.
I asked him if he feels a mandate to not only win but provide an entertaining product.
“We are in the entertainment business,” Johnston said. “But part of the entertainment is winning. That is the bottom line. That should be the bottom line for us as players, coaches, ownership. ... It's all about winning. We're finding ways to win games.”...
This feels like a big four-game homestand for Johnston, beginning Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild (run by Shero's former right-hand man, Chuck Fletcher). If I were Johnston, I'd be sweating hockey pucks about now. His team is no fun to watch. It doesn't score anymore.
“I never worry or even think about job security,” Johnston said. “I think about our game, how are we playing.”
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
The Penguins (10-7-0) have never seemed happy - or even on the right page this season, not even after ripping off nine wins in a 10-game stretch from Oct. 15 to Nov. 6. No sense of accomplishment, or that the Penguins had righted the ship after a 0-3 start, emanated from their locker room.
That might be because even when the Penguins were winning, they seemed to be doing so on the back of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, with little offence and turnover-ridden defensive zone play. Only two of those wins were against quality competition: in overtime against Nashville and in Washington on a night in which they were badly outplayed for 50 minutes.
“It’s not only goals. It’s bad penalties, turnovers. It’s not play right in systems,” Malkin said Saturday. “It’s not just on the goalie. Yeah, it’s always better if you score. But we can score and play right and not make bad mistakes.”
The wins piling up only seemed to mask the underlying issues, which have reared their head in the last four games.
Pittsburgh’s offence is 27th in the NHL. Their power play is ranked 29th, with coach Mike Johnston breaking up Sidney Crosby and Malkin onto separate units last game, only to say they “didn’t generate a lot.”
The Penguins are 24th in high-danger scoring chances allowed per-game, according to war-on-ice.com. Fleury’s sterling .931 save percentage has bailed the out.
more plus additional hockey topics...
from Jonathan Bombulie of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
There are nights when the puck doesn't go in the net. Nights when the neutral zone is clogged. Nights when passes hit skates rather than tapes.
Sidney Crosby can live with those. That's a matter of execution.
He can't live with games like Saturday night's, though, a decisive 4-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils. This one, Crosby, said, was a matter of effort.
“We didn't compete,” Crosby said, exasperated, searching for words. “We didn't deserve to win.”
His teammate, Evgeni Malkin, shared Crosby's sentiments.
“We're not playing right,” Malkin said. “We're not working hard. I know it's tough right now. We're mad at each other. We need to stop, look in the mirror and start working. We're not working.”...
As a result, they held a players-only meeting after the game.
Coach Mike Johnston understood why the meeting was called.
“Everybody that's at this level, they're pro athletes. They recognize when their effort wasn't there, their execution wasn't there,” Johnston said. “Usually they respond. I expect we'll respond to it.”
I can’t stand to watch the Penguins anymore. But I also can’t stand to watch other NHL games, whether in person or plopped on the couch. And it absolutely kills me to type that onto my screen while looking down from this press box at the ice that just witnessed three total goals, 57 shots, 21 shot attempts that missed the net and 30 others that were blocked.
-Dejan Kovacevic of DKPittsburghSports where you can read much more on this topic.
thanks to a KK member for the pointer
via the Pittsburgh Penguins,
Pens forward Pascal Dupuis will not play tonight against the Edmonton Oilers.
Dupuis was taken to the hospital as a precaution prior to the game after experiencing symptoms that may or may not be related to his blood clot history.
“We’ve said all along that Pascal’s health is the highest priority,” general manager Jim Rutherford said. “We will take every precaution necessary to ensure he is in good health.”
The team will have no further comment at this time.
update 7:23am 11/7/15, via Empty Netters,
-First things first, right winger Pascal Dupuis' tests for blood clot symptoms were negative. He was able to leave the hospital and be at Rexall Place. He even celebrated with his teammates as they came off the ice.
-According to head coach Mike Johnston, Dupuis will skip tomorrow's game in Calgary as a precaution and will be reevaluated in Pittsburgh.
In six seasons with the Leafs, Kessel had 181 goals, 394 points and played in 446 games.
In 7 playoff games, he had 4 goals and 2 assists.
from David Alter of the National Post,
He was the team’s leading scorer and never missed a game throughout his six seasons in Toronto. But when Phil Kessel takes on the Leafs tonight, there will be no acknowledgement of his service over the previous six seasons as a member of the Blue and White.
“Management or game ops will not be commenting on the decision to not acknowledge a former player during the game tonight” said a Leafs spokesperson.
The decision is an interesting one, given the tradition of acknowledging the return of a former player or staff member marking their return to the building for the first time, particularly the size of the contribution Kessel has made.
Last season, the team drew much criticism when the players’ elected not to salute the fans following a 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Unlike that decision, this one was made by Maple Leafs management.
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