Kukla's Korner Hockey
By Tim Dolan,
The Keystone State will play host to the second and final Stadium Series game of 2017 on Saturday, February 25th, when the Penguins host the Flyers at Heinz Field. It will be the Penguins’ second appearance in the Stadium Series and first time hosting, and their inaugural game at Heinz Field is posting record ticket demand three weeks before puck drop.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Riddle me this, Batman.
Say you're the Washington Capitals, an outfit that a Western Conference GM recently told me was the "one true powerhouse'' in the NHL this year.
Or you're the Pittsburgh Penguins, who arguably are in a better position now to win a Stanley Cup than they were a year ago at this juncture, when they actually went on to win it.
And -- gulp -- you might just have to play each other in the first round of the playoffs.
If you're the GM of one of these two contenders -- two teams without any obvious weaknesses or holes in their lineup -- do you really need to add anything before the March 1 trade deadline?
"We've got good chemistry, which is important,'' Caps GM Brian MacLellan said Wednesday via phone. "It seems like our lines are all settled in here. Everyone is comfortable with their roles, the coaches are comfortable. So it has more the feel right now of something you don't want to mess with ... at all, in my mind, because it's running smooth right now. So I'd be more inclined to do nothing.
I alway enjoy the view...
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
The Canadiens were beaten at their own game as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday night at the Bell Centre.
“We weren’t sharp coming through the neutral zone and we fed their transition,” defenceman Jeff Petry said. “They play a fast transition game and you can’t give them the puck and have them coming at full speed through the neutral zone. That’s a tough thing to handle.”...
“The level of competition was not there,” said Therrien.
“We played a really good hockey team, the Stanley Cup champion. To have a chance, against a team like that, you have to compete. The focus wasn’t there tonight.”...
Goaltender Carey Price has given up three or more goals in eight of his last 10 starts and was a tad testy when asked if teams were targeting his blocker side.
Below, watch Price when asked about his 'blocker side' and catch the game highlights too.
from Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post,
Both teams had scored touchdowns — and extra points — so sudden death overtime had to settle it. The next goal would really be the winner.
And after a goal-scoring clinic, a bounce decided it. A shot by Pittsburgh’s Conor Sheary was initially stopped but then slowly dribbled past the goal line after going off the skate of Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen just 34 seconds into overtime, lifting the Penguins to an 8-7 win and snapping the Capitals’ season-best nine-game winning streak.
Was that one of the crazier games Justin Williams has been a part of in his 16-year career?
“Yep. Mm-hmmm,” the Capitals forward said.
“Yeah, that’s safe to say,” Capitals center Lars Eller agreed.
Watch all the goals below...
Evgeni Malkin's 3rd goal in the 2nd period in tonight's game against the Washington Capitals.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Tis the season, all right; the season of Sidney Crosby, who not only is dominating the NHL, but is doing so while re-ascending to hockey’s pedestal, a feat far more difficult than mounting it in the first place.
Few players have been knocked off the top rung the way Crosby had only to re-emerge as master of his domain. And this season, in which he had recorded 26 goals in 31 games entering Saturday after having been named MVP of both the 2016 Stanley Cup and World Cup, is one for the comparative ages.
This is Crosby’s 12th year. Gordie Howe, who had some staying power, won the 1957-58 Hart Trophy in his 12th season with Detroit. Bobby Hull had a statistical career year in his 12th season with Chicago, recording NHL career bests 58 goals, 49 assists and 107 points. Mario Lemieux had a 122-point season in 1996-97 and Wayne Gretzky led the NHL with 163 points and 122 assists in his 12th season, and third with LA, in 1990-91. Rocket Richard probably would have won the only Art Ross of his career in his 12th season if he hadn’t been suspended at the end of 1954-55 by NHL President Clarence Campbell for his stick-swinging rampage that presaged the Richard Riots in Montreal.
more on Crosby plue a few more topics...
from the Pittsburgh Penguins,
Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan has signed a three-year contract extension through the 2019-20 season, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
"Mike did the best coaching job in the NHL last season," Rutherford said. "He continues to be a terrific coach and we are happy to give him a well-deserved extension."
Since taking over a Penguins' team that sat outside of a playoff spot when he was hired on Dec. 12, 2015, the 48-year old Sullivan has:
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
Let's look at the big picture first. Coming off the Cup championship, the challenges of the summer, the challenge of trying to recreate things at a time in the season when it's not as stressful, has it been difficult to deal with it all? Has it been what you expected?
"We expected some challenges along the way. Maybe our early struggles of consistency was something we might have expected going into this and trying to make sure we focus our guys on a forward thinking mindset. This is a new season, a new challenge. We're a new team even though we have a lot of returning players. That's really the message we've been trying to send to our group, is having that forward thinking mindset and not necessarily looking in the rearview mirror. We've tried to take the lessons learned from the Stanley Cup experience, but by no means do we want to dwell on it. We want to move by it and look forward to this new challenge.
"I think the biggest challenge is and has been is just that reinvestment in how much of an investment it takes to win in this league. It's a real competitive league. It doesn't matter where a team sits in the standings; if your team going into a game is not ready to play from a mindset standpoint and a commitment standpoint, then you run the risk of getting beat on any given night regardless of who you play. That reinvestment day in and day out, game in and game out, is something we're really trying to challenge our guys with."
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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