Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
The Penguins looked very much like a team playing just its second game in nine days against one of the worst hockey clubs in the NHL on a nondescript Monday night in January in the middle of a long season in which they are running away with the league's Metropolitan Division.
That's a long way of saying the Penguins were disinterested and stunk in a 5-1 loss to the Florida Panthers at Consol Energy Center.
All teams -- even the better teams -- have a few really rotten nights in an 82-game schedule.
I know it happens.
There is no reason to panic.
But who saw this coming?
Russian hockey star Evgeni Malkin has told R-Sport that he reassured his Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Sidney Crosby the Sochi Olympics will be safe..
Some sports stars have expressed concern over security at the February 7-23 Games after 32 people were killed last month in two bomb attacks in the nearby city of Volgograd.
"He's definitely a bit wary about the Olympics due to the events that happened, due to the explosions in Volgograd, and in Chechnya there are always blasts," Malkin told R-Sport on Thursday, referring to Crosby.
"That's the question that worries them (NHL players) the most: Will it be safe in Sochi or not? But other than that, everyone's burning to get to Russia, to play the Olympics, although they're worried about security. But I've told them that everything will be OK, that they shouldn't worry," he said.
The host city and Olympic venues are surrounded with various stringent security measures aimed at preventing disruption and terrorist attacks in a city located near Russia's restive North Caucasus provinces.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Shero made a big push for reinforcements at last year’s trading deadline, in the hopes of getting the Penguins over the top, but in an extensive conversation with him the other day in Edmonton, it didn’t sound as if he wanted to go down that path again, if at all possible. Shero essentially said that you can’t continue to deplete your organization of young assets or the chance to replace young assets through the draft every single year at the deadline.
And while he didn’t get up a single top prospect in moves that landed him Jarome Iginla, Brendan Morrow and others, you get the sense that if the Penguins have all remaining hands on deck through Mar.5, they may not be all that active this year at the deadline, even though there is currently a big gap on Crosby’s right side, thanks to the season-ending injury to Pascal Dupuis. For the moment, minor-league call-up Brian Gibbons is getting a crack at playing with Crosby and Chris Kunitz. Physically, Gibbons is cut from the Brian Gionta mold – tiny, but quick and skilled. Gibbons was leading the baby Penguins in scoring when he got the call and though his ice time has varied, and had a modest six points in his first 13 games, playing just over 11 minutes per night.
Unlike last season, where there was a limited supply of rental players available at the trading deadline, this year, the shopping list for any GM looking for reinforcements will be deeper – the likes of Ales Hemsky (Edmonton), Michael Cammalleri (Calgary) or Matt Moulson (Buffalo) all likely will be offered into the market. On paper, Hemsky looks as if he could be a fit on either of the Penguins’ top lines, a skilled and competitive player with a deep desire to win. Cammalleri had a sensational series for the Montreal Canadiens when they knocked off the Penguins in the second round of the 2010 playoffs and they have a good scouting report on Moulson, having faced him for years now when they played the New York Islanders.
more plust other NHL topics...
Sidney Crosby answered questions from hosts Scott Oake and Craig Simpson plus responded to questions from fans.
from Aaron Vickers at NHL.com,
Giordano was carrying the puck up the boards near center ice when Bortuzzo stepped up and delivered a crushing blow to the Flames captain. Giordano took several minutes to get back to his feet as a scrum ensued. Bortuzzo was assessed a match penalty on the play.
"It's right there," Crosby said. "I'm not sure if he catches his shoulder or head. I've seen [Bortuzzo] step up a lot like that. The way he hits, it looks bad. He's a good guy. He gets low when he hits.
"I didn't see if there was exactly contact to the head or not. We saw a quick replay. It's hard to tell. Obviously the officials are well aware to try to get those hits out of the game, but that's a tough one to tell when it's that quick and two guys are coming that quickly together."
more on the game and watch the hit below...
“If you're going to try and play hockey like the Harlem Globetrotters, you're going to get burned. We continue to make the same mistakes, go for the same highlight reel plays.
“That might look good on the highlight reels every now and then, but it's not a formula for winning.”
-Rob Scuderi of the Pittsburgh Penguins after losing in Edmonton last night. More on the Penguins from Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
from Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
No, it's not a perfect team. Yes, Ray Shero has work to do. But whether it's Evgeni Malkin's Mario-like return from injury Sunday or James Neal scoring with or without Malkin, or Chris Kunitz joining Neal as a richly deserving candidate for Team Canada, or summertime afterthought Matt Niskanen's plus-21 rating and winning blast past Al Montoya on Sunday, or Olli Maatta looking as poised as any 19-year-old defenseman in these parts since … um, never, it just seems to me this is a season worth appreciating so much more than it has been.
“Yeah, we've kind of noticed that,” Niskanen was saying after the game. “I understand it, too. I think we've all felt the way the fans are feeling with how stuff went down last summer. We felt there was more to this group, too.”
He was referring, of course, to being swept out of the Eastern Conference final by Boston, a still-festering memory that beyond a doubt is most responsible for all this blah. Even all this time, no goals seem to matter except all those that weren't scored against Tuukka Rask.
“I understand where the fans are coming from,” Niskanen continued. “But I think there might also be a few that are a little bit spoiled and expect us to win every game. That's OK. We have high expectations, too. But it's hard to win in this league. Really is.”
“We're doing that right now. We're winning. And you'd better believe we're enjoying it.”
If you missed how the injury occurred, you can watch it here...
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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