Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times,
The Lightning blueline was delivered another big blow Monday as veteran defenseman Jason Garrison will be out 3-4 weeks with an upper-body injury, coach Jon Cooper said this morning.
Garrison, who suffered the injury early in Saturday's game, had gone back to Tampa to get re-evaluated Sunday. That means Garrison could miss the first round of the playoffs.
But that's not all.
Cooper said All-Star center Tyler Johnson is out tonight - and is day-to-day - with an upper body injury, defenseman Andrej Sustr is out 1-2 weeks with an upper body injury. The most amazing thing is that center Cedric Paquette, who looked to suffer a serious left leg injury Saturday, skated in today's practice and is a game-time decision.
Every team deals with injuries, but this is just awful timing for Tampa Bay, which enters tonight's showdown in Montreal just three points behind the Canadiens for the Atlantic Division lead.
from Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times,
Tampa Bay will be in the playoffs. The biggest question that remains is how far it can go once it gets there.
In one word: deep.
This team is noticeably better — and more playoff-ready — than the one that got swept in the first round by the Canadiens last April.
"It's night and day," coach Jon Cooper.
The difference starts in net. Had Ben Bishop, a Vezina Trophy finalist last year, not dislocated an elbow shortly before last year's playoffs, Tampa Bay might have had a different fate. Sure, Bishop doesn't have playoff experience, but with him and touted rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy as his backup, Cooper feels like he has two No. 1s.
There's also better depth. Tampa Bay, the league's highest-scoring team, can wear teams down by rolling four lines. The "Triplets" — Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov — form one of the most productive, dynamic lines in the league. Steven Stamkos has 40 goals. Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said the Lighting's third line is like a first line. And fourth-line center Brian Boyle has 15 goals. Usually in the playoffs secondary scoring is vital, and few teams have more of it than Tampa Bay. Every forward is a threat and responsible defensively.
Paqueette was helped off the ice and no update yet on the injury.
added 5:13pm, Video of the injury is below...
from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,
We have no idea what it means down the road, including the playoff road. But Sunday might have been a big step for the Lightning. It might even go down in franchise lore.
The Night Stammer Brought Down The Bear.
The Lightning finally beat the big, bad Boston Bruins, 5-3. Do not try to adjust your sports column. That really happened Sunday night at Amalie Arena.
But how it happened, or began to happen, was the real story.
Bolts captain Steven Stamkos has 273 NHL goals. He has two NHL fights. But one of the fights came Sunday, when Stamkos squared off with Bruins king rat Brad Marchand in the first period.
Stamkos dropped the gloves, and his giddy, energized teammates nearly instantly scored a knockout, scoring twice inside of a minute as Stamkos was in the penalty box. No. 91 didn’t register on the score sheet, just in hearts and minds.
“I just felt at that moment, it was the right thing to do,” Stamkos said.
Watch the fight below...
from Travis Yost of TSN,
... most interestingly are the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team that’s been beating the doors off of everyone at even-strength this year. Recall that the Bolts currently sit second in Score-Adjusted Fenwick% at 53.9%, which is highly indicative of sound future performance, with two dominant lines. It’s not a team we would ever expect to struggle on the power-play or penalty kill, but they have struggled; mightily.
Make no mistake, this is an area of significant concern for Jon Cooper’s team. Their -35.7 per 60 shot differential at special teams would be the worst number of any playoff club in the analytics era, which stems back to the 2007-2008 season. In fact, only four teams – out of 112 who have made it during this ‘era’ – have posted negative shot differentials in the double digits. None were even close to Tampa Bay 2014-2015. And, it’s not as if either unit is worse than the other on this front – the power-play is ranked 30th in the league, the penalty kill 29th.
Tampa Bay’s even-strength dominance is very much a trump card, and the fact that Steven Stamkos and Ben Bishop are two fantastic special teams weapons is obviously notable. Still, their individual skill may not be able to cover what seems to be an obvious systemic flaw – especially when the competition stiffens.
Still the only woman to play in an NHL exhibition game, Hockey Unlimited catches up with Manon Rheaume and her hectic days training her two goalie sons.
SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov today formally announced his retirement from the game of hockey, completing 14 stellar seasons in the National Hockey League – ten of which he spent as a member of the San Jose Sharks.
Nabokov, 39, holds nearly every major San Jose Sharks franchise goaltending record, including: games played (563), wins (293) and shutouts (50).
“Growing up in Kazakhstan in the 1980’s, I never could have dreamed of making it to the NHL and playing against the best players in the world,” said Nabokov. “I’m really proud to be able to finish my career where I started in San Jose and where I had my best years. This is my home and this is where my heart is.”
Nabokov finishes his remarkable career ranked 18th on the NHL’s all-time wins list (353), 17th in shutouts (59) and 25th in games played by a goaltender (697).
SAN JOSE, CA – San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the team has acquired goaltender Evgeni Nabokov from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for future considerations.
Originally drafted by San Jose in the ninth round (219th overall) of the 1994 NHL Draft, the 39-year old Nabokov holds nearly every San Jose Sharks franchise goaltending record, including: games played (563), wins (154) and shutouts (50).
Nabokov will make an announcement regarding the future of his hockey career on Wednesday, February 11 at SAP Center at Noon. More information to follow.
Matinez won't return to the game, upper-body injury.
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.
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