Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
The United States’ women’s national team is close to ratifying an offer from USA Hockey which would put an end to 15 months of negotiation and their boycott of this week’s IIHF Women’s World Championship.
The 23 members of the women’s national team began procedures to vote on the latest offer from USA Hockey just before noon ET on Tuesday, according to sources.
The two sides left not a moment to spare, with the United States set to face Team Canada on Friday night in Plymouth, Mich., to open the tournament.
While details of the latest offer from USA Hockey remain unclear at the moment, the women’s national team program is believed to have won an increase in compensation, including in non-Olympic years, as well as other important working condition benefits for which they have been fighting.
I will update this post as needed.
Time to catch up.
If the playoffs started today, which team would be the favorite to win the Stanley Cup?
Craig Custance: It's the Washington Capitals. Without a doubt. I'm not letting franchise history that has nothing to do with this current group cloud reality. This is the best team in the NHL. They're deep in every position. They have a franchise center in Nicklas Backstrom turning in a Hart-worthy season. They have a game-breaker in Alex Ovechkin. Yes, they have the burden of disappointing playoffs from the past, but they're good enough to overcome it. The San Jose Sharks had to deal with the same issues and that didn't stop them from advancing to the Stanley Cup finals last year. I expect a similar and better breakthrough for the Capitals this spring.
Scott Burnside: It's been fashionable for many springs to pick the Capitals to win their first Stanley Cup. Hasn't happened. In fact, as is often repeated, since Ovechkin joined the team in 2005-06, the team has never advanced beyond the second round. Shocking but true. That streak ends this spring. And for me, it doesn't matter whether they finish first in the Metropolitan Division or not. Too deep. Too ready. The fact they will likely earn the Presidents' Trophy for a second straight year is just further reason to pick the Caps. But I'd pick them regardless.
continue for more opinions....
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
The rise of analytics — in particular the statistic known as Corsi, which measures five-on-five shot attempts — owes a great deal to the fact that the best teams by that measure typically make the playoffs.
The NHL even says so in the introduction to what it calls Enhanced Stats and Shot Attempts Percentage Close, another term for Corsi.
But not this year.
Some of the best Corsi teams are not making the playoffs, starting with the leader: the Los Angeles Kings, who sit at 54.24 per cent. That is to say the Kings, for every 100 shot attempts (including blocks and misses), typically outshoot opponents 54-46. In other words, they carry the play.
from A.J. Perez of USA TODAY,
An agreement between USA Hockey and the members of the U.S. women's national hockey team wasn't ratified on Monday, although there remains some hope a deal could be worked out before the IIHF Women's World Championships begin later this week.
Monday's emergency board meeting didn't yield a deal that would mark the end of the threatened boycott by the 23 players, and negotiations are expected to continue on Tuesday, two people with knowledge of the content of the meetings who are not authorized to speak publicly told USA TODAY Sports.
About 70 of the 90 members of USA Hockey's board of directors took part in the meeting held via teleconference, which lasted more than three hours.
from Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times,
As much resilience as the Lightning has shown recently, this looked pretty darn bleak.
Like season-over bad.
With any loss potentially crippling Tampa Bay's perilous playoff hopes, it fell behind 4-1 midway through Monday's showdown with the Blackhawks. The Lightning's No. 1 goalie, Andrei Vasilevskiy, had already been pulled and re-inserted into the game. The large portion of red-clad Chicago fans drowned out the sellout crowd of 19,092 at Amalie Arena.
Cooper summed up the feeling perfectly: "This (stinks).'"
But the Lightning didn't sink. It surprised — again —roaring back for a thrilling 5-4 overtime win over Chicago. Tampa Bay's third consecutive come-from-behind victory was a significant swing in the standings. It pulled the Lightning one point ahead of the Islanders and within one point of Boston for the final wild-card spot with seven games to go.
"We didn't quit," Cooper said. "We just kept hanging around, hanging around, hanging around."
Said wing Yanni Gourde: "We knew we could come back. We've got the firepower."
Gourde, a rookie who was in the ECHL just a few years ago, was the unlikely hero, scoring the overtime winner on a breakaway with just under a minute to go.
Watch the game highlights below...
Home Team in Caps
Detroit 4, CAROLINA 3 (OT)
BUFFALO 4, Florida 2
Nashville 3, NY ISLANDERS 1
TAMPA BAY 5, Chicago 4 (OT)
ST. LOUIS 4, Arizona 1
CALGARY 4, Colorado 2
LIGHTNING MOUNT COMEBACK, CLOSE GAP IN EASTERN CONFERENCE
Jonathan Drouin (2-0—2) and Anton Stralman (1-1—2) combined for three goals in a span of 4:39 in the second period and Yanni Gourde scored the first overtime goal of his career (15 GP) to help the Lightning overcome a 4-1 deficit and earn their third straight victory.
* Tampa Bay (37-29-9, 83 points) moved within a point of Boston (39-30-6, 84 points) and two points of Toronto (35-24-15, 85 points) – whom they will visit on April 4 and 6, respectively – for third place in the Atlantic Division.
* Nikita Kucherov (0-2—2) registered multiple points for the fifth straight game (7-4—11). Kucherov (38-42—80) has recorded career-highs in goals, assists and points, and moved into a share of fourth in League scoring with Brad Marchand (37-43—80). Elias notes that Kucherov is the first Lightning player with five straight multi-point games since Steven Stamkos accomplished the feat from Feb. 9 - March 2, 2010 (5-6—11 in 5 GP).
* Per Elias, Tampa Bay overcame a three-goal deficit to win for the first time since Nov. 6, 2011 (4-3 W vs. FLA).
* Victor Hedman (0-3—3) recorded three assists for the fourth time this season to reach the 50-assist plateau for the first time in his career (15-50—65).
“I’ve been in this business too long to make predictions either on timing or anything else, I think at this point, we have to wait and see how it plays out. I think, however, if we end up not going, the reaction from the players’ side — across the board — is not going to be a good one. And my guess is it’s going to last for a very long time.”
-Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHLPA. Michael Traikos of the National Post has more on this topic.
The NHL explanation.
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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