Kukla's Korner Hockey
from ESPN’s Scott Burnside:
You really want to help eradicate the kind of senseless, potentially devastating hits to the head we’ve seen lately? Why not add a couple of tools to the referees’ tool box?
Referees are expected to call an interference or obstruction penalty if a player without the puck finds his progress impeded. Similarly, an interference call should be made when a player who has just had the puck is hit long after he’s given it up, because he’s being interfered with, right?
Moreover, if a referee had the ability to levy a major penalty for interference, if such a late hit warranted it, wouldn’t that be a good thing? Take the Cam Janssen hit on Tomas Kaberle—a hit that cost the Leafs their best defenseman for three weeks of the playoff drive. No penalty was called on the play, but if the referees had a major penalty for interference in their bag of tricks, it might have been employed then. More important, the implied threat of such a penalty might have given Janssen pause before he headhunted the unsuspecting Kaberle.
Even if Joel Lundqvist didn’t perform what Ren and Stimpy once called the “flying butt pliers” on Nik Kronwall’s hip, I’d say the same thing—these “run-‘em-‘cause-you-can” hits are senseless and silly.
Since when did “the code” say that “finishing your check” means “impale your opponent if at all possible?” Some sort of penalty for stupid “finishes” needs to reel in the Tootoos, Lundqvists, Janssens, and all the morons that believe that taking a run at a player is part of normal forechecking.
via the CP,
Tampa Bay Lightning Vincent Lecavalier is the first NHL player to hi the 50-goal plateau this season.
Lecavalier scored the fourth goal in Tampa Bay’s 4-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night.
Lecavalier also had two assists on the night. He is third in the league in scoring with 103 points.
from Lynn Zinser of the New York Times,
Avery was involved in high-profile altercations as a King, including one in which he made derogatory remarks about French Canadians and another in which he was accused by forward Georges Laraque, who is black, of making a racial slur. Avery denied that, but was suspended last year by the Kings for clashing with team officials and coaches.
With the Rangers, no such problems have emerged. He jokes easily with his teammates — often loudly and ruthlessly — and the laughs cut across the many nationalities of the team.
“Maybe some people don’t like it because he’s too personal,” said Jaromir Jagr, the Rangers’ captain. “He gives it to you, but he takes it, too. I laugh at it. Maybe somebody from other teams, they get mad because he told them something they don’t want to hear. Some guys are too sensitive. In our country, that’s normal. We’ve got the same kind of humor, like he does. He could be easily a Czech.”
more on Avery….
from Wes Goldstein at CBS Sportsline,
His numbers are down a bit, his team won’t make the playoffs and the rival he’ll likely spend his entire career being compared to has risen to greater heights. So why is it that nothing seems to be bothering Alexander Ovechkin these days?
“You know it’s been tough because we didn’t win, but it happens,” said the young Washington Capitals superstar. “We didn’t have much luck, but I think we’re going to move forward. I’m happy about that.”
fro Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
How close is it? Consider that as of Friday morning, with fewer than 75 games remaining on the schedule, only seven points separated the top 11 teams. Parity has been an NHL buzzword for years now, but the gap between Nos. 1 and 11 at season’s end generally fell between 18 and 25 points (the exception being 2004, the year before the lockout, when it was only 12 points).
There are a lot of teams on fire right now, including the Colorado Avalanche, which is 11-1-2 in its past 14 games and probably won’t make the playoffs, thanks to the Calgary Flames’ recent surge (five wins in a row and counting).
It begs the question: How important is it for a team to be playing well down the stretch, if it has Stanley Cup aspirations? Curiously, the answer is not that important at all.
more... plus hockey talk from all over the world…
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
The effervescent Brodeur not only exists on the side of light, but will also at some point become the greatest of all time while defying the age-old belief that a goaltender has to be partway crazy.
As longtime teammate Ken Daneyko put it, “He’s one of the normal goalies. He is what you see.”
High praise for a netminder.
“All of his motivations seem to be streaming from a positive pool of consciousness,” added longtime NHL netminder Glenn “Chico” Resch. “The guy’s life is almost too balanced. He doesn’t have anything where you think, ‘Oh, crazy goalie.’”
from Pierre McGuire at NBC Sports,
Detroit is now the No. 1 team in the Western Conference and it looks like the Red Wings will hold onto that position.
The Wings have talent, veteran presence, and one of the most amazing defensemen to have ever played the game in Nicklas Lidstrom. They also have one of the most underrated coaches in the NHL. Mike Babcock has done one of the best coaches jobs in the NHL….
Babcock can be in your face with his style, but it works. He brought a surprising Anaheim team to within one win of the Stanley Cup in 2003, has won the World Junior Hockey Championship for Canada, and the Men’s World Championship. His coaching pedigree is excellent, but for some reason Babcock never gets any praise.
more... including other NHL topics…
from Loose Change at the Hockey News,
Top 12 Signs Your Team Isn’t Going to Make the Playoffs:
12 Entire roster being fitted for toe tags
11 You live in a city that’s very windy.
10 Leading scorer traded for patio set
9 Fewer blood stains, more grass stains
from the Pittsburgh Penguins,
“You don’t play at 40 years old unless you take care of yourself. Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to come back and play at age 30 after two neck surgeries. I knew that the only way to do that was to change my lifestyle and change eating habits and my training routine,” he said. “I always worked hard, but not with much of a purpose. So, between the ages of 30 and 40, I have basically changed the way I live and it’s given me this opportunity to continue to play hockey, which I am thankful for.
“For me, it’s a quality of life change; it’s not something I do just because I play hockey. I know I feel better when I eat right and take care of myself. I recover a lot better and that’s why I am able to play at this age. It really is something that I enjoy doing, too,” he continued. “Once you stop enjoying the preparation part of it, that’s when you know you’ll be done because at 40 you have to do a little more preparation to be able to play. You need soft tissue work on your days off, cold tubs, extra nutrition. If you don’t do that, you’re not going to have any chance at more longevity.”
from On Frozen Blog,
Of course, our perceptions of these professions are premised on myth and an outsider’s necessarily flawed vantage. When you actually get a chance to talk to someone in them, markedly different realities are detailed for you. This was my experience recently in an entirely unplanned and altogether fortuitous exchange I had with a full-time NHL scout. From the moment I confirmed his identity I knew I wanted to pick his hockey head clean of its “a season in the life of” experiences and analyses, for his is a line of work long shrouded behind the scenes, in mystery even, by design.
In this scout I had not only a fertile and fruitful information source but an emblem of hockey’s most impassioned: you don’t go into hockey scouting because the loading gig at Home Depot didn’t come through, you scout — necessarily making unfathomable sacrifices on your personal life — because you possess in inexhaustable fire for life on ice, he told me. He didn’t merely answer my questions in rich detail but created compositions with my readers’ perceived curiosity foremost in mind. He asked of me only that I preserve his anonymity and that of his NHL employer. I happily obliged.
read on... Take some time out today and read both parts of the interview, great stuff…
Thanks to a KK reader for the pointer…
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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