Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jim Hughson of CBC,
After last Saturday’s 3-1 win in Calgary, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said, “For the first time all year we were a five-man unit, we made some nice plays. It was impressive. We looked like a hockey team.”
That served as an ominous warning to the league that, despite a slow start, reports of the Wings demise are rather premature.
The Wings returned home and dispatched the Bruins 2-0 then beat San Jose 2-1 in a game they deserved to win before the shootout. They’ve won three in a row and four of five.
So what’s got the winged wheel rolling straight again?
continued and a look at the HNIC matchup tomorrow between the Leafs and Wings.
from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,
Tonight, the Leafs and Hurricanes, boasting two of the league’s worst offences, will clash in a battle for the basement in the NHL and Carolina coach Paul Maurice thinks he knows what will happen.
“(It will be) 9-8, that’s the prediction,” he said with a smirk. “They’re going to try and manufacture goals, just like we will.”
Ron Wilson, his Toronto counterpart, was incredulous.
“If he wants to give up eight or nine goals, we’ll take that right now,” said Wilson. “He hasn’t watched us play much if he thinks we’re capable right now of scoring eight or nine goals.”
There is a sense among the Leafs, both the players and management, that they are heading in the right direction with points in five consecutive games.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Now that the all the hype and hoopla are over, here are 10 things we learned about Phil Kessel last night from his Maple Leafs debut—one for every shot he had on net.
1. In recent weeks there have been suggestions that the deal to bring Kessel to the Maple Leafs for two first-rounders and a second-round pick might be one of the worst in franchise history.
After Phil The Thrill’s electrifying performance last night, can we put a temporary gag order on such talk please? It is far too early to make such claims. And, after watching Kessel oozing his raw offensive skills last night, you can see why general manager Brian Burke paid such a heavy price to land this talented kid, who has yet to reach his 23rd birthday.
If the Leafs finish dead last and the Boston Bruins get the top overall selection in a deep 2010 draft, the criticism will be legit. But let’s at least give Kessel a chance to prove he’s worthy of Burke’s risky gamble.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Ron Wilson feels head shots should be banned, even if contact is made with the shoulder.
And that goes for the hit delivered by Andrew Ladd of the Chicago Blackhawks, who flattened an unaware Matt D’Agostini of the Montreal Canadiens during the Hawks’ 3-2 victory Friday.
“(Ladd) was trying to rip his head off,” Wilson, the Maple Leafs coach, said yesterday.
“You should not be allowed to target the head. That’s not a clean hit.”
via Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
But the losing and the Phil Kessel speculation is clearly grating on Wilson.
“Phil hasn’t played in six months,” Wilson said after Saturday night’s loss in Montreal, when innocently asked a legitimate question about Kessel’s status. “I know everybody is going to think he’s going to score six goals on the first night. I don’t expect that, if he does play on Tuesday. We’ve just got to remember that he hasn’t played in six months. He hasn’t even had an exhibition game or anything under his belt, so we’ll be very patient when he does play.”
Wilson knows that no one expects Kessel to be much help for the first month, much less that he would have a Darryl Sittler night in his debut as a Leaf. But the coach is on edge.
So, what’s really bugging him?
How about the fact his general manager, Brian Burke, made way too much noise about the Maple Leafs being a playoff team. But then the season started, and now it’s Wilson who has to stand in front of the microphones every day and answer for a roster that Burke oversold.
from Jonas Siegel of am640,
Phil Kessel is taunting the possibility.
He taunts it with a no-look pass.
He taunts it with a bullet from the left circle.
He taunts it with his bursts of speed.
But make no mistake that for all the taunting possibilities, the Leafs would be simply foolish to rush Kessel back this soon.
from Gary Loewen of the Toronto Sun,
Vesa Toskala: Don’t you get the feeling this guy would be really good at dodgeball?
Lee Stempniak: A capable point man on the power play ... who knew?
The Frat Pack: A sharp-looking line during pre-season, Viktor Stalberg, Tyler Bozak and Christian Hanson have been reunited ... with the Marlies. For now they’re the Drat Pack, but they’re in the right spot.
Tomas Kaberle: Say what you like about his teeter-totter play from one game to the next, but don’t you just want to pinch those rosy cheeks?
Mikhail Grabovski: Has the tremendous ability to go 100 m.p.h. without actually getting anywhere.
Colton Orr & George Parros battled last night and Orr basically ‘tells’ the linesman, don’t break us up yet.
I was watching the Ducks TV feed of the game and they pointed out the officials didn’t make a big deal of the push from Colton Orr.
I will let the video tell the story.
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org