Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
As bulge-battling defenceman Shane O’Brien attempts to hit his prescribed playing weight, consider that one size does not fit all in the Vancouver Canucks dressing room.
Perennial weight-watcher Kyle Wellwood is up in pounds and production since the 2010 Olympic break. Steve Bernier, 12 pounds trimmer this season, is having his worst NHL campaign. And general manager Mike Gillis’s focus on fitness is still working out the kinks in its second season.
“It’s trial and error for a long time,” said Wellwood, who is up eight pounds since last October, something that would normally indicate trouble if not for an up-tick in his game.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
...there also remains something disturbing about the play of the Canucks’ leaders as they prepare for the playoffs. Other teams — i.e. those who’ve won something — might be able to relax down the stretch without their fans going into a panic.
The Canucks, sadly, just haven’t earned that right.
Prior to Daniel’s goal, for example, the Sedins’ contributions had been uneven. Daniel got a gift when Salo’s shot from the point took a bizarre ricochet off the boards and right to the Canucks winger in the Avs’ crease. But, until the tying goal, they were largely ineffectual. Just prior to Daniel’s game-tying goal, the twins were booed off the ice after a series of turnovers during the man-advantage.
OK, they came back when it counted. But Henrik now has three assists in his last four games while he’s been battling Alex Ovechkin for the NHL scoring lead. The plain fact is Hank is now judged by a different standard — the standard which is applied to the game’s very best. And right now he isn’t measuring up.
from Ben Kuzma of The White Towel,
The Vancouver Canucks received good and bad news Tuesday.
The good news is Christian Ehrhoff is expected to recover from a left knee strain suffered Sunday in time to re-join the Northwest Division champions for the NHL playoffs next week. The bad news is shot-blocking specialist Ryan Johnson will miss four to six weeks after breaking his foot while blocking a shot in the same game against the Minnesota Wild.
from Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun,
Nearly three months after the hit, Willie Mitchell still has a headache. Now, the Vancouver Canucks have one, too.
Christian Ehrhoff’s sprained knee is a potentially critical blow to the Canucks, who were able to survive the severe concussion suffered by Mitchell on Jan. 16 but are ill-equipped to handle another major injury on their defence. Not with the National Hockey League playoffs starting next Wednesday.
The good news is Ehrhoff did not appear to be limping Monday as he left General Motors Place for further, off-site medical tests, and the initial indications are the knee damage he sustained Sunday night during a puck battle with Colorado’s Andrew Brunette is minor enough for the Canucks’ top blue-liner to be ready for the Stanley Cup tournament.
The bad news is Mitchell, who made one of his periodic check-ins at GM Place later Monday, is nowhere near playing. Mitchell declined to speak on the record about his condition, but is still bothered by headaches and unable to undergo any rigorous exercise.
from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,
It’s hard to say the Wild got the shaft after referees Dennis LaRue and Brad Meier awarded them eight power plays, of which the Wild only scored on the final one, BUT, the Wild got the shaft.
After the Wild shockingly forced overtime on goals by Cody Almond and Antti Miettinen 23 seconds apart in the final 42 seconds of the third period, Alex Burrows, the king embellisher in the NHL, drew a bogus penalty in overtime when he lifted Greg Zanon’s stick into his own face and then shot his head back like he was nailed by a Matt Cooke elbow.
Zanon was called for high-sticking even though Burrows essentially high-sticked himself. It’s clear as day on video.
The refs bit, the Canucks got a 4-on-3 power play and the Canucks won it on Sami Salo’s blast through traffic. So, basically, Burrows—as is his reputation—once again made a pair of refs look bad.
Now, this was not an easy call. In real time, the refs see Zanon’s stick in Burrows’ face, so it’s hard to blame LaRue and Meier. So here’s the solution: Burrows is a known diver, an embellisher and really I’m amazed refs ever give him the benefit of the doubt.
continued and I looked for a video of the play but no luck. Did anyone see it and if so, do you agree with Russo?
added 8:38am, You can watch the game recap at TSN which shows the penalty, although brief.
“I don’t think I have issues. I’m a single guy and I like to go out and have a good time every now and then. Do I need to pick my spots better? Maybe. This time of year definitely. When you go through something like that, you look at yourself in the mirror.
“I need to realize how lucky I am to be in the NHL and the privilege it is and you’ve got to be ready to go every night. Some days, I take that for granted and maybe enjoy myself too much. That’s just me, I guess.”
-Shane O’Brien of the Vancouver Canucks. More from Ben Kuzma of the White Towel a the Vancouver Province.
Vancouver may not need Luongo to be amazing in the postseason, but they need him to be good. Heck, at this point they will take average if it lasts a month.
—Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province where you can read more on Luongo.
via Pierre LeBrun tweet today,
Glass hit on Halpern last night in LA definitely blindside shot to the head IMO
Do you agree?
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,
First reports from the medical room indicated Burrows was hit in the trachea area. There was no need for him to be taken immediately to hospital. Not long after the shot, he was upright and breathing fine. The concern was with the swelling. In 2007, when Roberto Luongo was hit in the throat in Montreal, the swelling forced him to spend a night in hospital.
more on Vancouver injuries…
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,
Pavol Demitra skated on his own Wednesday morning, but it was tough to find his stride with heavy legs and a heavy heart.
A day after test results revealed that his wife, Maria, is on the road to recovery after another medical scare, the exhausted Vancouver Canucks winger revealed what it was like to deal with that uncertainty while missing sleep and the last four NHL games.
“We had 911 on the speed dial and she was in the hospital a couple of times,” said Demitra. “Obviously when you have to call 911, you’re very scared.”
While Demitra wouldn’t provide ailment details, his wife was also hospitalized in early February with a reaction to a prescription that initially looked like she may have a heart problem.
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