Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
A downtown department store in a major Canadian city is bound to be a madhouse during the holiday shopping season.
But it is nothing compared to a public appearance by Alexander Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals superstar and the worldwide face of hockey.
That much was proved yesterday at the Olympic boutique inside The Bay in downtown Vancouver, as roughly 1,000 people formed a circuitous queue 30 minutes before Ovechkin’s late-afternoon arrival. Autograph and picture seekers were forced to buy one of five items – the cheapest costing $89 – yet the line snaked around several displays, and ended outside the boutique, somewhere between clocks and cosmetics.
“Why not?” Ovechkin replied earlier in the day when asked why he would agree to two hours of sign and smile. “It’s good stuff for me. People are going to recognize me and shake my hand. It’s easy.”
from Ryan Dixon of The Hockey News,
To some degree, points have stopped being the point of reference when evaluating the play of Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
A player’s contribution to the scoresheet is always going to be a factor when evaluating his play, but the twins have passed the threshold where their worth is constantly assessed by clicking on their stats.
That said, these guys are tearing it up right now.
Henrik, in particular, is having a heroic season. He’s on pace for 34 goals and 104 points, totals that would obliterate his previous career highs of 22 and 82.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
More to the point, we’d like to look at their third and fourth lines and that can be tricky because there are nights you need the Hubble telescope to find them.
“We need more from those lines,” was Alain Vigneault’s generous assessment before last night’s tilt with the Los Angeles Kings.
“Secondary scoring from the third and fourth lines and from the defence is one thing we need more consistently. If we get that, it will let us win on a more consistent basis.
“Those are two lines that are supposed to bring a physical aspect but they have to find a way to contribute not just physically but on the scoresheet.”
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
My Vancouver spies insist that Trevor Linden will play a significant role of some kind in the flame lead-up at the 2010 opening ceremony and I sure hope that’s not true. Linden’s presence does not resonate outside Vancouver and if he’s significant in this, it will make the organizing committee look small and all too local. This is a world, international event, not a celebration of the rather inept history of the Canucks
read on for a few more hockey notes…
“With the results from the first 30 games and now that we have a healthy lineup, that’s not going to be tolerated,.
“If you take good players out of the lineup you are going to struggle to succeed… (But) it’s not easier to stomach because there were games that I thought we should have won because we didn’t have consistent effort even with the lineup we had.”
-Canucks GM Mike Gillis. More from Jim Jamieson at The White Towel.
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,
What a difference two games make. Two straight losses and the Canucks couldn’t look lower.
The coach is steamed, the players bitter — some so frustrated Tuesday they refused to talk after the game (hello, Mikael Samuelsson).
Maybe it will do them some good. Back-to-back wins to start this road trip didn’t.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Oh, sure, it’s just a game, and nothing that happens Wednesday night when Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo square off in New Jersey will have much bearing on the Olympic jobs handed out in February.
But just so everyone knows, Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman will indeed be watching the Canucks-Devils game.
“I’m going to TiVo it and watch it later,” Yzerman told ESPN.com on Tuesday. “I’m going to be at another game [Tampa at Boston], but when I saw this game [Canucks-Devils] on the schedule, I wanted to make sure I watched it.”
So there ... it’s not just the media making a big deal out of it, OK?
“To be honest with you, it’s exciting to play against Marty, period,” Luongo told us Tuesday. “Just because we’re from the same hometown and he’s one of the greatest of all time. That’s really the only reason for me. I don’t think one game is going to decide anything with regards to the Olympics.”
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
Best story I’ve heard in a long time: With Vancouver holding a 2-0 lead over Detroit in the 2002 Stanley Cup playoffs, Brendan Morrison lined up for a faceoff against Steve Yzerman. Morrison said Yzerman smiled and told him, “We’ve got you right where we want you.” The Red Wings would win four straight, eliminate the Canucks and take the Cup.
read on for 29 more hockey bits from Elliotte…
from Larry Wigge of NHL.com,
Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo is encouraged by the Samuelsson signing—and not just because he is one of only two members of the team to have a Stanley Cup ring.
“Sammy and I played together in Florida and I’ve always thought he was kind of an under-the-radar player with the skills he has and the way he shoots the puck,” Luongo said. “In Detroit, he learned how to play the right way—effective both offensively and defensively. And ... he’s still got those skills, which is good for us.”
Samuelsson smiled when he heard what Luongo said and agreed.
“I’ve always thought I could do some damage in this league, and I still think I can,” he said. “I came into Detroit four years ago ready to play a lot. It was an easy team to play for, especially for me as what you would call a late bloomer. I got more and more confidence each year I was with the Wings.
“That’s the confidence I have right now. I believe in myself, I know what I can do out there. The records may show I’m 32, but I’m physically fit and have played only 400-some games in the NHL. Today I feel like I’m about 20.”
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province via Faceoff.com,
If the Canucks don’t win the Stanley Cup this year, it’s not likely ever going to happen with Alain Vigneault as their head coach.
This may seem outlandish and ridiculous. But it’s the cold, harsh reality of NHL history.
A look at the past 82 Stanley Cup winners shows that only three times has a head coach been with a team for more than four years before winning a Cup. It suggests that if the chemistry between a coach and his team doesn’t result in a championship within four years, it’s not likely ever going to happen.
Think of it like a flipped hourglass which runs out of sand after that key fourth year.
The statistic may be numbing when you consider this is Vigneault’s fourth year at the helm in Vancouver.
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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