Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun,
Small things. At Tuesday’s practice, Mats Sundin didn’t tag along behind Daniel and Henrik Sedin on the first power play, but confidently ran a second unit. The day before, Sundin not only survived the practice-ending conditioning skate, but led it. He had terrific scoring chances the last two games and finished one of them.
But so far, all Sundin has been able to offer are small things, dropped hints that he may be getting close to the player he was the last 17 National Hockey League seasons.
It is the big things from Sundin the Canucks are still awaiting and desperately need. A month into Sundin’s return to hockey, it’s about time he delivered them.
via Stan Fischler of Game On,
What is the difference between Brendan Shanahan’s comeback and that of Mats (Card Table) Sundin? Brent Sutter has the answer while twitting Matty: “Shanny is well-conditioned,” explains the Devils’ coach. “He wasn’t traveling North America playing poker in those celebrity events!”
Sutter rates Sid Crosby (as a Junior) and Zach Parise among the two “hardest-working” players he’s ever coached. Parise, despite impressive numbers, does not rate himself a superstar. He tells us, “I could be better if I could be more consistent. I’ll figure it out soon.”
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,
Luongo knows allowing nine goals on 60 shots in his last two outings isn’t going to cut it, but didn’t buy the argument that he might be having trouble pushing off his left skate. He seemed stoic when beaten on shootout efforts by Williams and Rick Nash.
“I feel great on the ice and really have no issues,” he stressed. “It [rust] is from not having breakaways or shootouts. Once back on the ice, I didn’t want to go right into shootouts in practice and wanted to be careful. I was kind of antsy on the first [shootout] and went down early.”
Darcy Hordichuk talks about growing up in the Prairies and his road to get to the NHL.
One of those feel good, truly Canadian success stories.
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
There are miles and miles to go, and as the team lurches to the all-star break, clinging to the next-to-last mythical playoff spot, though barely past the halfway mark, boundless patience is a big ask.
“Our guys are battling,” said Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault. “[Columbus] scored four goals in a row, our guys could have folded. They didn’t. Mats is playing better, we all know Roberto can play better, and those are key components of our team.”
“I think Sundin’s starting to come, his first three steps are quicker now, and he’s getting into holes to shoot the puck that he wasn’t two weeks ago. Mats is going to be a really dangerous player for teams to defend against,” Hitchcock said, charitably….
And Luongo isn’t close to being the goalie of old, and knows it. Someone asked if he thought he could feel his form returning — after all, he made some fine saves, off Kristian Huselius and Nash and others — and Luongo did everything but laugh.
“I don’t think so. Not when I let in five goals [on the first 17 shots] in a game,” he said. “I tried to do my best out there, but it’s to be expected, I didn’t expect to come in and be where I left off. It’s going to be a process.
Alex Burrows of the Vancouver Canucks breaks down the NFL Conference Championship games.
from Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun,
Brendan Shanahan’s signing with the New Jersey Devils received barely a fraction of the ink that Mats Sundin got when he became a Vancouver Canuck, but one could argue that Shanahan might mean as much to his new team in the stretch run and into the playoffs….
Shanahan will take three Stanley Cup rings into the Devils dressing room, a cache that Sundin can only dream about. That kind of winning brings instant credibility, but in the case of Sundin, it’s something that still has to be earned. Shanahan won’t be looked upon as a saviour with the Devils, but more as a piece of the overall puzzle that could get the Devils deep into the playoffs. Sundin? Well, he has been treated as the second coming in Vancouver.
read on and more hockey notes…
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,
Now what? Head coach Alain Vigneault has tried benching players, demoted players, put his top forwards on the bottom line.
He has coddled and he has carved his team.
We are all still waiting for some sort of response.
Heck, a heartbeat or two would do right now.
Luongo showed his rust right away when he was beat on the first shot he faced.
He crossed himself up going post-to-post and looked as awkward as you will ever see him when the little-known Joakim Lindstrom tucked the puck between his legs.
Goaltender Curtis Sanford cleared waivers on Thursday and has been sent to Manitoba of the AHL
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,
Demitra scored once, fired three shots and finished with a plus-1 effort in the 5-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. He did it with a bruised ego and an effort that has often gone missing with just three goals and six points in his last 14 outings. That’s not what the Canucks coughed up $8 million US for in a two-year deal for the unrestricted free agent. Thats why he started on the fourth line with Darcy Hordichuk and Ryan Johnson against the Devils. And maybe that was the big wake-up call Demitra has needed—even though he was peeved at the process.
“Obviously, I wasn’t happy about it,” said Demitra. “But you have to get focus, get mad and be ready to play. Mats was the reason I came here, because of the rumours during the summer that he was going to be here. All my life, I was playing with one guy all year, and Mats is going to make hockey so easy.
“He has shown for many years that he’s a top player in the league because he’s got that big body and he’s tough to get a puck from. He has great vision and can find you—so it’s going to be nice to play with a guy like that. And you just need to get chemistry going….”
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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