Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jim Jamieson of the Vancouver Province,
Are Daniel Sedin’s days as an elite offensive player in the NHL over?
The numbers certainly suggest that, and if you look at his age (33), the state of the supporting cast around him and the increased minutes a new coaching regime is asking him to play, a reversal of form will be a tall order.
With the Canucks desperate for scoring this month, Sedin has been unable to deliver. He’s in a 13-game goal-scoring drought — his longest since the 2007-08 season — and has been able to contribute just five assists in that span.
Though they had an excellent December, the Canucks are 4-6-3 in the same 13 games that constitute Sedin’s goal drought.
Yes, Sedin leads the Canucks in scoring at 40 points — tied with currently injured brother Henrik — but it is a group that is ranked 22nd in NHL scoring. If Daniel is able to reverse the troubling trend, a good time to start would be on Wednesday night when the Blackhawks — who lead the NHL in offence — visit Rogers Arena.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
Then you throw in the fact that the stars of the home team are simply not present. Yes, two of the three are alleged to still be in uniform, but surely the fellow in Daniel Sedin’s uniform is some sort of clone who’s been smuggled into the room by a Swedish scientist while the real guy rests up for the Olympics. How else do you explain 13 games without a goal, one point in eight games and a deportment that gives the impression it might be a good deal longer before the next one comes? And Ryan Kesler? He’s played so much this season he literally has nothing left, unable to generate anything remotely close to his usual speed.
Even when the opposition takes a penalty, there’s no particular reason why the Vancouver fan should feel in any way hopeful something positive might happen. With quarterback Henrik Sedin out, the team seems so cowed by the prospect of going out on the power play with their confidence in tatters, they’ve become virtually paralyzed with respect to trying to generate some offence. They went bagels again against the worst defensive team in the league, albeit in just two tries, and now sit in 28th spot in the league having gone two for their last 36 advantages over 10 games. That normally wouldn’t be the end of the world save these fans once watched largely the same players perform as one of the best units in the game, that concept now a distant memory.
The forecheck, which is such a driving force in the John Tortorella system and was the engine that drove this team’s attack at the start of the season when everyone was fresh, has faded to one lone, tired skater tepidly going hoping to get lucky and to get out of the offensive zone quickly once the puck comes out.
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province.
Next up, Phoenix’s Martin Hanzal.
It was Hanzal, guilty of using his stick like he was clear cutting a forest, who managed to end Henrik Sedin’s decade-long iron-man streak. He knocked Mike Santorelli out of the lineup with a shoulder injury. He also got his stick into David Booth’s face, a cross-check which easily could have led to a concussion. That was all in one period in Phoenix on Jan. 16.
Booth said he’d consider fighting Hanzal if he was playing. He said it doesn’t look like Booth will be, as the Canucks prepared Saturday to go with seven defenceman, with Weber on the fourth line.
Someone has to pay for another loss, and it looks like it will be Booth losing his spot in the lineup.
But will Hanzal pay for his stick work?
“We’re trying to build a team identity that we don’t get pushed around,” Dale Weise said. “We stuck up for ourselves in Calgary. Dustin Brown kinda had to answer the bell and he did (in L.A.).
“I’m not sure what’s going to happen (Sunday).. We have a lot of guys who are going to have some choice words for him.”
Below, watch Hanzal in action during the last Vancouver/Phoenix game...
from Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun,
Prospal skated with the Utica Comets on Thursday and could play with the team as early as Friday night in Abbotsford against the Heat.
“He’s going to have a tryout with them and see how he does and see if he can play at the American League level and then we’ll see what happens from there,” Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said Thursday night.
Prospal, who turns 39 next month, has played 1,108 NHL regular-season games, scoring 255 goals and accumulating 765 points.
He played all 48 games of last season’s lockout-shortened campaign with the Columbus Blue Jackets and scored 12 goals and 30 points.
The Czech native has a long history with Canucks coach John Tortorella, having played with both Tampa Bay and the New York Rangers.
NEW YORK (Jan. 20, 2014) – Vancouver Canucks Head Coach John Tortorella has been suspended for 15 days, without pay, for his actions during the first intermission of NHL Game No. 735 in Vancouver on Saturday, Jan. 18, the National Hockey League announced today.
"Mr. Tortorella's actions in attempting to enter the Calgary Flames locker room after the first period were both dangerous and an embarrassment to the League," said NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell. "Coaches in the NHL bear the responsibility of providing leadership, even when emotions run high, and Mr. Tortorella failed in his responsibility to the game."
Mr. Tortorella's suspension is effective retroactive to January 19 and runs through Sunday, Feb. 2. He will miss six games. He is not permitted to have any interaction with his Club prior to, during or after games.
NEW YORK (Jan. 20, 2014) – Calgary Flames Head Coach Bob Hartley has been fined $25,000 for his responsibility for the incident that took place off of the opening face-off of NHL Game No. 735 in Vancouver on Saturday, Jan. 18, the National Hockey League announced today. The fine was issued in accordance with By-Law 17.3 (a) for conduct prejudicial to or against the welfare of the League.
In issuing the suspension, NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations, Colin Campbell stated: "We are holding Mr. Hartley responsible for the actions of Flames' right wing Kevin Westgarth, who took the game's opening face-off and attempted to instigate a premeditated fight with an unwilling opponent -- the Canucks' Kevin Bieksa."
The fine money goes to the NHL Foundation.
Eliotte Friedman joined Matt Dery of Detroit Sports 105.1 and discussed the Calgary/Vancouver game on Saturday night.
Friedman also had a few things to say about the recent Peter Gammons tweet about the NHL.
Friedman also talked Wings and he is nos so sure if the team in Detroit will ever get healthy again this season.
You can listen to the full interview here.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
So there was Vancouver Canucks’ coach John Tortorella, who’d more or less been on his best behavior all season, trying to get to the Calgary Flames’ dressing room after the a brawl-filled first period to challenge … who? Bob Hartley, the Flames coach? Probably. It wouldn't have made any sense to go after Brian McGrattan, who’d duked it out with the Canucks’ Tom Sestito during a 1970s style line brawl that broke out two seconds into Saturday night’s game between the Pacific Division rivals and conjured up images of three guys wearing funny glasses, talking about old-time hockey.
Yes, Slapshot - an updated 2014 version - was on the tube again Saturday night, the last act of Hockey Night In Canada’s endless day-long broadcast. If you went to bed at a reasonable hour, here’s what you missed:
Below, watch the full 6 minute segment of Inside the Game on HNIC, which appeared after the first period of the Flames.Canucks game..
Also below, watch Bob Hartley post-game.
Puck drops, then....
00:02 Calgary Ladislav Smid: 5 minutes, fighting
00:02 Vancouver Kevin Bieksa: 5 minutes, fighting
00:02 Calgary Brian Mcgrattan: 5 minutes, fighting
00:02 Vancouver Tom Sestito: 5 minutes, fighting
00:02 Calgary Blair Jones: 5 minutes, fighting
00:02 Vancouver Dale Weise: 5 minutes, fighting
00:02 Calgary Chris Butler: 5 minutes, fighting
00:02 Vancouver Jason Garrison: 5 minutes, fighting
00:02 Vancouver Kellan Lain: 5 minutes, fighting
00:02 Calgary Kevin Westgarth: 2 minutes, roughing
00:02 Calgary Kevin Westgarth: 5 minutes, fighting
added 10:39pm, Line brawl video is below...
from Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun,
... while proving through the first half of the season they can compete, they also have proved there is a significant gap between themselves and the top teams in their division — the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks.
They are 1-for-11 against California, so outmatched some nights that a spirited, noble 1-0 loss Monday against the Kings was celebrated and caused enough self-satisfaction the Canucks barely showed up two nights later against the Ducks.
And while the Canucks have been able to beat the twin titans of the Central Division, the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues, do you really think from what you’ve seen that Vancouver has a realistic chance to beat one of those teams four times in seven games?
No, as it stands, the conference has a fabulous five teams, and a group of good-but-not-great teams trying to stay with them. The Canucks are part of this second tier, the middle class of the superior Western Conference.
Unlike the seasons they were winning Presidents’ Trophies, the Canucks aren’t just one good trade or addition away from winning a Cup.
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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