Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Rucki of On Frozen Pond,
Last night’s win—while exciting, important, and offensively impressive—was an uneven and at times sloppy effort. The team played with heart, but were seemingly disorganized on defense and offensive back-checking. Theo yielded a few juicy rebounds, but also made some stellar saves. A balanced scoring effort managed to offset (barely) a weak defensive one.
Methinks Coach Boudreau will be putting the team through heavy defensive drills as they head back out on the road… because games like this one, while producing an important two points, won’t cut it in the playoffs.
from Tarik El-Bashir at Capitals Insider,
When the Caps left town Monday afternoon, several players said they hoped getting away from home would help them refocus and get back to basics.
Did it ever.
The Capitals completed a stellar two-game trip tonight in Philadelphia, where they claimed a 2-1 win over the rival Flyers two days after beating the Predators in Nashville by the same score. Suddenly, that four-game losing streak at Verizon Center seems like so long ago.
“Getting the win in Nashville was nice to get back in the winning column,” said Brooks Laich. “But you don’t want to take a step back after taking a step forward. To get a win here, in a building where we’ve had a tough time. Obviously, we wanted a little redemption from the last time we played here.”
That was the quote of the night.
continue for more on the Capitals…
fromn John Glennon of the Tennessean,
There were a couple of hard-hitting bouts in the opening period, with the Predators coming out on top in both. Wade Belak buckled Donald Brashear with a straight left and dropped him to the ice, while Jordin Tootoo turned Matt Bradley’s face into a bloody mess — cutting Bradley’s nose badly and giving him a black eye to boot.
“We have guys that can battle each and every night and that’s part of our team,’’ Tootoo said. “We play physical and bring it all.’‘
Brashear didn’t return after the fight and might have sprained a knee when he fell to the ice.
more on the Preds including some Radulov talk…
from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider,
I started looking for common themes in the losing streak based on my observations, Boudreau’s postgame comments and the score sheets. Here’s what I came up with as I sat (emphasis on “sat”) on Rt. 66 this morning.
I’m talking about secondary scoring. The Caps have scored eight goals in the four losses. For the mathematically challenged, that’s two per game, significantly down from their season average of 3.22….
None of those goals were of the “ugly” or “dirty” or “hard work” variety that all teams need. The Caps have also out-shot their opponent by a combined total of 111-81 in the past three games. Someone needs to crash the net, screen the goalie and bang in a rebound. That needs to be an every-game thing, not a once-in-a-while thing.
While the Caps competed much harder against a Penguins team they despise, that same sense of urgency wasn’t there in the previous three games. The Caps are comfortably in a playoff spot and are one of the most skilled teams in the league. But skill doesn’t equal wins—especially in hockey—if the work ethic is not there.
via Ted Leonsis at Ted’s Take,
I am proud of my last name given to me by my father.
My ancestors are from Sparta. My last name is kind of a derivative of Leonidas, the King of Sparta and of 300 film fame.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, it is pronounced “Lee - On - Sis”, Leonsis.
Most intelligent, non-xenophobic and educated people have no issue with its pronunciation.
In case the hockey weekend slipped by you, start here to find out who Ted may be talking to.
Thanks to On Frozen Blog for the pointer..
from Eric McErlain of AOL Fanhouse,
Cherry had already warmed up the viewing audience earlier in the segment when he jokingly referred to Calgary Flames center Oli Jokinen, a Finn, as a Russian—because after all, it’s impossible to tell those European players apart these days!
Next, in a move that will only reinforce Cherry’s reputation as a xenophobe, he mangled the Caps owner’s last name (“Legonsis”), before questioning his hockey judgment in light of the team’s decision to sign Jaromir Jagr to a long-term contract…
from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider,
• Alex Ovechkin and Tom Poti each completed this morning’s practice, but only Ovechkin said definitively that he’ll suit up tomorrow against the Penguins. Poti said he’ll wait until tomorrow morning before making a decision.
• Michael Nylander suffered an upper body injury on Thursday and will miss tomorrow’s game, Coach Bruce Boudreau said.
• Two young women told me on the way into KCI that they plan on distributing 500 pacifiers to fellow Caps fans on the way into Verizon Center tomorrow. I didn’t ask why, but it’s I’m assuming that dummies are meant to mock Pens captain Sidney Crosby…
more on the Caps…
from Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post,
The Caps and their fans are not just shocked by the losses, but by the combined 13-5 score, too. In one loss, they gave up six straight goals; in the next game, five in a row and, on Thursday, they trailed 2-0 entering the final minute. The last time the Caps lost three straight in regulation time at home, they fired the coach—last season.
“You can be told a little too often how good you are. I don’t know if ‘cavalier’ is the word, but you can be too cocky at times, not play as hard as you should, be more pretty than gritty,” General Manager George McPhee told me yesterday. Thursday night, he was so frustrated he went into his suite muttering, “I’m going back into my cave.”
Far better to experience such issues now than in April, when you can be dumped out of the playoffs before you have figured out your problems, much less fixed them.
from Alan Ryder of the Globe and Mail,
What has quickly become the NHL’s spiciest rivalry continues Sunday afternoon in Washington, assuming that Sidney Crosby’s sore groin is ready to go.
Alexander Ovechkin won Round One, capturing the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie in 2006. Crosby won the Art Ross and Hart Trophies in 2007 to claim Round Two. But Ovechkin trumped that last season with an unprecedented sweep of the Ross, Hart and Richard trophies.
These two are such great talents and still so young. So the question just dangles – how good could they be over time?
The answer to this question is in career projections. This exercise is much like trying to forecast the weather over the long term – accuracy is very challenging. But the exercise is awfully interesting.
continued with charts comparing the two to some of the greats of the game…
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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