Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post,
Just before the national anthem on Saturday night, Sami Lepisto lifted his head as he stood at center ice. What he saw—a near-capacity crowd at St. Pete Times Forum and, across from him, Tampa Bay Lightning star forwards Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis—might have intimidated most players about to make their NHL debut.
continued (reg. req.)
from the CP via the Hockey News,
“The guys are just starting to really believe that we’re a good hockey team,” said Kolzig. “It took a little while. After so many years of losing, especially with young guys, you have to learn how to win.”
And the fans have noticed. While the Caps remain 27th in the league with an average home attendance of 14,431, they’re up 19 per cent in the New Year to 16,033 and over the last three games drew 17,205, 18,204 and 17,873.
more on Washington…
from Sam McCaig of the Hockey News,
Olaf Kolzig turns 38 the week the playoffs begin, and the longtime Washington Capitals stopper is finally showing his age. Among the 45 goalies who have appeared in at least 20 games this season, Kolzig ranks dead last – 45th – in save percentage, at .884. His 3.07 goals-against average is also near the bottom of the league.
While Kolzig’s stats suffer somewhat due to a still inexperienced defense corps in front of him, the truth is, he’s played far better with far worse bluelines in past years.
more and some Nabokov & Vokoun talk too….
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
On the day Bruce Boudreau finally became an NHL coach, he wondered if that was what it was like to win the lottery.
After coaching for more than 15 years in places like Muskegon, Miss., Fort Wayne and Lowell, Boudreau’s numbers finally came in at 6:45 a.m. Thanksgiving Day.
“He kept saying, ‘Oh my God! Oh my God!’ But he was smiling,” Boudreau’s wife, Crystal, said.
Within 30 minutes, Boudreau was out the door and headed toward Washington.
from David Amber at ESPN,
The NHL’s most explosive scorer has Capitals fans thinking playoff hockey.
In this week’s Facing Off, Alexander Ovechkin tells us why The Great One’s single-season record of 92 goals may be tough to break, how he compares to Sidney Crosby and what it’s like to be the NHL’s first $100 million man….
Q: Who is the best player in the league right now?
A: There are so many good players, that’s hard to say. [Pause] I think maybe the best player is Roberto Luongo. He is really tough to beat.
Q: Really? Luongo? What about you?
A: I’m a good player, too [laughs].
Q:The single-season NHL record is 92 goals. Is 93 possible?
A: It’s hard because times have changed. The goalies have changed, and if you see how goalies played in the 1970s and 1980s, it was pretty funny actually [laughs].
Bill McCreary is one of the better refs in the NHL and things like this do happen at times, but not very often.
Alexander Ovechkin talks with Puck-rakers,
Q: What are your memories of Sergei Fedorov?
“He was one of our idols growing up. The Russian Five, the Detroit Red Wings win the Cup. He was one of the best players in the league and one of the best players in Russia.”
Q: When you think of the Columbus Blue Jackets, what comes to mind?
A: “Zherdev, (Rick) Nash and Fedorov.”
from On Frozen Blog,
I’m no engineer, but advancements in insulating materials are such that here in the home of NASA, is it delusional to imagine that some day soon some hockey lover in Greenbelt might devise a covering for arena ice that would preserve its integrity no matter the time of year, no matter the duration of hoops overtime?
I wonder. And it is in this vein I would have all of us who are concerned about this issue direct our thoughts. Capitals’ management wants a quality surface, of that I’m convinced. But at present, it can’t happen with consistency.
That needs to be addressed, somehow. It’s the right thing to do, for players and fans. And if that isn’t reason enough, I have one hundred and twenty four million others.
from Scott Morrison at Sun Media,
In the wake of Sidney Crosby’s ankle injury, a theory exists that Ovechkin is very much driven to making the NHL his league.
“While I don’t believe Alex would ever think in terms of the NHL being ‘his’ league, he does believe that it is his responsibility to be the best,” McPhee said.
“That was driven into him at a young age. He is comfortable performing in this light, seems to revel in the constant challenge it brings and may, indeed, see an opening this year to be regarded in this light.”
Whatever the motivation, it is working and if the Capitals stay close in the playoff hunt, and especially if they get there and he is at or near the top of the scoring leaders, it will be hard to bypass him for MVP honours.
from Mike Wise of the Washington Post,
Hockey may not yet be boffo box office again in the District, gauging by the empty seats. But at some point, even the casual puckhead is going to find it hard to stay away from Boudreau’s risky, gambling offensive style.
Watching Ovechkin and the Caps is like watching a greased pinball careen off bumpers for two hours. Yeah, they let a few through the flippers. But mostly the lights flash, the scoreboard lights up and the masses shuffle into the night feeling good about how they spent their quarter.
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thanks to Ted’s Take for the pointer…
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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