Kukla's Korner Hockey
Marc-Edouard Vlasic's goal with 4.5 seconds remaining in regulation gave the San Jose Sharks a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
Winnipeg remains in the hunt for a playoff spot in the Western Conference despite major injury issues. They’re missing four regular defensemen in Jacob Trouba, Tobias Enstrom, Zach Bogosian, and Mark Stuart. None is expected back soon. The Jets are also without Evander Kane, their dynamic left wing, until next month because of a lower-body injury.
They’d be in a whole lot of trouble had Dustin Byfuglien not been working his stuff at both ends of the rink this season. In this way, Byfuglien will deserve Hart Trophy consideration if the Jets qualify for the postseason for the first time since arriving in Winnipeg.
Byfuglien is type of hard-to-find hybrid (San Jose’s Brent Burns being another) that teams will continue to chase because of their value and versatility. In one unique, XXL package, Byfuglien is a body-smashing power forward and a smooth-moving defenseman who can play in all situations while occupying just one roster spot.
Byfuglien started the season up front because of Winnipeg’s depth on defense. The Jets’ best lineup had Byfuglien and Kane flanking young pivot Mark Scheifele, giving the line skill, speed, and power. When the Jets went on the power play, Byfuglien moved back to the point to maximize his vision and puck-pounding slap shot.
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from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
“Keep the blue out!”
At this late juncture, it’d probably be hard to do, but maybe the Wild should take a page out of the Nashville Predators’ book (and the St. Louis Blues’, Buffalo Sabres’, Edmonton Oilers’ and even the Miami Dolphins’) and orchestrate a way to keep Winnipeg Jets die-hards out of its rink April 6 … and beyond.
It’s become a tradition since Atlanta’s move to our frigid neighbor to the north in 2011, but Jets fans — many who can’t get into MTS Centre because the small rink is overrun by season-ticket holders — travel by the busload to fill Xcel Energy Center whenever the Jets visit St. Paul.
That was the case Dec. 27. Jets fans were everywhere.
Lower bowl, club level, upper bowl, loud (we’ll call ’em) … passionate fans dressed in blue cheered the boys from Winnipeg and mocked Wild fans anytime the Jets scored. During the national anthem, they screamed in an ode to the Jets’ owners, “True North,” and chanted throughout, “Go Jets Go!”
When Andrew Ladd scored a fluky goal to win the game in overtime, it was so noisy, you would have thought the Wild won.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
For an organization that has been accused of being risk-averse over the years, the Winnipeg Jets have become interesting for me.
In goal, former backup Michael Hutchinson’s .937 save percentage leads the entire NHL. He’s wrestled the No. 1 job away from Ondrej Pavelec, and wouldn’t it be interesting if that consistent, everyday No. 1 had been under the Jets’ nose all along?
Up front, they’ve managed to lose their last two games without Evander Kane (lower body), who is out until February.
With some improvement 5-on-5, Winnipeg could be a playoff team for the first time since returning to Manitoba. Will GM Kevin Cheveldayoff have the moves in him at the March 2 trade deadline to get his team over the top? That’s always the question in Winnipeg.
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Kerry Fraser of TSN answers a few questions regarding a Thomas Vanek goal on Saturday...
Every apparent goal is reviewed by a staff member in the Situation Room in Toronto, in addition to the Video Goal Judge on site and must be confirmed as a 'good goal' prior to the next puck drop. A final decision is rendered and then communicated by the Situation Room personnel to the penalty timekeeper at ice level to issue a 'thumbs up' to the referee at centre ice. This is the signal to the ref that a 'good goal' has been determined and he is allowed to drop the puck and resume play. A 'thumbs up' is not issued until there is concrete evidence that the puck entered the net.
The quick decision to confirm the tying goal credited to Thomas Vanek as opposed to placing the play under formal review however is somewhat confusing to us based on the broadcast replays that were offered. A formal review provides additional time within the process to look at every available angle and confirm beyond even the slightest doubt that a valid goal was scored. Replays shown by various camera angles on the Hockey Night Broadcast, in addition to postgame recap on NHL Game Center Live footage create reasonable suspicion (and even a pretty clear impression) that the puck went post to crossbar and straight down onto and ahead of the goal line without ever entering the net as you suggest...
more and watch the goal below...
Philadelphia head coach Craig Berube must’ve said something to Dustin Byfuglien after the Flyers beat the Jets in OT, prompting the big Jets defenceman to get up in his face.
from Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News,
Galvanized by Zepp’s long and winding road, the Flyers put together an equally improbable two-goal rally and stunned the Jets, 4-3, in overtime to deliver him a win.
Zepp, 33, became the oldest goaltender to win his NHL debut since 1926. He compared the experience to climbing Mount Everest.
"I think that’s the beauty of sports," Streit said. "Everywhere you look, there’s always exceptions to the rule. Some guys make it to the NHL at 18 or 19 years old and some guys have to stick with it and work a lot harder. I think it’s important. Guys like him never lose sight of their goal. They always believe in themselves."
Most players in Zepp’s skates, even with the comfortable pay in Europe, would have quit long ago. There were 98 players taken ahead of him in the 1999 NHL Draft. Only five of them are still in the NHL this season: Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Martin Havlat, Jordan Leopold and Chris Kelly.
His story resonated with every player in the Flyers’ locker room - from young to old, from entitled to hungry, from role player to star.
Hollywood-type storylines don’t usually go over very well in NHL dressing rooms. Players today are usually immune to the narrative in their sterile bubble.
more and watch the game highlights below...
"Not a great effort, all the way around. I'm not going to say we were content and [were thinking], 'Let's just get home.'
"I know we've been on the road 13 of the last 15 days — that doesn't hold anything. That bar's pretty high on our team and when you don't get what you reach for, you get pretty upset."
-Bruce Boudreau, head coach of the Anaheim Ducks after a 6-2 loss to Ottawa. More on the game from Lance Pugmire of the LA Times.
Mark Scheifele forgot about keeping his head on a swivel and paid for it last night. Two minutes for interference on Milan Lucic.
A little longer video below, but not as easy to see the hit.
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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