Kukla's Korner Hockey
Only two Western Conference teams play tonight (Edmonton and Columbus) so attention is on the Eastern Conference.
from Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider,
Of the Capitals’ remaining eight regular season games, two over the next five days will hold significant sway over how the future unfolds.
On Friday night Washington hosts Winnipeg, which sits five points behind in 10th place. A win over the Jets, who will have eight games remaining after the contest, would go a long way toward extinguishing the possibility of the Southeast Division foe catching the Capitals in the standings.
After the 2-1 overtime loss to the Flyers, Alex Ovechkin summed up the importance of the next contest succinctly. Friday “is certainly a big game for us,” he said. “Probably the biggest game of the year.”
One that could be even more crucial is a matchup with the Sabres next Tuesday. Buffalo is only one point behind the Capitals and sits in ninth place, still very much alive in the hunt for the postseason. The Sabres face the New York Rangers on Friday and then Minnesota on Saturday before visiting Verizon Center that day.
continued and below view the NHL schedule for tonight…
“If you didn’t have a chance we wouldn’t come here. You wouldn’t play the game. There’s always a way to win games. We are just as able to win this game as they are.
“We know the challenges. They’re at home, they’ve done very well lately. So bring it on.”
-Winnipeg Jest head coach Claude Noel before facing the Penguins tonight. More from Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun.
The recepient of the hit, Andreas Nodl, lef the ice slowly and groggy.
NEW YORK (March 17, 2012)—Winnipeg Jets defenseman Mark Stuart has been fined $2,500, the maximum allowed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for his late hit on Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson during NHL Game #1061 in Winnipeg on Friday, March 16, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.
The incident occurred at 8:41 of the first period. No penalty was assessed on the play.
Watch the hit here if you missed it earler.
from Paul Waldie of the Globe and Mail,
“I thought that was a heck of a game,” Noel said afterward. “It would have been a sad game to lose, really.”
So what did he learn about his team on this night? “I learned that I like them as much as I liked them the last month and two months,” he said with a smile. “I continue to like them.”
He also learned something about the MTS Centre crowd, which was more boisterous than ever and generated a playoff-like atmosphere while making life as miserable as possible for the Capitals and Alex Ovechkin in particular. At one point the crowd repeatedly chanted “Crosby’s Better” just as the big forward hit the ice.
“That’s what you’ve got to like,” Noel said shaking his head and laughing. “It’s not the standard boo yea, boo yea. They come up with new things. They are just ruthless.”
Ovechkin took the taunts in stride, joking afterward that it’s all good for the game. “It’s always nice when they talk about you and give you attention,” he said. “I love it. It’s great for the league. It’s great for us. Everybody [debates] who’s better and who’s not. For me, it’s a nice atmosphere, and I love it.”
more on the game and below, watch and hear Winnipeg fans with the “Crosby’s Better” jeer….
from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider,
In addition to Alex Ovechkin saying he’s ready to play, the Caps also are expected to get top defenseman Mike Green back from a three-game suspension tonight against the Jets, who are approaching the contest as a “must-win.”
“These are games that define your team,” Winnipeg winger Evander Kane told reporters, “and we’re going to see what we’re made of.”
With 12 games remaining, the Jets are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, four points behind the eighth-place Caps and a point behind the ninth-place Sabres. A week from today, the Caps will host the Jets at Verizon Center.
“I keep saying for the last three of four weeks it’s been playoff hockey,” Capitals Coach Dale Hunter said. “It’s exciting for the fans and the media. The players know what’s at stake here. Everybody wants to play in the big game. As a kid growing up you always scored the winning goal in the Stanley Cup final in the seventh game. So it’s like one of those games.”
Did you know KK blogger Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson of Benny And The Jets knows his beer and wine too?
from Ben at the Uptown Mag,
By the time you read this, the 24,000 12 packs of 355 ml cans ($18.52) of the Budweiser Winnipeg Jets Fan Brew will likely have been snapped up — and if there’s any left, I’d venture it won’t last for much longer.
You’ve probably heard the story about the Fan Brew: the water used to brew the beer was collected from various Winnipeg locations over the Jets’ opening weekend in October. Containers were set up around the city where Winnipeggers could “bless” the water, so to speak, before it made its way to Edmonton to be brewed. Oh yes, and before the water left town, a small portion was poured onto the ice surface at the MTS Centre by True North CEO Jim Ludlow to ensure, as the press release states, “the spirit of Winnipeg remains forever in the ice.” If you haven’t seen the slick promotional video, visit www.budfanbrew.ca.
So, to recap: Winnipeg water (piped in from Shoal Lake on the Manitoba-Ontario border) was used to brew beer in Edmonton (probably by Oilers fans) for Winnipeg Jets fans to buy in droves. In the Winnipeg Jets v1.0 era of the 1980s, this would have been an outrage.
continued and the video Ben points out is really great, so I’ve embedded it below and recommend watching it…
from Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun,
Every hockey team has them. Call them the grunts.
They are the fourth-liners who toil away from the limelight, content to do their part while others get the glory.
Not getting scored against is their top priority, getting down and dirty their M.O.
It’s hockey’s equivalent of down-on-your-knees, mud-under-the-fingernails labour, and if you don’t like it, there are plenty of others waiting in the wings to do it.
No, the pay isn’t great. But dammit, you’re in the NHL.
At least, that’s how it is for most of them.
Then there’s the Jets’ Nik Antropov: the $4-million foot soldier.
On pace for one of the worst seasons, offensively, of his career (he has 10 goals, 30 points), Antropov has become an interesting, and dare we say productive, role player.
Where did all the Panthers go?
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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