Kukla's Korner Hockey
Barry Melrose says Kings and Jets, in, Flames out.
“Dustin Byfuglien's been great for our team this year. It wasn't a situation where he said, 'I'm going to cross check this guy in the back of the neck and see if I can get away with it.' He threw a cross check that went way too high on a guy that was on his way down and it cost us.
“So what Dustin Byfuglien owes this team is for that Calgary game to be the best game that he can possibly play.”
-Paul Maurice, head coach of the Winnipeg Jets on Dustin Byfuglien. More on this topic from Kirk Penton of the Winnipeg Sun.
Patrick Burke with the explanation.
The NHL is full of acts of brutality, big and small, and some of them are actually pretty useful. But this was just dumb. Byfuglien is getting a phone hearing with the league Thursday, which means the only real decision for the department of player safety should be whether he gets suspended for four games or five games, since five is the maximum over the phone. It should be five. Really, it should be more.
-Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star where you can read more on this topic.
from Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun,
Winnipeg’s hold on its playoff destiny is shakier than ever after Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to the previously-stumbling New York Rangers.
Losses to Chicago and New York, both on home ice and both on late, third-period goals, have left the Jets at the mercy of the trailing L.A. Kings, just two points back with a game in hand.
Thanks to a matchup with Calgary in the final game of the regular season, the Jets are still guaranteed a spot if they win out.
That might not be necessary.
But ending this before it turns into a three-game skid is.
That’s five times this season now the Jets have failed to rebound from tough, late-goal losses to win the following game.
The good news: each time the losing “streak” ended at two.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
You have to wonder if this is the knockout punch we've been waiting for the Winnipeg Jets to absorb. For two games in a row, the Jets haven't been able to push late ties into overtime and secure crucial points.
On Sunday, they gave up a last-minute goal to Jonathan Toews and lost to the Chicago Blackhawks, and two nights later it was a repeat performance in a 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers. We've counted the Jets out before, but with Winnipeg, the Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings fighting for both third place in the Pacific Division and the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference, it's about taking advantage of the opportunities that are given.
Sure, it looks bad for the Jets, but they're still up two points. They're the ones in a playoff spot. The Kings have a game in hand and own the tiebreaker thanks to more regulation/overtime wins, and Tuesday's was a game the Jets had to win. Hard not to look at next Thursday's game in Calgary between the Kings and Flames, and the Flames' season finale two days later in Winnipeg as two that will ultimately crystallize the playoff picture in the West, the Jets' disappointing meltdowns not withstanding.
And let's tip our caps to the Vancouver Canucks, who have won consecutive road games over the St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators to strengthen their hold on second place in the Pacific.
continue for Custance on the Byfuglien hit, Strang on Drew Miller, LeBrun on the Senators and Joe McDonald on the Bruins. Also check out the new-look ESPN.
via Evan Peaslee of Sportsnet,
Late in the second period Byfuglien cross-checked Rangers forward J.T. Miller in the back of the head. The 30-year-old Byfuglien disguised it as a consequence of falling, but there’s no denying he drilled a completely defenseless player on the ice for no reason.
Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault certainly didn’t hide his disdain for the play when talking with the media after the game.
"(It was) violent, deliberate, could have broken his neck," said Vigneault. "I don't know what's going to happen, but it was one of the most vicious cross-checks I've seen this year."
According to Sportsnet's John Shannon the play will be given extra attention by the NHL Department of Player Safety.
from Patrick Johnston of the Vancouver Province,
There’s no other way to put it.
It would be insane for this to happen, but it could.
As first pointed out by the guys over at Jewels From the Crown, there’s a scenario where we find ourselves on the last day of the season and the Jets and Flames find themselves locked in battle, tied…only to stop trying with minutes to play and letting the game get to OT, because both teams earning loser points would mean the Kings get eliminated.
That’s quite the scene. Just imagine, in a season where negative play has become a much-discussed talking point, this would put a whole new twist on the concept of tanking.
from Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press,
They have not wilted. No fade and no quit. And if they can manage to get into the post-season, the Winnipeg Jets just might prove to be a tough out.
With each passing day, the Jets appear to be getting stronger. They've won six of seven, they're getting brilliant goaltending and, little by little, they're getting healthy.
After 75 games, it appears they will need three more wins to achieve their first goal. After that, well, they say anything can happen.
There's reason to believe with the way the Jets are constructed, this won't be a team that reaches the playoffs only to be swept away in short order.
Big, fast and willing to bang, the Jets will be inexperienced but built with some of the characteristics needed to win in the post-season.
Their offence comes from hard work and not flash. The blue-line has size and mobility. And right now, at this most crucial of junctures, they are getting outstanding goaltending.
Last night's 5-2 bouncing of the visiting Montreal Canadiens gave the Jets 90 points on the season. They're knocking at the door. Soon they'll be pounding at the door. And maybe, just maybe, in the immortal but slightly sanitized words of Bum Phillips, they'll kick the son of a gun in.
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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