Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Kerry Fraser of TSN,
I ask that you please attempt to remove any team loyalty or partisanship from the equation as I examine this somewhat controversial slashing penalty called by referee Steve Kozari against Paul Stastny that negated the scoring of his potential game-tying goal.
Let me first state that I agree with the penalty call by referee Kozari. The referee had little choice other than to impose the penalty once Stastny eliminated Myers' stick with a chop that prevented the Jets player from defending the passing lane or competing further on the play. The elimination of Myers' stick contributed in a major way to Stastny's ability to get the puck and score.
Granted, this is another "result-oriented" judgement which might not sit particularly well unless you put on your referee helmet thinking cap! If Myers' stick wasn't knocked out of his hand(s), we wouldn't be having this conversation. But then again, aren't most penalty infractions determined as a result of some form of cause and effect?
Watch the call here if you missed it last night...
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Imagine the NHL’s Western Conference playoff race as a game of musical chairs, with nine teams competing for eight spots and one guaranteed to miss out when the music stops.
On Tuesday night, all four of the on-the-bubble contenders in the West were in action and when the smoke cleared, the best possible scenario unfolded for all of Canada’s Western-based teams.
Both the Calgary Flames and the Winnipeg Jets won their games – over the Arizona Coyotes and the St. Louis Blues respectively – meaning each team is just a single victory away from clinching a playoff spot, with two games remaining on their schedules.
Idle Tuesday, the Vancouver Canucks nevertheless clinched a playoff spot when the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings lost in regulation to the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers avenged an 8-1 drubbing by the Kings four days earlier in Los Angeles and enhanced both Calgary’s and Winnipeg’s playoff chances with the victory.
The Flames hold a two-point lead over the Kings and can knock them out of the playoffs with a victory.
via Jeremy Rutherford tweets,
I acted as the pool reporter tonight, inquiring with officials about the call on Stastny. "No comment," from supervisor Don Koharski.
Stastny: "If (Myers) is holding his stick normally, he doesn't lose it. But what are you going to do."
Myers: "It was pretty clear he just slashed my stick out of my hand. I don't think there's much to argue if you look at the full replay."
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.
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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