Kukla's Korner Hockey
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LATE-GAME EXCITEMENT HIGHLIGHTS THURSDAY’S ACTION
All eight games contested Thursday featured a tying or game-winning goal scored in the third period. In addition:
* Five featured a tying goal in the final 10 minutes of the third period, including two equalizers in the final minute of regulation (Radim Vrbata at 19:06 for VAN and Marian Gaborik at 19:15 for LAK).
* Four saw a team overcome a third-period deficit to pick up a victory (PHI, MIN, DAL, LAK).
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
... I had a chance to speak with Flames head coach Bob Hartley yesterday afternoon before the game. I asked him what he told his players after they lost Norris Trophy candidate and team MVP Mark Giordano for the season.
Hartley said he addressed the players after Monday's trade deadline because the timing was right, telling them this is their group now, no more help is on the way, that there was no way to replace Giordano. He also talked to his players about owing Giordano all they have and trying not let the season slip away due to his injury, telling them to get inspired by everything the captain stands for in terms of work ethic and character and use it as a group.
Hartley said he also reminded his players what people were saying about their team back in September, that Calgary would be in the Connor McDavid draft lottery. He told his players that now that Giordano was out everyone has written them off again. Well, the motivation speech has certainly worked so far with road wins in Philadelphia and Boston. Hard not to be cheering for the Flames right now to hang in there in the playoff race.
read on for more topic from the ESPN hockey writers...
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
The Los Angeles Kings have won two Stanley Cups in the past three seasons, without ever finishing better than fifth in the Western Conference in the regular season. Today, the defending Cup champs are in a dog fight just to make the Top 8 and qualify for the post-season, typically beginning to find their game as the playoffs near.
“For sure it’s stressful,” said soon-to-be UFA centre Jarret Stoll. “People keep saying it, and we don’t want to hear it, to be honest, anymore. It’s an easy way out, ‘These guys will flip the switch.’ We’ve done it a couple of times, but we can’t rely on that.”
They can’t. But they do. Truly, these guys are the ultimate “flip-switchers” in recent history.
This just isn’t the same team in the regular season that it is come playoff time, when they relentlessly grind out physical, low-scoring wins — to the tune of 11 playoff series’ over the past three seasons. That is more spring hockey than any other NHL club, and perhaps the answer to why the Kings seem to be wavering this season.
continued plus two more topics...
BOSTON, MA - Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today, March 6, that the club has signed defenseman Torey Krug to a one-year contract extension through the 2015-16 season worth a cap figure of $3,400,000 and forward Reilly Smith to a two-year contract extension through the 2016-17 season worth an annual cap figure of $3,425,000.
In 58 games this season with the Bruins, the 23-year-old Krug has potted 11 goals (sixth on the team) and 20 assists (second among team defensemen) for 31 points (second among team defensemen) with a plus-six rating.
from John Glennon of The Tennessean,
Despite the high-octane first period, the Predators surrendered the game's opening goal for the 10th consecutive time. In fact, the Islanders scored twice on five shots in the first period before Colin Wilson cut the lead to 2-1 just before the horn sounded.
"We need to stop getting down in these games," Wilson said. "We keep starting off behind and then we have to battle back. We keep having great efforts, but we need to start to get those goals."
And then there was the disappointment of the final period, when – three minutes after the Predators rallied from 3-1 down to 3-3 – Brock Nelson's shot from the slot won it for the Islanders. It was a bit of a fluke opportunity, as Michael Grabner's shot ricocheted off the endboards and bounced over Predators defenseman Seth Jones' stick in front before sliding to Nelson.
"It seems like that's where we're at right now," Laviolette said. "Our guys played hard, fought back and we catch a tough bounce on a rebound that jumps over a defenseman's stick."
John Glennon on the lawsuit filed by Mike Ribeiro's ex-nanny,
Just about four minutes of highlights...
from Rock Westfall of GetMoreSports,
The American masses continue to reject a self-described, “Three-two shutdown league” as evidenced by last Saturday night’s abysmal prime time failure on NBC. A reasonably attractive matchup of the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers produced an entertaining game that was worth watching and won by the Flyers 4-2. Yet the game could muster nothing more than a 1.0 national rating.
There have been too many times in the past that American’s have clicked on boring 1-0 and 2-1 games that have turned them off from giving the NHL another chance. On far too many nights, guys watching basketball games see 1-0 third period NHL scores on the bottom crawl, giving them little reason to flip over to the NHL and give the game a chance.
The problem remains the real men of genius on the NHL competition committee that continue to tailor rules to cover each other’s rear ends and team needs, rather than open the game up. The game continues to be the stranglehold of shutdown clod general managers and head coaches that eternally plot its suffocation with insufferable misery.
via Scott Lewis of Sportsnet,
The Minnesota Wild’s deadline acquisition of defenceman Jordan Leopold was hardly a blockbuster trade, but it wound up being one of the day’s biggest stories.
A letter written by Leopold’s daughter Jordyn back in January, asking the Wild to bring her father home to Minnesota, went viral on deadline day.
Jordyn spoke about the letter and the impact it made on social media Thursday.
Take note, NHL fathers. Your shot at landing on your hometown team rests on your children’s ability to pen adorable letters.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
- When Devan Dubnyk was looking for work last summer after his nightmare 2013-14 season, two teams wanted the former Edmonton Oilers goalie: the Coyotes and the Kings. The Coyotes had a guaranteed NHL backup job and Dubnyk maybe would have had to start in the AHL with Martin Jones as Quick’s backup unless they moved Jones.
- George McPhee was a fine GM with the Washington Capitals, but how good do you think Filip Forsberg would look on right-wing with Nick Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin? The Caps have had a dozen guys auditioning with Ovie and Backstrom. Forsberg could get 65 points as a rookie, but I’m still not sure I wouldn’t vote for Florida’s outstanding defenceman Aaron Ekblad for the Calder. He turned 19 a month ago.
- If Dustin Byfuglien, who appeared to hurt his shoulder against Ottawa Wednesday, is out any longer than a couple of weeks, the Winnipeg Jets could be in trouble. “He’s the most unique player in the whole league ... there’s nobody else who can go back and forth from forward to defence. Unbelievable he can skate like that, being that size (around 260),” said a Western Conference management-type. This is the best Big Buff has looked since the first Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup win in 2010.
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org