Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 01/06/14 at 12:40 PM ET
from Tim Wharnsby of CBC,
Favourite 1st-half storylines
Daniel Alfredsson in Detroit, John Tortorella behind the bench in Vancouver and Tim Thomas's return to the NHL were the most intriguing storylines to begin the season.
Here are five other narratives that caught our eye in the first half:
1. The play of Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 14 months ago. The 29-year-old from Regina has played the best hockey of his career. Although he recently has hit a bit a rough patch as he deals with changes to his medication, he still leads the league in goals-against average at 1.65 and has the fourth-best save percentage at .933.
2. Harding played a role in our second storyline -- backup goaltending. A career backup, Harding earned No. 1 status with his play this season. Other backups who have been solid include: Cam Talbot (New York Rangers), Al Montoya (Winnipeg), Jonas Gustavsson (Detroit), Brian Elliott (St. Louis), Fredrik Andersen (Anaheim), Eddie Lack (Vancouver), Jean-Sebastien Giguere (Colorado), Chad Johnson (Boston), Anton Khudobin (Carolina), Martin Jones and Ben Scrivens (Los Angeles).
3. The influence of Nik Lidstrom is alive and well. There has been a bevy of young Swedish blue-liners age 23 and under who have impressed, beginning with Erik Karlsson (Ottawa), Jonas Brodin (Minnesota) and Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Phoenix). Others include: Hampus Lindholm (Anaheim), Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay), Adam Larsson (New Jersey), Alexander Urbom (Washington) and Mattias Ekholm (Nashville).
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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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