Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/03/12 at 12:50 PM ET
Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun discuss Chicago and Detroit goaltending, Sam Gagner’s night and what will Calgary do?...
BURNSIDE: Here’s the dilemma for Stan Bowman as I see it. The Blackhawks can light it up with anyone in the league—they are 4th in goals per game—and they do have a blue line that boasts top-end talent in former Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith, Canadian Olympian Brent Seabrook and up-and-coming blue liner Nick Leddy. But right now, where would you rank their goaltending in the conference? Hard to argue that Jimmy Howard (more on him in a moment), Roberto Luongo/Cory Schneider, Brian Elliott/Jaroslav Halak, Pekka Rinne and Antti Niemi wouldn’t rank ahead of Crawford (and Chicago backup Ray Emery). Throw in Jonathan Quick, who is having a Vezina-worthy season in Los Angeles, and Niklas Backstrom of the 8th-place Wild and you could argue quite persuasively the Blackhawks have the worst goaltending of the eight teams currently in the playoff bracket in the West. Can they overcome that and win a round or two or more?
Well, that’s the great debate, no? The Blackhawks, in the middle of a nine-game road trip, travel to Calgary Friday night. Calgary is another one of those teams trying to decide if it’s a buyer or a seller. If the Flames fall off the pace—they are five points out of 8th in 11th place as we speak—you have to wonder if GM Jay Feaster might entertain offers for Miikka Kiprusoff. The veteran netminder has a no-move clause through the end of this season but the Flames’ rebuilding has to start somewhere, no? And given Feaster’s repeated insistence he’s not moving captain Jarome Iginla, maybe Kiprusoff is where it starts. And if you’re Chicago, well, food for thought, no?
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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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