Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/25/13 at 05:27 PM ET
from Stu Hackel of Sports Illustrated,
It's been a season of ups and downs and few teams have been able to win consistently. The compressed schedule and lack of practice time probably have a lot to do with that. A few clubs found ways to maintain their strong play, although not necessarily the teams that some expected to excel when the puck dropped in January.
• Many believed the Rangers, who finished first in the East a season ago, would be the top team in the league after adding Rick Nash. It hasn't worked out that way and New York needs to win one of its last two games just to qualify for the playoffs. Nash has played well -- few are more dangerous driving to the net with the puck on their stick -- but the team's depth, character play and defense corps as a whole made less impact than they did last season.
• After loading up with free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, the Wild similarly looked like a team destined for a strong regular season. While they played well in spurts, they, too, have yet to clinch a playoff spot with two games left on their schedule. Suter started poorly -- some remarked that he learned that being a top NHL defenseman wasn't easy without Shea Weber as his partner -- but he eventually rediscovered his bearings and will deservedly get some Norris Trophy consideration.
• In a normal year, we might all be raving about the Anaheim Ducks, who've had a surprisingly strong regular season, especially after missing the playoffs last year....
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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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