Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

The Los Angeles Kings Are Playing For Home Ice Advantage

from Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider,

“They were very effective,” he said. “I’ve said it lots, right? You need everybody every shift to make the playoffs. Kopi’s line was a little off last night. Basically, all it is is Koivu’s line – three big players – dominated the game.”

And while the Kings are still fighting to get into the playoffs, and while Minnesota has risen past the wild-card fray into a divisional playoff berth for the time being (and perhaps longer), Sutter crossed one particular landing point off the postseason itinerary.

“Everybody’s trying to make the playoffs,” he said while rejecting an allusion that the team would face another “desperate” team in the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday. “We still have the opportunity to get home ice, as ‘desperate’ as we are. We still have the opportunity to go home in two weeks, so it’s one of the two. You’re not going to get a wild-card spot. The wild-card’s out of the picture.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Slumping Chicago Blackhawks Are Now A Wildcard Team

from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,

The Hawks have lost three of four games, all to teams outside of the playoff picture, to fall to fourth place in the Central. They have two games in hand on the Wild (and on first-place Nashville, which is eight points ahead), but those two games come back-to-back against the Jets (who’ve won three of four against the Hawks this season) and the defending champion Los Angeles Kings.

Oddly enough, that might be the best thing for the Hawks, who have long had a penchant for playing to the level of their competition.

“I feel we’ve taken some teams lightly as of late, and they’ve taken it to us,” Andrew Shaw said. “Tonight’s a big game. We need the two points, they need the two points. When you’re playing a great team, everyone always steps up even more.”

Toews agreed.

“When the motivation is right in front of our faces, I think we’ve always been good at stepping up and being prepared for those types of games,” he said, adding that the urgency hasn’t been high enough lately. “We played some teams that have nothing to lose, and aren’t sitting in playoff positions, and they’ve been the ones playing the more desperate style of hockey. Tonight, there’s no excuse.”

more

Chicago plays tonight in Winnipeg.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Vincent Lecavalier Just Wants To Play

from Stephen Whyno of the CP at Yahoo,

"Maybe it's just a better opportunity I need," Lecavalier said. "It happens to a lot of guys. Sometimes you just have to get out of it, try to get out of it and work hard through it and maybe another opportunity will happen."

Lecavalier is in the process of selling his home in Tampa, Fla., and is renting a house in the Philadelphia area. After 14 seasons as the face of the Lightning franchise, uncertainty has become the new normal for the Ile Bizard, Que., native.

Owed another $2 million roster bonus this summer, Lecavalier will have made $14 million of the $22.5 million from his contract before stepping onto the ice next season. Counting buyout payments from the Lightning that run through the 2026-2027 season, Lecavalier could earn the most money of any player in NHL history, with Jaromir Jagr the only active challenger.

Lecavalier said he wouldn't ask the Flyers to buy him out of this deal. He just wants to play.

"I feel like I've trained my whole career to extend those years and feel good when I'm 35, 36, 37 years old," he said. "I feel like it's not a matter of not having legs or anything like that. I was never a really fast guy. I've always been the same speed. I feel good."

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: vincent+lecavalier

Flashback- Ed ‘Sock’ Hatoum

from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,

For a guy who played just 26 games with the Vancouver Canucks during the team’s initial season in the NHL, Ed Hatoum is as well known as any player from that era.

Im­agine the im­pact of a guy who scored just one goal hav­ing the nick­name Ed ‘Sock’ Hatoum (Get it? sounds like “Sock it to ’em.”) — which was on the lips of every fan that 1970-71 sea­son. Van­cou­ver final­ly be­ing ad­mit­ted to the league was a very big deal in town and, for a short while, so was Hatoum.

“It’s amazing, really,” says Hatoum, now 67, some 38 years since his hockey career ended after more stops than any Allied Van Lines truck...

There’s a reason why Hatoum was so well remembered, and it had a little to do with the nickname and the promise with which he arrived. After having had a big year with the Detroit Red Wings’ Central League team in Fort Worth, Tex., he came to training camp with considerable promise and for good reason. The Canucks’ players were all new, there were jobs open, and Hatoum could skate, shoot and score.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Kris Letang Has A Concussion

via Sam Kasan of the Penguins' website,

Head coach Mike Johnston had a few updates on the game...

  • Johnston confirmed that defenseman Kris Letang has a concussion. He's been released from the hospital, but will not be in the lineup tonight.
  • Johnston said the team will go with five defensemen for the game and, if need be, Winnik could drop back to defense if needed.
  • Perron is doubtful for the game and "probably out" per Johnston. He missed Saturday's 3-2 win against Arizona with an illness.

 

 

 

Below, watch the hit on Letang who tumbled into the end boards...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: kris+letang

NHL Short Notes

DUCKS CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH, TAKE OVER FIRST IN LEAGUE STANDINGS
Knotted at 1-1 after 20 minutes, the Ducks scored a pair of second-period goals – including the eventual winning marker by Andrew Cogliano – to clinch their third consecutive playoff berth and 11th in franchise history.
 

 

* At 48-22-7 (103 points), the Ducks also moved into first place in the NHL standings, where the top six teams are separated by four points.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Minnesota Wild’s Run To The Playoffs

from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,

Back on Jan. 27, the Wild was buried in 12th place and 16 points behind the Chicago Blackhawks. This morning, at least for one day, the Wild kicked the Blackhawks into a wild-card spot, leapfrogged the star-studded rival for third-place in the Central Division and put itself in terrific mathematical position to make the playoffs for a third consecutive season.

With six games left in the regular season, that is quite an achievement when one considers how down and out this team was before Dubnyk came to the rescue Jan. 14. In the past nine weeks, the Wild is an NHL-best 24-5-1 to become the toast of the NHL. It hasn’t lost by more than a goal since Jan. 19, hasn’t lost consecutive games since Jan. 19-20 or consecutive games in regulation in 34 starts by Dubnyk (26-6-2).

Under Dubnyk, the Wild has outscored its opponents 104-57 for a league-best (by far) plus-47 goal differential. To be clear: 57 goals allowed in 34 games from a team that allowed 58 in the 14 games before Dubnyk’s acquisition.

“I don’t remember having this many games in such a short period of time,” captain Mikko Koivu said after he and linemate Nino Niederreiter each scored two goals against the Kings. “The last two months, it’s been a lot of hockey. I think this break will be good for us.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Unsafe Hockey Helmets

from Steve Fainaru of ESPN,

More than a quarter of all helmets worn by hockey players, from the NHL to youth leagues, are unsafe, according to an independent study provided to "Outside the Lines" that ranked hockey helmets based on their ability to reduce concussion risk.

Out of 32 helmets in the marketplace that were tested by researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, nine failed to earn a single star on a five-star scale and were classified as "not recommended." Just one helmet, made by Warrior Sports, received three stars. The rest received one or two stars.

"In general, they're low performers," said Stefan Duma, the head of Virginia Tech's department of biomedical engineering and mechanics, which spent three years and $500,000 developing the ratings. The study did not receive funding from the helmet industry.

Hockey players wearing the "not recommended" helmets risk incurring at least six concussions per season, and in some cases more than eight, according to Virginia Tech.

"We don't think anybody should be playing in these helmets," Duma said of the non-recommended models.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, Hockey Equipment, Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Good Goal Or Bad Goal

via Dave Hodge of TSN,

Thumbs down to the ongoing confusion about what constitutes a "good goal" that is propelled into the net by a skate.

The first goal in yesterday's 4-2 win by the Boston Bruins over the New York Rangers was a deliberate attempt by Boston's Milan Lucic to score a goal that way. He slid his right skate to make contact with the puck, thus, changing its direction, and sending it into the net. "No goal" was the call on the ice. Video review changed the call and the Bruins were ahead 1-0.

The ref's opinion was easily supported, but so was the decision to award the goal. If that sounds crazy, it fully explains the problem the NHL has dealt with for what seems forever. And there is only one solution, which is to allow all goals scored directly from skates.

You hear it said that players, especially goalies, would be in danger if kicking at pucks became legal, but kicking at pucks is legal. You just can't kick them into the net. It doesn't mean players don't use their skates to try to control pucks, to free them from scrums. What players don't do is kick wildly with their skates, near the crease or anywhere else on the ice. They wouldn't start doing that if a rule said they could score goals with their skates in any fashion. As it is, they try to score goals with their skates and hope they get the benefit of the rule that nobody really understands.

You can review the goal here...

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, NHL Officiating, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Great Connor McDavid

from Matt Higgins of the New York Times,

For Connor McDavid, an 18-year-old center for the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League and the most anticipated N.H.L. prospect in decades, compliments accrue as steadily as goals and assists.

The Otters’ assistant coach Jay McKee, who played 13 seasons as an N.H.L. defenseman, has been known to pull out his phone on the bench during games to record a clip of McDavid’s dazzling play.

Tim Murray, general manager of the Buffalo Sabres, a self-described “glass-half-empty guy” not given to giddy appraisals, said he has not seen a better junior player. “I watch him too much and I think too much about him,” said Murray, who has been scouting teenage N.H.L. prospects for 23 seasons. “I wish I could help myself.”

Sherry Bassin, the Otters’ 75-year-old owner who possesses a lifetime of hockey memories and a voice like an old record, scratchy and faint, recalled that the Hockey Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuk, who coaches the O.H.L. rival Barrie Colts, said of McDavid: “He skates like Bobby Orr. He has the vision of Wayne Gretzky. And he handles the puck like Mario Lemieux.”

continued

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: connor+mcdavid

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com

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