Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jeremy P. Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Rarely are the Blues going to win games scoring just one goal, like they did Tuesday in Nashville. The club tried it again Thursday with defenseman Jay Bouwmeester contributing the only offense, and it was not enough in a 3-1 loss to the Sharks in front of a crowd of 18,803.
Let’s go to the running tote board: The Blues have scored five goals in their last five games, and just three goals in their last four games. Though the club is 2-2-1 in that five-game stretch, it will find itself falling out of the battle for the Central Division quickly at this pace. Chicago and Dallas both won in overtime Thursday, leaving the Blues eight points behind the Blackhawks and five behind the Stars.
There appeared to be more concern late Thursday night about the offensive issues than existed earlier in the day.
“This has been going on for a little while, we’ve been getting points, winning games,” Hitchcock said. “Our top guys are going to have to eventually help us here and contribute. It can’t be just one or two guys, like (Bouwmeester) scoring or (Troy) Brouwer. We’re going to have to get more production from other people up the ladder here if we expect to have success.”
Watch the game highlights below...
from Eric Stephens of the OC Register,
The first sign came early on, when the captain who doesn’t shoot the puck did. The next sign came when the skilled defenseman put the hit on the star center, took one to draw a penalty and then let loose his own powerful shot.
Ryan Getzlaf did the former, and Hampus Lindholm came up with the latter. Those were two high points of many for the Ducks in a one-sided 4-2 win over the Kings on Thursday night.
A stunned sellout crowd of 18,230 at Staples Center watched as the Pacific Division-leading Kings were throttled by a Ducks team that hasn’t relinquished one bit of momentum it gained from the Christmas holiday break to the All-Star break.
“Sometimes you have a feeling the way the guys practice the day before,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “The way they’re just carrying themselves around the rink, you know that they were going to be really into the game.
“Our guys were really into the game today and I thought it showed. I thought we played really well.”
from John Meagher of the Montreal Gazette,
The lowly Sabres won the game 4-2, but the Habs are not the only ones taking a beating these days. So, too, are the ticket resellers.
“I can’t give tickets away right now,” one said. “Half price at best.
“There is something wrong with this team, and it runs deep. Very deep. ”
Signs of the Habs’ train wreck are everywhere. Canadiens jerseys, big and small, occupy several racks at the Canadian Wolf shop near the Simons store on Ste-Catherine St.
Store owner Tamer Amhaz says business in general is the worst he’s seen it since he opened in 2011, and the Habs’ slide only makes things worse.
“Business is down 50 per cent,” Amhaz said. “It’s very bad, very bad.
“I feel it, I see it in the face of the people that have become so angry (at the Canadiens).
“You know why? Because they started (the season) very good and after like a chute incroyable (an incredible fall), why has it become like this?”
Habs jerseys of P.K. Subban and Max Pacioretty, retailing for $180 apiece, are not an easy sell these days.
from Frank Seravalli of TSN.Which forward will the Minnesota Wild acquire this month?
Which forward will the Minnesota Wild acquire this month?
Ryan Suter described the Wild as “fragile” after Thursday night’s meltdown at Madison Square Garden. They have blown a lead in five of their last six games and are playing like a team begging for a trade.
“That’s not up to us,” Zach Parise told reporters post-game. “You can’t plan on that. You can’t assume that’s going to happen, because what if it doesn’t? Then we’re just going to quit? We have to play better as a group, and as the group that’s here right now.”
Wild GM Chuck Fletcher has been trying to make something happen. Fletcher has sniffed around for a forward for a couple months now, starting with Ryan Johansen when he was available from Columbus.
Who will it be? Loui Eriksson would be a nice fit, though the Bruins still want to re-sign him.
Keep an eye on former Golden Gopher Kyle Okposo, who has a very reasonable cap hit as a pending UFA. The playoff-bound Islanders aren’t interested in trading him, but Okposo said this week there hasn’t been much dialogue between his agent and GM Garth Snow on an extension.
four more NHL topics...
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
So that’s 50 out of 1,000 games with the Leafs, and given that only four coaches all time — Al Arbour, Billy Reay, Lindy Ruff and Barry Trotz — have ever coached 1,000 games with one team, it’s hard to imagine at this point No. 2,000 will come in Toronto.
If it did, it would come 66 games into the 2028-29 season, when Babcock will be 65 years old. He wasn’t quite willing to project that far into the future when asked if he’s got another 1,000 games in him.
“Well, I’ve got this year and seven more, and then I’m gonna stay for two more after that because the team’s going to be that good,” he said.
He said it without irony, without a smile, almost enough to make you believe him. If you’re a Leafs fan, it seems a safe bet that if Babcock’s still around after another nine years, the team will have ended it’s Stanley Cup drought.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
The faithful came to see Connor McDavid at the Canadian Tire Centre.
They exited the building wondering if maybe the Senators should try to win the lottery because the dream of making the playoffs is far from reality.
While the Edmonton Oilers’ young star didn’t disappoint with a pair of assists in his second game back after missing 37 games with a broken clavicle, the Senators embarrassed themselves with their fifth loss in six games — a disgraceful 7-2 defeat Thursday night in front of 18,564.
And, that resulted in a 10-minute players only closed-door meeting and though they look like they’re coming apart at the seams the message was not to let that happen.
“Stick together,” said winger Zack Smith. “We’re still confident in this group. The main focus right now is not to feel sorry for ourselves.
“Yeah, we got some bad bounces, but you have to work (to achieve better results), especially when you get in a rut like this. You have to work that much harder to get out. The main thing is to stick together. This is a good test when you go through something like this.”
Game highlights are below...
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
Of all the losses during this lousy stretch and this lousy calendar year of Wild hockey, this was in my mind the most awful tonight.
This team is just a wreck, and the players have no answers, their under-siege coach has no answers and their GM apparently has no answers because he has so far declined interview requests from the beat writers during this road trip.
In the meantime, the Wild has lost nine of 10 games and 12 of 15 this year and tonight coughed up a 2-0 lead here at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers.
The Wild tried to make it like this was the exact same thing that occurred a couple nights ago against the Islanders, but in that game, the Wild had a 1-0 lead and a season-high 20 shots in a period in the first 20 minutes before caving.
Watch the game highlights below...
Catch up on the all the action in 5 1/2 minutes.
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
Of the 12 names that were added to the NHL’s concussion lawsuit yesterday, the one that stands out the most is that of Paul Stewart, the first American in history to make it to the NHL as both a player and a referee. According the lawsuit, one of the more gregarious and easy-going personalities in the game, Stewart now suffers from depressive and anxiety disorders, anger, impulse and temper control issues and a loss of memory.
And more importantly, Stewart also has had a brain tumor. Last April, Stewart had a golf-ball sized benign tumor removed from his brain at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He had spent much of the previous three seasons in Russia as a judicial and discipline consultant to the KHL. “When I got home from Russia, I promise you, things were not pleasant,” says Stewart, who turns 62 next month. “At first I thought it was because I was gone so long. I’m better since the surgery, but every day I really have to work at it.”
from Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Herald,
Calgary Flames defenceman Dennis Wideman broke his silence Thursday, issuing a public apology to linesman Don Henderson and saying he is “disappointed” with the 20-game suspension he was handed by the NHL after his ugly collision with the official last week.
Reading from notes, Wideman addressed the media after practising with his Flames teammates at the Saddledome, his first skate since the incident.
With the NHLPA currently appealing the suspension on his behalf, the 32-year-old did not answer questions.
“Firstly, I want to apologize to Donnie Henderson,” Wideman said. “I feel awful about what happened. Hopefully, he’s recovering and he’s going to be back on the ice soon, but I feel really bad about the whole situation. The last seven days have been tough.
“Never in my career have I ever disrespected or done anything like this to an official. I think I’ve prided myself on having a great working relationship with the officials, and I hope to continue that when I get out there. But again, I just want to apologize to Donnie. I feel awful about what happened.
continue for more from Wideman...
added 3:37pm, Watch Wideman's statement below via Sportsnet.
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.
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