Kukla's Korner Hockey
BLUES TAKE OVER TOP SPOT
T.J. Oshie continued his shootout magic with his fourth game-deciding goal of the season as the St. Louis Blues (94 points) won their fifth straight game to leapfrog the idle Anaheim Ducks (93 points) and move into the League's top spot with a 3-2 decision over the Minnesota Wild. The victory marked the 19th straight divisional match-up in which the Blues recorded at least one point (18-0-1), matching a club record set during the 1968-69 campaign.
* Oshie has scored a League-leading eight shootout goals this season and has tallied 13 career deciding goals, two behind Sidney Crosby for the all-time lead.
* St. Louis improved to 7-0-0 in its past seven contests versus Minnesota, with its last loss coming Nov. 19, 2011.
* The win moved Blues coach Ken Hitchcock into sole possession of seventh on the League’s all-time wins list (649).
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
The trade deadline-driven contract negotiations with Dan Girardi and Ryan Callahan were instructive to Marc Staal, who could be in the very same position as an impending free agent next year but sure isn’t savoring the possibility.
“I saw those two guys go through it with the negotiations and all of the rumors that are impossible to avoid if you’re on the last year of your contract, and it’s not something I really want to go through,” Staal told The Post on Sunday following the Rangers’ buttoned-down 3-0 victory over the Red Wings at the Garden.
“You can say all you want that it’s not on your mind and it’s not a distraction, but it’s something that has to weigh on you,” No. 18 said. “I know my brother, Jordan, went through a lot of that early on in a season when he was in Pittsburgh and basically said, ‘Enough of that.’
“For me, the contract situation is definitely something I would like to take care of over the summer. That’s the goal, but that also has to be the way management looks at it, too, in order to get it done.”
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
- I can still see the Anaheim Ducks going hard for Vancouver Canucks centre Ryan Kesler this summer. Anaheim has centre Jakob Silfverberg, big winger Devante-Smith Pelly or speedy Emerson Etem, a defenceman like Sami Vatanen or Luca Sbisa and a first-round draft pick to offer
- People say there will be 4,000 obstructed view seats for hockey at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., when the Islanders move in 2015-16. Long Island Rail Road might have charters for the players to the rink in the afternoon and back after games. They thought of getting rooms in a hotel by the rink on game days, but that’s too expensive.
- Ray Shero is a very smart cookie, but were the Pittsburgh Penguins were so focused on trying to get Kesler that they missed out on Islanders defenceman Andrew MacDonald with their big holes on the back end: Kris Letang (minor stroke) and Paul Martin (broken hand) gone. Instead, Philadelphia got MacDonald for two draft picks and the Penguins went for fourth-liner Marcel Goc and a depth scorer, Lee Stempniak.
... They (Vancouver Canucks) probably need a dozen victories in their final 16 games — starting Monday against the upset-minded New York Islanders — just to squeeze into the playoffs. If they don't, the rear-view mirror of failure will be full of several faces because winning solves everything. Losing solves nothing and exposes everything.
-Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province where you can read more on the Canucks.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
“Marian Gaborik is plus 90 in his (NHL) career. He’s been a minus player once and he played on teams that were basically expansion (Minny and Columbus),” said Sutter, who saw lots of Gaborik in Minnesota and isn’t what he looks like–a don’t-take-chances coach, even if the Kings can protect a lead better than almost anybody in the business.
“Marian’s played in two conference finals (Minnesota and Rangers). Not many guys can say that. He really skates and thinks the game good…he’s not unlike a lot of our players when you look at it. He’ll fit in good because he’s a smart player…we’ll let him play.”
“Jacques (Lemaire) liked Marian because he’s a smart player.”
“Biggest adjustment for Marian is coming back to the Western Conference.”
Talk begining to swirl of George Stroumboulopoulos being named the new face/host of HNIC while Ron MacLean will remain with the show.
from Mark Stepneski of Inside Edge at the Dallas Stars' website,
“We know he’s not doing that well, so we have to make a decision later on today … as far as calling somebody up,” Ruff said after Sunday’s practice.
A few hours later the Stars made the decision, recalling goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp from the Texas Stars of the AHL.
Lehtonen was injured when Wild forward Erik Haula slammed into Lehtonen while driving the net. Lehtonen’s mask came off and his head hit the crossbar. Lehtonen, who suffered a cut to the head, left the game and did not return. Ruff was asked about the specifics of the injury on Sunday.
“It’s just a head injury right now,” Ruff said. “We’ll let him get through the day and see where we are at. It doesn’t look good though.”
With Lehtonen injured, the Stars will turn to Tim Thomas, acquired from Florida at the trade deadline in exchange for goaltender Dan Ellis. Thomas took over in net Saturday night, stopping all six shots he faced and picking up the win as the Stars rallied from a 3-2 deficit to defeat the Wild 4-3.
more on the Stars...
If you missed the injury to Lehtonen, you can watch it here...
from the CP at TSN,
No different than many fans, GMs hate to see a game end on an incorrect call and generally don't like to see one end in a shootout. So it's only natural that altering or extending overtime and expanding video review will be hot topics on the agenda for meetings Monday through Wednesday in Boca Raton, Fla.
When it comes to overtime, the hope is to have fewer games even reach the shootout, which was instituted after the 2004-05 lockout as a way of eliminating ties. Since then, 13.3 per cent of all regular-season games have gone to one, and that's seen as too much.
"I would prefer for our game to be decided by playing hockey instead of the skill part of the game, which is the shootout," Jim Nill of the Dallas Stars said. "It's really tough. You can play a great game, play a great overtime and then you go to a shootout and just because you lose a shootout it feels like you've lost the game -- and you have, and it hurts because you played such a good game. I would rather lose a game by playing the game."
Through Saturday, 121 of 962 games this season have gone to a shootout (12.57 per cent). Each team has participated in at least four, while the Washington Capitals lead the league with 15 of them through 64 games.
SEGUIN LEADS STARS ON MODANO NIGHT
On the night the Dallas Stars retired Mike Modano’s No. 9, the home team came from behind in the third period to earn a 4-3 victory and improve to 5-1-1 in their last seven home games. Tyler Seguin, fresh off a five-point performance on Thursday, scored 1-2—3, marking his seventh game this season scoring three or more points. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Seguin's total of eight points over the last two games matches the high for any NHL player over a two-game span this season, previously done by the Penguins' James Neal (Dec. 27-29) and the Islanders' John Tavares (Jan. 6-7). It is also the highest point total by a Stars player over a two-game span since Feb. 1-3, 1993, when Mike Modano registered eight points for the Minnesota North Stars in a pair of games at Vancouver and San Jose. Seguin has tied a career-high with his 29th goal of the season, and his 37 assists are one shy of his previous best. He sits fifth in League scoring with 66 points.
* In a lavish pre-game ceremony, an emotional Modano watched as his No. 9 raised to the rafters of American Airlines Center. Modano played 20 of his 21 NHL seasons with the Stars / North Stars and is the all-time franchise leader in multiple categories including games played (1,459), goals (557), assists (802) and points (1,359).
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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