Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
What to watch for
- Rangers rising: With the Pens ailing and the Blueshirts riding a three-game winning streak, New York has a chance to gain ground this week in the Metropolitan Division standings. Rick Nash is rolling with 28 goals -- he’s tied with the Dallas Stars’ Tyler Seguin for the league lead -- and it doesn't hurt that the Rangers play the next five games in New York, either.
- Toronto tailspin: Expect the level of hysteria and histrionics to only intensify if the Toronto Maple Leafs continue to stumble out of the All-Star break. A coaching change has yielded a more structured, defensively sound playing style under Peter Horachek, but that hasn't translated into wins as the Leafs are teetering dangerously close to falling off the proverbial cliff and missing out on the playoffs once again.
- Los Angeles Kings: Winners in just two of their last 10 games, the defending Stanley Cup champions are looking less and less like the team that we saw last spring. Discipline seems to be one issue that is apparent, with the Kings surrendering two power-play goals to the San Jose Sharks in their most recent loss before the break and a struggling penalty kill that ranks 25th in the league with a 77.8% success rate.
- Arizona Coyotes: Definitely a team that deserves a spot in the Connor McDavid-Jack Eichel conversation for the No. 1 overall draft pick, it’s a wonder that the fire sale has not yet begun for a downtrodden team that dropped six straight heading into this weekend’s festivities. How much further can the ‘Yotes slide down the standings? A five-game road trip coming up should give us a good idea.
TEAM TOEWS TRIUMPHS IN HIGHEST-SCORING NHL ALL-STAR GAME
Led by 3-3—6 from Jakub Voracek and four goals from John Tavares, Team Toews defeated Team Foligno 17-12 in the highest-scoring All-Star Game in NHL history.
* Team Toews’ 17 goals were the most ever by one team in an NHL All-Star Game, surpassing the record of 16 set by the Prince of Wales Conference in 1993.
So how about 3 1/2 minutes of slow motion action from the last week in the NHL?
from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
COLUMBUS, Ohio- Sidney Crosby's first decade in the NHL is almost over. And here is what he needs to know: Being Sidney Crosby isn't his job anymore.
Just being Sidney is all any of us should ask of “The Next One” who became “The One.”
Being Sidney Crosby meant breathing life into hockey after the NHL attempted to suffocate the game at its highest level. Being Sidney Crosby meant resuscitating a Penguins franchise that was on life support while calling a decaying Igloo home.
As Crosby became the world's finest player, Being Sidney Crosby came to mean raising the NHL and Penguins from their respective deathbeds. Either feat should have exhausted Crosby. Both tasks were too much to ask of any “Kid.”
Now a man at 27, Crosby can take the deep breath he is long overdue. His Penguins are perennial contenders. More importantly, they're financially sound, with 360 consecutive home sellouts and supreme regional TV ratings. His league is thriving, topping $4 billion in revenue, and working peacefully with its players' union to finally bring promise of tangible growth.
Being Sidney Crosby wasn't necessary here this weekend.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
Before we drop the puck on the remaining 40-plus per cent of the 2014-15 regular season - by the way, the trade deadline is five weeks today and the Stanley Cup playoffs start in 11 weeks - let’s take one more moment to reflect on what we’ve seen in the NHL so far.
More precisely, let’s have a look at what NHL head coaches think and feel in TSN’s Who’s Best survey. Just prior to the NHL All-Star break, TSN surveyed 20 NHL head coaches - 10 in the East; 10 in the West - to determine Who’s Best in five categories: Best Team; Best Goalie; Best Defenceman; Best Player; and last but not least, Best Coach....
BEST TEAM: It’s only fitting the New York Rangers and New York Islanders play in the first game back after the All-Star break, because those were the top two teams in the East, according to survey results.
The Rangers, who went to the Cup final last season and currently sit third in the Metropolitan Division (behind Pittsburgh and the Islanders and just ahead of Washington) received five votes, compared to four for the Islanders, who sit in first place in the division.
The only other team to get a vote was Pittsburgh.
from Joe Yerdon at NHL.com,
The American Hockey League has been trying to find a way to have more games end in overtime rather than in the shootout. The reviews have been mixed from players.
Before the start of the 2014-15 season, the AHL changed how overtime periods would be handled by switching from a five-minute overtime played 4-on-4 to a seven-minute period with four of them played 4-on-4 and three minutes played 3-on-3.
Through Saturday, 74.8 percent of games that went to overtime were settled in the extra period. When compared to last season, it’s an increase of 10.1 percent when 64.7 percent of games that went to overtime ended with an overtime goal. For AHL players who have spent time in the NHL, that difference has been noticeable.
"I think for our fans, it's great for hockey," Rockford IceHogs defenseman T.J. Brennan said. "Obviously shootouts are fun and exciting. It [stinks] being on the losing side of a shootout. One guy, one goalie … it kind of takes away from the team-oriented thing. Having 4-on-4 and 3-on-3, it's always exciting to have a goal in game decided in action. When you simplify it down to that, it's fun and exciting."
Here, all 29 goals in 1 1/2 minutes.
End of ASG story, regular season play resumes on Tuesday.
Time to feel like a hockey fan again and not apologizing to friends about the "game" yesterday.
In case you were wondering, per the Washington Post's Alex Prewitt:
Those of you who like goals might have found the record-breaking 17-12 tally tolerable, and those of you who dislike the fan voting may have found Ryan Johansen's naming as the game's MVP on a night that Team Toews defeated Johansen's Team Foligno--via a 4-goal performance from John Tavares, a 3 goal-plus-3-assist performance from Jakub Voracek and 5-point nights for Jonathan Toews and Patrice Bergeron (1 goal + 4 assists)--to be the ultimate, "This shit is a bunch of fluffernutter" exclamation point...
But Tavares spoke glowingly of the experience of being named an All-Star having grown up watching the games and being honored by and grateful for the opportunity of playing among the league's best, and there was this:
So the All-Star Game was an event in itself, and now it's over, with all of us expecting this come a year from now:
Feel free to discuss the ASG or anything else hockey related.
The NHL games start again on Tuesday with 11 games on the schedule.
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.
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