Kukla's Korner Hockey
Just short of 6 minutes to watch the highlights from yesterday's games.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
One is from the High Park area in the west end of Toronto; the other is from Pickering, the first community east of Metro Toronto.
One just turned 23; the other won’t turn 21 until June.
One is a late-blooming 6-foot-5 goalie who may be closer to 6-foot-6, with the size, confidence, calm demeanor and puck-stopping ability that has NHL teams falling all over themselves to sign him as an unrestricted free agent; the other is a 5-foot-10 goal-scoring left winger who may be closer to 5-foot-9, with an edgy, chip-on-his-shoulder mentality and high skill level that is perhaps, finally, causing some NHL teams to at least consider the notion the unrestricted free agent can be successful in pro hockey in spite of his size, or lack thereof.
For all their differences, though, there is much Matt O’Connor and Drake Caggiula share: two Canadians, both products of the Greater Toronto Area, who have taken the hockey path less travelled to play pivotal roles for their respective U.S. college teams in a head-to-head match-up against each other a week this Thursday, in the semifinal of the 2015 NCAA Frozen Four at Boston’s TD Garden.
One is a junior who wears the red and white of Boston University in Hockey East; the other is also a junior but in the green, black and white of the University of North Dakota in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
One will win; one will lose; which means only one is guaranteed to play for a U.S. college hockey national championship a week this Saturday in Boston.
... love the spin coming out of Toronto that Mike Babcock will charge over to the Leafs following this season. Yes. MLSE can make him rich but, for pity’s sake, he’d be inheriting a team that is chaotic in the boardroom, directionless and spiritless in the locker room and is at least five years away from competing for a playoff spot.
Sure, Babcock likes a challenge as much as the next guy, but let’s get real here. If he decides to leave Detroit he’ll have his pick of jobs, and stepping into that toxic waste spill in Toronto won’t be at the top of his list.
-Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province where you can read more hockey topics...
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.”
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.”
“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.”
Chicago plays tonight in Winnipeg.
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."
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.
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...
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.
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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