Kukla's Korner Hockey
from USA Hockey,
Peter Laviolette (Franklin, Mass.) has been named head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team that will participate in the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship it was announced today by USA Hockey. The event will take place in Minsk, Belarus, May 9-25. Team USA is the defending bronze medalist in the event.
Laviolette has previously represented the United States in international competition on numerous occasions in several different capacities. He most recently served as an assistant coach for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team in Sochi, Russia, and was the head coach of the 2006 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team in Torino, Italy. Prior to that, Laviolette was head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team at the IIHF Men's World Championship in back-to-back years (2004, 2005), leading the United States to the bronze medal in 2004.
via the Philadelphia Flyers,
The Philadelphia Flyers announced that they have signed defenseman Andrew MacDonald to a multi-year contract extension today, according to general manager Paul Holmgren.
MacDonald was acquired by the Flyers around this year's trade deadline on March 4 from the NY Islanders, and since joining the team, has four assists in 19 games and recorded over 20 minutes of ice-time in 14 of those games, including a Flyers-high of 28:49 at Pittsburgh on Apr. 12.
The 6-1, 190-pound defenseman led all NHL players in blocked shots this season with 242 and was one of three players in the NHL with over 200 blocks.
He finished the season with four goals and 24 assists for 28 points in 82 games between the Islanders and Flyers.
from Rory Boylen of The Hockey News,
Your team isn’t as good or as complete as you believe it to be. They will not win the Stanley Cup.
And here’s why your favorite team will come up empty this spring:
Anaheim: Because the stats community says you’re doomed to fail. Your team’s 49.8 percent Corsi percentage is second-worst among Western playoff teams, which means you don’t possess the puck enough. You were upset last year and it’s going to happen again.
Boston: Your team is the clear favorite to come out of the Eastern Conference. But since upsets always happen in the NHL playoffs, this means you won’t fulfill that prophecy.
Chicago: Teams don’t win back-to-back Stanley Cups anymore. Dynasties went out with parity and the salary cap.
Colorado: Aren’t you supposed to be in the draft lottery?
Columbus: Not since the earliest days of the Original Six – and of the NHL – has a franchise without a playoff game win gone on to win the Cup. You’re out.
from Curtis Pashelka of the Mercury News,
"I'm ready to name him," McLellan reiterated Monday. "I'm just not going to name him."
Niemi -- the Sharks' No. 1 goalie since he arrived in San Jose before the 2010-2011 season -- struggled down the stretch with three losses in five starts before Saturday, when he rebounded to make 30 saves to help lead the Sharks to a 3-2 win at Phoenix. Niemi has started all 34 playoff games since joining the Sharks, going 16-17.
Stalock has had an impressive season in spot duty, going 12-5-2 with a 1.87 goals against average. On Friday, he made 32 saves in the Sharks' 5-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche.
Regarding the amount of consideration that went into the decision on who will start in net, McLellan said it's "the same amount that has gone into every other game that we've played in the playoffs and the regular season for the last six full seasons. That's the debate we have. We're a close staff. We include everybody, and we make decisions that we think are the best."
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“He fought as a player, he fought for the union, he fought for the game and he (fought) for the integrity of the league. Now he comes here to fight for the Leafs. The one thing I know about Shanny is he’s going to fight for us every day.
“He may be analytical, he may be patient, he may not knee-jerk, but in that heart beats a man who is extremely committed to winning and doing whatever is necessary.”
-Tim Leiweke, President and CEO of MLSE on Brendan Shanahan, the new President of the Toronto Maple Leafs. More on Shanahan from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet.
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
Lehtonen last was in the postseason in 2007 as a member of the Atlanta Thrashers. Just 23 at the time, he had helped the Thrashers make the playoffs for the first time by forging a 34-24-9 record. In the opening game against the New York Rangers, he lost a 4-2 contest and was replaced by Johan Hedberg in Game 2. In Game 3, he returned and allowed seven goals in a 7-0 loss, and that’s the last memory he has of the playoffs.
But he said that’s not a problem for him.
“I’ve gotten pretty good at not looking back at all,” he said. “The past is too far away, so I don’t want to carry that or look back on that. To me, I have worked all year for this moment, and I think I’m ready.”
And yet he does appreciate the maturing he’s done. He was, after all, the second overall pick in the 2002 draft. So when the Thrashers traded him to Dallas for defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy and a fourth-round draft pick in 2010, it was clear Atlanta had given up on him. Lehtonen said he used that motivation to drop 20 pounds, get himself in better shape and start to understand the position of goaltending.
“One of the things I love about Kari is he is a real battler,” Stars general manager Jim Nill said. “People tell him he’s injury-prone or out of shape, and he proves them wrong. People say he can’t get us to the playoffs, and he proves them wrong. He lets his actions speak for him.”
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
When Ben Bishop fell to the ice diving for a puck on April 8, the conventional thinking suggested the Lightning’s playoffs hopes plummeted with him.
A week later, confidence in Tampa Bay’s goaltending has been almost fully restored as the Lightning get set to start their opening-round playoff series against Montreal. With Bishop not expected to be ready to return from what the team classified as an upper body injury, Anders Lindback is expected to get the call for Game 1 on Wednesday.
Whatever doubts might have lingered when the Lightning were forced to turn to Lindback were washed away in Lindback’s three appearances down the stretch.
Since stepping in for Bishop early in the first period against Toronto, Lindback has allowed just two goals in three games, posting a 0.67 goals-against average and .975 save percentage while winning all three games. His first shutout in a Lightning jersey during Sunday’s 1-0 shootout victory in Washington clinched home ice for Tampa Bay....
“He’s playing with a lot of confidence, and I said it time and time again: that is just a great guy and he works his tail off,’’ defenseman Matt Carle said. “So, it’s no surprise to see how well he’s doing. And it’s just great for our team and we have a lot of confidence playing in front of him.’’
from Mike Spellman of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
Toews and Kane have gotten used to the lonely life of injury rehab in the NHL the past few weeks, but all that is about to change when the full squad gathers for practice Tuesday. And for the dynamic duo, it can't happen soon enough.
"Tomorrow I'll be out there with the boys, back to the usual routine. It's kind of nice," said Toews, who missed the final six games of the regular season with the dreaded upper-body injury. "It's not fun to be on your own program for a couple of weeks. It's one of the downsides."
Kane (knee) missed twice as many games at the end of the season as Toews did, so imagine how eager he is to get back at it against the Blues beginning Thursday night.
"I'm excited to get things going," he said. "I've watched a lot of hockey lately, so it's going to be nice to play in some games."
"I'm looking forward to being back."
When his two stars were on the shelf, coach Joel Quenneville said repeatedly that he expected both to be back and "100 percent" heading into the playoffs, and it appears that's right about where they are.
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