Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: semyon varlamov
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail:
The Colorado Avalanche made a bold but also potentially devastating goaltending move today, acquiring Semyon Varlamov from the Washington Capitals. But what a price. The Avs surrendered a first- and a second-round pick in order to get Varlamov, who was hurt for a big part of last year and essentially lost his starting job to Michal Neuvirth with the Caps.
Colorado was 29th overall in the NHL last season and could easily be bad again next year, meaning Washington could theoretically end up with the No. 1 pick in a draft that will feature lots of high-end talent.
It is a gamble on a couple of levels…
Yesterday, the aim here was to reaffirm the realistic goal of a Southeast Division championship for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Keeping pace with the three-time defending champion Washington Capitals through 43 games was enough, at face value, to establish that. But, in shutting out the Caps for a second consecutive meeting and, really, dominating last night’s game throughout, the Lightning have taken things a step further.
The road to the Southeast Division championship goes through Tampa.
Clearly, nothing’s been settled yet. 38 games remaining games for each club – with two more against each other – dictates as much. But the tides have turned in the Lightning’s favor since the acquisition of Dwayne Roloson, who has now blanked Washington twice in a week for his new club.
The difference between being outscored 12-3 in two losses to the Capitals earlier in the year and not allowing a single goal in two since goes far beyond a goaltending upgrade.
“We were trying to play their game,” Tampa Bay head coach Guy Boucher said of the first two meetings with Washington this year, “And, to be honest with you, at their game, they’re better than us.”
“We focused a lot less on the other team (in the two wins) and a lot more on ourselves.”
In doing so, the Bolts have flipped the script on their division rivals and sit alone atop the Southeast standings.
And while Washington has struggled to find consistency during a shift in identity from the offensive dynamo they’ve been in recent years, Tampa Bay has continually improved all season long.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: alex+ovechkin, dwayne+roloson, guy+boucher, mattias+ohlund, sean+bergenheim, semyon+varlamov, steven+stamkos, victor+hedman
Roughly half-way through the 2010-11 NHL schedule, what was once known as the “Southleast” Division is no more. The Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals and Atlanta Thrashers are all slotted in playoff position presently and the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers are just below the eight seed cut line, in ninth and tenth place, respectively.
Tampa, Washington and Atlanta comprise half of the Eastern Conference’s top-six and all five Southeast teams together make up exactly fifty percent of the East’s top-ten. That’s no small feat and certainly worthy of some commendation therefore.
Tonight, the Lightning and Capitals will focus only on each other as they meet in Washington, even in the points department, with first place in the division and the chance to match idle Philadelphia and Pittsburgh’s conference-leading 53 points on the line.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: alex+ovechkin, dwayne+roloson, michal+neuvirth, semyon+varlamov, simon+gagne, simon+gagne, steve+downie
Past the so-called “quarter pole”, 23 games into the 2010-11 season, the Tampa Bay Lightning are undoubtedly in pretty good shape. At 13-8-2 for 28 points, they rank second in the Southeast Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference and appear, at this early stage of the season, to have the makings of a team that can qualify for postseason play and, potentially, make some waves.
But, after last night’s 6-0 pasting at the hands of the division stalwart Washington Capitals, they also, undoubtedly, still have a long way to go before they can stake a legitimate claim to being an upper echelon team like their foes of a night ago.
Really, the Bolts are right where we’d thought they’d be from the start – second in the division and good enough, as they were in their first meeting with the Caps two weeks ago (a 6-3 loss), to hang with the class of the division for a time and give them somewhat of a push. But, last night, they weren’t even close, proving that, though they do have a formidable 1-2 punch in Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis to rival Alexes Ovechkin and Semin for the offensive Washington dynamo, they don’t have the firepower through and through – from up front and on the back end – to keep up with the Joneses (or the Backstroms, the Greens and so on and so forth).
Time again to a tip a few back, honoring the best of the best from last night’s NHL action:
***Cheers to Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis, whose highlight reel third period goal broke a 3-3 tie in Tampa and led the Lightning to a win over Pittsburgh by a final of 5-3. St. Louis also added an empty netter late to seal things and I’m fast becoming more and more convinced that the heart of the Bolts just keeps getting better all the time.
Today’s salute to the performances of yesternight, honoring those who shined in leading their clubs to victory:
***Cheers to Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, who is showing marked improvement early this season and who was named first star in Tampa’s 5-4 win over the visiting Dallas Stars last night. Hedman managed a pair of assists and led all skaters in ice time, sparking an offensive rush on several occasions and, most importantly, playing adept defense in his own end. It is early, as we must continue to note for all who have had fast starts, but Hedman’s growth in year two will play a major factor in the Lightning’s fortunes. So far, with few hiccups, they must be pleased. (Note: They are. Coach Guy Boucher singled Hedman out with post-game praise after the Dallas game.)
Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: cam+ward, dwayne+roloson, joe+thornton, john+tavares, justin+peters, marian+hossa, michael+neuvirth, patrick+sharp, phil+kessel, semyon+varlamov, victor+hedman
He’s not the youngest player on the roster, nor would he be considered a shocking contributor after last season’s 21-goal, 40-point showing but Brandon Sutter is most certainly a key piece to any Carolina Hurricanes success this year and his two-goal performance in Thursday’s season-opening, 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild in Helsinki, Finland is an excellent early sign for a club hoping for a lot to go their way in 2010-11.
For the Hurricanes, banking on both young guns and sustained health and rejuvenation for several veterans who were hobbled last year, a player like Sutter, at 21, serving as an alternate captain and coming off of a breakthrough season a year ago, will play a major role in determining their fortune. So far, so good for Sutter, who played just six seconds less yesterday than Carolina captain Eric Staal and so far, so good for the ‘Canes, who dressed six players 25-and-under in the game and got production from Sutter (two goals), Zac Dalpe (assist) and Jamie McBain (assist), as well as sparkling reviews for 18-year-old forward Jeff Skinner from that group.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Carolina Hurricanes, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: alex+ovechkin, alexander+burmistrov, andrew+ladd, anton+babchuk, ben+eager, brandon+sutter, brent+sopel, cam+ward, chad+larose, dustin+byfuglien, eric+staal, erik+cole, evander+kane, guy+boucher, jamie+mcbain, jeff+skinner, joni+pitkanen, jussi+jokinen, khl, michael+neuvirth, mike+green, nhl+premiere, niclas+bergfors, semyon+varlamov, steve+yzerman, tim+gleason, tuomo+ruutu, zac+dalpe, zach+bogosian
Of all five Southeast Division clubs, the Washington Capitals of 2010-11 will look the most like themselves from a year ago, having added only a spattering of depth to the lineup that captured the President’s Trophy last season. Alas, as the reigning division champ and still the clear-cut class of the division, if it ain’t broke, well, you know… But a first-round playoff exit thanks to Jaroslav Halak and the Montreal Canadiens left an awful taste in the mouths of Bruce Boudreau’s squad, meaning improvements are in order this year for sure. (Or else?)
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Phoenix Coyotes, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: alex+ovechkin, alex+semin, braden+holtby, brendan+morrison, brian+fahey, brian+willsie, brooks+laich, bruce+boudreau, calder+cup, calder+trophy, d.j.+king, eric+belanger, eric+fehr, george+mcphee, hershey+bears, jaroslav+halak, jeff+schultz, joe+corvo, john+carlson, jose+theodore, karl+alzner, kyle+greentree, marcus+johansson, mathieu+perreault, michael+neuvirth, mike+green, mike+knuble, milan+jurcian, nhl+previews, nicklas+backstrom, scott+walker, semyon+varlamov, shaone+morrison, southeast+division, stefan+della+rovere, tomas+fleischmann