Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Alex Prewitt of Capitals Insider,
If Tuesday night’s 4-3 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, their fourth straight defeat bridging the all-star break, had not sobered the Washington Capitals enough, context delivered from Coach Barry Trotz inside Nationwide Arena’s visiting locker room certainly hammered it home.
“Trotz came in here after the game, we’ve given up 17 goals in our last four games, and a lot of them five-on-five,” forward Troy Brouwer said. “Those are issues we need to address as far as being better in our D-zone, having more communication, making sure that we know our assignments. We can’t keep giving up four or five goals a night and expecting to win. Coming off a break isn’t an excuse. The guys should be fresh, lively, heads clear, ready to play hockey and ready to have a good push here.”...
The Capitals will now return home to host the Pittsburgh Penguins, one of three teams ahead of them in the Metropolitan Division standings, without the benefit of practice to correct their mistakes.
“I’d like to [practice], yeah,” Trotz said. “But it’s not the case. Guys are professional. They should know it. We’ve gone over it many, many times. It’s got to start in the dressing room. It starts with me telling them what they need to do, and I have been. Now they’ve got to take ownership of it. They’ve got to own that shift that they’re out there. Too many guys are getting on the wrong side of pucks and some lines are good with the puck and without it they’re not good. There’s too much cheat in their game.”
from Alex Prewitt of Capitals Insider,
“I think the teams, I think that are going to be out, you’re obviously looking at the UFA guys there,” MacLellan continued. “There’s a couple others guys out there that are higher-profile players that I think teams are testing the market and they might wait until the draft of they might do it at the deadline if they get what they want. I think the important thing for us is to keep track of what the market’s saying and what the cost is for certain players and evaluate: Do we think that’s going to be a big addition or take us to the next level?
“We’re going to field the best team we can here. We want to win. We want to do some damage in the playoffs. I think our decision is going to be how much we want to expose our young guys down the road and can they handle it. You don’t want to put them in a position where can they handle it. You don’t want to put them in a position where they’re not ready for it. I think that’s our big decision.”
from Alex Prewitt of Capitals Insider,
... Coach Barry Trotz wasn’t shy about proclaiming his desire to add veteran forwards for the postseason push. When asked whether he believed the Capitals were a “playoff team that can win,” he said yes, then added, “We still need a piece or two, I think.”
“We have some guys that are at this level pretty good contributing players, but the playoffs are another level, and I don’t know if some of our guys are ready for that,” Trotz continued. “We’ll see. We’ve still got another 40 games to go, but some guys that looked like they weren’t going to be ready for the first part and they got it turned around. I think we have enough pieces to be a real good threat, but we still, our depth hasn’t been really tested to the point that we need to do that.”
Indeed, the Capitals’ forwards corps has enjoyed relative stability and health, particularly through their recent torrid stretch.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Alex Ovechkin has 25 goals, in case you haven’t paid attention–nine in his last 10 games.
The stat that jumps out at you, though, is plus 12. That’s a better plus/minus than Sidney Crosby (plus 8) or Ryan Getzlaf (plus 9). Last year the Washington Capitals’ captain scored 51 but was a frosty -35 (third worst in the NHL) which used to be a normal weather day in Edmonton before global warming. Only Steve Ott (minus 38 and Alex Edler minus 39 were worse.
Ovie’s changed defensive posture this season has a lot to do with new coach Barry Trotz who believes in people, even supernovas, back-checking. So did his predecessor Adam Oates, but in team video sessions, the head knock Oates, so the story goes, didn’t always point it out when Ovechkin wasn’t as industrious as he should have been. That undoubtedly was noticed by other players on the team even if they knew it wasn’t a total meritocracy.
Ovechkin likes scoring, but now 29, he likes winning more.
Watch as Predators fans stand up and cheer on their former coach, Barry Trotz, as he returns to Nashville for the first time coaching the opposing team.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Here’s something you don’t hear often from a fired coach: Barry Trotz, now with the Washington Capitals, ex- of the Nashville Predators, is glad that his boss, David Poile, issued him a pink slip last summer.
The dismissal, as the first and only coach in Predators’ history, gave Trotz a chance to seek out a new opportunity and the Nashville players a chance to hear a fresh voice. Trotz is succeeding with his new team – points in 17 of the last 18 games to move into a playoff spot – and Peter Laviolette is succeeding with his old team, leading them to first overall in the NHL, on a percentage basis.
So what’s not to like about the shuffle?
Trotz, who returns to Nashville for time Friday after spending 15 years behind the Predators’ bench, admitted as much this week: That the upheaval caused by losing his first NHL job this past summer has turned into a win-win for both franchises.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Just like the Rangers, the Washington Capitals remain hot as well, racking up yet another victory with a 6-2 decision in Toronto on Wednesday night.
Since a 4-3 loss to Vancouver on Dec. 2, the Caps have gone 11-1-3. No wonder the equally hot Columbus Blue Jackets can't gain any ground in the Metropolitan Division with the Rangers and Caps refusing to lose games.
Speaking of the Metro, we were hard on the division earlier in the season because it appeared to be a weak outfit aside from Pittsburgh and the Islanders, but not so much anymore. The Rangers and Caps both sit in playoff spots now, giving the division four teams sitting pretty.
read on for Custance on the Bruins, Strang on the Rangers and Burnside on Ilya Brygalov...
via Craig Davis of the Sun-Sentinel,
Gallant felt that Ovechkin was a bit too physical when he slammed into Luongo as both converged on a loose puck in the Panthers' zone.
"Definitely thought so. I don't think he meant to hit Roberto, but … [Luongo] played the puck first and a second later he gets hit. I mean, they always say you've got to avoid the goaltender at all costs," Gallant said. "I said it's not intentional, but I think it's got to be a penalty."
Luongo said: "It was close. We kind of got there almost at the same time. I'm sure it was tough for him to get out of the way there. Maybe I hesitated a little bit coming out of the net at first, and that's why I got there at the last second."
Luongo was pulled later in the game as an upper-body precaution, here is the collision...
Ted Leonsis is a self-made man who’s reached virtually every goal he’s set out to accomplish. While he remains focused on bringing a championship to the US capital, his main goal is to finish something he started over three decades ago after a life-changing experience.
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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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