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New AHL Leader

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Last week I wrote about the San Antonio Rampage (the Phoenix Coyotes affiliate) taking the lead in the AHL.  Their lead was short-lived.  The Rochester Americans have now taken over top spot in the league.  Rochester is the Florida Panthers affiliate and is enjoying a seven game winning streak.  This gives them an 8-1-1 record (one overtime loss).  Rochester has a balanced attack (ten players have five or more points) led by Michal Repik’s 11 points. Repik is the Panthers 2007 second round draft pick and a solid prospect.  Rochester’s biggest strength has been goaltending.  Alexander Salak has put up tremendous numbers.  He has a 1.60 GAA and a .947 saves percentage.  These are numbers that will have to get him NHL notice if he can keep them up.  Salak has had a short NHL trial.  He played less than a period in the early part of this season without much success (two goals allowed on seven shots), but he is playing very well in the AHL.  He is an undrafted 22 year old who put up strong numbers in Finland last season and looks like a good contender to challenge for an NHL spot in the future.

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Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Rogie Vachon Belongs In The HHOF

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,

Why is Vachon is not in the Hall of Fame, especially considering the enshrinement of contemporaries whose statistics are no better?

To say nothing of the curious 1989 induction of Vladislav Tretiak, a fine international goalie who is in the Hall, no matter the argument selectors might offer, almost uniquely for the landmark 1972 Summit Series and its political importance.

“People are shocked when I tell them I’m not in the Hall of Fame,” Vachon said, shrugging. “They assume I am. I’d love to be in there, but there are things in life that you can’t control.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: rogie+vachon

Evaluating Gaborik’s Defensive Side

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

“Fair; fair,” was the way John Tortorella responded yesterday when the head coach was asked for his evaluation of Gaborik’s play on the defensive side of the puck.

“It’s a process with him. You have to be careful with creative guys to be able to tell the difference between cheating and anticipation. You have to be really careful not to take away what makes them who they are,” Tortorella said.

Gaborik, dangerous whenever he’s on the ice, has scored eight goals, one off the NHL lead through Saturday shared by Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrick Marleau. The right wing has scored in two straight games, including Saturday’s outrageously nifty breakaway goal in Montreal against Jaroslav Halak.

But Gaborik also was cited doing a fair amount of neutral-zone hanging in the 5-4 overtime defeat.


Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marian+gaborik

What’s Worse- Kesler Breaking His Stick Or Complaining About It?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via David Staples of The Cult Of Hockey,

I like Ryan Kesler, as a player. In fact, if I was on the selection committee for various Olympic teams, I’d be adding the like names Kesler, Rene Bourque and Dustin Penner to the list of contenders (Kesler is American, Bourque and Penner are Canadians).

But the way Kesler broke his stick in a hissy fit after Tom Gilbert stopped him on a scoring chance, that was disgusting. Now, maybe there was something wrong with that stick that I didn’t see, but if that guy snapped a $200 hockey stick just because his feelings were hurt, it reinforces the notion that players make too much money and that they are spoiled brats.

Kesler should pay for his own sticks. Either that, or the teams should fine him for that, a terrible example for any kid watching the game.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+kesler

What Is Wrong With The Leafs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,

So, what is wrong with the Leafs? More to the point, what isn’t.

At this stage, the Leafs likely would need to post a .620 winning percentage to reach 93 points and the final playoff spot in the east….

This team has serious issues, including overrating its talent base. It has become the butt of jokes around the NHL. And Burke knows it.

“I’ve had sleepless nights the past 2 1/2 weeks because I hate to lose,” Burke said yesterday here in Anaheim, where the former Ducks general manager returned to face his ex-team tonight for the first time since becoming Leafs president last year.

Burke reiterated that he is not about to tear up the blueprint. Eight games, he said, is not enough time to evaluate. He pointed out that, during his first year running the Ducks, his team went through a seven-game losing streak and still made it deep into the playoffs.

“But for some reason, losing streaks seem to be magnified at the beginning of the season,” he said.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Oilers Scout Watching The Habs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Brian Wilde of CTV Montreal,

From my time with the Oilers in Edmonton dating back to the early 90’s, one of the relationships I have been able to foster is with Kevin Prendergast. He’s an extremely intelligent hockey man who is the top scout and decision maker for talent, young and old, that the Oilers might be interested in. Prendergast and I talk usually when he takes in a Habs game. He doesn’t take in many. Every two or three months, he watches one contest and then moves on to the next city whether it be Ottawa or Albany….

I mention all of this because Prendergast has spent the last three games watching the Habs home stand.


thanks to a KK reader for the pointer…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Will The Wings Rebound From Their Slow Start?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Erik Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail (Monday edition),

This is the week in which Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock will find his ability to multitask put to the ultimate test. Babcock’s slumping Wings visit GM Place in Vancouver tomorrow, his only visit before the 2010 Olympics in February, where he will coach Canadian national men’s hockey team.

Naturally, everybody’s going to be quizzing Babcock about all things pertaining to the Olympics this week; his primary focus will be getting the Red Wings back on the winning track after two tough losses in Phoenix and Colorado.

continued with more NHL topics…

added 11:23pm, from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The Red Wings’ biggest issue could be mental and/or physical fatigue after three years of long playoff runs followed by short summers. It is not uncommon for teams that lose in the finals to falter the following season.

The Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins were in danger of missing the playoffs before making a coaching change, replacing Michel Therrien with Grand Haven’s Dan Bylsma on Feb. 15.

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is not going anywhere, regardless of what unfolds this season. Players often tune out a coach after a few years, especially one as hard-driving and abrasive as Babcock. But it is way too early to make that assertion.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Rob Scuderi Check On Jason Chimera Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Do Scuderi go too low to make the hit is my question?

No penalty on the play except for Derek Dorsett leavingt the bench and gettting a game misconduct along with Chimera who was yapping with the Kings bench.

added 10/26/09, 6:06am, from Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers,

This wasn’t a hip check. Maybe it was intended to be, but it wasn’t even close. Scuderi essentially dived at Chimera’s knees, undercutting him and sending him airborn, skates over tin cup one might say.

Chimera’s face landed on the ice and he skidded that way a few feet before his neck crumpled and his body flopped the rest of the way over. It was a scary sight live, and even moreso in slow motion.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jason+chimera, rob+scuderi

Yzerman Values Experience For Team Canada

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adam Kimelman of NHL.com,

The latest stop on Steve Yzerman’s pre-Olympic tour brought him to Philadelphia on Sunday for the Flyers-Sharks game, where he got to take a first-hand look at a number of players who might fill roster spots on Canada’s entry in the Vancouver 2010 Games.

Philadelphia’s Chris Pronger, Simon Gagne, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter attended the summer orientation camp in Calgary, as did San Jose’s Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle….

While Yzerman wouldn’t discuss individual players, he did say there were players not invited to the Calgary camp in the running for an Olympic berth. He also said that while he’d like an experienced team, the player’s talents will be the biggest factor in them earning a roster spot.

“I think there’s a lot of importance in having guys that are experienced veteran players that have played in the Olympics, in the Stanley Cup Playoffs a lot,” said Yzerman. “There’s a lot of importance in that. We look to have some veteran players on the team and there will be some veteran players. I’m not going to not take a guy because he’s young. But I do place value in experience.”


Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steve+yzerman, team+canada

Predators Need Offense From Top Guys

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Glennon of the Tennessean,

The line of Steve Sullivan, David Legwand and Martin Erat failed to produce a point in the game and combined for just three shots on goal against the Blackhawks.

Those three players have produced a total of just four points in 10 games, a major blow to the Preds considering what expectations are for the trio. Erat is making $5.25 million this season, Legwand $5 million and Sullivan $3.75 million.

“The bottom line is we need every single player in the locker room to step it up,’’ Preds goalie Dan Ellis said. “This has to be a team effort because we don’t have one superstar.

“Our best player is Shea Weber and he’s 60 feet away from the net most times, so you can’t expect him to lead the offensive threat. We need the guys that are getting paid to do it to do it.’‘

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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