Kukla's Korner

Goal Line Report

Give me an ‘A’

No no, this quick blog update isn’t going to be about what you think it might be.

Instead, I will give you a glimpse of what I will be doing tonight and that’s covering my first American Hockey League game between the Hartford Wolf Pack (New York Rangers) and Springfield Falcons (Edmonton Oilers).

I will be covering the game for the Wolf Pack’s web site, filling in for Bruce Berlet, formerly a veteran beat reporter for the Hartford Courant and now the team’s web site reporter.

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Drury Breaks Out

This may be his second season as a New York Ranger but in last night’s 5-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, Chris Drury finally broke out.

He helped the team’s power play break out of its funk with two goals with the man advantage. Drury also scored the team’s first shorthanded goal of the season.

All in all, not too shabby for the Trumbull, CT native.

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  Tags: boston+bruins, chris+drury, edmonton+oilers, henrik+lundqvist, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, steve+valiquette, tampa+bay+lightning, tom+renney

I Hate to Say It But…

As a goaltender and someone who respects all National Hockey League netminders, I feel for what New Jersey Devils’ masked man Martin Brodeur is going through.

There he was, just eight wins away from becoming the league’s all-time winningest goaltender and just like that, he will be out for three to four months with a torn biceps tendon. For a guy that averages close to 75 games a season, I imagine that the next couple of months without playing will feel like a lifetime for Marty.

While there are those that think that this spells doom and gloom for the NHL, I actually think that it could end up being a positive thing for the game.

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  Tags: brian+gionta, henrik+lundqvist, kevin+weekes, martin+brodeur, patrik+elias, zach+parise

Lundqvist Earns A Star

The NHL announced today that New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was the second star for the month of October joining third star Shea Webber of the Nashville Predators and first star Alexander Semin of the Washington Capitals.

To say that Lundqvist deserved this would be the understatement of the 2008-09 NHL campaign.

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  Tags: alexander+semin, henrik+lundqvist, shea+webber

Bound To Happen

There the New York Rangers were, half way through the third period with a 2-0 lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs. What happened next was something that most realistic Blueshirt fans were for all along: a melt down.

The Maple Leafs exploded for five goals in the final frame to give the Rangers their third loss of the season, giving them a record of 10-3-1.

For any Ranger fan, it’s pretty easy to see what did them in: the team’s offense and sloppy coverage in their own zone.

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  Tags: brendan+shanahan, jaromir+jagr, steve+valiquette

Things That Need To Change at New York Ranger Home Games

Having attended New York Ranger games frequently for the past six seasons, there are five things that I wish fans/the arena would stop doing during the games. You die hard Ranger fans may hate me for a few of them (one in particular) but believe me, it’s for the best.

1) Stop chanting “Potvin Sucks” a thousand times of game
Folks, this cheer has been around since the early 80’s when Denis Potvin nailed Ulf Nillson and knocked him out of the 1979 playoffs. Yes, it was a cheap hit and yes, Potvin deserves the wrath of Blueshirt fanatics but enough is enough. Ranger fans chant “Potvin Sucks” at least 10 times a game and what’s more, they do it every single game, not just when they are playing the New York Islanders or the Florida Panthers (broadcaster of the team). Ranger fans should save the chant for only those teams, not the Carolina Hurricanes, Ottawa Senators or Tampa Bay Lightning.

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  Tags: denis+potvin

What the Rangers need to Work on

In his Rangers Report Blog this afternoon, Sam Weinman gave a few reasons why the Rangers are 9-2-1.

He cited the play of netminders Henrik Lundqvist and Stephen Valiquette, reporting to training camp early and in shape, a favorable schedule and unexpected contributions from guys like Aaron Voros and Fredrik Sjostrom.

These are all obvious reasons but just because they’re 9-2-1 doesn’t mean that everything is perfect.

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  Tags: aaron+voros, chris+drury, fredrik+sjostrom, henrik+lundqvist, markus+naslund, nikolai+zherdev, scott+gomez, stephen+valiquette, wade+redden

Zherdev In a New York State of Mind

Friday night proved to be a nice homecoming for Nikolai Zherdev as he picked up a goal and two assists in his team’s 3-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

In 10 games with the Blueshirts, Zherdev has shown Ranger fans and the rest of the league that when he wants to, he can be a complete player, something he never was in Ohio. He works hard, puts pucks to the net, gets back on defense, plays on the power play and does everything that he is asked to do.

“He’s been a great player for us this year, so far, and hopefully he can keep going,” Henrik Lundqvist told the team’s web site after the team’s victory on Friday night.

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Have You Seen These Men?

At 6-2-1, there shouldn’t be too many things to complain about if you are a New York Rangers fan.

Sure, there will be the usual “Why doesn’t Renney juggle the lines?” or “Why isn’t this team scoring?” or even “Why does this team continue to struggle on the power play given all the talent they have up front?”

However, one question that Ranger fans are probably surprised they are asking themselves is “Where is Chris Drury and Markus Naslund?”

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  Tags: chris+drury, markus+naslund, tom+renney

Will the real Rangers please stand up?

Picking up three out of four points in back-to-back games against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings certainly isn’t terrible. In fact, it’s actually pretty darn good if you ask me.

However, what is concerning is the lack of consistency that the Rangers displayed this week. There were times when they weren’t afraid to put pucks on the net, the power play was clicking, the team had good coverage in their defensive zone and more importantly, they put in a 60-minute effort. On the other hand, there were times when they couldn’t muster up anything, left Henrik Lundqvist out to dry or took untimely penalties.

Despite being 6-1-1, good for first place in the National Hockey League, the team has not played its best hockey. This could especially be said of Chris Drury, Markus Naslund, Michal Rozsival, and Petr Prucha.

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  Tags: chris+drury, markus+naslund, michal+rozsival, petr+prucha, sean+avery, tom+renney

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About Goal Line Report

Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.

Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.

For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at patrickhoffman3530@gmail.com.


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