NHL News – April 19, 2010

Vigneault laments Canucks many misses

Penguins starting to look like champs

Phoenix Coyotes show grit, toughness without Shane Doan , Vernon Fiddler

Jiri Hudler likely to rejoin Wings

Vigneault laments Canucks many misses

Daniel and Henrik Sedin love to pass the puck, especially to one another, so after being blanked in Game 2 Saturday, can we expect something new from the rascally redheads in Game 3 Monday?

“That’s the thing,” Daniel mused Sunday before the Canucks flew to Los Angeles. “Sometimes you’re successful passing the puck and sometimes you’re not. You can’t really think too much about those things. If the pass is there, take it. But it’s also never a bad thing to shoot the puck, like Mikael Samuelsson does.”

Samuelsson has three goals in the series, now tied 1-1, and his third on Satuirday was simply a matter of putting the puck on Kings netminder Jonathan Quick during a routine 2-on-2 rush. Not fancy. Very effective.

“I think our biggest problem offensively [Saturday] was our lack of execution,” Canuck head coach Alain Vigneault lamented Sunday. “We missed the net, I want to say, 15-20 times when we were in prime scoring-chance area. When you miss the net, you don’t get a chance on the shot and you don’t get a chance on the rebound. That was our biggest problem offensively.”

The official scoresheet ‘credited’ the Canucks with 17 misses, including five by Alex Edler .


Penguins starting to look like champs

The music was blaring and the smiles were wide in the Pittsburgh Penguins dressing room only minutes after the victory.

When forward Chris Kunitz took a header while leaping for the garbage can in the middle of the room, his teammates exploded in laughter.

Welcome to a loose team, a club in control of a National Hockey League playoff series.

After a weak start, the Penguins are looking more like the defending Stanley Cup champions they are. When they get their scoring chances, they cash in.

“There are going to be times when you play well and don’t get the results, but we gave ourselves a chance (Sunday),” said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who gave the Penguins a 3-1 lead with 45 seconds left in the second period, shaking a check by Senators defenceman Andy Sutton in the corner and providing another episode of The Crosby Show , outwaiting everyone on the ice before lifting the puck into the roof of the net.

“I think when (the Senators) look at their game, they’re not going to be disappointed with a lot of things. They had some good chances. This is a game which came down to execution. We made the most of our opportunities and got a big save from (Marc-André) Fleury.”

In simple terms, Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have taken the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal into their own hands, delivering knock out punches every time the Senators threaten to mount a comeback.

Crosby , facing a defence tandem of Sutton and Matt Carkner and not the usual shutdown pair of Anton Volchenkov and Chris Phillips, found an opening and delivered.


Phoenix Coyotes show grit, toughness without Shane Doan , Vernon Fiddler

The Coyotes have had many calling cards this season. One of them is battling back from adversity.

They had to do that twice in Sunday’s 4-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings – top penalty-killer Vernon Fiddler was scratched with an upper-body injury, and captain Shane Doan left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury after crashing against the boards.

Doan is listed as day to day and will be re-evaluated Monday. He did not miss a game during the regular season. Fiddler said that he hopes to practice Monday and play in Game 4 on Tuesday.

“You look back at the start of the year, it was pretty much our identity of dealing with adversity on and off the ice,” coach Dave Tippett said. “I think you grow with that, you have an identity that can overcome anything.

“There was no panic, no situation, ‘No, we can’t do this without Shane.’ Shane’s a great player, he’s our leader, but we recognize we have a game to play, playing against a great team.

“We played well and were able to have success, so whoever we have in there, has to do the job.”

Doan , whose physical presence on the ice plays a key role in the team’s success, played only 36 seconds in the second period before leaving the game.

“He’s our captain,” said forward Radim Vrbata, who logged more than 17 minutes of ice time. “But we don’t have just one guy. The whole season it was team effort, and I think we did the same thing tonight . . . He’s a big part of our team, but when we were winning this season, we were winning as a team.”


Jiri Hudler likely to rejoin Wings

Detroit — All signs are pointing toward winger Jiri Hudler returning to the Red Wings next season.

According to reports out of Russia and Canada, Hudler has been released from his contract with the Kontinental Hockey League’s Moscow Dynamo, which would free him to rejoin the Wings next season.

Wings general manager Ken Holland hasn’t heard officially yet from the Hudler camp, but he expects to very soon.

“I spoke to Jiri’s North American scout last week in Phoenix and he thought something was going to get done soon,” Holland said Sunday morning. “I haven’t heard from him yet, but it’s the weekend. We’ll see.”

Asked if it was a done deal that Hudler would be with the Wings next season, if he has been released from his contract in Russia, Holland said, “It’s a done deal if he wants to come back to the NHL.”

Holland said Hudler could play with another team in the KHL or in another professional league in Europe.

But all indications are Hudler wants to come back to the Wings and the NHL.

Hudler cannot be added to the Wings roster for this postseason. He would have had to be bought out and added to the Wings roster before the March trade deadline to be eligible to play.

Hudler, 26, has a two-year deal arbitrated with the Wings last summer worth $2.875 million per year. He scored 19 goals for Moscow this season after posting 23 with the Wings in 2008-09.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100419/SPORTS0103/4190366/1128/sports0103/Jiri-Hudler-likely-to-rejoin-Wings#ixzz0lYRSFvJd

8 Responses to NHL News – April 19, 2010

  1. leafy says:

    Yup, the Pens are starting to roll.  See Hockey_lover?  I told you the Penguins were just cruising in the regular season (although it's true they started a bit slow in the first 2 games).

    Has anybody watched Phoenix play?  Wow, I'm starting to come on board with them.  They can really skate and their attack is relentless. I think the Wings are in deep trouble.

    So far, the first week of th playoffs hasn't changed my mind. Chicago is the best team in the NHL.  It's only a question of them proving it.  Nashville will not go quietly.

  2. hockey_lover says:

    I will admit .. you were right. I will also admit that my confidence in the Pens was a little lower than it should have been. However, I still have some concerns. Their defensive play still has too many breakdowns and Fleury is not playing as well as he did last year. But, the forwards have certainly picked up their play, including Malkin. Game 3 last night was the first game in months where I was impressed with their play.

    Seriously, Phoenix is ridiculous. Its mind boggling.

  3. leafy says:

    How about a Penguins-Hawks final?  A rematch of the 1992 final.

    Lemieux and Jagr owned that series.

  4. hockey_lover says:

    Obviously … id be interested in that 😀

  5. reinjosh says:

    Yeah, I downplayed Phoenix all season, I wasn't going to make that mistake again. They are quite good and I'm shocked so, even though I picked them to win the series.

    Chicago is great. But Nashville is a frisky, chippy team. They will not go quietly and with Rinne playing pretty damn well, they have at least a small chance.

    On a side note, what about the second generation of Finnish goaltenders making themselves know this season. Rinne was already somewhat good and just became all that much better this season after his contract. Rask is great as bbruins constantly let us know. And Niemi. Everyone that doubted Chicago's goaltending should give their head a shake. Niemi is great (as I mentioned) and they have no need for another goaltender. He has played amazingly in the playoffs (unlucky bounce goal aside). Finland just keeps pumping them out.

    And Pittsburgh is a team built for the playoffs. I said it last year and I will say it again. The entire goal of this team is just to get into the playoffs. With the playoff beasts of Malkin, Crosby and Staal all they need to do is get into the playoffs and they are set. They have an amazing ability to just turn it on. Malkin is one of those players, who coul dplay bad all season and could still turn out an MVP worthy appearance in the playoffs.

  6. number15 says:

    Jiri Hudler was an all-star in the KHL and one of the best players in the league. Why was he just released?

    if its a money thing, im sure he can earn more as a top player in the KHL rather than a role player in the NHL.

  7. zackman13 says:

    htr shuld have a new banner, kovaluchuck was traed a long time ago, i think kaberle would be fitting, based on how the summer will probably end.

  8. reinjosh says:

    Kovy is still pertinent because no one is sure what he will do this summer.

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