Posted on: March 30, 2011 4:43 pm
Corey Perry is getting ribbed by his Anaheim Ducks teammates these days because he is scoring a lot of goals lately, and most of them seem to be coming from right in front of the net.
Tap-ins are how Ryan Getzlaf labels the offensive explosion with good-natured derision. They are the finishes to the plays that Getzlaf and his other linemate Bobby Ryan have started with regularity this season, and they have lifted Perry into a tie for the league goal scoring lead. So the joke is intended to imply that the unit’s right winger is letting others do most of the work, while conveniently overlooking the price one has to pay to be in that punishing area.
When I told Ducks coach Randy Carlyle about the big center’s attempt at humor, he retorted that he wouldn’t mind seeing Getzlaf tap in a few of Perry’s shots either. Perry thought his coach was funny, but said he really didn’t mind anyone trying to pigeon-hole the type of goals he’s getting.
“It means I’m battling, going to the net and that’s where my game really is,” Perry said. “I’m getting more ice time this season and playing in different situations so maybe that’s why more goals are coming, but I’m not changing my game. If I do that, I won’t be as effective.”
No one has accused Perry of lacking effectiveness during his first five NHL seasons. He scored 32 goals in one of those seasons and at least 25 in two others, and he’s become known as one of the league’s top agitators. Perry is a gritty forward who creates traffic and works corners well, and Carlyle says he is as good as anyone in the league bring the puck to the front of the net from the back.
Which is why the coach isn’t among those surprised by Perry’s increase in goals, even if most of them have come from in close.
“The opportunity for him to play in those areas has been there,” Carlyle said. “But he’s always been a goal scorer who can step over the blue line and beat goaltenders.
“He’s got a decent shot and he’s deceptive in the size. He’s a 6-3, 210-pound body who looks he’s kind of a rail type of thin frame. But he gets in and around the net and you get a lot of chances to score there.”
Posted on: March 21, 2011 7:04 pm
Political types like to say you should never let a good crisis go to waste, and it’s a lesson the Pittsburgh Penguins might to do well to learn. They have a mess on their hands named Matt Cooke, and may never get a better opportunity to dump him and all the problems he creates.
Posted on: March 15, 2011 5:26 pm
BOCA RATON, FL -- This was like a tale of two cities. While Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau was in effect telling fans to ‘love it or shove it’, a thousand miles away the NHL and its general managers were delivering a similar message about their game of hockey, albeit in a far more diplomatic way.
Posted on: March 14, 2011 6:52 pm
BOCA RATON, FL – It was probably just a coincidence that Sidney Crosby skated this morning for the first time since sustaining a concussion while the league’s general managers were gathering to discuss the growing problem those injuries have become.
Posted on: March 9, 2011 4:53 pm
No one believes Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara wanted to see Montreal ’s Max Pacioretty carried away on a stretcher.
It wasn’t an easy call to make what with the hanging jury crowd beating a loud drum for serious punishment to be imposed on the Bruins captain. They saw Chara’s play as reckless and as it was dangerous and they have a point.
Then again, so do the ‘hockey people’, including a host of ex-players who have weighed in and argued the hit was simply a part of a physical game. Their take is that Chara’s five-minute interference penalty and game misconduct was a sufficient price for a generally routine play that had an unfortunate outcome. To go any further in terms of discipline would be to threaten the fundamental nature of the sport.
In other words, the only thing everyone seems to agree on is that the Bruins captain intended to take the Canadiens forward out of the play, and given their personal history, probably with a little more vigor than usual. The games between these Original 6 and division rival teams have been particularly heated this season, and Pacioretty and Chara have gotten into a couple of altercations already.
In this case, it came late in the second period with the Canadiens leading 4-0 and on their way to avenging an 8-6, brawl-filled loss to Boston a few weeks earlier. Pacioretty had raised the Bruins ire earlier in the game when he took out Dennis Seidenberg with a clean hit, and now he had gained a step on the 6-foot-9 Chara. That prompted the Bruins defenseman to do what he would normally by trying to ride Pacioretty out along the boards.
Problem was when Chara made contact, he laterally raised his arm and drove Pacioretty face-first into the stanchion. It was a frightening site that got worse as Pacioretty lay prone and motionless on the ice for several minutes, and the kind of thing that creates bad optics for the league because it tends to get replayed on various news loops.
The reality though is that this type of play happens in almost every game, but was made worse because of where it happened on the ice. Whether or not Chara knew he and his opponent were approaching that post is debatable, but the Bruins defender had to realize he was in front of his own team’s bench and he still didn’t hold up.
That’s not to suggest Chara wanted to injure Pacioretty, but that really shouldn’t matter. He did. And the Canadiens will lose a key player as they try to catch the first-place Bruins while Boston remains at full strength.
Is that fair? Probably not but Murphy said Chara didn’t seem to be targeting the head of the opponent or leave his feet. And Chara’s reputation as a clean player who had no priors on his 13-season record factored in as well.
So a high-profile player escape without any consequence. And at the same time, a league desperate to protect its best players from unnecessary risk, missed an important chance to send a strong message about players taking more responsibility for their actions on the ice.
Posted on: March 9, 2011 12:12 am
Turns out it wasn’t another day at the beach for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Posted on: March 3, 2011 5:09 pm
While a growing number of hockey and football players are willing their brains to research these days, it might be more interesting to get a look inside the one of Trevor Gillies.
Posted on: March 1, 2011 1:03 pm
This has been a pretty good day for Antti Niemi, who was named one of the league’s Stars of the month for leading the San Jose Sharks back to first place in the Pacific Division.
Even better, the Sharks just announced that they have signed a four-year contract extension with Niemi, who was on a one-year deal after winning the Stanley Cup last season with the Chicago Blackhawks.
The 27-year-old ended up in San Jose because the Blackhawks didn’t have the cap space to re-sign him, but the $2 million salary Niemi ended up with was less than say Jaroslav Halak and Carey Price, neither of whom have a Cup on his resume, signed for last summer.
Niemi had to wait until the end of last summer to get a contract after Chicago walked away from his arbitration award. His patience was rewarded then and even more now, because after a 10-2 February with three shutouts and a .934 save percentage, Niemi has earned his reward. His new deal is worth $3.8 million a season.