News and notes from around the NHL:
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Good lines just don't happen when you write their names on the paper. In this case, just because they're three Czechs doesn't mean all of a sudden it's going to work. They'll have to see how it goes. Hopefully, things gel with them and make our lineup better, but if it doesn't, we'll read and react from there.” –Phoenix Coyotes coach Dave Tippett, on the “Czech Line” of Martin Erat, Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata that debuted for the Coyotes on Thursday night.
* It was a notable week in the annals of Bruins history as Jarome Iginla’s offensive tear placed him into a tie for 25th overall on the NHL goals scored (556) list with Bruins legend and Hall of Famer Johnny Bucyk. Since Iginla has nine goals scored during the Bruins 11-game winning streak and has been on a mad offensive tear both before and following the Olympic break, it seems only a matter of time that Iginla will score and have the 25th overall spot all to himself.
Guy Lafleur would be next at that point as No. 24 on the all-time list with 560 career goals.
Iginla has a good understanding of hockey history, and was appropriately deferential to Bucyk when matching his career goals numbers. The legendary Bruins forward, who now acts as the traveling secretary for the B’s and is a friendly, smiling presence on all their road trips, was happy to see Iginla reach goal No. 556.
“It’s just a number compiled by the league to me, so I was happy for Jarome when he scored that goal,” said Bucyk. “I think I was No. 4 on that list when I retired, but there have been a lot of great players that have come along the way since then. Those kinds of numbers were meant to be surpassed.
Bucyk did have one record that does hold a special place in his heart, and he hopes to hold onto it forever.
“The only record I have that I really hold near and dear to me is being No. 1 on the goals scored list for the Bruins,” said Bucyk, who notched an incredible 545 goals for the Black and Gold during his 1,436 games played for Boston. “That one has meaning to me.”
Bucyk has nearly 100 goals on Phil Esposito in second place on the Bruins all-time list, and there aren’t any current Bruins players even remotely close to the top-10 that starts with Don Marcotte’s 230 goals scored.
Patrice Bergeron is the current Bruins leader with 174 career goals in the Black and Gold, and he’s got a solid chance of cracking the top-10 before he hangs ‘em up someday far into the future.
Combine that with the rarity of an NHL player suiting up for an entire career with one team anymore in the age of free agency, and it would appear Bucyk’s Bruins records will always stand the test of time.
JETS ARE STILL A BIG HIT IN WINNIPEG
The Winnipeg Jets might be about to miss the playoffs for their third straight year since moving from Atlanta to Winnipeg, but the honeymoon period is still clearly going on between the team and rabid Jets fan base. The first segment of three-year contracts for Jets season tickets are up at the end of this season, and the renewal campaign just finished with 96 percent of those 4,300 seats having been renewed.
That left roughly only 175 seats to go to the patient Winnipeg people on the 8,000-name waiting list, and, according to the Winnipeg Free Press, only 200 seats have passed to waiting-list people in less than three years. The recent renewals had the choice to re-up for three, four, five or six years at their pleasure, and half took longer than the minimum three years.
The three-year season ticket packages were among the cheapest with many of the tickets in the upper deck, but it’s notable that the support is still unbending despite three lackluster hockey teams since the Jets moved back into Winnipeg.
LADY BLADES GETTING IT DONE
Congrats to the Boston Blades for winning their first game in their Clarkson Cup competition in Markham, Ontario earlier this week, and pushing into the later rounds this weekend.
This year’s Boston Blades team includes eight 2014 Sochi Olympians, including Team USA Silver Medalist Hilary Knight and Team Canada Gold Medalist Genevieve Lacasse.
The Blades are a professional women’s ice hockey team in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL).
Established in 2010, the Blades are the only American team playing in the league, and are headquartered in Boston, MA. The Blades are under the leadership of Head Coach Digit Murphy, and are the reigning 2013 Clarkson Cup champions.
For more information, please visit boston.cwhl.ca.
Word out of Pittsburgh is that Kris Letang is practicing with high intensity since returning to the ice from a stroke, and the belief is he’ll get into some games prior to the playoffs barring any setbacks. That’s good news for a Penguins team that’s limping into the playoffs, and really needs to find something to rally around as the Bruins pull away from them in the Eastern Conference standings. Letang will have more appointments with doctors on tap for this week, and the picture will likely become a bit clearer at that point.
With as many as 10 Red Wings regulars out of the lineup at any given time with injuries, credit Gustav Nyquist as one of the Detroit players that’s kept them afloat through the adversity. Nyquist potted his 20th goal of the season against the Penguins earlier this week, and has impressed the Red Wings veterans with his abilities at a precocious young age.
“He’s a guy who is going to be a real good player in this league for a long time,” said Daniel Alfredsson. “He’s a mature player, plays good at both ends of the ice, and has tremendous offensive upside. Speed, stick-handling, and shot. He’s only going to get better.”
During a recent seven game losing streak the Buffalo Sabres managed just six total goals worth of offensive output. Only two players (Drew Stafford had four, and linemate Tyler Ennis had two) actually scored the six goals, and everybody else on the Sabres roster put up a giant zero for seven games. When things go bad in your NHL town, just like that sink in and marinate for a while. That’s just brutal.
Remember, keep shooting pucks at the net and good things are bound to happen.