Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Stars Of The Week

(1/25/2021)

NEW YORK (Jan. 25, 2021) – Montreal Canadiens center Tyler Toffoli and University of Montreal Health Centre (CHUM) respiratory therapist Virginie Hébert have been named the NHL’s “First Stars” for the week ending Jan. 24. Throughout the 2020-21 season the NHL is celebrating the remarkable efforts of the off-ice stars who make it possible for us to play our games amid a pandemic by honoring frontline healthcare heroes from the regions represented by the League’s weekly and monthly “Stars.” Hébert has been a respiratory therapist (RT) since 2017, working to maintain, restore or assist airway function for people who have difficulty breathing. During the pandemic, she has distinguished herself by giving additional trainings to colleagues to share the latest protocols and procedures to follow during this critical period, in order to keep patients and staff safe as well as reduce the risk of virus transmission. For the past 10 months, Hébert and her colleagues have been working selflessly, alongside doctors and other healthcare professionals, to help treat and hopefully save coronavirus patients experiencing respiratory distress. Their duties include tracking patients’ oxygen levels, managing their breathing, assisting with intubations and monitoring patients connected to mechanical ventilators, exposing them to the sickest patients and to dangerous aerosolizing procedures. Hébert’s commitment to her practice as well as to her patients have made her an invaluable frontline healthcare hero within CHUM’s respiratory therapy team. Rounding out the “Three Stars” of the week are Dallas Stars center Joe Pavelski and Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson. More on each NHL player’s performance can be found below:

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

All Is Well In Montreal

(1/25/2021)

from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette, The first move was made before the playoffs began, when Bergevin signed brilliant second-round pick Alexander Romanov to a three-year deal that was announced on July 13, 2020. On Sept. 2, Bergevin sent the first signal that he was playing for real by dealing third- and seventh-round picks in 2020 to the Blues for goaltender Jake Allen and a seventh-rounder in 2022. For the first time since Jaroslav Halak was shipped to the Blues, Carey Price had a bona-fide, blue-chip backup. On Sept. 12, Bergevin sent a fifth-rounder to Carolina for defenceman Joel Edmundson, a solid, experienced 6-foot-4, 227-pound defender. On Oct. 6, Bergevin took his biggest off-season gamble, dealing the somewhat enigmatic Max Domi to Columbus for Josh Anderson, a one-time fourth-rounder coming off shoulder surgery and a one-goal season — then signing Anderson for seven years and $38.5 million. On Oct. 12, Bergevin proved that he wasn’t done. He signed forward Tyler Toffoli, once a key part of the Los Angeles Kings in their championship days, to a four-year, $17-million deal. All that, and Bergevin managed to keep two of his own key pieces in place, signing Jeff Petry to a four-year extension and Brendan Gallagher to a six-year extension. Then in December, Bergevin topped it off by signing veterans Corey Perry and Michael Frolik for the taxi squad at $750,000 each for the season. On digital paper, it looked good. Great, even. But you know what they say about playing the games. Now the Canadiens have played six games, all part of a season-opening schedule that loomed like the Bermuda Triangle, with six straight on the road and no exhibition games to prepare. They still haven’t lost in regulation. read on

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

“A Noticeable Difference In The Red Wings This Season”

(1/25/2021)

from Emily Kaplan of ESPN, In August, Larkin said a handful of players returned to Detroit for optional practices, and by September, there were even more. Then came free agency in October, and Yzerman signed five veteran players -- goalie Thomas Greiss, forwards Vladislav Namestnikov and Bobby Ryan, defensemen Jon Merrill and Troy Stecher -- then traded for longtime New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal. Larkin was on a text chain with his two linemates, Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi. "It was just like, another great player, another great player," Larkin says. "And then Ty texted: Are the Red Wings a wagon now?" Detroit is probably a bit away from wagon status, but there's a noticeable difference in the Red Wings this season. They split their first four games, but saw momentum halted with five players on the COVID-19 protocol list, and held out of action this weekend in Chicago (where they lost both games). Even still, there's a new swagger to the Red Wings. Detroit's goaltending is far improved (Jonathan Bernier and Greiss have combined for a .904 save percentage, a huge improvement on last season's .886 as a team) and there's more resolve (after being shut out in their opener, Detroit stormed back for a 4-2 win over a talented Hurricanes team in Game 2). "The blue line -- those guys are always screaming for the puck, they want the puck," Larkin says. "They come to the bench, and they're letting me know, and they're letting guys know that we gotta talk. It makes everyone's life easier and I think that's something we were really missing last year. Those veteran guys who came from other teams have just been emphasizing talking and wanting the puck, and it's made a huge difference." more