NHL Canadian Corner – March 4, 2012.

Canucks fall to the Sabres…Offensive checking and Pavelec keys to Jets playoff hopes…Robin Lehner strong so far in Senators goal…Four things for the Flames to make the playoffs…Leafs down Canadiens…Khabibulin happy to remain with Oilers.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Three early goals spelled an early end for Roberto Luongo’s night and defeat for the Canucks, falling 5-3 to the Buffalo Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cody Hodgson didn’t make much of an impression in his return to Vancouver, while Zack Kassian scored in a losing cause for the Canucks.

Jets counting on Pavelec down the stretch.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Strong goaltending from Ondrej Pavelec and a strong forecheck are crucial to the Jets playoff hopes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Lightning and now the Sabres nipping at their heels, the Jets cannot afford a letdown.

OTTAWA SUN: Robin Lehner had a strong performance last week for the Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If he keeps this up, the Senators will have little choice but to keep him and send down Alex Auld when Craig Anderson returns.

CALGARY SUN: Randy Sportak lists four things the Flames need to make the playoffs.

TORONTO SUN/LA PRESSE: Mikhail Grabovski scored twice and set up another as the Maple Leafs got their first win under new head coach Randy Carlyle, downing the Montreal Canadiens 3-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the bright side, Habs fans, the loss keeps Montreal with the third worst record in the league. At this point in the season, hoping for a top-three draft pick is the only bright spot left in this otherwise forgettable season for the Canadiens.

EDMONTON SUN: Nikolai Khabibulin is happy he wasn’t moved at the trade deadline.


  1. One goal allowed by the Leafs… enough said. It was nice to see guys that don’t normally take the body or deflect pucks doing it all night. Go Carlyle!!!

  2. @Tux
    If Bozak continues to play like he did last night he will be my new hero. I lost count watching how many body checks he threw and how many times he stood in front trying to deflect shots. Let’s see if it continues or if he was just trying to impress the coach. I find it funny how he can go all year doing none of this under Wilson and the first game with Carlyle as coach Bozak was all over fixing the areas in his game he was lacking.

  3. The one thing they continually showed last night was Carlyle walking the bench talking to his coaches and players about how to improve or fix things when mistakes were made which is a nice change of pace. Carlyle may be hard on his players but he also lets you know how to go about fixing the issues in your game to become better instead of just telling players to do better.

  4. Lehner will likely be sent down when Anderson comes back to continue getting starts until the playoffs. He should be at least anyway. No sense in bringing the kid up if he is going to sit most of it.

  5. @ innovator I don’t know keeping Lehner around to experience the playoff push and some post-season action might be a good thing. And more importantly, if they send Auld down he’d have to clear waivers, then Boston could take him to back up Thomas while Rask is out. It’s a better option then signing someone like Turco.

  6. They can always call him up for the playoffs. If I were the Sens I’d rather let the kid play more games. Barring a collapse by the Sens they should be locked into that 7th spot.

  7. @Beer
    He wasn’t the only one. There was a lot more physicality out there. What did I say about putting Frattin on the 2nd line? Not too shabby. I can’t believe I thought of Kulemin as a good checker last year; if he has a severe injury it would really explain his season.
    Yeah, they look better with new coach…..Gustavsson was a little nervous though. Could we start calling him “the mouse”, instead “the monster”? (God what a laugh. Nicknames earned on the Marlies should not carry over to the bigs. Someone like Rinne should be called the monster. God dammit, what a terrible goalie).

  8. @Tux
    Kulemin looks out of shape. Last night I saw a brief glimpse of how he skated and moved last year and it felt like he was a rookie again. All this year he seemed to move like a older vet. I’m not sure if that what the problem is but Carlyle apparently preaches being in shape so if that is the problem then time will bring his game back.

    Phaneuf needs to figure out how to stop guys from out skating him on the outside and cutting to the net, it’s getting embarrasing. He has a brief second to do something about it if he can’t keep up. Maybe pounding a few guys into the boards will take care of it failing that he has to let Gunnarsson know he needs to have his back on those plays.

  9. @ beer goggles

    Glad you finally got your wish with Wilson fired. That’s always been phaneufs problem, and why he earned the nickname dion the pylon out west. All he is is some big hits and a hard (inaccurate) shot