this week: I’ve never been a goalie

abel's in“I don’t know why something happened,” Edmonton rookie Nail Yakupov said this week.

Asked a question, Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf said, “You don’t ask questions.” He’d played a lot of minutes in a loss to the New York Rangers, more than 30, and people were wondering: too much? “As a player, you go out when you’re told to go out,” said Phaneuf.

His teammate, Mike Komisarek, talked to TSN about what happened in practice when he got frustrated by missing the net with slapshots, which is when he swung his stick, from which bits of graphite flew into his face, which is why the doctor had to stitch his eyeball. “It’s not the stick’s fault,” he allowed.

Why so much punching in the NHL since the start of the season? Calgary’s Tim Jackman was asked that and here’s what he thought: “I guess you could say a lot of the fights are from pent-up energy that guys have been holding onto longer than they’re used to.” 

Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said that Colorado’s Matt Duchene, quote, kicked his two centreman’s asses.

“I focus on the dumbness of Hagelin,” Rangers’ coach John Tortorella said on Tuesday after his team took a penalty for too many men on the ice.

Kevin Shattenkirk of St. Louis was, by midweek, leading the league’s defenceman in scoring, with his eight assists. No goals, though. “It is a little weird,” he said, and laughed. “The good thing is, when you’re getting assists, you know there’s a goal on the end of it somewhere.”

“Loooooooo!” roared the crowd at Vancouver’s GM Place on Wednesday, in appreciation of their goaltender, Roberto Luongo, who was supposed to have been washed up and demoted to the bench to await a trade to Toronto, but was instead playing, thriving, winning and still in British Columbia.

Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford told of his new emphasis on focus. ‘‘It just seems,” he said, “like I’m keeping my eyes glued to the puck the entire game, which kind of sounds a little funny. But it doesn’t matter whether the puck’s at the blue line or if I’ve got to battle through bodies to find it or the puck’s in the corner and there are guys skating around. I’m just making sure I’m always glued to it and never getting my eyes off it.’’

“Winning,” said the new back-up goaltender in Anaheim, a 30-year-old Swede named Viktor Fasth. “That’s what you play hockey for. That’s what counts.”

Following his debut, a 3-2 Anaheim shootout win over Nashville, the Ducks’ coach, Bruce Boudreau, said he liked what he’d seen so far.

“He was just calm as a cucumber. I’ve never been a goalie and never want to be one. That’s the demeanor they have to have to be successful. I thought even in the shootout, it was like, ‘I’ll have a cup of coffee and wait for the guy to come down.’ He was pretty relaxed.”

Luongo’s teammate, Max Lapierre, played a game despite what The Vancouver Sun was reporting to be “a sore groin,” making it sound like he has more than one.

“Obviously, there’s some pain but I’m fine to play,” Lapierre confided. “It’s okay. It’s not the first time I’ve played in pain in my career.”

Another paper, The Province, reported that Lapierre had added 15 pounds to his frame during the lockout, then dropped it, with the aid of “a Cirque du Soleil nutritionist.” His groin, to be clear, was strained when he attempted to block a second-period shot against the Calgary Flames. “I feel good in my movement,” was what he told The Province, “but obviously there’s some pain, but I’ll be fine for tonight. Not skating yesterday helped a bit. There’s still some pain, but there are no excuses and I have to play my role. It’s not the first time I’ve played with pain in my career.”

Tampa Bay’s captain, Vinny Lecavalier, fought his 22nd NHL fight on Sunday last, with Philadelphia’s Luke Schenn. His coach said that was fine.

“He did the right thing,” Guy Boucher said. “If he breaks his hand there I’m not happy, but in the long run it would have paid off because he was doing it for the right reason.”

“That was a little bit of old-time firewagon hockey,” Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said after his team beat Boston 7-4 last night. It was a game that featured four goals from Sabres’ winger Thomas Vanek and what the media described as “a fight” between Boston’s Shawn Thornton and Buffalo’s John Scott. “You never want to hurt somebody,” said Scott, who’s 6’8” and 270 pounds, after he’d punched Thornton at least nine times in the head.

@NHLBruins twittered news of Thornton’s concussion this morning: “out 7-10 days.”