this week: des mauvaises performances, ça va arriver

img007J.T. Miller’s mother had a hard time getting to grips with the fans at Madison Square Garden who were chanting her son’s name after he scored a goal on his first NHL shift. 

“I don’t know what happened,” said Toronto defenceman Mark Fraser when he was asked whether his teammate Mikhail Grabovski had bitten Montreal’s Max Pacioretty or not. “It’s the game. In the heat of the moment guys react differently.”

“I don’t know,” Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said, a couple of times, in an interview with Gare Joyce from Sportsnet magazine, who found the Oilers’ young centreman to be “open, relaxed and unfailingly polite” as well as “almost comically soft-spoken.”

“This one is tough to explain,” said Matjaz Kopitar, coach of the Slovenian national team (and Anze’s dad) after his team qualified for next year’s Olympics. “We are a miracle.”

“Did you guys see Pavel Datsyuks goal tonight?” tweemled @GabeLandeskog92. “I don’t care what team you cheer for, that’s a sick goal. Wow.”

Of his team’s goaltender, Jonathan Bernier, Los Angeles centre Jeff Carter said, “He saw all the pucks,” after the Kings beat St. Louis.

“It’s time to put the boots on and go do it or else pack your bags and go home because it’s slowly slipping,” said David Backes, captain of the Blues, whose team had lost five straight games at the time, and counting.

From the coach, Ken Hitchcock: “This is the homestand from hell.”

“Des mauvaises performances, ça va arriver,” Michel Therrien, said, the coach in Montreal. “L’important, c’est de savoir rebondir.”

“DiPi sucks,” they chanted on Long Island, the faithful, once Carolina had scored a fifth goal on Islanders’ goaltender Rick DiPietro who, a witness reported, “stared blankly ahead.”

Winnipeg Jets’ winger Evander Kane spoke to The Hockey News about the criticism he gets. “A good portion of it is,” he said, “because I’m black and I’m not afraid to say that.”

“It’s my turn,” Roberto Luongo told reporters in Vancouver. There were questions there, too, for winger David Booth, injured a month ago, on the first day of training camp. How was his groin? Was he close to coming back? Did he think it was not serious? Had he been to any specialists? Was the one of the next steps reaching for the puck? “I feel better, I guess,” Booth answered. “That’s all I’m allowed to say.” And: “I think progress is the word. Every day is progress.” Also: “Yeah, yeah.” Plus: “I don’t know how to answer that. I don’t know what I’m supposed to say. And finally: “Yes, that’s correct.

Regarding the decision to sit out Ryans Smyth and Whitney and whether that might make them sad, Edmonton coach Ralph Krueger said, “There’s no room for feelings in a season like this.”

Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher recalled the mood of his team after Montreal went up 3-0 in the second period: “It became real heavy on the bench. There’s no positive stuff to draw from.”

After the San Jose Sharks lost 6-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, coach Todd McLellan said what happened was, his team was “outworked, out-executed, out-detailed, out-goaltended, out-a lot of things.”

How to play against Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard and the defencemen in front of him? “Just start hacking and whacking,” Ken Hitchcock counselled.

From New York @MichaelDelZotto tweaked @BrandonPrust8 in Montreal: “happy valentines day Brandon!”

In Calgary, Mike Cammalleri scored three goals and planted 50 trees during his team’s 7-4 win over Dallas, after which the losing coach, Glen Gulutzan, said, “I don’t know if we weren’t ready as much as we weren’t ready to compete. We were soft in the beginning, soft with our sticks, soft with our play. We weren’t ready.”

Or at least, I guess, sorry: the NHL will be planting 50 trees in Brazil because of Cammalleri’s goals, as part of the cleverly named and clearly copyrighted NHL Green program Hat Tricks for Trees™.

Losing to Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, Ottawa saw defenceman Erik Karlsson go into to the boards with Penguins’ winger Matt Cooke and come out with his Achilles tendon 70 per cent severed.

After the game, @CraigAnderson41, Ottawa goaltender, took to Twitter: “Tough loss. The game. The best defensemen in the league. Freak accident?”

Ottawa’s anger and disappointment, and anger, continued into Thursday, when Dr. Don Chow operated to repair the wound. There was talk that maybe Cooke should be suspended, though the NHL said, no, no supplemental discipline would be applied.

Said Ottawa general manager Bryan Murray to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, “It’s dreadful. I was upset at the time, it’s Matt Cooke and there is some history there. It’s one of the best players in the league getting hurt. But I can’t do anybody’s job but my own. And it’s of no value one way or another to the Ottawa Senators if Matt Cooke is suspended or not. We don’t get our player back.”

“Obviously, I feel terrible about it,” Cooke told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I’m not trying to do that, obviously.”

“It’s a bad feeling,” said Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero. “It’s very unfortunate. I would not be defending Matt Cooke if I thought it was a dirty hockey play.”

Ottawa Sun has 11 pages today on Erik Karlsson’s injury,” tweetered Szymon Szemberg, director of communications for the IIHF, based in Zurich. “Interest in hockey in Canada is not what it once was.”