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Nichols Notes

Nichols’ Notes: Fleury’s absence ‘killing him’

(David Hahn/Icon Sportswire)
(David Hahn/Icon Sportswire)

Marc-Andre Fleury has not yet been able to go between the pipes for the Pittsburgh Penguins in these playoffs. His agent told Sportsnet on Thursday that the goaltender is still not 100 percent, but Fleury is “progressively and incrementally improving on a daily basis.”

He hasn’t played in nearly three weeks because of this concussion.

“He has a tremendous sense of obligation to the team, and it’s killing him,” Walsh said. “It’s killing him.”

Source: Luke Fox/ Sportsnet

Marc-Andre Fleury still not healthy: ‘It’s killing him’

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Penguins goaltender Matt Murray has been gaining a lot of attention around the league – particularly in the past few months.

One person who couldn’t be happier for the young netminder is Murray’s longtime goaltending instructor, Jon Elkin.

Elkin had Murray in one of his goaltending camps when the talent was only eight or nine.

“I love to see guys develop and take the bull by the horns and do something with their talent,” said Elkin. “It’s amazing, good for him. He’s such a nice kid. He’s just a solid kid.”

Source: Chris Johnston/ Sportsnet

The story behind Matt Murray’s swift success with Penguins

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Mike Bales, incidentally, is charged with guiding the Penguins’ goaltenders.

Bales was promoted from his prior role of goaltender development coach by Ray Shero in August of 2013, and was kept around for Jim Rutherford’s regime.

“Really didn’t know him personally,” Rutherford said. “But it didn’t take long for me to like the personality. And then, of course, you see what he can do.”

Source: Rob Rossi/ TribLive

Penguins goalie coach Bales’ fingerprints all over series

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Nikita Kucherov still doesn’t seem to get his due around the league, but the Tampa Bay Lightning winger has sniped five goals in these playoffs already.

So why do we still hear Kucherov’s name mentioned with an element of surprise as to just how good he is?

“I want to say, ‘No (kidding),’ ” TV analyst Craig Button said of the times he hears that sort of talk. “I don’t know what people are watching. Kucherov is a star.”

Source: Joe Smith/ Tampa Bay Times

Lightning’s Kucherov shines again on biggest stage

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Loved the beginning of this response from Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning, asked about the sense of worry with getting Thatcher Demko signed.

“Our media was more concerned about it than I was and you know the media around here likes drama,” said Benning.

Source: Ben Kuzma/ Vancouver Province

Demko’s diligence in classroom, on ice, has highly-touted goaltender on right career path

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David Poile reflects on the difficult decision to make the blockbuster Seth Jones-for-Ryan Johansen trade this season.

“We know we had a player in Seth Jones who could be one of those guys who could play 15, 20 years for you and is solid. But it was never working for us. It didn’t work in the playoffs last year, when we went up against Jonathan Toews,” Poile said. “But the matchups have been really much better in the second half of the season with Johansen. We feel better, even in this series, where you’re going up against two of the best center-ice men in the league, in Getzlaf and in Kesler. I think having Johansen has certainly given us a better chance to be successful.”

Source: Helene Elliott/ Los Angeles Times

Nashville GM David Poile has transformed Predators, and it’s all about preparation

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35 playoff games without a goal for Jaromir Jagr?

Not surprisingly, the veteran Florida Panthers winger has a macro view of the situation.

“I’ve scored enough goals,” said Jagr. “If I don’t score any ever, I’ll be happy with my hockey career.”

Also: “I don’t worry about it. To be honest with you, do you remember who scored goals 10 years ago? I don’t. I don’t even remember who won the Cup, to be honest with you. So it’s everything about a Cup. Who cares who scored? I want to help, of course, but nobody remembers next year who scored. Only the champions.”

Source: Ben Shipgel/ New York Times

Young Panthers, and Their Veteran Leader, Are on the Ascent

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Goaltender Niklas Backstrom, on his future:

“I think I’m pretty clear on what I want to do but there is for sure certain things you want to be really certain about so I’m pretty certain about what I want to do,” said Backstrom recently.

“I have to be realistic with the NHL. I haven’t played a lot but I know I can still play here. I think I proved it in the couple of games that I played that I can play at a good level but I’ve been around for a long time and I haven’t played a lot (lately). The NHL is probably a stretch for me but I still feel I want to play and still feel I’ve got the hunger to do the work on the ice and off the ice.

“Those are probably the answers I was looking for here in the past couple of weeks. It was always easy to say that you want to play but it takes a lot more than that. It’s not just to show up and play at the rink, you have to work hard and prepare. I still feel that I still want to do that and I am ready to do that.”

Source: Aaron Vickers/ Flames’ site

Free agent Backstrom ‘pretty clear’ on what future will bring

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Nichols’ Notes runs weekdays, linking you to stories of interest from around the NHL.

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