Kukla's Korner Hockey
From the Edmonton Journal,
“I think he can be a star ... you can see the potential he has, the icetime he gets. He never wants to come off, and the way he can skate,” said Oilers assistant coach Charlie Huddy, who looks after the blue-liners. “I think he’s only scratched the surface. His offence will come ... the creativity will come out. You’d like to see him take the puck to the net more, the way he can skate.”
That’s the rub with Pitkanen. He doesn’t get nearly enough points for his ability, although he did have 43 twice in Philadelphia. He had a meagre 26 last season here, albeit in only 63 games because he had a bad knee and sundry other smaller ailments. That put him in a tie for 50th amongst defencemen with David Johnny Oduya in New Jersey and James Wisniewski in Chicago. Hal Gill, who would lose a race with the Zamboni, had 24 points, if you’re counting. Pitkanen should be a 55-60-point defenceman, but he’s not. He might also be a shutdown defenceman because he can close people off with his skating but those sort of guys often have a physical edge to their game. Pitkanen doesn’t.
There’s been much discussion this week about adding bans on motorcycles to NHL contracts. Some thoughts from Hugh Adami via Canwest News:
And, if a motorcycling ban was put into place, where does the NHL draw the line the next time something bad happens to a player involved in an activity that isn’t prohibited?
What if avid golfer Daniel Alfredsson is bopped in the head by an errant golf ball and misses half the season or is forced to retire?
And what about professional athletes and fast cars? Dany Heatley’s horrific accident in Atlanta almost five years ago resulted in the death of passenger and teammate Dan Snyder. Excessive speed led Heatley to lose control of his Ferrari. How could the Atlanta Thrashers protect themselves in the future against young players not using common sense in hot cars? Ban them from driving anything over 125 horsepower?
Regular readers will recall that I missed work around here for a week or so a few months ago due to a fairly serious concussion. If I ever decide to make a total fool of myself and confess exactly how I got that concussion, it would support Adami’s point well—you really can’t protect people from everything.
From Ben Schmitt at the Free Press,
Splat! The octopus hit the ice of Mellon Arena to a chorus of boos just after the national anthem Saturday.
But the tentacled toss didn’t come from a Michigander. Zach Smith, 19, of Cleveland, an avid Red Wings fan and adrenaline junkie, hurled the slimy creature. Then he got tossed. Security guards threw him out.
“You’re outta here,” Smith said they told him. “Come back in and you get arrested.”
But Smith and his two friends from metro Detroit, who asked not to be identified, had a plan. They had bought an extra ticket in anticipation of his booting. That’s an extra $300 from a scalper
From Tim Cowlishaw the Dallas Morning News,
“I came into the league and saw guys that were 32 and I said, “That’s not me. I’ll be done before then,’ ” he said. “Then 32 felt like it came and got here overnight. Now I hear young guys talking about not wanting to put in the work and I think, “Are you kidding me?’ “
Modano said he considered announcing his retirement at different points during the regular season when he was frustrated with his play.
“The first quarter of the season was really rough on me,” he said, recalling his struggles to surpass Phil Housley as the highest-scoring U.S.-born player in league history. “There were probably more times I didn’t feel I was as competitive as I wanted to be than there had been in the past.”
more including his current plans
From Erin Nicks at The Universal Cynic,
Anyway, back to Burns. The Senators need someone who can crack the whip and get this franchise back to a defensive mindset. It may only be a short-term solution for a couple of years (Burns’ act can wear thin), but it’s better than watching Bryan Murray wear two hats. He’s currently the right choice, which obviously means the Senators won’t get him. And don’t talk to me about Bob Hartley, okay? I want a coach who knows about building a foundation—I don’t want a guy behind the bench who wears it. (Combine the over-gelled hair and the eerily smooth skin tone, and you’ve got a walking corpse running the team.)
more… including thoughts on Bob Cole, Jim Hughson, the playoffs, etc
From Terry Frei at the Denver Post,
But major-junior players not making the NHL often end up educationally short-changed, or at least behind their contemporaries. The education-on-the-fly aspects of major junior and then major-junior’s scholarship program — roughly a year of college money for each year of playing — aren’t enough. (The major-junior scholarship program, let’s just say, doesn’t match a Harvard scholarship.)
Except for the absolute elite (and [Drayson] Bowman appears to be among that group) or players who would have little interest in a college education under any circumstances, I still believe the best route, for most U.S.-born players especially, remains NCAA hockey.
Elliotte Freidman did a great piece on Bob Probert duing the HNIC pre-game last night.
Cherry can’t believe the ice time for Malkin and feels Wings wrap up the series on Monday.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
When NHL GMs gather tomorrow in Detroit for their Stanley Cup get-together, they’ll start planting the deal-making seeds for the entry draft at Scotiabank Place June 20-21.
While not all the brass showed up at the prospects’ combine that was completed yesterday at the Westin Bristol Place, there were enough executives in the hotel lobby to fan the trade winds that have already started to blow.
Here’s a few players to keep an eye on:
Senators C Jason Spezza: His name will come up a lot in the next few weeks with his salary jumping $3 million (all terms US) to $8 million next season. Hard to believe the Senators would deal him; they’d have to get another front-line centre in return and Spezza has good chemistry with RW Dany Heatley.
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
The Red Wings—a terrific club in just about every way—seem destined to lift Lord Stanley’s Cup.
“Obviously, we’re in a tough situation,” Penguins winger Marian Hossa said. “But they still have to win one more game. We’re going to make it really miserable for them.”
That was the general theme in a disappointed Penguins dressing room. No one wanted to talk about having to win three consecutive games, two on the road. “We just have to win one,” defenseman Brooks Orpik said. “If you worry about winning three games, it can get a little overwhelming.”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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