Kukla's Korner Hockey
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
If the Thrashers manage to finish out of the playoffs or get blitzed in the first round, then the jobs of general manager Don Waddell and head coach Bob Hartley could be in danger. Even worse, the future of the franchise, which has yet to take Atlanta by storm, could be at stake.
“This is a critical year for our franchise,” Waddell said Wednesday. “Our attendance is heading in the right direction, but if we fall short, it could affect us for years to come.”
Both Waddell and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman say they are not worried about the future of the franchise in Atlanta. But there are troubling signs aside from attendance, which is improving this season but still among the worst in the NHL.
After skating with the team Thursday morning in Nashville, Henrik Zetterberg still appears to be several days away from returning.
“I’m skating a little bit more and more every day, still no battles,’’ Zetterberg said. “Hopefully one or two games (before the playoffs) would be good, but if not, I just have to deal with that.
“I’m still just at 35-40 minutes each time out there, got to get a little longer. Then the last step will be battling in the corners. Still got a few steps left before I’m back.’‘
from Damien Cox at ESPN,
The Hurricanes, you may have noticed, have not yet secured a position in the Stanley Cup playoffs. In fact, Carolina is in a traffic jam of a fight for one of three available Eastern Conference playoff berths. There’s a tightly packed, heavily congested group of six teams, each desperately trying to avoid the stigma that goes with missing the NHL playoffs.
This probably shouldn’t be seen as quite the embarrassment that it used to be. After all, once upon a time, 16 of 21 NHL clubs made the postseason. And if there has been an upside to Gary Bettman’s absurdly reckless addition of nine teams over nine years, it’s that the playoffs haven’t been expanded as the league has developed its unsightly beer belly.
more... and some Edmonton talk too…
from pegasus news,
Something special happened for the Stars this past week, and it revolves around the timeless concept of mensch. A mensch, also known in some circles as a stud, alpha-male and possibly even the shiz-natch, is that rare and elusive person that can take a team on his back and deliver the goods when the time calls for it. Not every team has a mensch—for example, the Colorado Avs—but every team needs one, especially if it has any designs on going deep into the playoffs….
This was precisely the moment that the Stars’ captain and resident mensch decided to take control of the game. In his first shift in the third period, Brendan Morrow decided that ass wasn’t going to kick itself, and started the Stars’ comeback first with physical play, then a goal, and then an assist.
read on... and who is your mensch?
from TSN’s Darren Dreger:
Vladislav Tretiak, the president of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, recently submitted a letter to the NHL requesting the use of NHL players in an eight game exhibition series pitting Russia’s best versus Canada’s top players.
While the NHL acknowledges the 1972 Summit Series as one of the most significant events in the history of hockey, it won’t support or approve Tretiak’s interest in bringing it back to life.
Instead, the league would rather focus on an ongoing effort to settle a transfer agreement with Russia, which would align one of hockey’s world powers with the existing group of federations.
Damien Cox answers his mail at The Spin, his blog at the Toronto Star,
Hypothetical situation - you are the commissioner of a fantasy NHL where you have sweeping powers to re-locate franchises as you see fit for the betterment of the game (in search of profits, good fan base, etc), all of the owners are OK with you to make such decisions on their behalf.
If you are to pick 4 teams from the current league, which 4 teams would you choose to re-locate and why.
A: Before I answer, what would be the salary of such a job? Oh, never mind.
Florida and Atlanta look like very, very iffy markets both now and down the line. Washington has had more than 30 years to stabilize and still hasn’t. Long Island, meanwhile, has been bad for a long, long time, and the dream of a new area remains a distant one. Phoenix looks lousy right now, but it would be interesting to see if a good team in that very nice arena might ultimately work. Nashville doesn’t seem to be attracting the support one would think possible with a very strong team. St. Louis looks dicey at the moment, but I really believe that situation will turn around.
Those are the candidates. If I had to pick four to move, I would pick Florida, Atlanta, Washington and the Islanders. Wouldn’t be much left of the Southeast Division, would there?
more mail answered, some Leafs specific…
from the Richmond Review,
Blame the Internet for Chan Woo Lee’s fascination with ice hockey.
The young Korean student was scanning the world wide web one day a few years ago when he saw a hockey photo. It captivated him, so much so that he decided to take up the traditional North American game rather than a customary martial art like taekwondo or a sport such as badminton.
But after playing a little hockey in Korea, it soon become apparent that Lee was pretty good. So he asked his parents if he could continue learning the game in Canada.
from On The Islanders Beat at Newsday,
On the positive side, Newsday has learned the Islanders have signed former NHL defenseman Todd Simpson for the remainder of the regular season. Simpson spent the past season playing in Germany and must clear waivers in order to play.
more...plus Smyth & Hilbert listed as day-to-day…
from the AP via Star News,
There’s a baby boom in Stanley Cup land.
Nine months after the Carolina Hurricanes won the NHL championship in June, five current or former Hurricanes couples are expecting babies. All the women are due within the next four months.
Anne Adams, wife of right wing Craig Adams, said there has been plenty of jokes about how much fun must have been had last summer after the team won the championship title.
from the NY Daily News,
The likelihood of Rick DiPietro playing for the Islanders this weekend appears so slim that it would be “very surprising” to a person who has been in regular contact with the franchise goalie over the last several days.
That’s because DiPietro indeed learned earlier this week that he is suffering from a concussion, two people close to the groggy goalie confirmed yesterday, and not just the “headaches” the Islanders revealed as his lone diagnosis before Tuesday’s night’s 3-2 loss to the Devils.
One published report yesterday indicated that DiPietro was expected to return as early as tomorrow in Buffalo as long as his headaches subsided, a notion one of the goalie’s close friends categorized as “unbelievable” and “ridiculous.”
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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