Kukla's Korner Hockey
via Michael Russo at the Star-Tribune today:
The Panthers again are using Jokinen as trade bait. Reportedly, a dozen teams have inquired and the Panthers would want a first-round pick in any package.
“We haven’t made the playoffs here, so bottom line is we’re looking to improve our hockey club,” Panthers GM Jacques Martin told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “Is that with Olli back here or Olli not back here?”
Martin hasn’t been shy about criticizing Jokinen in the post-season. For more, the Sun-Sentinel provides this audio from an interview a few weeks ago, and George Richards wrote a feature piece on the captain’s trade value earlier this week in the Miami Herald.
From Mike Boone at Habs Inside/Out,
RDS reported that Saku Koivu was trying to persuade Teemu Selanne to join the Canadiens.
I’ll believe it when I see the Finnish Flash at training camp – which, for Selanne, begins in February.
For more rumors, Spector’s got the latest on Jeff Carter, Patrick Marleau, Bobby Holik, Radim Vrbata and others.
From Paul Hunter at the Toronto Star,
His biggest worry at the start of the season wasn’t hockey, it was wondering whether he would see his three children grow up.
“My heart wasn’t 100 per cent,” he said at the NHL awards gala last night. “It took me a while to figure out that everything was going to be okay.
“It was a tough year, coming to a new city and new team. When you come in you have high expectations. When you get hit hard like that – it’s like walking down the street and you get hit by a semi, blindsided – it was a frustrating year, it was a disappointing year. I’m excited to start fresh next year. I know I’m going to have this the rest of my life and I know I’m going to be okay.
“I have something to prove.”
From Tony Gallagher of The Province via the Ottawa Citizen,
What can occur is that officials in either sport who faithfully follow directions are traditionally given the best games to work and that’s all that need be done to assure that impropriety is possible.
Take the recent Stanley Cup playoffs. This is not to suggest there was anything improper going on in any way, but this is how it could have gone off the rails and how things can happen when the best interests of the commissioner or the league are well known.
As the Detroit Red Wings-Pittsburgh Penguins series progressed, it became apparent with the TV ratings coming out daily and obviously building with every game, it was in the best interests of the league that the series go as long as possible, no matter who won.
*this appears to follow a recent theme of Gallagher’s
From Bob DiCesare at the Buffalo News,
The Buffalo Sabres recently were honored as the NHL’s “Professional Sports Team of the Year” in Sports Business Journal’s annual awards. They were cited for increasing their season ticket base from about 5,800 to 14,800 since the lockout, with a waiting list of 6,000. They were hailed for maintaining reasonable ticket costs, instituting variable single-game pricing and enhancing the attractiveness of their product to sponsors.
Who can quibble with any of those distinctions? Outside of some dubious hockey personnel decisions, the franchise has done right by its fans and given Sabres hockey a local presence unequaled since the team’s nascent years. The recognition is well-deserved.
My gripe is with a stand-alone quote that appears with the SBJ story. Under the headline, “What People Are Saying,” comes this bold-typed snippet from John Cimperman of Cenergy Communications: “The fact that they have turned Buffalo from a football town into a hockey town is well recognized.”
From Ben Leeson at The Sault Star,
Soo Greyhounds coach Craig Hartsburg will be introduced Friday as the head coach of the Ottawa Senators, well-placed and reliable sources have told The Sault Star.
The 48-year-old Hartsburg flew to Ottawa Thursday to meet with Senators owner Eugene Melnyk and will be introduced to the media as the team’s next head coach as early as this morning.
A report Wednesday by the Ottawa Sun had Kitchener Rangers bench boss Peter DeBoer getting the job in Ottawa but that report now appears to have been premature.
“They (media) overreacted yesterday,” a source told The Star. “Everybody assumed that because he (DeBoer) went down there, it was a done deal.”
When reached Thursday, Hartsburg declined comment, limiting his remarks to an assessment of the Senators’ on-ice potential. He would neither confirm or deny whether he was in the Ottawa area.
Update 9:21am ET: Apparent confirmation from TSN—
Former Canadian World Juniors and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds head coach Craig Hartsburg will be introduced as the head coach of the Ottawa Senators on Friday. The Senators have called a news conference Friday morning to make the announcement.
*hat-tip to TSN for providing the original source
From Rob Rossi at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
[Evgeni Malkin] said the prize he really covets—a long-term contract extension with the Penguins—is on its way.
“I’m thinking maybe five or six years,” said Malkin, set to enter the final season of his three-year entry-level deal. “I’m an easy guy to deal with. I’d love to stay in Pittsburgh.”
The NHL’s collective bargaining agreement forbids the Penguins from signing Malkin to an extension until July 1. Malkin said he expects the extension will be signed “soon” after that date.
A complete summary from the NHL:
Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin capped an award-filled season by winning his first career Hart Trophy as the National Hockey League’s Most Valuable Player and Nicklas Lidstrom of the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings captured his sixth Norris Trophy as the League’s top defenseman at the 2008 NHL Awards Show.
Ovechkin was a runaway choice for the Hart, receiving 128 of 134 first-place votes for 1,313 points in voting by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who tallied one first-place vote and was the second choice on 66 ballots, was runner-up with 659 points.
From David Shoalts in the Globe & Mail,
“I want to make speech longer but my English short,” he said, drawing a big laugh.
In his news conference later, [Pavel] Datsyuk had a couple more zingers when he was asked how he enjoyed the Wings’ Stanley Cup party.
“I remember going to the party but I don’t remember coming home,” he said. “I have to ask my wife because I don’t remember.”
It’s being broadcast live online at CBC Sports. This link should open the player in your browser.
It seems to work in both the United States and Canada, though Americans will probably prefer the television broadcast on Versus (*in Canada, there is a tape delay for TV coverage.)
A few updates and the list of winners—with links to stories on their wins—can all be found below:
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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