Kukla's Korner Hockey
May you and yours have the best hockey year!!!
from the CP,
The Buffalo Sabres were halfway through their practice on the rink in Ralph Wilson Stadium on Monday afternoon when coach Lindy Ruff canned the monotonous drills and let his players play shinny.
“I wanted them to get back the feeling of playing pond hockey,” Ruff explained. “It felt like the right thing to do, and they had a great time.” Millionaire pros were acting like kids.
“That was awesome, it really was,” Ruff said of the unique outdoor experience. “It kind of gets you back to your roots.”
NEW YORK (December 31, 2007) – Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin, New York Rangers forward Jaromir Jagr and San Jose Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov have been named the NHL’s Three Stars for the week ending December 30.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
On Sunday, the Ducks became the first NHL team to reach the mid-point of the season — and while they were technically in eighth spot in the Western Conference, most of the teams chasing them held three-to-five games in hand. Prorated over the course of a full season, their 43 points in 41 games is unlikely to be enough to get them into the playoffs. So they need to make a surge, and with five of their next six games at home, and with checking centre Sami Pahlsson scheduled to return to the line-up, this would be a good time to start the turnaround.
The identity of the team is still evolving, but it is clear they will be playing in a lot of low-scoring games from here on in, barring the return of Teemu Selanne or a deal at the deadline to add a goal-scorer - given the strength of their defensive corps, from Niedermayer and Chris Pronger to Schneider and Francois Beauchemin and their comparatively limited offensive personnel.
read on... and remember that internet rumor junk that was floating around, “if you knew the real reason why Niedermayer wants to retire, you would understand”?, well, in the article from Eric, Scott says he just wanted to make sure he wanted to play again, no conspiracy theories…
from Jeff Z. Klein of Slap Shot at the NYT,
But there is a way for the NHL to make all games meaningful again: more competitions, beyond just the Stanley Cup. It’s not a new idea — soccer was going through a similar crisis of fan and media interest 25 years ago. But after it developed this concept, interest in soccer boomed, clubs became enormously wealthy and the sport prospered as it never had before.
Here’s how the NHL can invest the hockey season with meaning for fans and media, not just at playoff time, but throughout the entire calendar.
1. Commit fully to the Victoria Cup.
2. Make the Presidents’ Trophy a one-off championship game.
3. Create a new season-long cup competition, open to all pro clubs in North America.
from In the Room at the Washington Times,
The latest batch of voting results was released Thursday. With upwards of 445,000 votes, Sidney Crosby has about 2 1/2 times as many as Vinny Lecavalier and Daniel Alfredsson, who are in a tight battle for second. Ovechkin was more than 46,000 votes behind those two with Daniel Briere in between and Ilya Kovalchuk nipping at his heels.
This might not seem like a big deal to some, and it is not like Ovechkin won’t be in Atlanta as a reserve. But I don’t think I am making a bold or inaccurate statement by saying Alex is the second-most popular player in the NHL (and this voting stuff is really just a glorified popularity contest).
from Stan Fischler at the Daily Freeman,
WHY ISN’T big league hockey more accepted by the average fan than it is today?
Or, to put it another way, will it forever be known as a “niche sport” to sports editors and TV producers who decide which sports get the big play and which do not?
These questions have bedeviled National Hockey League honchos as the circuit expanded from six to 12 and on to the 30 teams now spread across the continent.
ONE WOULD think that any league with footprints in such diverse metropoli as Tampa Bay, Phoenix, Nashville, Boston, Vancouver, and Montreal - just to name a few - would develop admirable TV ratings.
from the Detroit Free Press,
“When Mac came back into town, probably about a month ago, he gave me a call and expressed interest that he wanted some help and wanted to get back to the NHL,” Draper said Sunday by phone. “The last three weeks before Christmas, he spent at CORE training every day.”
Draper was convinced after their hourlong lunch last month that McCarty was serious about returning to the NHL.
“I hadn’t talked to him, really talked to him, in like three years,” Draper said. “Last couple years have been frustrating and disappointing for him. I don’t know if it was coming back to the city ... maybe he got that passion again.”
from Mark Madden at the Beaver County Times,
The Penguins are about $12 million under the cap. With new-arena revenue starting to accrue in 2010, there’s no reason the team can’t spend more to get the right player.
Who is that player? Tough call. Atlanta winger Marian Hossa, 28, has averaged 39 goals over his past five seasons. He’s an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, but will likely be traded before that. The Penguins shouldn’t get a rent-a-player. If you swap for Hossa, hammer out a new contract with him before making the deal.
San Jose is reportedly shopping winger Jonathan Cheechoo, 27. Cheechoo averaged 40 goals over the last three campaigns, including a league-best 56 in 2005-06. He has just four goals this season, but that might lessen what the Penguins would have to surrender. Cheechoo is signed through 2010-11, and makes a reasonable $3 million per.
Here’s something that would be fun to do: Washington mega-scorer Alexander Ovechkin, 22, is a restricted free agent at the end of the season. Offer Ovechkin what Crosby makes, then wait for the Capitals to match the offer. They would, but it would make for a marvelous week of dreaming.
from CamWest via the National Post,
Gazing into their crystal balls, CanWest writers and columnists expect Los Angeles coach Marc Crawford to be the next coach on the chopping block, claimed Vancouver stopper Roberto Luongo is the league’s best goaltender, and gave Sean Avery of the New York Rangers the title of the league’s biggest mouth.
Voters were divided on several questions, however, including naming the league’s MVP to this point of the season, who will win the scoring race, and the biggest off-season free-agent bust.
Patrick Marleau of the Sharks and Mats Sundin of the Leafs were the deemed the most likely big-name players to be the first dealt when the calendar flips to 2008.
read on for many topics and categories…
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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