Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Montreal Gazette,
Cristobal Huet said it’s not his place to say when - or if - he will return to the Canadiens lineup, but the smart money says he will be in goal Saturday night when the Buffalo Sabres visit the Bell Centre.
Rookie Jaroslav Halak has carried the load for the Canadiens as they have moved into a playoff position in the Eastern Conference with five consecutive victories. But there are good reasons why Huet should get a start Saturday night even if Halak stands on his head and blanks the Ottawa Senators tomorrow night.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
“I don’t think it’s right,” the Maple Leafs captain said. “I just don’t like that part of the system.”
Sundin isn’t talking about the Leafs’ forever-in-doubt playoff status. He isn’t talking about a league that awards more points for some games than others.
He is talking about the break of being in the Southeast Division, where a first-place team—as of yesterday afternoon it was the Atlanta Thrashers—get a choice spot in the playoff standings while more accomplished teams with more points, such as the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins, get pushed back.
“You should be seeded by how many points you get, not being in a (soft) division,” Sundin said.
via the Toronto Star,
Ottawa Senators coach Bryan Murray criticized minor hockey officials in western Quebec and defended the rights of his 8-year-old grand-nephew to play the game yesterday.
Jared Murray, the son of New York Rangers assistant director of player personnel Tim Murray, is at the centre of a controversy after the novice B player was ruled ineligible to compete in a regional tournament.
The 4-foot-9, 110-pound Grade 3 student was deemed to be ``bigger and stronger,” by Hockey Outaouais officials.
“I don’t think anybody should be discriminated against because of size,” Murray said. “It’s parents, it’s administrators of programs I suppose ... that have made this decision and I don’t understand it.”
from Dave Caldwell of the New York Times,
Matvichuk has been able to practice with the team since November, but he has not been cleared to play. Although he is able to do everything that his teammates do in practice, his recovery has been slow. He said that full recovery from back surgery is difficult to predict.
“We’ll get him in before the end of the year, and he’ll play in a couple of games,” Devils General Manager Lou Lamoriello said Tuesday.
Matvichuk remains on the long-term-injury list. Lamoriello said the Devils wanted to make sure he was strong enough to play before he actually returned to the lineup. They fear that if he is reinjured, he could miss the playoffs.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Because in Avery’s 24 games on Broadway since his Feb. 5 acquisition from Los Angeles in one of Glen Sather’s best deals (though no more constructive than exchanging Aaron Ward for Paul Mara), Avery has not only established himself as one of the Rangers’ go-to players on the ice and in the room, he has established himself as a forward who makes his linemates better.
That’s why Tom Renney faces a no-win situation as he ponders line changes and a lineup change for Saturday’s game in Philadelphia. For as the head coach considers who gets to play with Avery, he also has to decide who doesn’t. And, yes, it’s stipulated that Avery is not quite Adam Graves, either.
from Bob McKenzie at TSN,
The Los Angeles Kings’ GM ruffled feathers with last week’s signing of free-agent defenceman Joe Piskula from the University of Wisconsin.
As part of Piskula’s contract, there are games played bonuses of $25,000 for playing one game, three games and five games. In other words, he gets $75,000 guaranteed for playing just five NHL games with the Kings, which will likely happen by the weekend.
The NHL believes this bonus structure violates the CBA clause on guaranteed monies for entry-level players and, therefore, rejected the contract when the Kings submitted it. But the NHL Players’ Association filed a grievance over that rejection and so Piskula’s contract will stand until such time that an arbitrator rules on it.
from Spector at his Fox Sports blog,
Once upon a time, the Chicago Blackhawks were considered among the elite teams in the NHL and a perennial favorite to contend for the Stanley Cup. But over the past decade they’ve only made the playoffs once.
The Blackhawks have been on a rebuilding path for some time but have little to show for their efforts, frustrating their long-suffering fans.
I am old enough to remember some great Chicago teams, I do hope one day soon this team puts it all together and makes a serious playoff run. The fans deserve it and then some.
David Amber at ESPN has a Q & A with Dan Boyle…
Q: It sounds like you have a chip on your shoulder.
A: I do. Until I retire, it’s going to be the fuel that energizes me. People have overlooked me my whole career and still do today.
Q: Does it bother you when you see these 6-foot-4, 235-pound players, who don’t have the same skill level as you, potentially taking away the chance for another Dan Boyle-type player to get a look?
A: Yeah, that bothers me. If I am helping any smaller defensemen get a look, if I am helping out in any way, that makes me more proud than anything. Eight years ago, you couldn’t name five guys with my size in the league. Now, there are more and more smaller defensemen getting a chance. It’s great.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Peter Forsberg has been in Nashville since Feb. 15, and yet it seems as if he will add a fresh dynamic to the rivalry Thursday night when the Predators and Detroit Red Wings play for first place in the Western Conference….
The Predators acquired Forsberg specifically because of his reputation for bringing grit and high performances to big games, particularly in the playoffs. Thursday’s game has some qualities of a playoff game, only because Detroit is winning the season series and the Red Wings have long been a measuring stick for the Predators.
“Detroit is always hard to beat, no matter who you are,” Forsberg said. “I don’t think there is any mental hurdle. We know we are a good team. We know we can compete with them.”
via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Penguins forward Gary Roberts did not practice today and is unlikely to play Thursday night against the Boston Bruins.
Roberts, 40, was injured Wednesday night during the Penguins’ 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals when he was struck by a shot from teammate Sidney Crosby during the second period. The knee remained swollen today.
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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