Kukla's Korner Hockey
Spector has all the trade and signing talk today…
Yvon Pednault reported during last night’s Montreal-Florida game that the Canadiens and Calgary Flames might be talking about a swap of Alex Kovalev for Alex Tanguay. Scouts from the Calgary Flames were apparently in attendance, possibly to scout Kovalev, who used to play for Flames head coach Mike Keenan in New York…
from the Washington Capitals,
Watching Nylander darting about in the attack zone, curling off in sharp tight circles to elude defenders and protect the puck, you wonder how hard it would be to play on a line with him. Backstrom is picking up the art of playing with the slick Swedish center.
“I try to be close with him on the ice, so he can pass to me and I can pass back,” says Backstrom. “After a couple [practices] and games, I think I can read what he is going to do. We can know each other, that’s not a big problem. I think that is going to be good.”
As a rookie playing a strange position (left wing) in a strange country and on a smaller ice surface than he is used to, Backstrom is growing accustomed to his new environment both on and off the ice.
Eddie Belfour has arrived in Sweden.
You can watch the video (will open wmp video) of the press conference.
thanks to a KK reader for the pointer…
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
Speaking Tuesday from Boston, where he is in the process of trying to inform his clients of his impending move to take this job if hired, Kelly indicated that if people are thinking the NHLPA is in the process of “hiring a junkyard dog who wants to open everything up with the NHL just for the sake of creating confrontation, they are sadly mistaken.”
At the same time, the days of the patsy Saskin are over.
...“I was flattered when the [headhunting] firm first called me to see if I’d be interested and the more and more I’ve learned, the more and more I want to do this. I would say my interest in this has mushroomed over the past couple of weeks.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Maurice has a serious hockey problem on his hands: The Leafs, through seven games, are getting fine goaltending, killing penalties well—two things they didn’t have a year ago—but are giving up goals against in mind-boggling numbers.
Numbers that indicate this roster may be ill-suited to compete at the NHL level.
Numbers that indicate this coaching staff may not be able to fix what is wrong.
from the Ottawa Sun,
Going into last night’s games, Spezza led the NHL in assists with 11 and sat second in scoring, behind Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg, who’s had five goals as part of his 13 points.
Spezza was the only player in the league’s top 44 scorers that has yet to light the lamp.
Also baffling to Spezza is the fact he’s 11th in shots, with 24. Last season, he had the league’s second-best shooting percentage behind Pittsburgh’s Jordan Staal, scoring 34 times on just 162 offerings for a 21% connection rate.
from the NY Times,
He is a veteran superstar who commanded a five-year, $35.25 million contract in the off-season, a former captain and Stanley Cup winner who is widely considered the best clutch player in the N.H.L. None of those prevented Chris Drury from feeling like the new kid at school when he started playing for the Rangers.
“I think a lot of times, you’re just trying not to step on anybody’s toes,” Drury said. “You don’t want to sit on anybody’s seat on the bus or anyone’s seat on the plane or get in someone’s way on the ice.”
But the acquisition of Drury and Scott Gomez, a free-agent center who arrived the same day as Drury, has not provided immediate success. The Rangers (2-3) have sputtered. Every time they want to hit the gas pedal, they grind a few gears.
From Rick Westhead at the Toronto Star,
The NHL Players’ Association has offered prospective chief Paul Kelly a five-year, $10 million contract, according to secret ballots that were sent out by the union late yesterday.
The ballots were sent by the union to the NHL’s 30 team player representatives, who will consult with teammates over the next week or so. The ballots included a term sheet that outlined Kelly’s compensation package.
The last time the NHLPA held a secret ballot vote it was over former executive director Ted Saskin’s future. Those ballots were returned to the union.
This time around, the ballots will be returned to a Toronto law firm. Kelly needs the endorsement of 16 of the 30 player reps to be hired.
From Jeff Hicks at The Record,
For local junior B hockey teams, it may as well be the end of the world. It’s the Super Midget League.
And it could arrive as early as next season to suck the finest 16-year-old players off the roster of such storied local franchises as the Elmira Sugar Kings, Waterloo Siskins, Cambridge Winter Hawks, Kitchener Dutchmen and Stratford Cullitons.
“The super midget league will be the final nail in the Jr. B coffin,” said long-time observer Bob Turow, who runs central scouting for the junior United States Hockey League and serves as the eyes and ears of U.S. college hockey recruiters north of the border. Plans are in the works.
The Super League, as orchestrated by the Ontario Hockey League and the Ontario Hockey Federation, seems sure to become reality in Ontario. Maybe even by fall of 2008.
continued… (*story implies a notable trickle-down effect on NHL and college scouting)
From John Shipley at the Pioneer Press,
Yes, this is the same Manny Fernandez who ranks dead last among NHL goalies in goals-against average (5.00) and save percentage (.796), and once again is splitting time with another goaltender.
Fernandez is 1-1 in two starts. In three starts, partner/backup Tim Thomas ranks second in the NHL with a 1.34 GAA and .957 save percentage, right behind the Wild’s Nik Backstrom (1.00, .959) - the guy who pushed Fernandez out of Minnesota after seven seasons.
So, for Fernandez, it has been a case of here we go again.
“We’re splitting time for now,” he said. “You know, it’s the same questions and the same answers as it’s always been. We don’t make the rules, and we don’t make the decisions.”
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