Kukla's Korner Hockey
In a trend both heartening and frustrating for the organization and its fans, the disparity in attendance between weekdays and weekends and holidays has become more glaring than ever.
Take this week. Tuesday, only 11,193 people bought tickets despite a promotion that discounted prices for women - and far fewer than that actually showed up during a winter storm.
This holiday weekend, though, games against Atlanta and San Jose are all but certain to be the eighth and ninth sellouts of the season, already three more than all of 2006-07.
from the South Bend Tribune,
The Canadians are coming.
Thanks to a ruling at the NCAA convention last month, college hockey may see its next big expansion movement come north of the border.
NCAA officials voted overwhelmingly to allow Canadian schools to apply for NCAA membership in all sports. Canadian schools could begin play in the NCAA as early as next season, with Division II as the predetermined landing spot.
But since hockey doesn’t have a Division II, Canadian universities could jump right into Division I in that sport.
from the NHLPA,
Ten players from the National Hockey League will be making every minute count when they step on the ice this weekend. By donating to Right To Play based on minutes played in one of their team’s games, NHL scoring leader Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, San Jose Sharks star Joe Thornton and others will be bringing the power of sport and play to children overseas who need our help the most.
“I feel very fortunate to be able to play hockey for a living and I love every minute of it,” said Ovechkin, a leading candidate for NHL most valuable player honors. “This is a way for us to give something back to children in parts of the world who have not had the same opportunities to grow and develop through sport as we have. Right To Play is bringing hope and happiness into children’s lives and it’s an organization I’m proud to support.”
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
If Mats Sundin is to be taken at his word, that he truly bleeds blue and white, then in the best interests of the Maple Leafs he must act accordingly.
He must waive the no-trade clause in his contract and allow Cliff Fletcher to trade him at the Feb. 26 deadline.
That way, he can impact the next decade of the Leafs, just as he impacted the past decade. That way, he can enable the Leafs to build for next season and beyond, and if he chooses to return as a free agent in July, then he returns to a team that has a Steven Stamkos or a Drew Doughty, a team with fresher, younger legs, a team he can resume his captaincy and leadership of, while surrounded with a better cast and crew.
frm William Houston of the Globe and Mail,
Both the CBC and Rogers Sportsnet are bidding for the services of Hughson, the play-by-play veteran who will be a free agent in the summer.
Hughson, based in Vancouver, has for several years been employed by both the CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada and Sportsnet, but that will change in his next deal.
“I’ve pretty much determined it will be Sportsnet or Hockey Night in Canada,” Hughson said this week. “But I can honestly tell you I don’t know which way it’s going.”
from the NY Post,
Opposing scouts, who may be shopping for trade-deadline bargains, claim Gionta’s struggle this season is the result of the loss of the tip-bait Brian Rafalski used to send his way. It doesn’t explain last season, and Gionta doesn’t clutch that crutch.
Gionta offers no remedy, just the desire to help the Devils any way he can, even if goals are scarce.
“Even when I was scoring, it was doing things I could do to help the team win,” Gionta said. “When the team’s not winning you feel more pressure.”
He said he doesn’t feel he’s been helping enough.
from the New York Times,
The Rangers hope giving him long-term security helps spur another hot stretch.
Lundqvist’s original contract expired after last season and he signed a one-year contract worth $4.25 million last summer so the Rangers could fit his long-term deal into their salary cap. The two sides could begin negotiating again after Jan. 1.
By then, Lundqvist had his father’s health weighing on his mind as well.
“Henrik is, in our minds, if not the best goaltender in the league, then one of the top two or three,” Coach Tom Renney said. “My feeling is, he’s been able to keep his eye on the ball anyway, with all the issues going on all around him.”
From TSN (and CP),
If the Carolina Hurricanes hope to make the playoffs, they will have to do so without their captain.
General Manager Jim Rutherford announced that the team will be without Rod Brind’Amour for four to six months after he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee during the first period of Thursday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Following the game the Hurricanes announced that Brind’Amour would undergo reconstructive knee surgery.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
The offense is just now starting to show signs of life, thanks mostly to Chris Drury’s recent spurt of productivity (he is still minus-11 and has just 18 goals after a career-best 37 a season ago).
The main issues confronting Sather are what to do about Jaromir Jagr and how to improve his average defense. One issue seems to naturally lead to another. Jagr is done in New York—that much seems clear. Once again, this isn’t about a mercurial star quitting, but a talented star (and captain) who has hit the wall. It is not a stretch to suggest Jagr’s departure would free up the rest of the forward contingent to be more productive; addition by subtraction, if you will.
from Thrashers Blog,
...Hossa said the chances of him signing an extension before the trade deadline are “very slim.” I imagine that’s the closest he’ll come to saying, there’s no way he signs before the deadline.
He still hasn’t ruled out signing with the Thrashers down the road, but he understands the ramifications of not doing it before the deadline. It puts the ball in Don Waddell’s court, because Waddell has been maintaining he’d like to sign Hossa to an extension before the deadline. It doesn’t look like that is going to happen.
added 6:45pm, from Blueland Blog,
If the Thrashers don’t trade Marian Hossa between now and Feb. 26 he’s still under contract for the remainder of this season and the team retains exclusive negotiating rights with Hossa up until July 1. A lot could happen between now and then. For example, Don Waddell could work his magic and pick up some key pieces at the deadline like he did last year.
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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