Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
We all know penalty-killer Maxime Talbot will not finish with more goals than last year’s most valuable NHL player Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh. And Niklas Hagman won’t score 50 goals in Dallas, even if the high-energy winger is on a tear in Texas, but to quote noted sage Todd Bertuzzi: “It is what it is.”
Talbot has three goals. Crosby has two. Hagman has five. Teammate Mike Modano has one.
It’s only three weeks into the NHL season and already things are often a little daffy—Columbus goalie Pascal Leclaire has two shutouts and Martin Brodeur has none. We’ll see who has more on March 18, but for now, here are some oddities noticed:
from Kevin Allen’s blog at USA TODAY,
When Brian Rolston’s family heard that the Minnesota Wild were offering players a mother-son NHL road trip this season they jokingly wondered whether coach Jacques Lemaire understood that his mother, Joyce, might view that as an invitation to do some work as an assistant coach.
“She has a lot of jam,” jokes Brian’s brother, Ron, who is a coach for the U.S. National Development team. “We were afraid that she was going to be telling Jacques and the players how to play.”
thanks to a KK member for the pointer…
from the Prague Post,
While Šafařík refused to elaborate on the budget for bringing the NHL to Prague, Tejkal revealed the event would be as expensive as hosting the Final Four men’s basketball tournament, which brought Europe’s best basketball clubs to Prague’s Sazka Arena in April 2006 and cost 50 million Kč ($2.6 million)....
Šafařík said that in the end money will be the key factor in deciding whether or not the NHL comes to Prague.
“We’re now awaiting the final word from the NHL about their financial conditions,” he said. “It’s obvious that the event must fit into a certain budget. Still, we’re quite optimistic that we’ll be able to bring the NHL to Prague.”
from Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet,
At 64, some wonder whether the game has passed him by and whether he’ll get another shot. I disagree that his age is a problem, and obviously so does he.
“No I don’t think that’s a key thing,” Quinn said. “It has nothing to do with my mind or my progressiveness in the game. I’ve often been ahead of the curve on a lot of things, and still feel the same way. I haven’t lost that desire to find ways to help clubs win hockey games and help players get better. As far as age, my health is terrific and I still have that edge. If you look at other sports, clearly in baseball and in football, it doesn’t seem to impede some of the guys that are running teams there. ...
“In fact the older, more experienced hand in certain situations might be the best way to go.”
from Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen,
It’s a decent barroom debate.
Which NHL conference is stronger, the east or west?
The east has the emerging superstars, namely Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin, not to mention a glut of offensive talent, but the west has a stranglehold on Norris Trophy candidates, with the likes of Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Pronger, Dion Phaneuf and the possibly retired Scott Niedermayer.
from the Toronto Star,
To any fans poised to uncork the boos at the Air Canada Centre tonight, besieged Maple Leafs defenceman Bryan McCabe offered some perspective.
“I’m one of the higher-paid guys on the team and they expect the world out of you. But I can’t turn water into wine every night,” he said yesterday.
“I’m not that type of player. I’m a hard-nosed player. I’ve been fortunate enough to get rewarded for some of my points over the years. I’m trying to earn it.”
from the Mercury News,
“Say you win,” Nabokov says of tonight’s game. “What are you going to prove, that you’re better than them? They beat you in the playoffs. It doesn’t really matter.”
None of which is to say the Sharks - despite the usual disclaimer that all games count for two points, no more no less - are treating this like just another contest in an 82-game season.
“They’re a good measuring stick, a very good team, easily the best team we’ve played so far,” Wilson said of the Red Wings. “We have to measure ourselves against these kinds of teams and I’m sure they’re saying the same thing.”
from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,
Now that the distraction of union infighting is largely gone, the spotlight will invariably shift to the state of the NHL in its third season back in business, and especially to the man who won that labour war at the behest of his employers, commissioner Gary Bettman.
It’s going to get uncomfortable.
Spin it any way you want (and the great helmsman will certainly do his best). It’s still nearly impossible to argue that big-league professional hockey today is better off than it was before the lockout.
Though Bettman continues to deny the obvious, the huge leap in the value of the Canadian dollar, and not the new economic system, is the single biggest factor in the rising salary cap.
from the LA Times,
The questions posed in El Segundo likely will be following Kings defenseman Rob Blake to Canada here for the start of a two-game trip, and will probably be even edgier and to the point.
Uh, Rob, what about that minus-nine, worst in the NHL?...
“He’s been more a victim of circumstance,” Crawford said at Wednesday’s practice in El Segundo. “There’s been a big difference of his level of performance than Nagy’s. If you’re gonna look at statistics, sometimes they can be misleading and in his case, that is a misleading stat.”
read on (reg. req.)
In recent years, the NHL has become plagued by groin and head injuries produced by the musculatures of year-round training—220-pound slabs of muscle crashing into each other at 20 miles per hour, groin muscles tearing when said slabs attempt to turn on a dime. Add another layer of speed and it’ll just get worse.
Also, in addition to skating, hockey involves—speaking very generally—puckhandling, teamwork, positional play, checking and, most importantly, passion. Increasing speed won’t make the players better at anything else.
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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