Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Kevin Dupont of NBC Sports,
Lidstrom front-runner for Norris; Hasek, Biron for Vezina; Crosby for Calder- Right now, by my eye, Jaromir Jagr is the MVP, hands down. I really don't see much room for debate on this one. Without Jags, the Rangers aren't even in the playoff hunt, never mind among the Eastern Conference leaders.more
The National Hockey League posted the best December attendance in its 88-year history, attracting 3,382,628 fans to 200 total games and setting an attendance record for the third consecutive month. The December average of 16,913 per game was 91.7% of capacity and two percent above the previous December high of 16,578, set in 2001. Twenty-four of the 30 NHL clubs are even with or ahead of their 2003-04 performance. The top gainers are the Pittsburgh Penguins (+36%), Tampa Bay Lightning (+24%), Calgary Flames (+21%), Boston Bruins (+21%), Carolina Hurricanes (+19%), Nashville Predators (+14%), Ottawa Senators (+13%), San Jose Sharks (+10%) and Florida Panthers (+9%).
New York Rangers forward Jaromir Jagr is the NHL Offensive Player of the Month for December. Los Angeles Kings goaltender Mathieu Garon, who led all goaltenders in victories with a 9-3-0 record, 2.40 goals-against average and .924 save percentage, has been named the NHL Defensive Player of the Month for December.update 3:33pm, from NHL.com,
Forward Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, who led all NHL rookies in scoring with 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in 12 games, has been named NHL Rookie of the Month for December.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
With the start of the Olympic tournament just six weeks off and the U.S. goaltending picture getting uglier by the day, Buffalo Sabres rookie netminder Ryan Miller continues to be a painful reminder of an opportunity lost. Team USA general manager Don Waddell and the rest of the management team thought the broken thumb that cost Miller six weeks of his first NHL season and his relative inexperience were enough to push him down the U.S. depth chart and off the 23-man roster announced on Dec. 19. And who could blame them, really? But since the team was named, things have gotten progressively worse.read on
Jaroslav Spacek suspended for two games and fined for the dive he took at Calgary's Byron Ritchie. See the artilce earlier in the day... update 2:05pm, via TSN,
Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Jaroslav Spacek has been suspended for two games, without pay, as a result of a clipping incident in Monday night's game against the Calgary Flames. Spacek was assessed a minor penalty for clipping against Flames player Byron Ritchie early in the third period of Chicago's 3-2 loss. The suspension will cost Spacek $22,959.18 in salary. Spacek will be able to rejoin the Blackhawks January 8th against Nashville.no mention of any fine though, maybe it is just the loss of salary...
from the CP via CJAD,
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman shot up 34 spots to sixth on the Sporting News' annual Power 100 ranking of the most influential people in sports. Bettman finished 40th on last year's list but made the dramatic jump after overseeing the lockout, negotiating a salary cap in the new collective bargaining agreement with players and implementing a series of rule changes that have helped improve the NHL game. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was 17th on the list while executive vice-president and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell was 32nd.more...inlcuding Shanahan ranked 32nd.
Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Glen Wesley is expected to miss the next 4-6 weeks with a sprained knee. Wesley suffered a second-degree sprain in his MCL during a 5-3 win versus Montreal on December 31st. He had 1 goal and 6 assists and was a +10 before his injury.
from Larry Wigge of NHL.com,
"He's the future of our league along with guys like Jarome Iginla and Brad Richards and Vinny Lecavalier," said New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur. "He puts himself in good positions to make these moves. A lot of guys can make these moves, but he does it at a high speed. He's the future of our league. "There are a lot of young players in the league who want to be goal-scorers, but some don't want to pay the price. He'll do it. ... and what is so great about Rick Nash is he does is with a flair, with creativity for such a big man."read on
...and a announced crowd of 10,912 shows up? Can it get any worse right now for the Islanders; the fire Stirling chant was heard loud and clear last night and Yashin is invisible. When your higest paid player get only 13 1/2 minutes of ice time, something is very wrong. Yashin is confused and states, "I wish I could help the team and I'm disappointed. I wish something would go right for me, personally, and for my line to give some success. I don't know how many scoring chances we had today. I just wish something would go in." Stirling rises to the top of my list for the next coach fired.
A pair of hits Monday afternoon sent another pair of Calgary Flames to an increasingly crowded sick bay. And one hit in particular left GM/head coach Darryl Sutter fuming. Sutter pulled no punches when discussing Jaroslav Spacek's third-period submarine hit on Byron Ritchie in yesterday's 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. "That's a cheapshot," Sutter told the Calgary Sun. "That's the same as running someone from behind. It's a lack of respect, that's what that is."
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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