Kukla's Korner Hockey
This from Scott Morrison of the CBC:
Just because the one topic won’t go away, each week, inevitably, the faithful commentator will say to MacLean we have another breathless update on the state of the great schedule debate in the National Hockey League.
Without fail, MacLean will roll his eyes north and grimace. The faithful commentator shrugs and carries on, though inwardly he is rolling his eyes and grimacing, too.
The great debate, you see, is rather tiresome to everyone. Both the faithful commentator and MacLean agree: wake us when a decision has been reached.
Alas, the rolling and grimacing may be coming to a merciful end. Call it the break before the all-star break….
On the downside, it means Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto will not play against Calgary, Edmonton or Vancouver next season, which throws a bit of monkey wrench into scheduling Hockey Day In Canada next year.
But on the plus side, the faithful commentator and Mr. MacLean will be no longer be rolling eyes and grimacing.
from David Amber at ESPN,
In this week’s “Facing Off,” the gloves are off as the Dallas Stars spark plug tells us how he racked up nearly 500 minutes of penalties in one season, why he has little love for fellow Dallas agitator Terrell Owens and why Mother’s Day will always hold special meaning for him.
Question from David Amber: I read that your mom made some huge sacrifices to help make your NHL dream come true. What kinds of things did she do?
Answer from Matt Barnaby: I grew up in a single-parent family, and having a mother that worked full time, it was tough to get the money necessary to play in the hockey tournaments and get me all the equipment. So, she put her needs aside so I could play hockey. It was a big sacrifice.
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News at the Globe and Mail,
One of the bigger necessary changes, as Bill alluded to, needs to come from the coaches. There are people around the league who have complained about entertainment-stifling game strategies for years, but it’s never been more apparent the guys behind the bench simply aren’t buying into the new program, on or off the ice….
In one sense, it’s hard to blame coaches for employing systems most likely to keep them employed. But where is the coaching fraternity’s Brendan Shanahan? Where’s the man willing to stand up and be brave enough to admit he and his colleagues haven’t and aren’t giving fans what they pay to see? Where’s the coach who asks how the dreaded trap can be outlawed, once and forever?
from Evan Grossman of NHL.com,
But some people are worried about the new jerseys. People are worried that the game will somehow be altered by the duds the players are wearing and my response to them is, in the words of Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything, “You must chill!”
So chill, people. It could always be worse.
For example, there would be a reason to freak if, say, Bill Belichick designed the new hockey uniforms. Then we’d have an entire league of players skating around in hooded sweatshirts with the sleeves cut off.
from the Montreal Canadiens,
To say that Sheldon Souray is having a career year would be an understatement. Just past the midway point of the season and well on pace to set personal bests across the board, the charismatic defenseman with the rocket shot, All-Star Game invitation in his pocket, took a few moments to answer our questions.
Do you ever worry about hitting a teammate with your slap shot? I don’t worry so much about hitting them in the legs or the pants or something like that because I think it’s a part of the game and if I start worrying about that it would take away from what we’re trying to do. Obviously, you’ve got to be careful about getting the pucks up too high. It would be pretty awful if I got someone in the chest or the face or something like that. Thankfully, I haven’t, knock on wood.
Is there any opposing player’s shot that you fear? [Zdeno] Chara.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
The pull of returning home to the Czech Republic did not prove as strong as Martin Straka’s desire to continue his career on Broadway.
The Post has learned that the 34-year-old left winger whom Tom Renney two weeks ago cited as the epitome of what the Rangers want to be, has signed a one-year contract extension through 2007-08 worth $3.3 million. Straka is earning - and that is the operative word - $3.1 million this season.
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
While no one in the Flames’ dressing room needs to be told of the role Langkow has played in the Flames resurgence, apparently the rest of the hockey world could use a crash course on his brilliance.
Considered a mere beneficiary of Jarome Iginla’s fine work, Langkow has quietly posted numbers worthy of all-star consideration while maintaining a defensive diligence few NHLers can match.
from Jeff Miller of the OC Register,
The Ducks turned 1,000 regular-season games old Tuesday looking like a group of players 1,000 regular-season years old.
They were aged like beef and tenderized, grilled and sliced up the same way. They might as well have been corpses, and you can’t get any older than that.
A stride late and a shift short, the Ducks lost to less-than-average St. Louis, 6-2, in a game that traveled as one-way as the 405 South does. This one was so bad the NHL could ask the Ducks to play their first 999 games over again just to prove they belong.
A one-grand night produced one ghastly game.
from David Climer of the Tennessean,
Instead of complaining about getting just one player in the NHL All-Star Game, maybe the Predators should be celebrating.
This virtual oversight (Kimmo Timonen is in, but where are the other Preds?) adds fuel to the motivational fire that feeds this team. There is a perception that the rest of the NHL looks down its nose at Nashville.
Beware a Predator scorned.
Never mind that Nashville has the most league wins so far this season. Elsewhere, the Preds are seen as a collection of good players who figured out a way to win close games.
It comes with the turf. When you’re in a non-traditional market and yet to get past the first round of the playoffs, respect is slow to arrive
from the Edmonton Journal,
Wild coach Jacques Lemaire, who only played Gaborik an average of 18:26 a game last season, which irked the native of Slovakia, is now playing him an average of 20:48 a game.
Lemaire didn’t trust Gaborik, who gets power-play time, to kill penalties last season. He does now.
But how good Gaborik becomes is all up to him, according to Lemaire, maybe one of the best two-way centres in NHL history—a guy who had to cover up the defensive sins of Guy Lafleur and fellow linemate Steve Shutt.
Lemaire loves Gaborik’s home-run ability. But, again, can he stay in one piece and will he ever be as good as, say, fellow Slovakian winger Marian Hossa?
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org