Kukla's Korner Hockey
Spector gets on his soapbox and leaves you with this…
The unintended consequence of the lockout, however, is that it killed what little interest there was in the National Hockey League in the minds of American sports fans.
from the Chicago Sun-Times,
Nikolai Khabibulin and Tuomo Ruutu, two of the players counted on to lead the Hawks out of the doldrums last season after the NHL lockout, finally appear to be up to the task. Their individual improvements make the Hawks’ climb into playoff contention during the last three weeks pale in comparison.
Ruutu (sprained knee) was on the shelf for 10 games this season and Khabibulin (broken finger) for eight, but both are going full-throttle heading into the Hawks’ home game tonight against the Central Division-leading Nashville Predators. The Hawks have earned 14 of a possible 18 points in the last nine games that Khabibulin has played. Ruutu has goals in the last three games and in four in the last five.
from the OC Register,
“I don’t want Lady Byng,” Selanne said after Monday night’s game, smiling. Seriously?
“Burkie (General Manager Brian Burke) would probably trade me if I won Lady Byng,” he said, laughing loudly.
I assumed Selanne was joking, too - until calling Burke and repeated my conversation with the Ducks star.
“Teemu’s not very far from the truth,” Burke said bluntly. He wasn’t laughing.
Burke went on to say the Lady Byng is the only NHL postseason award he “won’t give a bonus for” when negotiating incentive clauses in contracts.
“It’s something I don’t particularly want to see on my team,” he said of the Lady Byng.
from Philly Burbs,
The Flyers made club history Tuesday night with their record-setting seventh straight loss, but didn’t play like a team trying to avoid an ignominious place in franchise lore….
“In my opinion, there were young players, veteran players in the second period who didn’t play hard enough,” he said. “We need to dig in for 60 minutes, not just first effort, but second and third. Working is one thing, competing is another. Working is working with a will, and that’s what we need from our team.”
from the Toronto Star,
Whoever winds up owning the Pittsburgh Penguins may inherit an unpleasant chore: defending a multi-million-dollar lawsuit from a disgruntled Canadian billionaire.
Investment bankers who specialize in the sports industry say it’s likely that Jim Balsillie, chief executive of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, will sue the Penguins to recoup the reported $10 million (all figures U.S.) deposit he gave the team to look at the team’s finances as he considered making an offer to buy the 39-year-old franchise.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Balsillie walked away and left the team without an owner as the hours slipped away before the state’s all-important decision on the gaming license.
Sources tell ESPN.com that had those same restrictions been in place for other owners who have purchased teams in recent years, those owners would have walked away from the league in a heartbeat….
But the team source said Lemieux might be equally chagrined at the league for pushing away a man whose personal wealth would have allowed him to purchase the team without financing.
“I can’t imagine the current ownership group in Pittsburgh is very happy with Gary,” the source told ESPN.com.
Unless Bettman is already in the process of negotiating a backroom deal with the state and/or city to ensure a palatable Plan B is already in place if Isle of Capri is dealt a losing hand.
By George Malik:
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock raised an interesting point on Monday:
Babcock said, “Who sells hockey? To me, I don’t know. I don’t know for sure.”
After mentioning baseball, Babcock jumped to football and said the NFL markets its product well. He said he thought NFL games were much better to watch on television than in person.
“Our game’s just exactly the opposite,” Babcock said. “We gotta do a better job of the guy at home knowing how good the game actually is. How fast-paced, how physical, how great the athletes are, how hard they work.
“To me, we got a way better game than we sell. Somehow, we gotta figure that out and sell it.”
That’s an understatement.
via the Pittsburgh Penguins,
The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired defenseman Wade Brookbank from the Boston Bruins for future considerations, it was announced Tuesday by general manager Ray Shero.
Brookbank has been assigned to the Penguins’ American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
from Pierre Lebrun of the CP via 680 News,
Scoring is down from last season, which has the NHL’s rules guru contemplating a change he never thought he’d consider.
“I know this is going to rock some traditionalists, and I can say this because I’m one of those, but I really think we’ve got to look long and hard at bigger nets,” Colin Campbell, the NHL’s director of hockey operations, said in an interview with The Canadian Press.
from Ken Campbell at the Hockey News,
Just weeks after Alex Ovechkin fired Don Meehan and announced that his parents would be handling his affairs, San Jose Sharks superstar Joe Thornton has left well-known agent J.P. Barry. Thornton’s brother, John, who had previously worked with Barry, is in the process of being certified by the NHL Players’ Association and will represent Thornton.
The firings bring into question whether or not top-end players, most of whom are automatically paid 20 per cent of the team’s salary cap, are finding that they don’t need their agents.
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.
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