Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
It isn’t only Scott Gomez, who appears to have fallen immediate victim to the well known Stephane Quintal Disease, named for the defenseman who lost his game on Broadway by trying to do way too much in order to justify his (comparatively) massive free-agent contract. It isn’t just Jaromir Jagr, who has looked in need of a GPS navigation system on the ice. It isn’t just Brendan Shanahan, whose start to the season has stalled shifting gears.
From Jim Gintonio at the Arizona Republic,
Boogaard, the Minnesota Wild’s 6-foot-7, 258-pound enforcer, can rule through intimidation. It’s one reason that penalty minutes for players of his type usually decrease in the NHL from the staggering figures they compiled in the minors while trying to make names for themselves.
“The role is important,” said Shawn Thornton of the Boston Bruins. “I think it keeps people a little more honest. It’s just our job, and we know that, and it has to be done. It’s not that we have any disdain for each other.”
It can be a cat-and-mouse - make that a lion-and-rhino - game when two enforcers are on the ice.
From Desmond Bieler at the Washington Post,
We could go on about how nobody noticed the season starting for what’s supposed to be a major sports league, and how hockey gets lower TV ratings than mah-jongg tournaments, but that wouldn’t be kind. We wanted to go in a different direction and find out what people actually like about the NHL, eh?
1. Let’s start with the fact that the NHL easily has the coolest championship trophy going. The Stanley Cup looks the part, while the NFL has a football on a stick and the NBA has a basketball perched on the lid of a Big Gulp. The Cup actually has held its share of beverages and, thanks to the NHL’s excellent policy of letting each winning player spend quality time with it, has also found itself onstage at a gentlemen’s club and at the bottom of Mario Lemieux’s swimming pool. Of course, before the Cup makes its annual appearance, you have to wait out a regular season that goes on for longer than the presidential campaign, but it all makes sense once the stakes are raised. The checks just seem harder, the passes crisper and, impossibly enough, Barry Melrose’s hair more lacquered.
continued… (*link may require free registration)
From Tarik El-Bashir at the Washington Post,
In his first two seasons, Alex Ovechkin had more ice time on average than any Washington Capitals forward. Yet there was always one situation in which he’d be glued to the bench: as his team protected a lead in the final seconds.
That, however, has started to change this season. With a renewed commitment to defense, Ovechkin has gained Coach Glen Hanlon’s trust, and as a result, was on the ice in the last minute during each of the Capitals’ first two games, both victories.
“Coach trust me more right now,” Ovechkin said after yesterday’s practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “The reason is because I play well in defensive zone, I try to play more smart and I go to spot where I have to stay. It’s working.”
continued… (*link may require free registration)
From Keith Barnes at the Tribune-Review,
When Darryl Sydor takes the ice Wednesday in the Penguins’ game against Montreal, it will be a milestone night for the 35-year-old defenseman.
He officially will pass Mike Ricci on the all-time games played list and will join an elite group of players who have appeared in 1,100 career games.
Including the Penguins, Sydor has played for five teams in his NHL career. He won the Stanley Cup in 1999 with Dallas and 2004 with Tampa Bay and has played in two All-Star games. But through his first two games with the Penguins, the seventh overall pick in the 1990 draft by the Los Angeles Kings has had some problems adapting to the defensive system run by coach Michel Therrien.
New York Rangers left wing Sean Avery suffered a Grade 2 shoulder separation in Saturday night’s game and is expected to be sidelined for four weeks, team president Glen Sather announced on Sunday.
During Saturday’s game, Avery was hit by Ottawa’s Chris Neil in the offensive zone with 7:23 gone in the opening session. Neil received an elbowing minor on the play.
From Michael Russo at the Star Tribune,
Attention, fantasy hockey owners: Jacques Lemaire has a red-hot tip for you.
Pick up Eric Belanger, and fast.
“When we got him, I felt that he’s going to get 20 goals,” the Wild coach said. “Now, I feel he’s going to get 80 points. Playing on the power play like he does, playing on a pretty good line, he’ll get some points.
from the Star-Tribune,
In an e-mail to and subsequent phone interview with the Star Tribune on Sunday, former Gophers winger Tyler Hirsch accused the Wild of “misrepresenting the truth” and being “unethical” after the team announced last week that he signed a contract with the Houston Aeros, its American Hockey League affiliate….
According to Hirsch on Sunday, “I have neither verbally committed to or signed anything resembling a contract with the Minnesota Wild or their minor-league affiliates. I have never laid eyes on a would-be contract and am currently a free agent.”
From Jamie Fitzpatrick at About.com,
Does Patrick Kane belong in the NHL? He’ll be 19 in November, and is listed at a miniscule 5’-10” and 163 pounds. He has played one season of junior hockey. How well might he hold up over 82 big-league games with a less than stellar team?
These days, top-drawer prospects arrive more NHL-ready than ever before. In the last two years, Crosby, Malkin, Kessel, Kopitar, Vlasic and Jordan Staal have all stepped into the league and flourished as teenagers. On the other hand, Gilbert Brule was a bust in his rookie season, and Nikolai Zherdev has achieved little since arriving from Russia as a 19-year-old in 2003.
From Carter Gaddis at The Tampa Tribune,
Foremost in Vinny Prospal’s mind coming into his 11th NHL season was to get off to a good start. After a drop in production to 55 points last year from 80 in 2005-06, it was imperative that he not allow the downward spiral to begin again.
“I just didn’t want to go through what I went through last year,” Prospal said after scoring two goals in Tampa Bay’s 5-2 victory Saturday against Atlanta. “Everybody struggles, but it’s always easier when you get to that point in the season when you have something to look back to. And last year, from the beginning, I really didn’t have anything to look back to.”
Prospal — who has entered the final year of his contract with the Lightning — didn’t score his third goal last season until the team’s 18th game on Nov. 15. Through two games, he has three goals.
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 email@example.com