Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Arizona Republic,
There have been no strong indications on which way the Coyotes, who also have the 21st pick in the first round, are leaning, but a scenario that unfolded at the Calgary Saddledome after Canada won the World Junior Championship might provide some insight.
Defenseman Karl Alzner, 18, of the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen, still was unwinding from that title run when he got a tap on the shoulder from the team trainer.
“He comes up to me and says, ‘Did you talk to Wayne?’ and I’m like, ‘Who?’ And he says, ‘Wayne Gretzky,’ and I said, ‘No, what are you talking about?’ ” Alzner recalled. “The trainer said he was asking for me, and my face went red. I said, ‘Are you serious?’
“He said he was in the hall, so I walk out and I’m thinking, ‘Please don’t let this be a joke, please let this don’t be a joke.’ And all of a sudden, a guy says Wayne wanted to talk to me, congratulate me. Wayne comes over and says, ‘Hi, I’m Wayne Gretzky.’ So I say, ‘Yeah, I’m Karl.’
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
But today’s NHL is not as simple as the follow-the-leader days of yore.
In today’s NHL, success is often dictated by what the rules are, how long they will be enforced, what the competition committee decides every offseason and what Senior Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell determines he likes or wants to see in the game.
Never was that more evident than when midway through the regular season the kind of hockey that made fast skating, good puck handling teams gave way to the bigger, badder teams that played a more physical game; and adopted a more punishing approach to attacking the net.
It’s a part of the reason the two best teams in the regular season—Buffalo and Detroit—didn’t make it to the finals. It’s a part of the reason the Ducks beat the Ottawa Senators with ease.
from the Ottawa Citizen,
On the flip side, Emery’s success and Gerber’s struggles put the Senators into a major pickle in how to deal with both goaltenders this summer.
Is it reasonable to expect Emery to come back as the established number one netminder, perhaps playing for considerably less money than the guy who is sitting on the bench? Gerber has two years and $7.4 million remaining on his contract.
Stay tuned. General manager John Muckler will certainly try to trade Gerber to a team in need of goaltending, a team which believes Gerber’s slow start was simply a blip on his resume. That said, it’s an awfully expensive gamble for another club to take.
more on the Sens including Emery played with an injured wrist…
from Inside the Kings by Rich Hammond (Kings beatwrtier),
I know there’s a lot of support for bringing over Giguere, but I’ll be stunned if it happens. The fact that the Kings signed Ersberg out of Sweden tells me that they’re going with LaBarbera, Cloutier and Ersberg (if needed)....
Now, if we’re talking about Manny Fernandez, who has two years left, then I might be able to see that.
more on these topics…
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
Gary Bettman has his autograph on all the NHL pucks.
Jeffrey Pollack has his signature on all the playing cards.
Bettman is the commissioner of the National Hockey League. Pollack is the commissioner of the World Series of Poker.
The question is, which brother is heading up the most successful outfit?
You read that right.
Gary Bettman and Jeffrey Pollack are brothers.
form the AP via Sports Illustrated,
Game 1 of the NBA finals drew the lowest rating ever for an opening-game in prime time, dropping 19 percent from last year.
The San Antonio Spurs’ 85-76 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night earned a 6.3 rating and 11 share on ABC. The previous low was a 6.4/11 in 2003.
Last year’s Game 1 between Miami and Dallas earned a 7.8 rating and 14 share.
thanks to a KK reader for the pointer…
from the LA Times,
“I’ve played for it three times and, you know, I wasn’t able to touch it,” said Rob, a forward who in his 13-year career had chased the Cup with the Florida Panthers and the Ducks in 2003.
That, of course, changed.
And now one thing is undeniable: Rob, who played brilliantly in the Ducks now-vaunted checking line, is no longer in Scott’s shadow.
As big brother handed the Cup to him that night, Rob was awash in emotion.
“I couldn’t have written anything up better than this,” he said.
more (reg. req.)
from Tom Gulitti of the Record,
Lamoriello has said several times over the last two years that MacLean, 42, will make an excellent head coach “someday”. If that day is not now, then when?
What else does MacLean have to prove? Is there an NHL assistant coach or a minor league head coach more qualified to do the job?
The only other understandable choice would be rehiring Pat Burns. It is unknown, however, whether Burns, after two battles with cancer, is healthy enough to handle the demanding grind of coaching again.
After hiring MacLean, there’s one other important move Lamoriello must make: Get out of the way. It must be clear that he won’t be pulling the strings from behind the scenes—something he didn’t do with Julien.
from the Toronto Sun,
Ferguson must make a decision on unrestricted forwards Jeff O’Neill, Travis Green and Michael Peca and restricted defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo. It’s unlikely all three forwards will be back, with the 33-year-old Peca having to take a salary hit if he wants to stay and prove a broken leg hasn’t affected his game. O’Neill’s 20-goal ability was not enough to keep him from being a healthy scratch at the end of last season.
The most interesting call could be in goal, where coach Paul Maurice had indicated he would like the hot-and-cold Andrew Raycroft to play 65 to 70 games again, while Ferguson has spoken of bringing in a veteran to both spell off Raycroft and push him for the No. 1 job. Ferguson says that doesn’t mean UFA Jean-Sebastien Aubin is through here, but it’s likely the GM won’t extend the $525,000 one-way deal he had last year.
fro Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,
After seeing his Senators come up just short in their bid for a first Stanley Cup, the Senators owner told Sun Media yesterday he will likely boost the club’s payroll to the salary cap—whatever it turns out to be—to take another run at bringing the Cup home.
“My sense is the cap will go up. Everyone knows my commitment to continuing to build a championship team in Ottawa, so in that context, spending to the cap is always a necessary consideration,” wrote Melnyk in an e-mail to the Sun yesterday.
“Having a long playoff run, like we did this year, always helps financially,” wrote Melnyk. “The team will do well this year, but the final numbers are not in yet.”
The Senators already have commitments on the books for next year to the tune of $40.5 million.
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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