Kukla's Korner Hockey
from STATS Blog,
Parity seems to be a byproduct of the new NHL. Nine of the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference are in first place or within five points of it. Only two teams in the East are more than 10 points out of first.
The division leaders in the Western Conference—Detroit, Minnesota and Dallas—have larger leads than their Eastern counterparts, but parity still figures in a tight playoff race. Take the runaway Red Wings and Pacific-leading Stars out of the equation, and the next 10 teams in the Western Conference standings are separated by just 10 points.
From Bob McKenzie at TSN,
The word on the street from rival general managers around the league is that Lightning GM Jay Feaster is in a situation where he’s being told by potential team owner Oren Koules to find out what he could get for veteran forward Brad Richards. [...]
First, the team wants to have centre Vincent Lecavalier signed to a long-term contract this summer. They want him locked up and made him a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning for life. Secondly, you know that winger Martin St. Louis is also in for the long haul because his contract gets more affordable with each passing year.
Feaster also wants to sign defenceman Dan Boyle to a long-term contract, but the team also wants to get a No. 1 goaltender somewhere down the line. It’s going to be expensive to do all of that.
more… with ideas about potential destinations for Richards. (*apparently $7.8 million salary isn’t as limiting as I would’ve thought…)
from the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Flyers winger Simon Gagne is finished for the regular season and the playoffs.
That is the advice of concussion specialist James Kelly, who examined Gagne today in Denver.
The Flyers’ left wing has suffered three concussions in five months. General manager Paul Holmgren expressed “disappointment” but said the club would agree to shut Gagne down.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
How GMs handle of the pressure of the unknown between now and then will say a lot about the future of their respective teams, not just come playoff time but moving forward.
One GM told ESPN.com Wednesday there are always competing interests regarding whether to make a deal early and miss out on something better, or wait too long and miss out on something you really needed. He said the key is to know what you want to do and not stray from that.
from Ducks Blog at the OC Register,
Mathieu Schneider of the Ducks will carry an interesting streak into Wednesday night’s game against the Colorado Avalanche at Honda Center. The veteran defenseman has finished each of his past 26 games with a plus or even plus-minus mark.
Schneider’s streak is the longest active run in the NHL and only four games shy of the longest such streak in the league this season, established by defenseman Glen Wesley of the Carolina Hurricanes from Oct. 3-Dec. 8. While Wesley was plus-8 over that stretch, Schneider is plus-15 over his past 26 games.
From David Staples in the Edmonton Journal,
Who are the 50 best players in the history of the National Hockey League? Ask 50 fans and you’ll get 50 different answers. Ask 50 hockey experts, ex-players, coaches and general managers from different eras and, again, you’ll get 50 totally different lists.
In recent years, there’s been no shortage of attempts to rank the best-ever players, but all of these attempts have the same fundamental flaw. In making their rankings, the experts tried to compare players they had only read about in history books against players they knew extremely well, often their former teammates, opponents, employees or sources. With that in mind, The Journal has created its own list which attempts to rank players in a more objective manner, based solely on all-time NHL MVP voting results.
*thanks to Joe Pelletier for the pointer. He was also interviewed in the piece.
From Richie Whitt at the Dallas Observer,
Admittedly stripped to a die-hard, bare-bones fan base after years of late-season flirtation begetting only playoff headaches, the Stars are at it again. Quietly, efficiently producing successful hockey that begs to be noticed. But for the most part playing to a city that doesn’t give a damn. [...]
“We’re down to the core,” says Stars president Jeff Cogen, charged with regenerating a hockey buzz in our disappointed, disjointed sports town. “It’s not ‘Woe is me.’ It’s just that, compared to who we once were we’ve fallen off quite a bit. We admit that, and we’re reacting to it to get those fans back.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The NHL’s 30 general managers ended their annual winter meetings Wednesday by singing from the same song sheet with apologies to Nilsson: “Everybody’s talking at me but I don’t hear a word they’re sayin’.”
There were one or two things that were advanced on the official agenda, such as introducing a one-minute penalty in overtime for experimentation by the American Hockey League next season, but trade talks dominated the sessions, since the NHL’s trade deadline arrives next Tuesday.
The names flying about were mostly the same all week — Mats Sundin, Marian Hossa, Brian Campbell, Brad Richards, Dan Boyle, Vinny Prospal and Ollie Jokinen with Alex Tanguay and Michael Ryder being late arrivals.
Update 3:15pm ET— From the CP via TSN:
No, there weren’t any significant moves made, but when the big trades are pulled off before Tuesday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline, the roots will be found in their time in Naples.
“It goes from kicking tires to sketching and we’ll see where we are when we go home,” said Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi.
from Russo’s Rants,
Columbus has two centers available — 38-year-old Sergei Fedorov and 33-year-old Michael Peca. Fedorov is the guy I have a feeling the Wild is eyeing. I know his age might scare many of you, but I watch Columbus a lot, and there’s no doubt he can still play.
He’s also a very quality defensive player, so that fits into Minnesota Wild hockey, and he’s got 162 games worth of playoff hockey experience.
If the Wild is looking at defensemen, there’s Adam Foote and Ron Hainsey as potential guys to be dealt in Columbus….
To get Jokinen, the Wild would likely have to give up at least one core piece, possibly a guy like Pierre-Marc Bouchard — a player who’s a potential restricted free agent who’s one year from being unrestricted.
From Elliotte Friedman at CBC,
None of the general managers agreeing to these no-trade or no-move clauses are doing so under penalty of death. And the idea that the sudden explosion of said causes is single-handedly killing the trade market is a joke. Trades aren’t happening because the NHL’s system creates paralysis. Yes, the no-trades are a part of that, but there are plenty of other issues. The NBA, for example, has all kinds of exceptions to allow manouverability that the NHL doesn’t.
Now, we’re talking about taking away no-trade clauses in the next CBA. How about doing what we tell our children: “Just say no.”
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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