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Everyone Is Talking Hockey In Columbus

from Phil Coffey of NHL.com,

These are heady days in Columbus, where the Blue Jackets look like a team that is bound for a Stanley Cup Playoff berth for the first time.

According to coach Ken Hitchcock, the race to the postseason has been a boon to the team’s fans.

“We have been in playoff fever for a month now, and fans have come out now in droves. I mean, the building is packed. We are into the standing-room situation,” Hitchcock said. “The buzz in the city is unbelievable. It feels very much like any good Midwest city, whether it’s Canadian or American, about sports here right now. It’s the topic of conversation everywhere you go—coffee shops, sporting goods places, restaurants. It’s everything. It’s engulfing and it’s great to see from where we were at the start of the year to where we are now.”

more on Columbus and many more NHL topics too…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Two Serious Injuries In Same AHL Game

from George James Malik of SnapShots at Mlive,

The Grand Rapids Griffins secured a playoff spot via a 2-1 win over the Norfolk Admirals on Friday night, but the game included two disturbing incidents….

With 5:34 left in the first period, the skate of Admirals forward Radek Smolenak gashed referee Chris Cozzan’s neck. Smolenak was coming out of a corner when Grand Rapids’ Brett Peterson checked him. The impact caused Smolenak’s skate to fly up and clip Cozzan.

After the game, Smolenak said he initially had no idea what happened to Cozzan and continued to play.

“Then I heard screaming, so I turned around and saw blood coming out of his neck,” said Smolenak, who then began frantically waving for the trainer....

Then the other incident…

“When he went down, I heard a loud pop and he shouted and I knew right away he was really hurt,” said Henley, who began yelling for Hamlett to stop play and for medical personnel to again take the ice. “It made me nauseous, because you never want to hurt anyone, let alone see them taken off on a stretcher.”

Norfolk coach Darren Rumble said he received a report that Oulahen’s left femur snapped and a portion of the broken bone came through the skin of his thigh inside his hockey shorts.

more

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, Minor League, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Untouchable Ruff

From Herb Zurkowsky at The Montreal Gazette:

When Lindy Ruff was named the 15th head coach in Buffalo Sabres’ history in July 1997, Alain Vigneault was coaching the Canadiens.

Today, 11 seasons later, Ruff remains behind the Sabres’ bench. But during that time, the Canadiens have been coached by Michel Therrien, Claude Julien, Bob Gainey, Guy Carbonneau and Gainey again. And there’ll likely be someone new next season.

“I keep saying I’ve been lucky,” Ruff, 49, said prior to Saturday night’s game against Montreal at the Bell Centre. “We’ve had a couple of changes in ownership, and I’ve been lucky enough to make it through the transition.”

continued…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Flames Need To Head In The Right Direction

from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,

It wasn’t all that long ago Mike Keenan’s name was being thrown around as a coach-of-the-year finalist.

Over the last few days, the debate has taken on a decidedly different flavour as many are starting to wonder if he should be shown the door.

Blanked in successive road games and losers of seven of their last 10, the Flames are doing exactly what Darryl Sutter suggested doomed them last spring: Limping into the playoffs….

Apparently unsure whether the key to success is striving to somehow regain their defensive edge of years past or attempt to run-and-gun with all comers, the Flames appear somewhat directionless.

Despite their talent and depth, they have no identity no set lines, and soon, they likely won’t have a division lead and accompanying home-ice advantage thanks to the surging Vancouver Canucks.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Saturday Hockey Talk

On Inside Hockey Radio today:

We’ve got another great lineup for you this week as we talk to Conor McKenna (Team 990), Bob Snow (NHL.com), Jim Cummins (Former NHLer), Alanah McGinley (Kuklskorner.com) and go Toe to Toe with Todd Carroll.

Conor will give us the latest on the Habs push for the playoffs and take a swing around the Northeast Division. Bob Snow will be live from the NCAA Hockey Northeast Regional in Manchester, New Hampshire to help us dissect the NCAA tournament. Jim Cummins will help us tackle some of the hot topics around the NHL and the playoff chances of his beloved Blackhawks. Alanah McGinley who is based in Vancouver will give us the latest on the Canucks and we’ll finish off by going Toe to Toe with Toddy Carroll as we examine the tug of war between college hockey and Canadian Juniors, as well as the drawn out response to Alexander Ovechkin’s goal celebrations. Enough already folks!

The show is on the air from 2-4pm ET on NHL Home Ice XM 204, on TEAM 990 and on YouCastr.com.  You can call in at 1-877-645-6696 or email radio@insidehockey.com.

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

With Or Without Him

from Scott Cullen of TSN,

This week’s Backchecking will take a team-by-team look at records with different players in and out of the lineup.

There are a number of contributing factors that may affect a team’s record during a specific time frame, whether it’s a favourable schedule, whether multiple players were injured or if players have been added to the roster, so record alone is not going to measure a player’s impact on his team but, given how imprecise the measurement of hockey statistics, it’s just another piece of information to take into account.

ANAHEIM DUCKS
RW Teemu Selanne
6-9-2 (.382 points percentage) while Selanne was injured; 31-22-4 (.579) since.
LW Bobby Ryan
9-7-2 (.528) before getting called-up; 28-24-4 (.536) after.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Threats In Columbus

from Aaron Portzline and Theodore Decker of the Columbus Dispatch,

As a loud, passionate crowd celebrated one of the Blue Jackets’ most emphatic victories in franchise history Thursday night, some scary moments played out behind the scenes in Nationwide Arena.

Two threats to shoot the Blue Jackets’ rookie goaltender, Steve Mason, and another threat to bomb the arena led to an arrest on the Northwest Side before the game ended.

Peter Stenzel, 52, was charged with inducing panic and menacing, both misdemeanors, after police traced the phone calls to his apartment at 6115 O’Sweeney Lane….

His sister, Wendy Tanaka of Worthington, said that Stenzel is an avid hockey fan, but “to threaten someone like that, that’s not him. Not even if he had a million dollars on the game.”

Stenzel, who is single and has no children, makes a living working on computers. He was born in Toronto and maintains dual citizenship in Canada and the United States, Tanaka said.

“I don’t know how people can take such things so seriously,” Tanaka said. “Sign of the times.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Worldly Team

from Corey Masisak of the Washington Times,

For Alex Ovechkin and four of his Washington Capitals buddies, this was not a typical day at the office. Instead of skates and sticks, Ovechkin, Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom, Staffan Kronwall and Karl Alzner wanted a thrill away from the hockey rink. They found it — on a Go-Kart track.

“It was so much fun,” said Green, one of the organizers of the off-day excursion to Allsports Grand Prix in Dulles last month. “They were FAST — like racing ones. It was sick. It was like real racing — we weren’t just putzing around out there.”

What was interesting wasn’t five professional hockey players hanging out and driving Go-Karts at 35 mph, but rather the composition of the group: two Swedes, two Canadians and one of the most famous Russians in the sporting world.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

CBA Issues

from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail,

While the players initially benefited from the new labour deal — increases in league revenue led to an increase in the salary cap — they feel they’re once again bailing out bad owners and poor marketplaces.

“Why should we pay for the owners’ negligence?” remarked one player. “The players have gone out of their way to promote the game, do interviews and commercials. There are some owners doing the job and doing it well, but it’s all done individually, not by the league.”

The longer the players live with the labour pact, the better they understand its shortcomings. In the NBA, the players’ escrow contributions are capped at 10 per cent. In the NHL, there is no cap and potentially no limit to how much the players could lose.

more

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Vancouver GM Says Canucks Looking Forward, Media Looking At The Past

Canucks GM Mike Gillis was on Team 1040 in Vancouver yesterday and discussed the media in Vancouver.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+gillis

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com

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