Kukla's Korner Hockey
from James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail:
A little more than 10 months after a horrific eye injury ended his professional hockey career, Jordan Smith had just a few jitters before making a remarkable return to the ice.
The 21-year-old defenceman from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., made headlines around the hockey world last February when, while skating in an American Hockey League game for the Portland Pirates, he was struck in the left eye by a deflected puck.
...Despite the devastating injury, Smith said he always knew he would one day return to hockey—something that finally came to fruition this week when he joined the Lakehead Thunderwolves’ blueline for the team’s Varsity Cup tournament. It was the first time Smith had seen game action since the night of his injury.
from Brian Schiazza of NBC Sports,
So in regard to all the awards handed out already, all the clues that the early season gave us and all that is yet to come until the Cup is hoisted in June, here’s a few thoughts and predictions—with a nod to the Amazing Criswell, Jeane Dixon and Mr. T (hope you got that Rocky III reference)—for calendar year 2007 in the NHL:
• Owner Charles Wang is so delighted by Ted Nolan’s performance in getting the Islanders into the playoffs that he offers the man who will win the Jack Adams Award as Coach of the Year a 25-year contract. Nolan settles for an extension of one or two years on his three-year deal.
• Goaltenders form a new association of their own when the league draws a close vote on enlarging the height and width of the nets, especially with more out-of-work sumo wrestlers being seen at NHL games.
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
That Metropolit has managed to work his way back to the NHL in his 30s is a pretty heady accomplishment. Working his way out of a youth of poverty and crime was even bigger.
Metropolit was born and raised in one of the most drug-riddled, poverty-stricken areas of inner-city Toronto. He has never met his biological father and his younger brother, Troy, is currently serving a 16-year prison sentence for kidnapping, beating and robbing a prominent Toronto lawyer and his wife in 1999.
Metropolit hasn’t seen his brother in years, largely because he keeps being shifted around penal institutions across Canada.
from the LA Times,
Though no official timetable was given for Pronger’s return, as further X-rays are needed, he probably will be out until February. The injury further thins a defense that is missing Francois Beauchemin, who has a lacerated spleen, for at least a month.
Add center Todd Marchant and goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who were injured last week, as well as shelved backup goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, and the Ducks are wondering if the hockey gods are paying them back for tearing up the NHL in the season’s first three months.
more (reg. req.)
from the East Valley Tribune,
Injuries, undisciplined play, a lack of cohesiveness and underachieving performance by the team’s best players resulted in a dreadful start for the Coyotes. But with recent improvement in all areas, Phoenix is on the verge of turning its season around.
“We feel like we’ve made strides,” coach Wayne Gretzky said.
“(The players) see how much fun it is winning right now and how hard they are working and the rewards they’re getting for winning. We’re right back in the race now.”
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
Be it resolved that in 2007:
The Anaheim Ducks will find a way to stop passing off ticket increases as “fees” and simply tell their fans that if they want to watch the best team in the National Hockey League it does cost money.
The Atlanta Thrashers will find a fan base worthy of the product on the ice and a quarterback for their power play (come on Brian Leetch, this is your wakeup call).
continued... a resolution for every team…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
There is no doubt that Colton Orr earned the five-game sentence handed down yesterday by NHL VP Colin Campbell for charging 60 feet across the ice to plant his stick across bystander Alex Ovechkin’s face with 4:20 to go in the Rangers’ throwback 4-1 victory over the Caps at the Garden on Saturday….
With that understood, however, the double standard of justice that often seems to apply to incidents involving the Rangers remains a curiosity of the one-time Blueshirt coach’s tenure in the league office.
Donald Brashear, an oafish goofball of renown, most certainly could have concussed Aaron Ward when he sucker-punched the defenseman in the face in the immediate aftermath of his third-period bout with People’s Champion Brendan Shanahan, and yet received only a one-game suspension for his transgression.
I believe a few college bowl games are on today too.
As a thank you for hanging around this week and for your patronage of KK, A2Y & Canucks & Beyond, I present an easy game for you.
Guess the total amount of goals scored (not including shootout) in the six NHL games scheduled for New Year’s Eve.
If more than one person picks the correct number, a random drawing will be held to select the winner from those who guessed correctly.
You must leave your answer in the comment section of this post and be a KK member (you can register at the left sidebar under KK Sections).
All guesses must be submitted by 5:00pm ET, December 31, 2006.
Past KK winners are eligible for this contest.
The winner receives a $50 gift certificate to IceJerseys.com.
Let the guessing begin and the winner will be contacted on January 1st or 2nd.
note: originally posted on 12/26 at 7:10pm, moved to front page so it won’t get lost…
update 1/1/07 9:14am, We have a tie, Puckhound61 and Left Wing Lock correctly guessed 38 as the final total. So, what the heck, I think they both should win and therefore will award both with a $50 gift certificate.
Congrats to both and I will notify you tomorrow.
To every KK member and guest, wishing you the best in 2007!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org