Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Forsberg was acquired at such a high price to help push the Predators over the edge in the postseason. But the less he plays in the regular season, the greater the angst over whether he can deliver the goods once the stakes go up April 11. And of all the teams headed to the postseason, the Predators may face the highest stakes.
In some ways, the futures of Forsberg, the elite player, and Nashville, the emerging elite team, are tracking the same path—the future enticing, yet unknown.
Babcock would like to see Bertuzzi get in nine games, but it’s more likely going to be four or five and then it’ll be playoff time. He was not in Nashville on Tuesday and will not accompany the team on its two-game swing through Western Canada this weekend.
“He doesn’t have to be ‘the’ guy, just be one of the guys,” Babcock said of the big forward.
more on Peter & Todd…
via the New York Islanders,
After being re-evaluated today in Montreal by medical personnel and the Islanders training staff, goaltender Rick DiPietro will be a “game-time decision” for Thursday night’s match against the Senators in Ottawa.
DiPietro is experiencing neck stiffness from a collision with Montreal’s Steve Begin late in the first period of the Islanders’ 5-3 loss on Tuesday night in Montreal.
from On the Islanders Beat,
When I arrived a few minutes into practice, I found DiPietro watching from behind the glass at the end of the tunnel to the locker room. When asked how he was feeling, DiPietro shook his head and said, “I’ve felt better.” It was obvious he still was feeling the effects of a blow that left him groggy on the ice for several minutes.
Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist participated in an NHL tele-conference today…
Q. I wanted to ask you, in the beginning of the season and now you seem like a different player, a turnaround in your game. I wonder, is anything different for you personally
HENRIK LUNDQVIST: Well, coming back from the summer, I mean a lot of expectations and you try to play well at the start. I think as a team we didn’t play as solid as we do right now. With me, I was a little up and down. I played well, but I made too many mistakes at the start. After the first month, I think I improved my game. It’s been going okay. After Christmas, I think I stepped up a little bit more. It’s just about cutting down your mistakes, I think. The game has been there, I think, but mistakes here and there. But lately it has started to feel much better.
Q. You made it look so easy getting into the playoffs last year. But this year seems like a battle for you guys. What do you think about being in such a tight race this time around?
HENRIK LUNDQVIST: I mean, it’s a learning experience, for sure, and it’s a lot of fun, too. Every game means a lot. It feels like you’re already in the playoffs, actually; every game is huge and it’s intense. When you look back at the record here from maybe from the All-Star break, we haven’t won as many games as we wanted to, but we definitely played a better game and a more disciplined game than we did before Christmas, just some tough breaks here and there, but I still think we’ve been playing okay.
from the Philadelphia Flyers,
The Philadelphia Flyers announced that the team and General Manager Paul Holmgren have agreed to a two-year contract extension through the 2008-09 season, according to Flyers Chairman Ed Snider.
“In this year of transition for the Flyers, I think Paul has moved quickly and decisively to better our team on the ice and position us for the future,” said Flyers Chairman Ed Snider. “He has the right vision of what we need going forward and is very deserving of the opportunity to be our general manager.”
from Damien Cox at ESPN,
Of the 10 players, five are French Canadians, two are Europeans and none are Americans, although two are former NCAA stars, one at the University of Maine and the other at Wisconsin.
One player was never drafted, but already has one MVP award to his name; another once passed through NHL waivers with no takers. Four are with the same team that originally drafted them, but only two were judged to be the best player available in their draft year. Two were traded for each other, while another was involved in last summer’s biggest blockbuster trade.
They are the NHL’s most valuable players this season, but who is the most valuable?
via the Tennessean,
Predators left wing Martin Erat suffered a sprained knee in a third-period collision with teammate Jason Arnott during Tuesday night’s 5-2 loss to Detroit and will be out four weeks, the team said today.
from Habs Inside/Out,
After an optional practice on Wednesday morning where Alex Kovalev was only able to stay on the ice and skate by himself in full gear for about twenty minutes, Kovalev met with reporters afterwards to tell them he’s suffering from vertigo and hopes it’ll go away in the next few days.
Otherwise, the Russian winger said, his career could hang in the balance.
added 3:46pm, via the Montreal Canadiens,
“I’m feeling a little better but still a little shaky,” said Kovalev, who has been dealing with a bout of vertigo since Monday morning. “I definitely wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone. I’ve heard some guys say that some players were forced to retire because of it. Hopefully that doesn’t happen to me.
“I woke up Monday at 4 a.m. and it was like I was standing on my head,” explained Kovalev. “I felt perfectly fine on Sunday.”
from Eric Stephens of the LA Times,
If you build a Stanley Cup contender, they will come.
Success on the ice is translating well at the box office for the Ducks. The team has been playing in front of a full house at the Honda Center for the last three months, at least according to announced figures.
Entering tonight’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Ducks have had 17 consecutive sellouts and are expected to announce sellouts for the remaining four home games.
continued (reg. req.)
The link to NHL - On The Fly is now available…
from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
John Kincade, co-host of 680 The Fan’s afternoon “Buck and Kincade Show,” is an unabashed hockey fan. He gives us five reasons the Thrashers are about to experience a playoff breakthrough:
1. Carolina won the Stanley Cup last season after finishing third in the Southeast and out of the playoffs the previous season. Last season, Atlanta finished third in the Southeast and missed the playoffs just like Carolina did. The last two Stanley Cup champs have come from the Southeast Division.
continued (reg. may be req.)... and I am surprised he mentions Kozlov as a veteran playoff performer. He is much more than that, a premier playoff player in his Detroit days…
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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