Kukla's Korner Hockey
As a precautionary measure, Maple Leafs' captain Mats Sundin is seeking a second-opinion south of the border concerning his injured eye. Sources tell Sportsnet Leafs captain Mats Sundin travelled to the US to seek a second opinion on the best way to treat the lingering affects of an eye injury he sustained on October 5th. Sundin was struck in the face by a puck during a shoot-in, and immediately left the game.
from Barry Melrose of ESPN,
It's great to have the game back and the new product has been fun to watch. There has been a ton of offensive chances, and the game has speed. The sport hasn't lost that physical edge, either. Some forget that hockey is a physical sport. Fans love to see that great crash into the boards. My hope, going forward, is that the league doesn't take all of that physicality out of the game. It would be a mistake.
from the Golden Star (British Columbia),
Two weeks into the new NHL season, it is obvious the rule changes are having the desired effect on league scoring. The average goals-per-game is up over two and there have been some dramatic comebacks and more than a few lopsided results. (Hey, if Toronto pots 9 against Atlanta, too bad for Atlanta). Count on things to level off at some point. Players will figure out what they can and can't do and there will be fewer power plays. Coaches will start to design new traps to slow down some of the offense and goaltenders will get accustomed to their new equipment. Still, we are hopefully done with the low soccer-like results that dominated NHL games over the last dozen or so seasons. Now, for the downside of what have been otherwise positive adjustments:
from Larry Wigge of NHL.com,
Down through the years, some incredible athletes have watched, listened and learned how to win it all. I'll never forget Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier describing how a young group of Edmonton Oilers watched the New York Islanders hold them to just six goals in four games in 1983 to become only the second team to ever win four consecutive Stanley Cups. Gretzky and Messier recalled every minute of the Islanders' celebration that year, and then made a few changes and came back to win it all themselves for the first of five times in seven years by beating those same Islanders in the Finals one year later. That reminded me of a similar story that Jarome Iginla, the Calgary Flames' incredible power forward, told me in Chicago recently. The same kind of celebration memories have lingered long since that steamy night filled with electricity in Tampa back in June of 2004, when the Lightning beat the Flames in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals and then partied all night.
from the NY Post,
A day after backup goaltender Henrik Lundqvist posted a shutout against the Panthers, Kevin Weekes spoke about the scrutiny of his injury. Asked if he was surprised to be Tom Renney's unrestrained choice as the Rangers' starting goaltender once his strained groin is healthy, Weekes, who is black, had this to say: "To be honest with you, I think I get asked these questions more than any other goalie in the league, and I don't know why. If Jose Theodore was injured, I don't think you'd be asking him the same thing. If [Nikolai] Khabibulin were injured, I don't think you'd be asking him the same thing, and I could go on and on down the line.
In my opinion, most NHL fans give a rats's you-know-what about the internal problems of the NHLPA, but this article sheds some light on the behind the scene incidents. from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Trent Klatt won't give up the fight until he feels justice is served. Speaking for the first time publicly since launching a campaign questioning the way Ted Saskin was elected executive director of the NHL Players Association, Klatt said the proper process was not followed. Led by Klatt, a group of more than 60 players has asked the National Labour Relations Board and the Department of Labour in the United States to investigate the practices used by NHLPA president Trevor Linden to hire Saskin to replace Bob Goodenow, who was forced to resign following the 301-day lockout. The players don't believe Linden and Saskin used the proper channels and they've hired lawyer Robert Lanza to pursue the case. "This could be resolved if (Saskin) just told the truth," Klatt said from his Minnesota home.
from the courier-Post,
During a break in the action Saturday night at the Wachovia Center, a highlight was shown on the JumboTron in which a fan was asked to guess how the highlight ended. The options were: A -- Peter Forsberg passes to Simon Gagne, who scores B -- Forsberg shoots and scores C -- Forsberg passes to Mike Knuble, who scores "We were laughing about the question on the bench," Gagne said. "We said to each other, "Don't take B. Always take Forsberg passes and the other guy scores."
from the Philadelphia Inquirer,
In Chicago, the "Bulin Wall" is showing some cracks. "I have to play better," Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin told the Chicago Tribune. "As much as I try to stay away from it and not think about, it's in the back of my mind." Khabibulin had a 3.40 goals-against average and an .866 save percentage entering last night. At the Meadowlands, Martin Brodeur was frustrated with New Jersey's 2-3 start and his 3.60 GAA and .884 save percentage. "It's going to be hard this year," Brodeur told the Newark Star-Ledger. "So many goals. But you've got to win games. I've always had that attitude - to win games and not look at the stats. If you're winning, the stats will take care of themselves."
from the Globe and Mail,
Trent Yawney has been the head coach of the rebuilding Chicago Blackhawks for only six games and already he has a bone to pick with National Hockey League referees. "The [penalties] that are justified, I have no problem with," Yawney said before last night's game against the Vancouver Canucks. "The ones that are putting teams down by two men that are not justified, with the two-referee system, I do have a problem with. It does affect the end result." "I refer to baseball because now we've got the World Series [coming up]," he said. "If one umpire's strike zone is this big and the other one's is that big, it's pretty hard for the guys to adjust in mid-stream. "That's where the consistency factor comes in. There has to be more [communication] from the referees to the players and the coaches."
Things are getting back to normal, but not quick enough for me. Still have a few computer issues but should be back to normal sometime today.
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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