Kukla's Korner Hockey
Top goals for the month of February. Great stuff… just short of 7 1/2 minutes.
From Terry Frei on ESPN,
Q: What division was strengthened the most?
A: Pacific, hands down. Bill Guerin, whether playing with buddy Joe Thornton or Patrick Marleau, bolsters the Sharks. The Kings’ bizarre and inexplicable serving up of warrior, heart-and-soul defenseman Mattias Norstrom to the Stars was the most underplayed move on deadline day.
from the New York Islanders,
One reporter asked how Smyth would respond now that he’s not playing for the team he grew up idolizing.
“Every day I’m proud to be playing in the National Hockey League,” said Smyth. “When I get onto that ice, I think about nothing but being at the rink and doing whatever it takes to help the team win. I’ll do whatever Ted wants me to do even if it means putting my teeth in front of a shot.”
The four-time 30 goal scorer said he was “honored and flattered” by the Islanders’ fans responses to his arrival on Long Island.
NEW YORK (March 1, 2007)—Detroit Red Wings left wing Henrik Zetterberg, New York Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro and New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for February.
FIRST STAR—HENRIK ZETTERBERG, LW, DETROIT RED WINGS
Zetterberg led all NHL scorers in February, tallying 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists) in 11 games. He scored five game-winning goals and posted a +9 rating as the Red Wings went 8-2-2 and reached the 40-victory mark for the ninth consecutive season (40-16-8). Playing alongside Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom, Zetterberg had multiple points in seven contests, highlighted by three, four-point games. He tallied one goal and three assists in a 5-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues Feb. 2, recorded two goals and two assists in a 7-4 win over the Calgary Flames Feb. 11 and recorded three goals and one assist in a 4-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes Feb. 17. Zetterberg leads the Red Wings in points (68), goals (33) and shots (224), and leads the NHL with 10 game-winning goals.
from Kara Yorio of the Sporting News,
Come playoff time, the Penguins are going to face conservative strategies because few teams will be willing to trade chances. Checking lines will try to contain Pittsburgh’s top line. Every save will be important—the big and the routine. That’s how teams win in the playoffs.
Pittsburgh will play past the regular season a year earlier than most thought, but its playoff chances may hinge more on Fleury than Crosby—and right now, that can’t be a comforting thought for Penguins fans.
from the Vancouver Sun,
Were others in charge, the Coyotes would be regarded as just another poor NHL operation. But the fact they are run by the greatest player in NHL history and a former agent who was among the most respected in his field add both comedic and tragic elements to Phoenix’s struggle.
Gretzky, who began coaching the team last season and was rewarded with a five-year extension worthy of Scotty Bowman despite going 38-39-5 and missing the playoffs by 14 points, has been unable to coax anything but mediocrity from the disparate players he and Barnett have brought in.
These are good men, but neither’s legacy in hockey is being enhanced by his work with the Coyotes, in the same way shilling for Mr. Coffee did nothing for Joe DiMaggio except open him to ridicule.
In USA Today, they’ve printed Anaheim Ducks GM Brian Burke’s trade negotiation diaries for the month of February. It’s remarkable to see the progress of deals being offered, declined and pondered as other general managers around the NHL talk to Burke. A sample:
Saturday, Feb. 17
I talk to Florida assistant GM Randy Sexton about Todd Bertuzzi, and he tells me “the guy we like is Perry.” I offer him profanity. If you are offended by profanity, it’s difficult to make a trade in the NHL. If you are going to try to rob me, at least wear a mask. We talk to Philadelphia about Kyle Calder.
more… Read the whole thing. It’s also very interesting to note which names did NOT come up in Burke’s negotiations.
*Thanks to David at The Ice Block for giving me a pointer to this article
NEW YORK (March 1, 2007)—The National Hockey League posted its strongest aggregate February attendance ever as more than 3.2 million fans, a record total for the month, attended the 187 games. The per-game average of 17,146, which represented 92.4% of capacity, was the highest for February in a non-Olympic year (minimum 100 games).
League-wide average attendance has increased month by month in 2006-07: 16,537 in October, 16,538 in November, 16,850 in December, 17,075 in January and 17,146 in February.
From Steven Lienert at The Phanatic Magazine,
And there was. And it was awesome. And if there’s a God, the Sabres and Senators will meet in a seven-game bloodbath for the Eastern Conference crown.
Because that’s what hockey needs. It’s the only sport where, if you fight, they put you in a little box for five minutes to cool down.
In baseball, if you fight, you’re kicked out of the game and suspended. In basketball, not only do you not know how to fight, the fans will kick your ass, you’ll get kicked out of the game, you’ll get made fun of on television and you’ll get suspended.
Fighting in football is just dumb because everybody wears helmets. Duh. And if you’re one of those guys that takes his helmet off during an altercation, you deserve what you get. But I digress.
from the LA Times,
General Manager Brian Burke has said that he wants his bottom six forwards to display the “requisite level of pugnacity, truculence, belligerence, hostility and testosterone.” Brad May fits that blueprint down to the last syllable….
n May, Burke said he believes his true value will be measured in the postseason.
“Your toughness has to play in the playoffs and Brad May can do that,” Burke said. “He’s done that for me in the past.”
read on (reg. req.)
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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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