Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the News & Observer,
The top priority on Carolina’s list is third-line center, which was a serious problem spot last season when first Eric Belanger and then Vasicek failed to fill the void left by Matt Cullen’s free-agent departure last summer. Vasicek, an unrestricted free agent, may not be re-signed.
“We need more production from that position,” Rutherford said. “That’s not to say Joe couldn’t do it, because he’s done it in the past.”
Stars such as Chris Drury, Daniel Briere and Scott Gomez will be far out of Carolina’s price range, but Michael Peca or Todd White might fit. Michal Handzus, who missed the entire season with a torn knee ligament, would be ideal but may be too expensive despite the injury.
from the LA Times,
North of the border, he’s been called bigger than Oprah and sexier than The Rolling Stones. He’s also been described as racially insensitive and a xenophobic clown.
“He’s the most recognized face in Canada,” says his boss, Joel Darling, executive producer of CBC’s venerable “Hockey Night in Canada” telecast.
In Southern California last week for the CBC broadcast of the Stanley Cup finals between the Ducks and the Ottawa Senators, Cherry now comes to NBC, if only for tonight’s Game 4, appearing with ex-NHL star Brett Hull as a between-periods analyst. An NBC spokeswoman cautiously calls Cherry’s segment “an experiment.”
“A lot of bars across Canada go silent when he comes on TV,” says Hull. “It’s going to be an honor to be on with Don.”
more (reg. req.)
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Kudos to the NHL for finding and hiring the most legendary van drivers in sporting history - those befuddled souls at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta who stranded hundreds of journalists or kept them from their assignments at various venues.
I say this because the fellow driving our media van after the Sens-Ducks game on Saturday night was so awful he could only have come from the ranks of the Atlanta imbeciles. He managed to turn an eight-minute drive from Scotiabank Place to the journey from hell, committing the most unpardonable sin in the eyes of the sporting media - clipping almost an hour from our time in the hospitality suite. I had not eaten since gulping down a sandwich a couple of hours before the game and I was also longing for the usual post-game restorative ale, so you can understand how my thoughts turned murderous.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
No one in the Anaheim Ducks dressing room will utter a disparaging word against Pronger. The man, on many nights, is a machine. He is averaging more than 30 minutes of ice time a game in these playoffs. He is second among NHL defensemen with 14 playoff points.
And yet for the second time in recent days, he has put his team in the unenviable position of having to play without him because he seems to have switched off that common-sense detector most humans rely on to prevent them from crossing “the line.”
On some level in that dressing room, players must be asking where Pronger’s selflessness is. Having been suspended once, Pronger surely had to know any other transgression was going to be viewed with disapproval by the league regardless whether it was as serious as the Holmstrom hit.
from Ken Campbell at the Hockey News,
“We’ve been talking about this for a year,” said one GM. “I don’t think (Saturday) night will have a lot to do with the discussions. It will be discussed. We know the players want it discussed and it’s something we’ll have continue to work through.”
“We’re in a contact sport and people are going to get hurt,” said Ducks GM Brian Burke. “The notion we’re going to take away hitting in the game because a big guy is going to hit a little guy…we can’t take that out.”
read on... and I remember Chelios stating a few weeks ago the NHLPA will do something about head hits this summer…
Just a quick reminder, you have a chance to win an NHL Fathead… click for all the details.
Q. How much different does it make your decision or more difficult to suspend a key player in a Stanley Cup Final game even as opposed to the Pronger suspension last round?
COLIN CAMPBELL: Well, both rounds are difficult; you’re getting it close, but obviously the final round is a very difficult round to take any player out of, and there’s no prescribed or defined degree of change as far as the act to suspend players in the final round.
I suspended two players in the past. (Ville) Nieminen in the Calgary-Tampa Bay series for hitting (Vincent) Lecavalier and (Jiri) Fischer in the Detroit-Carolina series for a cross-check, each for one game.
It’s always difficult for everyone involved in hockey. We all know how precious it is to chase the Stanley Cup and to be at this point. And it’s a tough decision to make. We don’t take these things lightly at any time; we don’t take them lightly, but particularly now.
So it was hard. But on the other hand, a player did get knocked out. And that player may not be playing tomorrow night, too. We’re not sure.
“It was just a reaction play. I just stepped up to make a hit,” Pronger told reporters. “You’ve got to suffer the consequences of what came down. ... Hopefully, Dean’s OK. There’s no ill-will or malicious intent.”
While Ducks general manager Brian Burke said he would accept the Pronger suspension, he was livid over a Chris Neil hit to Ducks forward Andy McDonald. Burke said there should have been a second hearing on Sunday.
“We’re not a dirty team, we’re a physical team,” Burke said. “There’s a big difference.”
“We think it was totally unintentional. The league thought different,” Carlyle said. “Chris Pronger is a competitive player. Some people will say he’s using his size as an excuse.
“The fact of the matter is his elbows are higher than most people’s elbows. It’s not like he raised his elbow to deliver a blow to the head.”
added 3:35pm, Transcript of inteview with Pronger, Carlyle and Burke…
The NHL has come down on the Ducks’ Chris Pronger for the second time in the 2007 Stanley Cup playoffs.
The league has suspended Pronger for one game for a shot to the head Ottawa Senators’ Dean McAmmond during Game 3 on Saturday.
Pronger had a hearing with the NHL’s director of hockey operations Colin Campbell on Sunday.
“A variety of factors were considered in reaching this decision,” said NHL Senior Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell. “Mr. Pronger used his forearm to deliver a forceful hit to the head of his opponent. Also, his actions caused injury to his opponent.”
added 2:58pm, The Ottawa Senators P.R. department put together some quotes from those involved on the Sens side…
from The Maven,
Best of all, instead of beefing as his counterpart, Bryan Murray, certainly would have, Carlyle refused to whine about the result or the zebras’ collective astigmatism….
Legal or not, the goal should not detract from the Senators comeback from the Land of Chokes.
They could have—should have—won Games One and Two but failed because of lethargy and lousy goaltending.
Ray Emery’s ineptitude could have killed them again in Game Three but…
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