Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Five for Fighting,
The news doesn’t sound too good on defenseman Sergei Zubov. He didn’t skate today, as he went to see specialists for his ongoing injuries. And won’t skate for the next few days. Coach Dave Tippett called the situation “a concern.” When asked if the problem was the foot or the groin, Tippett said, “all of the above.”
Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock participated in an NHL tele-conference today.
In each of his three seasons behind the bench Mike has recorded 50 wins and he has posted an overall record of 160-55-28. With their eighth consecutive 100 point season Detroit has tied the NHL record held by the Montreal Canadiens. With 17 consecutive season in the playoffs Detroit has the longest post season streak in pro sports.
The red Wings play in Chicago tomorrow, host Columbus Thursday and finish the regular season with the NBC Game of the Week on Sunday against the Blackhawks at Joe Louis Arena.
Q: Are you worried about just cruising into the Stanley Cup Playoffs
MIKE BABCOCK: I’ve been on both ends of it in the Stanley Cup playoffs. When you’re the higher seed, the other teams have usually been battling like crazy and sometimes you’ve been drifting along. The great thing for us this year is our games down the stretch here have been against teams that are good teams that have played us real difficult. We had Nashville in here the other day. We’ll get Chicago here tomorrow or there tomorrow. And they’re battling for their playoff life. So they’ve given us really good games.
from the Detroit News,
Kris Draper left practice early Tuesday with a tight groin and definitely will miss Wednesday’s game in Chicago, and likely the final two games of the regular season, as well.
“I can’t imagine him playing until the playoffs,” coach Mike Babcock said.
more on the Wings…
from Jeff Marek at Upon Further Review at CBC,
As it’s getting close to trophy time in the NHL as writers fill our their ballots, perhaps it’s time to redefine what “sportsmanship and gentlemanly” conduct is and how the Professional Hockey Writers Association should decide on the Byng. Traditionally, the lazy man’s way to vote for the award was to look at the scoring leaders in the NHL and whomever had the least penalty minutes of the bunch got the nod.
But is there not another way to look at what being a Lady Byng winner should be? Should it always be the highest scorer with the softest touch? Or should we not look at the way players in the NHL talk about playing with respect for the game and respect for one another?
TSN says the Sens/Habs game is the biggest match tonight.
I disagree, feeling the Canes/Caps game has more meaning in the playoff race.
Please vote and your opinion counts!
Plans call for the fans to get a little closer to the NHL action on the ice.
Check out my NHL.com blog for the scoop.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
“He had been getting better,” Maurice said. “He came back to practice [Monday] and we had the expectation he would feel considerably better and didn’t, so he’s not playing. If he doesn’t feel better, he won’t play the rest of the games.”
However, when Maurice was asked to reflect on Sundin’s season, one of his best since coming to the Maple Leafs in 1994, he dismissed the notion Sundin’s days in Toronto are finished.
“I’ll answer that question and someone over here will take a piece of it and say, ‘Mats might be done for the year.’ ” Maurice said. “Then we’ll spend three weeks putting out a fire that you and I just created for no reason.
“There’s going to come a point in time, in six or seven years, when Mats retires. Then you’re going to spend the next 20 years with parades, tributes, Mats Sundin nights, the ashtrays, the coffee cups, matchbooks.
“We’ll let that all happen.”
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
The Avalanche didn’t sign Ryan Smyth to a five-year, $31.25 million contract for him to be a third-liner.
But with Colorado in position to clinch a playoff spot tonight, when the Avs face the Vancouver Canucks at GM Place, that is what Smyth has been of late — a third-liner.
“Whatever Coach wants me to play, I’ll play,” Smyth said.
With 14 goals in 53 games in a season disrupted by a broken ankle and a shoulder injury, Smyth will likely have to be far more effective — and more often revert to his trademark gritty play around the net — if Colorado has any shot of getting out of the first round of the playoffs.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
So we will wait to annoint Brian Campbell as the second-coming of Paul Coffey in San Jose until we see how far the 106-point Sharks go this spring. But right now the former Buffalo Sabres defenceman is clearly the best addition any team made on Feb. 26 or in the leadup to the deadline.
You can make a case for goalie Cristobal Huet in Washington (8-2, 1.83 average) and Joe Corvo (18 points in 20 games, plus-6) in Carolina, too, but Campbell has given the NHL’s hottest team exactly what they needed—a blueliner who could easily transport the puck up ice and run the power play.
He’s got 16 points in 17 games which gives him 59 points on the year, third most for defencemen after Nicklas Lidstrom’s 66 and Sergei Gonchar’s 62, and is also plus-10 in San Jose
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
To listen to various opinion-makers and theorists, the club is planning or should be planning buyouts of Bryan McCabe, Darcy Tucker, Andrew Raycroft, Mark Bell and Jason Blake, among others.
That would be madness.
To start with, buy out that many players and you’d end up with an annual cap hit upward of $6 million annually for between three to six years. It’s less than the $20 million cost of keeping them on the roster, but for a team that annually budgets to spend as much money as possible, paying that many players not to play becomes a significant, long-term impediment to improvement.
A far better approach – although a more expensive one for ownership – is to send unwanted players to the minors.
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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