Kukla's Korner Hockey
Alan Ryder at the Globe & Mail:
The Hart Memorial Trophy is awarded to the player judged to be “the most valuable to his team”. Although a literal read of this clearly means that a goaltender ought to win this prize each year, the award has typically (nearly 90% of the time) been presented to the NHL’s most impactful skater, as judged by the voters. And the Hart has usually gone to a forward (about 80% of the time). This year’s ‘nominees’ (the top three vote getters) were forwards Jarome Iginla, Evgeni Malkin and Alexander Ovechkin.
The Lester B. Pearson Award is awarded to the player judged, by his peers, to be “the most outstanding player”. In the voting for the NHLPA’s award the players have shown an even greater bias towards forwards than do the hockey writers who choose the Hart winner.
continued with Ryder’s picks and analysis of all the contenders
Update 3:20pm ET: Allan Muir at Sports Illustrated also Handicaps the NHL Hardware today.
From Damian Cristodero at the St. Petersburg Times,
He appreciated the on-ice structure Tortorella brought in seven seasons as Lightning coach and said, “Definitely he will have success. I don’t think he’ll have a tough time finding another job.”
Still, the superstar center said, there were times last season that Tortorella’s finger-to-chest style was difficult for some younger players to handle.
“He was very tough on young players,” Lecavalier said. “His emotions sometimes made it difficult. I’m not saying that in a bad way. That’s the type of coach he is. He is very aggressive, very emotional and very into the game.”
Spector has been busy today, gathering together all the latest speculation on where the coaches will end up; Leafs, Penguins, Blues and CBJ rumors; and of course, free agency rumors from around the NHL.
Michael Leighton has made his way back to the NHL.
The Carolina Hurricanes signed the veteran goaltender to a US$1.2-million, two-year contract on Wednesday. Leighton received a one-way deal and will start next season as Cam Ward’s backup.
More at Lord Stanley’s Blog in the News & Observer
From Iain MacIntyre at the Vancouver Sun,
He failed to deliver a Stanley Cup to Vancouver, yet somehow exceeded everything expected of him. This says everything about Trevor Linden, whose legacy far exceeds the narrow boundaries of the Vancouver Canucks’ hockey rink.
Linden was the face of the franchise—and its heart and conscience—for most of the last two decades. There will be better players, but possibly not a better person. And no athlete here will be able to match the enduring strength and personal nature of Linden’s bond to this city and its fans, which is why his retirement announcement today will be as poignant and it was expected.
Twenty years to the day after he was drafted second over-all, Linden is leaving the National Hockey League at age 38. There will not be another like him, at least for the Canucks.
Update 3:17pm ET: Video of Linden’s retirement speech.
From Larry Wigge at NHL.com,
Hockey bloodlines, you see, are notoriously accurate in predicting which players you might take a harder look at in the annual draft. This year is no different. For instance:
* Alex Pietrangelo will be the first player picked in this draft who has ties to the game. His dad’s second cousin is Frank Pietrangelo, who was a goaltender in the NHL for many years with Pittsburgh and Hartford.
* Colin Wilson is the son of former NHL center Carey Wilson.
* Philip McRae is the son of former NHL winger Basil McRae.
From Dan Rosen at NHL.com,
The decision, though, is up to Roberts. He said he would have to take the summer to reassess his situation and his drive only because of the arduous season he has just gone through.
Roberts, as we mentioned before, is the king of fitness, but he has battled a respiratory infection, a broken leg, a high ankle sprain, a groin strain and a mild case of pneumonia this year.
“Well, I mean obviously I’d be lying to you if I didn’t think about (retirement),” Roberts said. “For sure it’s a thought of mine, but it’s nice to have my legs finally. It’s been since Christmas. I’m excited about the way I feel.”
The way he played in the Stanley Cup Final, too.
From Steve Schrader at the Free Press:
[Jay] Leno also asked if Timberlake taught them anything in return for the hockey lessons.
And the Wings launched into Timberlake’s tune “SexyBack,” singing “we’re bringing sexy back” once and then switching to “we’re bringing Stanley back.”
From Robin Collum in the Edmonton Journal, the words of John Osgood:
“I’m a hockey dad, so I know it’s a 60-minute game, and I knew that in Detroit in Game 5 when they scored in the last minute to extend the series.
“So in the last minute in Pittsburgh when it was 3-2 and everybody was up cheering, I was sitting. I was watching the screen, and it was 5.2 seconds left, and the puck was at centre ice, so I risked standing up and starting to celebrate,” he said. “Then, all of a sudden, it’s a two-one-one down low, Crosby’s got the backhand, Hossa’s got the puck and throws it through the crease.
“But it worked out and it was so emotional, but a sense of relief, too, that it was over. I think I was more nervous than Chris was.”
From Michael Russo at Russo’s Rants,
As for the big-shot Bergeron, I talked to Risebrough twice Tuesday, once before his flight to Toronto for the goalie equipment trimming meetings and once after. He believes Bergeron will be a guy who can play regular minutes, not just a bunch of power-play minutes. He says part of the motivation was to be a fill-in for Foster while he’s out, but “that doesn’t mean it’s one or the other. It will be an improvement to have both when Foster’s back.”
Bergeron has a club option for next year at $1.653 million. The Ducks almost certainly wouldn’t have exercised that. So why didn’t the Wild wait for free agency? Risebrough says other teams were interested in Bergeron, and Brian Burke was definitely going to trade him. In other words, he wouldn’t make free agency, according to Risebrough.
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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