Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Calgary Sun,
This morning, a mere 18 sleeps later, the Avs are only four points back of the Flames with both teams having 10 games remaining.
The Flames are looking over their shoulders.
“Everybody’s written us off but that’s fine,” said centre Craig Conroy, one of a handful of players who practised yesterday. “You have bumps and hiccups (in a season) but who’s to say this isn’t it? This could be the point where it turns around and things start going great.
“It’s got to start Tuesday, though, because we can’t take any time off and can’t wait any longer because Colorado’s coming and we’ve put ourselves in this position.”
from the Montreal Gazette,
Goaltender Michael Leighton was given a warm welcome by his new Canadiens teammates when he joined them in Buffalo on March 2, three days after being plucked off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers.
“And then the guys told me I should put Velcro on the front of my practice jersey,” Leighton recalled, grinning. “That way, I could tear off the crest and add a different one every other week.”
Montreal is Leighton’s sixth team this season - from the Anaheim Ducks to their American Hockey League minor-pro Portland Pirates, to the Nashville Predators, to Philadelphia (the Flyers and their AHL Phantoms) and finally to the Canadiens, where he’ll finish the season.
from the Dallas Morning News:
Nashville Predators management did a disservice to the game of hockey Saturday night by not informing the crowd of Mike Modano’s achievements, Stars president Jim Lites said Sunday.
And further, coach Barry Trotz’s comments praising Jordin Tootoo for showing calm when punching Stephane Robidas was “patently ridiculous,” according to Lites.
“Their owner, management, public relations people, coaching staff – I think they all failed the game,” Lites said. “It’s because of people like Mike Modano that they even have a team in Nashville. He has helped pioneer the game in the South, and for him to be treated like that in a milestone moment ... it’s just a horrible thing.”
“I understand it’s a competitive situation, but we’re also working together to sell the game,” Lites said. “They get more money from revenue sharing than any team in the league, they voted against the new schedule because they wanted to have an easier schedule for themselves. They take and take and take and take and never give back, and I’m sick of it.”
added 8:35am, via David Vest of the Arizona Republic,
It is also unfortunate that fans in Nashville could not see the big picture and/or are not hockey-savvy enough to appreciate what they witnessed.
Spectators inside the Gaylord Entertainment Center reportedly booed and mocked Modano after he scored his record-setting goal late in the third period of a nasty game the Predators won 3-2.
from Scott Morrison of the CBC,
Quite likely, Tootoo will receive a suspension of at least a few games and the league makes headlines again for all the wrong reasons, which again raises the question of whether harder, black-and-white penalties need to be in place for any kinds of blows to the head. Of course, had Tootoo and Robidas been actually fighting, he would have been applauded for the knockout.
And what about sticking up for star players getting hit, is that line between answering a clean or dirty check becoming a little blurred?
from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,
Why didn’t Bob Gainey go out and get a goaltender at the trade deadline?
Of course, there would be lots of other grist for the mill as well, Alexei Kovalev’s unfortunate Russian interview and Sergei Samsonov’s exile and the Craig Rivet trade, a move that may have unsettled the team’s delicate chemistry.
But in the National Hockey League, it has always been true that great netminding can turn mediocre teams into something more than the sum of their parts (see the New York Islanders minus Rick DiPietro). That was certainly the case at the Bell Centre on Saturday.
from the Star-Tribune,
“He is definitely jumping now,” White said after Wild practice Sunday afternoon. “But then, it takes a while to get the legs back.”
Rolston has been one of the team’s most consistent players since putting on a Wild uniform before the 2005-06 season. Last season he played in all 82 games for the third time in four NHL seasons, setting career highs in goals (34), points (79) and plus-minus (plus-14).
He was on pace to duplicate those numbers when, in early February, Rolston got a case of the flu that hit him harder than any 6-4, 250-pound defenseman could.
He could barely walk, much less skate. For nearly a week he was essentially bed-ridden while he recovered.
from the NCAA,
INDIANAPOLIS—The NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee has selected the 16 teams that will be participating in the 2007 NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship.
The championship playoff format involves four predetermined regional sites with four teams assigned to each site. The four regional winners advance to the Men’s Frozen Four. The entire championship uses a single-elimination format.
Automatic qualification privileges are granted to the postseason champions of six conferences. The remainder of the field is selected at large.
The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, was the No. 1 overall seed. The other No. 1 seeds, in order, included the University of Notre Dame, Clarkson University and the University of New Hampshire.
read on for the brackets…
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Bertuzzi’s addition can hardly be overestimated, especially given the uncertainty surrounding Henrik Zetterberg’s recovery from an inflamed disk. The Wings hope he will be able to resume playing before the regular season ends April 7.
In Zetterberg’s absence, Bertuzzi will reinforce the lineup. Whether he ends up playing with fellow big man Robert Lang, or with Pavel Datsyuk while Zetterberg is out, Bertuzzi will add size and bite. He is dangerous with the puck and ferocious without it; Chris Chelios, who has a colorful history of one-on-one battles him, tells a vivid story of one particularly run-in.
read on... and Pierre Lebrun of the CP mentioned last night Zetterberg has circled MArch 30th as his return date…
I think Alanah of Canucks & Beyond may have hurried off to the bar after her live blogging of the Wings?Canucks game last night.
By George James Malik:
When Wayne Gretzky speaks, the hockey world listens. Gretzky’s impassioned plea to the NHL’s referees (and front office), demanding more accountability for the vicious and violent hits that have become commonplace in the 2006-2007 season, was completely justified. Whether you believe that Craig Janssen, Chris Neil, and Ryan Hollweg were “finishing their checks” or wantonly attempting to injure their opponents, the resulting body count can’t be denied. In the case of Chris Simon, an uncalled boarding penalty resulted in the ugliest incident in NHL history since Todd Bertuzzi’s attack on Steve Moore.
Referees seem to refuse to call more than one set of penalties in our post-lockout NHL, and it’s bafflingly frustrating to see players regularly line up their opponents, cruise in, and pop their hard-plastic-covered shoulders up as they intentionally direct their momentum and body mass upward instead of outward, making contact with chins, temples, and the Reebok logo on the backs of NHL jerseys instead of chests, arms, or team crests. Allowing “battles” for the puck has devolved into a tacit approval of anything that isn’t interference.
The latter half of Gretzky’s statements, however, have been pounced upon by he NHL’s commentators:
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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