Kukla's Korner Hockey
NEW YORK - TORONTO—Six of the NHL’s most prolific and creative scorers will showcase their best moves in quest of a ‘perfect 10’ when they square off against All-Star goaltenders in the inaugural Breakaway Challenge, the signature event in Saturday’s Dodge NHL SuperSkills Competition at the 2008 All-Star Weekend in Atlanta (7 p.m., ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS), the National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players’ Association announced today.
Three shooters from the Eastern and Western Conference will have two attempts to perform a highlight-reel trick while attempting to score. Shooters can start their routine from anywhere in the offensive zone and have full access to the offensive zone, including behind the net. NHL penalty shot rules do not apply
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
On a couple of levels — stylistic and strategic — the Avalanche at least temporarily has become what the organization used to belittle.
With Joe Sakic, Ryan Smyth and Paul Stastny on the injured list, this is the way the Avalanche probably has to play to remain afloat.
The Avs are not only playing Columbus and Minnesota, they’re becoming Columbus and Minnesota.
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
Even before Dion Phaneuf slipped on a Calgary Flames sweater, the predictions were made.
Without even skating in an NHL game, belief was the talented defenceman had a future that included one or more Norris Trophy accolades.
Now, in the midst of his third season, is that a fair belief? Does Phaneuf’s destiny include being the NHL’s best defenceman?
“Oh yeah,” said Flames centre Craig Conroy without flinching. “You look at the guys who are the top defencemen in the league—(Nicklas) Lidstrom, (Chris) Pronger, (Scott) Niedermayer, (Brian) Rafalski, even, is up there. How many are young guys? How many young, young guys can you say that about?
from the LA Times,
“The key to having success is you need to have a couple of guys take less money in a cap system,” Schneider said before Wednesday’s game. “Nicky Lidstrom did it, Tomas Holmstrom did it, so did Kris Draper. They still got Zetterberg on his four-year deal where he’s making two and a half [million].
“It’d be awfully hard to do in a year or two when they’ve got to sign all those players again. Fortunately, they got some of their top players at a discounted rate.”
Ducks defenseman Sean O’Donnell put scouting among the key reasons why the Red Wings have been able to maintain their status as a chief Cup contender every season.
“I think for the last 10 years, that’s really been the model organization,” O’Donnell said.
more (reg. req.)
Sharks coach Ron Wilson via Working the Corners,
“What’s going to happen if you don’t win that game? Now we’re the underachieving team again. Last week we were rated #1 team in hockey . . . It’s all a bunch of …
“Geeze, you win a few games, you lose a few games — it’s part of life in sports. It’s where you are at the end of the year. They don’t hand out awards for where we are today, tomorrow — it’s only at the end of the year and what you do in the playoffs….”
from Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News,
I wasn’t surprised to see Lindy Ruff take the blame for the Sabres’ recent slide. Ruff is a leader and a stand-up guy. He did the noble thing by pointing the finger at himself, deflecting criticism from his soft, overrated players.
But Ruff was too hard on himself. He’s not the problem. He’s taking the bullet for the Sabres’ bumbling and dysfunctional management — for General Manager Darcy Regier, managing partner Larry Quinn, and most of all, for absentee owner Tom Golisano, who has been conspicuously unavailable during this troubling and turbulent period.
from the Ottawa Sun,
Win and you’re in.
After alternating goaltenders for the last nine games, Senators coach John Paddock is changing things up in the net.
With an eye toward picking a clear-cut No. 1 after the next 10-15 games, Paddock is looking for either Martin Gerber or Ray Emery to show they’re worthy of the job.
Crunch time is coming.
Paddock put a time frame on it yesterday.
from the New York Times,
Leetch will get the credit he deserved Thursday night when the Rangers raise his No. 2 sweater to the rafters at Madison Square Garden.
“It’s important for people to recognize how great he was,” said Leetch’s longtime teammate, goaltender Mike Richter. “But it’s also important for him to recognize how much he meant to his teammates, to this city, to his sport. He’s one of the best that’s ever played his position, for sure.”
Leetch, perhaps the best American-born player, came to the Rangers fresh from the United States Olympic team in February 1988. He was 19.
The Rangers have set up a tribute page on Leetch, check it out for videos, stories, stats, etc…..
added 12:53pm, from Stan Fischler at Game On,
After scanning the morning papers today, the first thought that came to The Maven’s mind was that everything that could be said about Brian Leetch HAD been said.
The second thought—without coffee, mind you—was that NOT everything has been said.
So, here are a few of my personal reactions to Brian’s fabulous—and I rarely use that term—night at The Garden.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
“It’s not really on my mind whether I’m going to be a free agent or not,” Jagr told The Post yesterday. “The only thing that bothers me is that even if I do become a free agent, I would like to continue playing next year in the NHL and in New York, no other place, but we have to do good this year because why keep someone around if they don’t do it?...”
from Lightning Strikes,
We already know the basic plot of the day after the Lightning’s bad loss on Jan. 15 to the Avalanche; the 8 a.m. skate and then the players-only video session that lasted two hours and forced the players to be accountable to each other. We also have heard from coach John Tortorella about how it wasn’t done to embarrass the players.
But in a meeting with reporters on Wednesday, Tortorella for the first time gave a few extra details about the players-only session, what was expected and what was accomplished, and why, perhaps, it was the starting point for a three-game winning streak.
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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