Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Holmqvist Leads Bolts Charge

from the St. Peterburg Times,

The leg pads, as Johan Holmqvist recalled, came up to about his waist. They were the big, old-fashioned leather kind that got heavier and heavier as they got wet. Holmqvist said he was about 8 when the older boys on his street in his hometown of Tierp, Sweden, decided he would play in net. "They were 15 years old and they would fire tennis balls and rubber pucks at me," he said. "They said I was pretty good and I should try it on the ice." If they only knew. The Lightning goaltender is one of the NHL's hottest with four straight victories, a .917 save percentage in that stretch and a 2.22 goals-against average. He has earned playing time at the expense of struggling No. 1 Marc Denis and, for the short term, removed the backup label with which he started the season.

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World Cup ‘08? Discussions Today On NHL Participation

Via Scott Burnside at ESPN,

Representatives from the NHL and the Players' Association were scheduled to meet with IIHF president Rene Fasel on Tuesday to discuss the agreement that runs out at the end of the season. But the most pressing need for the NHL and its players is to decide how to proceed with the World Cup of Hockey, the Little Orphan Annie of international competitions.

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Smyth Hurt In Last Seconds Of Game Last Night

via the AP,

Shocked. Uncalled for. Dangerous. Those were some of the words Edmonton players were using after their star, Ryan Smyth, was taken down late in the Oilers' 4-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night. With 28 seconds left in the game, Smyth gingerly skated off the ice after taking a knee in the leg from Colorado's John-Michael Liles as Smyth tried to skate past him on a breakaway along the boards. Liles was called for kneeing. The original diagnosis was a charley horse. "I don't know," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said when asked of Smyth's condition.
update 9:55am. from the Edmonton Sun,
"That was a pretty dangerous play on Liles's part," said head coach Craig MacTavish. "Obviously a desperation play on his part. "If Smytty gets by him it's going in the back of the (empty) net, but it was a pretty dangerous play." The very early diagnosis is a charley horse and Smyth might not miss any time, but it's hard to tell moments after a guy hobbles off the ice. "You don't know how it's going to swell up." said MacTavish. "And it's going to be awfully painful."

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Talking Winnipeg & Quebec City

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

The National Hockey League has not given up on one day re-visiting Canadian markets in Winnipeg and Quebec City and, way down the road, will examine a second team in the Toronto area. Fielding those questions was new Hockey Hall of Fame builder Harley Hotchkiss, an executive with the Calgary Flames and chairman of the league's board of governors. "I think we have an obligation (to see if those markets can work)," Hotchkiss said yesterday. "There were great fans in those cities to support those teams. "Speaking as a Canadian our team had some great games against the Winnipeg Jets and Quebec Nordiques."

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Report Seems Outdated

from CTV,

While a study of NHL data finds teams that fight have a better chance of winning, a hockey author notes that was in the old NHL. "I'd like to see this study done again in another five to seven years," Stephen Cole, author of the Canadian Hockey Atlas, told CTV.ca on Monday. Former NHLer Mike Gardner was even more skeptical, saying: "I think you could probably do a study too that a team that ate spaghetti at a pre-game meal is more likely to win than a team that eats chicken."
continued In case you missed the study that is being referred to, you can check out an article from earlier in the day.

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Pointing At The NHLPA

from the Maven at Hockey Journal,

*Goaltender Dwayne Roloson, who often seems more consumed with harassing Ted Saskin than earning his millions playing hockey, is about to have the challenge of his “Look, I’m Rich” career. With Edmonton a mediocre 8-8-1 and trying to prove that its trip to the Finals last spring was no fluke, it’s now up to pseudo-union-expert Roloson to lead his club. Otherwise Rollie goes down as yet another vastly overpaid netminder, who always seems to be beefing about something rather than appreciating what he has. *Speaking of the Salary Cap, we haven’t heard a single player beef about the new system that the union had so vociferously fought; until Trevor Linden, Bill Guerin and Vince Damphousse wised-up the NHLPA. …
more from Stan Fischler... while on the topic, did you know The Maven has a blog?

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Gallant Gone

via the Columbus Blue Jackets,

COLUMBUS, OHIO - The Columbus Blue Jackets have relieved Gerard Gallant of his head coaching duties with the National Hockey League club, President and General Manager Doug MacLean announced today. MacLean will meet with the media in the press conference room at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday at 10 a.m. prior to the club's practice. Media parking is available in the service yard, located next to the loading dock on the northwest side of the arena. "I am extremely disappointed to announce that Gerard Gallant has been relieved of his head coaching duties with the Columbus Blue Jackets," said MacLean. "He has shown tremendous dedication to our organization over the past six-plus years and worked as hard as he could to help our team be successful. Unfortunately, we have not gotten off to the start we expected this season and while there are always a multitude of factors involved, we felt a change was needed."
Update 7:06pm, A coach is expected to be named tomorrow. Let the speculation begin. Update 9:20 pm, TSN is speculating that while assistant coach Gary Agnew will be named interim head coach, he will not be permanent replacement and there will still be a search for a new candidate.

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Going With One Or Two Goalies

from Darren Eliot at Sports Illustrated,

At first glance, many NHL teams have definitive starters in goal, with the backup getting spot starts, typically on road trips in the second game of back-to-backs. But with the league now governed by salary cap considerations, and goaltenders seeing more demanding action on a nightly basis due to increased power play time and more aggressive attacks unleashed by the rule changes, having two established goaltenders to share the load seemed to be a trend in the making.

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Kasparaitis Recalled

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that defenseman Darius Kasparaitis has been recalled from the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL) and left wing Nigel Dawes has been reassigned to Hartford (AHL).

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Rebuilding The Foundation

from Tripp Mickle at Sports Business Journal (paid sub.),

(John) Shannon has already trained cameramen in 12 cities; he hopes to get to the rest this season. To help that, the league has added three people to his department, one who joined the staff last week and two who will join it this month. “Because we’re dealing with 30-plus shows, different entities, different rights holders, we have to be patient,” Shannon said about the changes his department has been able to effect so far. “But as long as people are prepared to listen, it won’t be a problem. So far people have been sponges just dying for information.” Shannon thinks it will take three years before viewers see a qualitative improvement in the TV product at every regional carrier around the league. “I don’t think there’s anything short term about this,” he said. “We’re rebuilding the foundation.”
An excellent article in SBJ today on John Shannon and how his work will lead to an overall enhancement on how the game is delivered to hockey fans. I am attempting to get this story released to the hockey world. I should now something later in the day. update 2:23pm, Thanks to the folks at Sports Business Journal for making the link available so all can read. A must read for all hockey fans and comments are encouraged. note: this post first appeared at 11:37am today...

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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.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com





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