Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
Wayne Gretzky was the planned surprise guest at the party the Vancouver Giants are having for Gordie Howe to celebrate his 80th birthday today, but while he said he wouldn’t be able to come, he’ll surely find a way to send along his regards.
The Great One took some time here to tell a few of the tales of his interaction with the man Reggie Fleming used to call “Blinkey” as a way to try to get under his skin, always a dangerous proposition. And it all started with that famous picture of the two taken when he was just 10 years old; Wayne remembers it like it was yesterday.
“I remember I was getting out of school that day because I was meeting Gordie at the Holiday Inn at 2’ o’clock,” said Gretzky
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Somehow, the sixth-place Rangers are only four points ahead of the ninth-place Sabres, though they do hold a game in hand on Buffalo. Somehow, the Rangers are fighting for their playoff lives following last night’s 3-0, empty-net-abetted defeat here to the Lightning.
Somehow? Here’s how: The power play, even more pathetic last night than usual while going 0-for-3, is operating without purpose, confidence or competent play from the point, yet coach Tom Renney refuses to adjust his personnel….
Somehow? Here’s how: Despite diminishing returns from veterans Martin Straka and Brendan Shanahan, Renney opted against a rest-and-replenishment night for either, even with three games in four nights coming up this week beginning with Tuesday’s Garden match against the Penguins that will be followed by games in New Jersey and Philadelphia.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
The Senators can buy out goalie Ray Emery between June 15 and June 30 at one-third of the $6.75 million left on the last two years of his deal. That would be spread out over four years, or $562,000 each year on the cap. Bet on them doing it.
much more NHL talk…
via the LA Times,
“I don’t think we’re happy about it,” (Scott) Niedermayer said of the suspension. “It’s not something you want to have happen for sure. But, again, Chris is a guy that plays an intense game. And we know that. I’m sure he’s said this before that he’s not going to change the way he plays.
“I personally think the incident was a lot different than a lot of incidents that happen. It was just a quick reaction that could be viewed in many, many ways.”
Said goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere: “You know Pronger is a competitor and sometimes he gets emotionally involved in the game. These things happen. That’s not to defend what he did. But we’ll have to accept the consequences and move forward.”
There are those who believe the NHL should enlarge nets, shrink goalie equipment and implement more four-on-four hockey to increase scoring.
Former National Hockey League forward Scott Mellanby fuelled the debate during Saturday’s Hotstove segment on Hockey Night in Canada.
Mellanby suggested the league break from tradition and have teams defend the end of the ice opposite their bench in the first and third periods.
Entering play Saturday, 2,058 goals had been scored this season in the second period, compared to 1,683 in the first period and 1,844 goals (excluding 185 empty-net markers) in the third frame.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
It’s really going to be up to Babcock to decide if he wants to stay with the Wings. He holds the option on the last year of his contract, which means he has the hammer in negotiations.
At this point, it doesn’t seem likely Babcock will leave the Motor City, but things could change if the club underachieves in the playoffs this spring.
If Babcock, 45, were to become available, Senators GM/coach Bryan Murray would almost certainly have an interest in speaking to him.
read on an many more NHL bits…
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Chris Simon and those close to him, including current and former teammates, are disgusted and outraged over Chris Pronger’s eight game exile that is dwarfed by the 30 games Simon was banished for following a similar stomping incident in December.
The NHL understands the outpouring of emotion and predicted as much, but will say while acts appear similar; the intent is what defines the difference.
It is over and done, time to move on in my opinion.
It was only the other day that I realized The Hockey News had Jamie McLennan blogging, and then I didn’t get around to reading his posts until today. (Which was quite foolish of me—the guy’s hilarious.) Here’s a sample from his most recent post, talking about his first round playoff experience in Seoul, Korea:
It was a chance for me to visit another country on my world tour and also an opportunity to see if yet another country’s immigration department would challenge the validity of Tyson Nash’s documents.
Although listed in his papers as somewhat human and standing just barely inches above an average countertop, Tyson’s appearance raised some red flags. The Koreans immediately took issue with our team’s approach of transporting him in his custom-made cage with an automatic feeder.
With the cage dimensions being equal to that of a golf bag, the only real issue was why his mouth guard, very badly decayed and barely recognizable, was traveling in a separate case.
from Jamie Baker at Seagate Broadcaster Blog (before the suspension came down),
I haven’t seen the video of Chris Prongor who allegedly stomped on Ryan Kesler. I do know this however; Prongor is sending a message to everyone that he means business. I know fans love to hate him, but the reality is he tries to hurt players. Teams have a few options for this type of intimidating tactic. One, complain to the league and say Prongor does not inhibit sportsmanship. Two, go after Prongor. Three, go after someone else on the Ducks, say Getzlaf or Kunitz or Scott Niedermeyer.
The National Hockey League has handed Anaheim Ducks defenceman Chris Pronger an eight-game suspension for stomping on Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler in a game Wednesday night.
The team has nine games remaining in the regular season, starting Saturday night against the St. Louis Blues. He is eligible to return for the team’s final game on Apr. 6 against the Phoenix Coyotes.
Update 3:07pm ET: From the LA Times,
“I’d like to apologize to Ryan Kesler, the Vancouver Canucks, my teammates, and the National Hockey League for my actions last Wednesday night,” Pronger said in a statement. “While I did not intend to injure Ryan, I respect the league’s decision on this matter and look forward to returning to the ice and leading my teammates into the playoffs.”
Update 3:13pm ET: From the CP via Hockey.com,
“In attempting to free himself, Pronger carelessly and recklessly brought his foot down,” Campbell said in a statement.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Pronger is considered a repeat offender. He will forfeit US$609,756.08 in salary. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Note: video and previous commentary here.
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.
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