Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Staten Island Advance,
Oh, the joy of it. What could be better for the Devils and their fans than leading the Atlantic Division while keeping the pressure on the Buffalo Sabres for first place in the Eastern Conference?
Actually, that’s an easy one: Watching the rival Rangers struggle just to claim a playoff spot and taking some sinister satisfaction. And a Devils sweep in this week’s home-and-home showdown with the Rangers would be like stepping on their rivals’ fingers as they hang onto the playoff cliff for dear life.
from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
For a change, they’re buyers rather than sellers, so adding help is at least an option.
Their needs are another defenseman, a first-line winger and a face-off specialist, in that order. And the Pens, presumably, wouldn’t have to pay a Peter Forsberg-type ransom to address at least two of them.
They should be able to obtain an experienced defenseman (Jassen Cullimore of Chicago or Aaron Miller of Los Angeles) for much less.
Phoenix center Yanic Perreault figures to be more pricey, but still affordable, as are Canadiens defensemen Sheldon Souray, Andrei Markov and Craig Rivet.
from the Edmonton Journal,
The artificial laboratory that was the 2004-05 lockout year, when GMs, players and owners could all focus on the overall good of the game since no actual games were being played, keeps receding like the tide.
But self-interest is reasserting itself with vigour. So Burke, who wants to deploy toughness and physical intimidation as a tactic, wants the rules to be tweaked to help that cause. Shero, who does not employ a goon to ride shotgun for Crosby, is disinclined to favour such a rule change.
It will be up to the owners to hold the line on the NHL agenda of selling its stars, not letting the league backslide toward the pre-lockout game, in which brute force was valued as highly as skill, in which vigilante justice dominated.
from the Tennessean,
The Predators have aggressively marketed Forsberg, including taking out full-page advertisements in The Tennessean. Steve Violetta, the Predators executive vice president of business affairs, would not disclose how much the Predators will spend on marketing and promoting Forsberg but did say the organization has not spent any money beyond what originally was in the marketing budget.
The strategy seems to be working. According to Predators officials, at the start of last week, the team had sold 9,432 tickets for Monday night’s game against Phoenix. After the Forsberg trade, and just before the puck dropped Monday night, the total of paid tickets had surpassed 12,000.
“That’s an incredible amount of tickets sold for a Monday game in a short amount of time,” Violetta said.
from the Denver Post,
Avalanche captain Joe Sakic has worn the same shoulder pads since 1989. He stopped wearing them in games two years ago, but still straps them on for every practice.
They look like an old newspaper, held together by a couple pieces of string. They are old enough to look like they should be in a museum. That, or a good laundromat.
“I don’t like new stuff,” said Sakic, 37. “I had to finally break down and change them for the games, though. Otherwise, they would have rusted out.”
Quote of the Day from Mike Babcock via the Detroit Free Press,
“You’d always like to improve your hockey team, but I’d like to have a house on a hill in Aspen, too,” coach Mike Babcock said Monday. “But there’s a cost to that, so that’s where you have to do your math and work it out. How do we win at playoff time and how do we have the best roster we can for next season? That’s where the tough decisions come.”
from the Vancouver Province:
Interpretations of NHL hooking infractions are like the Vancouver weather during the monsoon season—grey, foggy and frustrating.
Amid confusion as to what actually constitutes hooking—and the lack of consistency in its enforcement—general managers will discuss a better definition of the penalty before their meetings conclude Wednesday in Naples, Fla.
“What’s happening is guys are making good stick checks and getting penalized,” added [Willie] Mitchell, who’s the least penalized Canuck blueliner with 24 minutes in 44 games. “Stick-on-stick checks with a coming-down motion where you knock it out of the way, I think is fine as long as it’s not up on the hands—I do believe that’s a penalty.
“But the lifting of sticks is not rewarding good play. They’re trying to free up the game and the league wants more offence, but as players all we ever ask for is consistency.”
from Bob McKenzie at TSN,
Every team in the league knows that Bertuzzi has a bad back, but the major issue so far is the asking price. The Panthers are trying to get top-end prospects like Jiri Hudler and Cory Perry for a guy that will become an unrestricted free agent in July and who has a bad back that might stop him from playing the rest of year.
What could happen at the deadline could be a soft deal for Bertuzzi, something like a conditional draft pick deal where the pick would improve based on Bertuzzi’s performance, the team’s performance or if he re-signs with his new team.
Bob addresses Gary Roberts too…
from Randy Covitz of the Kansas City Star via the Mercury News,
“If you had gone to Vancouver, Calgary or Edmonton five years ago, you would have seen large pockets of empty seats,” Bettman said recently. “It came back. We’re still morphing into the new world; some clubs have done it better and faster than others, and some were healthy to begin with, but they’re all heading in the right direction.
“Nashville is in better shape now than it was three years ago, and my hope is they get their act together as a market and support this club. It’s the corporate community that hasn’t stepped up, and that’s a concern. Is that a hockey issue? No, it’s a Nashville issue.”...
“We have over the last year received expressions of interest from a number of cities,” Bettman said at the NHL All-Star meetings last month. “We’ve been focused on dealing with the franchises we have. I know there is a very nice, new building (in Kansas City), but we are focused on having 30 healthy teams right now where they are.”
So if the Penguins reach an agreement for a new arena in Pittsburgh, that will leave Kansas City eyeing Nashville or one of the two teams in Florida.
from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,
...Only this season, with a bit of the euphoria finally wearing off even in the hockey heartland, is the true measure of that “victory” beginning to become apparent.
The sport is dead as a national television property in the United States. Not struggling. Not in development. Dead….
What is obvious are more vast stretches of empty seats than ever before, most dramatically in what were once very good hockey towns: St. Louis, Chicago and Boston. The Blues, for a game against the Blackhawks this season, opened the doors and watched as only 5,400 fans (announced) walked through the turnstiles.
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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