Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Now, with the Blues mired in their lengthiest slump since the coaching change, Murray is concerned that the club is reverting to its old ways. After Tuesday night’s 5-4 loss to Tampa Bay — the Blues’ ninth defeat in 11 games — Murray angrily suggested that a “losing culture” was infecting the team’s postseason hopes.
Asked Wednesday to elaborate, Murray said, “They haven’t won much here for about three years, and we’ve been trying to change that. Is that a culture issue? I don’t think our issues are physical, so are they environmental? I’m not sure.
“You kind of thought we were turning the corner ... you don’t want to slip back, and that’s what we’re trying to avoid right now.”
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
The Star has learned the NHL’s salary cap will rise by about $3 million (all figures U.S.) next year – the third straight rise in the cap under the current collective bargaining agreement.
“It depends on a lot of factors, but I expect the cap will go up at least $3 million,” said a source.
The rising value of the Canadian dollar is one reason forwarded for an increase in revenues, but commissioner Gary Bettman has said merchandising revenue and ticket sales were up across the league.
more on how the increase of the cap can help the Leafs…
from Karen Crouse of the New York Times,
“The challenge of coming back and trying to win the Stanley Cup again appealed to me,” Scott said. Looking back, he said, he simply needed time to recharge. “If Brian had forced my hand,” he said, “I’d still be sitting at home and Rob would still be driving by on his way to practice and wondering what I was doing.”
When they are together, the Niedermayers are like Alphonse and Gaston: they are bracingly polite. That does not mean they do not sometimes needle each other. Rob’s nickname for Scott is Norm, after the George Wendt character on “Cheers.” Scott’s corresponding nickname for Rob is Cliff.
From Tim Sassone in the Daily Herald,
“Power forwards are tough to find, and I think [Dustin Byfuglien] fits that position,” Savard said Wednesday. “Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am. I think I’ve got a pretty good eye on hockey players and really strongly feel he’s going to become a good power forward in this league.
“We’re still tweaking with him. We know he can play defense, but I believe he’s going to be a strong power forward in this league. He’s had some good games on defense, too. I’m not saying we’ll never use him there again, but for now he fits up front, and we’ll evaluate everything as we go on.”
Not a hockey story, but it still caught my eye… from The University Daily Kansan:
Big 12 Rookie of the Week Krysten Boogaard is a 6-foot-5 freshman center from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Boogaard is coming into her own as a player, averaging 11.6 points, 7 rebounds and 2.6 blocks during the last five games. Her brother Derek is an enforcer for the Minnesota Wild of the NHL.
Q: Growing up, were you a bigger fan of basketball or hockey?
A: Well I grew up in a hockey family, like I was pretty much born in a hockey rink. So I really liked hockey and I tried it but it wasn’t something for me so I tried basketball. I’d say I was a bigger fan of basketball.
Q: Two of your brothers started a controversial camp, the Derek and Aaron Fighting Camp, for kids ages 12-18. What’s your stance on the camp?
A: I think it’s a good thing that they’re doing that because they’re teaching kids how to protect themselves if they do get into a situation where someone is going to try and fight them. It’s just like Tae Kwon Do or anything like that. The game plan is not to go out and fight somebody.
from the CP via TSN,
While the Detroit Red Wings are runaway leaders in the overall standings, they won’t necessarily represent the West in the championship series, says Clarke.
“Obviously, (GM Ken) Holland has the right people to get players for them, and (Mike) Babcock does a great job coaching,” says Clarke. “They’ve got a highly-skilled team and they have some physical players.
“They’re a tough team, Detroit, but a lot of the games they’re winning are by one goal. They’re good, but it doesn’t mean they’re like the old Oilers used to be. They could beat you by six or seven. Detroit’s really good but I don’t think anybody would concede they’re going to win the Cup.”
Bobby Clarke talks about other NHL topics…
from the Ottawa Citizen,
If fans of the Ottawa Senators are worried about their favourite team, owner Eugene Melnyk isn’t.
In fact, he’s boldly predicting that the team’s season is not going to end until mid-June, with another shot at the Stanley Cup.
“Don’t get the BBQ out till mid June,” he said in an e-mail Wednesday. “It is going to be a great run. Mark that.”
from the Windsor Star,
Almost immediately, coach Scotty Bowman recognized what Holmstrom’s ticket to success in the league was going to be.
“When I got over here Scotty told me never to leave the front of the net,” said Holmstrom, who has 20 goals and 36 points in 44 games. “He said. ‘Don’t even go into the corner, just stay in front.’
“I don’t mind it (playing in front); sooner or later the puck is going to come to the front of the net because that’s where everything happens.”
From Neil Stevens at the CP via Yahoo!,
Living in the Detroit region doesn’t mean he buys into the Red Wings’ marketing slogans.
“My whole life I’ve tried to explain to people in America ... being in Detroit, it’s Hockeytown, so they say,” he said. “I call it Red Wings Town. Canada is Hockeytown, there’s no doubt about it. The fabric of the sport is Canadian for sure.”
Media attention paid to the Leafs “seems a lot more magnified now” than in his day. That could be explained by the proliferation of all-sports TV and radio stations since his playing days. He has only one regret.
“There’s nothing like it,” he said of playing in the NHL. “I had great personal accolades and individual accomplishments. I won championships at every level. The only thing I didn’t win was a Stanley Cup. There isn’t a day that goes by ... that’s the one thing I always think about.”
more… of an enjoyable interview with Al Iafrate
From Rick Sadowski at the Rocky Mountain News,
Avalanche center Paul Stastny practiced for the second day in a row this morning and said he felt fine, but he won’t play tonight against the San Jose Sharks at the HP Pavilion.
But Stastny, who underwent an appendectomy Jan. 17, is optimistic about returning to the lineup for Saturday’s game in Vancouver against the Canucks.
“Hopefully, after I skate for two more days, I’ll be ready Saturday,” he said. “It doesn’t feel any different, to tell you the truth. It feels good. Everything is good. I don’t feel any different than I did before I had the surgery.”
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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