Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Ottawa Citizen:
Just eight games ago, Ottawa Senators coach Bryan Murray thought Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley were as inseparable as Laverne and Shirley, as smooth as Crosby and Hope.
By the time Spezza returns from a knee injury, though, he and Heatley could find themselves as fractured as Britney and Kevin.
The reconfigured line of Heatley, Daniel Alfredsson and Chris Kelly has been so productive that Murray said yesterday he’d have to consider doing what he once thought unthinkable: splitting up Spezza and Heatley.
from the National Post:
In the last NHL news release, about a week before voting closed, Scott Niedermayer was first among Western Conference defencemen. Lidstrom was second, fewer than 36,000 votes ahead of Fitzpatrick. It was at that point that the voteforrory.com lobby really went to work.“We were voting so much, the server was slowing down to a crawl,” said founding member Steve Schmid. “It kept popping up with errors. We just killed it the last couple of hours.
“Lidstrom and Niedermayer, they haven’t had one 100,000-vote week yet. We’ve already had two weeks where we had over 140,000 votes,” he added. “Unless the NHL decides to tamper with the results, I’m absolutely positive he’ll get in.”
The man in question isn’t as worried, as he told the Vancouver Province’s Ben Kuzma:
“I could have come out and said this is stupid, but who knows what kind of reaction that would have got or if it would have got more attention,” added Fitzpatrick.
“It could have created more of a stir. I just tried to keep it fun and not stressful. If it got to be a distraction for the team or too much, I might have handled it differently.”
“To be honest, I kind of represent the majority—the 40 or 50 who are going are the superstars and pretty special and that’s why they’re going,” he said. “As far as players, they’d embrace me. It’s just the sideshow effect I wouldn’t want to be a part of.”
from Spector at his Fox Sports blog,
That’s the claim of the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Tim Panaccio, who cited a source claiming Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe was offering up forwards Raffi Torres and Joffrey Lupul in exchange for Pitkanen….
If Pitkanen were available and Lowe did make that offer then the only question for Holmgren would be, “What are you waiting for?”
much more... and I agree with Mr, Spector, if Lowe did offer those two players, Holmgren should have been waiting by the fax machine…
The three cities hoping to host the 2014 Winter Games have completed their final bids and all will be handed over to the International Olympic Committee by Wednesday’s deadline.
Pyeongchang, South Korea; Salzburg, Austria; and Sochi, Russia, have until Wednesday to ensure their “candidature files” are given to the IOC in Lausanne, Switzerland. Sochi submitted its bid Monday, with Pyeongchang expected to follow Tuesday. Salzburg’s bid will be handed over on Wednesday
Randy Carlyle & Lindy Ruff were on an NHL tele-conference call today.
Q. It looks like the Rory Fitzpatrick thing may not happen now. Is that a relief for you? How would you handle a situation where a player is voted on to the team by fans? A lot of people have been criticizing that.
RANDY CARLYLE: Well, I’m a traditionalist. I had a plan that I don’t think I’d like to commit to or tell you guys actually about it. Rory Fitzpatrick and the situation, it would have been voted in. We would have had to make a decision as a coaching staff on how much he would have had to play or how much we would have played him. The bottom line is, if he does play, he’s been selected, and that’s the format that the league has provided. Depending on us, how much he would have played. That’s the only thing I can say about it. I don’t think the player shouldn’t be there because if the fans—if that’s the format that’s put in place, he deserves—he’s deserved of the votes, he gets the vote, he’s going to be there. How much he plays probably would have been a conference between Barry Trotz and myself.
Q. Randy Carlyle was asked about Rory Fitzpatrick, if he were to make the All-Star Game. He said that Rory wouldn’t likely receive a shift that often. What were your take be on that? How would you handle that situation if he did make the team?
LINDY RUFF: Well, I think obviously it’s a tough situation for Rory to be in. I think overall he handled the situation very well. The All-Star team is based usually on the players that have performed the best in the first half of the year. Rory’s situation, Rory is a great guy, a great competitor. The All-Star voting wasn’t meant to go that way. I guess if he was in, as a coach you would probably limit his ice time in lieu of the guys it was meant to be for.
The full transcript from both coaches…
from the Philadelphia Flyers,
Finally on the last stop of their eight-city tour that has been the current road trip, the Philadelphia Flyers practiced on Monday afternoon in Washington with the hopes of rebounding from a 6-1 loss to Ottawa on Sunday.
Prior to practice, the coaching staff met with the veterans regarding the direction of the team for the remaining 40 games of the regular season.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
While it’s obvious that there’s no solution that will make everyone happy, there are accommodations that can—and should—be made. The current proposal calls for the divisional breakdown to go like this:
Northeast: Montreal, Boston, Buffalo, Toronto, Ottawa, Pittsburgh and Washington.
Southeast: Rangers, Islanders, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Carolina, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Florida
Central: Detroit, Columbus, Nashville, St. Louis, Dallas, Minnesota and Chicago
Pacific: San Jose, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Colorado, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.
from John Buccigross at ESPN,
With that in mind, if the NHL paid me a large consulting fee to be a part of an NHL think tank, where ideas are thrown around in an attempt to enhance the game and, perhaps, grow it, I would construct the following arguments on fighting, complete with devil’s advocate responses (D.A.).
1. The presence of possible fighting deters cheap hits and dangerous stick play.
Devil’s Advocate: Mandate full-facial protection, like the NFL. Eye injuries would virtually disappear and dental premiums would probably plummet; or severely penalize stick and head infractions to the point where players can’t afford to purposely cross the line. The price would be huge.
from Darren Eliot at Sports Illustrated,
A perusal of the NHL through the first half of the schedule reveals one constant: streaks—as in winning and losing games in clusters. No team seems immune to prolonged losing, or incapable of extended winning, whether it sits atop its division or languishes near the bottom.
Certainly, losing skids lead to fan angst, but the other side of the equation is that winning streaks provide those same despairing fans with fresh hope.
Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo, Ottawa Senators left wing Dany Heatley and San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending Jan. 7.
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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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