Kukla's Korner Hockey
In this week’s edition of Backchecking, TSN.ca’s Scott Cullen takes a sneak peek at this summer’s free agent market.
We can assume, in the vast majority of cases, that teams will have some interest in their own free agents at a certain price, but there is always the risk that once a player reaches the open market, they can be lured away to a new team.
Top Unrestricted Free Agents
Marian Hossa, RW, Pittsburgh - It hasn’t been a banner season for the 29-year-old sharpshooter, as it appears unlikely he’ll continue his four-year streak of scoring at least 80 points. Nevertheless, the Penguins will be faced with the prospect of trying to keep Hossa along with their current roster of premier young talent and there will be no shortage of suitors if he gets to the open market on July 1.
from Elliotte Friedman of the CBC at his blog From the Pressbox,
What Melnyk needs now is front-office stability. To fire the GM and the coach one year after reaching the Stanley Cup Final, well, that’s not intelligent. Good teams don’t do that. No one has a better idea of how to fix this Gong Show than Murray, and he deserves the opportunity. Let’s not forget that he was the architect of the current Stanley Cup champion and the bench boss of the reigning – but soon to be dethroned – Eastern Finalist.
Also, it would be a mistake to bring in someone new, since it would take that person time to evaluate the organization before making decisions. Critical decisions – such as dealing Jason Spezza before his no-trade kicks in – must be made before July 1. Any genius can tell you Ray Emery has to go, but only specific insight can figure out what’s really wrong in that rotten room. This is not something that can be considered into next season.
from Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
One of the Penguins’ greatest assets so far has been their attention to detail, and they demonstrated that again yesterday when, to a man, they refused to utter so much as an inflammatory syllable about the Senators, the series or any other subject.
“I’m sure Bryan Murray will say all the right cliches, and I’ll say all the right cliches,” coach Michel Therrien said.
“That’s the way it is.”
He proceeded to underscore his point by tossing out this insightful nugget: “We all know, No. 4 is the toughest one to win.”
Mind you, Therrien was a virtual verbal flamethrower compared to some of his players.
from the NY Daily News,
“They’re doing a very good job there (in Brodeur’s crease), they’re making it hard for him,” Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner told the Daily News. “I think we need to take the positive of what they’re doing there and incorporate it in our game.”
more on the Devils…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
...Fact is, the NHL’s unconstitutional adoption of a new rule in the middle of the playoffs without bothering to gain the required unanimous consent of the Board of Governors - a clarification; right, sure - is a far greater scandal than anything Avery did on Sunday.
A reading of this amendment to Rule 57 reveals that it is now legal for a player to wave his arms and/or stick in front of a goaltender’s face as long as the attacking player is not facing the netminder.
And please: Enough with the lectures on hockey morality from Don Cherry; enough from this xenophobe who has made a career out of European-bashing. Enough from him and his disciples.
from Japers’ Rink,
Dear Pope Benedict XVI -
While you’re in town and I’ve got your ear, I’d like to ask a favor. Now, I’m not Catholic, but I was wondering if you could take a quick second and have a word with the big guy and ask him to help Bruce Boudreau come to the realization that John Erskine has no business being on the ice in this series.
fro Ed Barkowitz of the Philadelphia Daily News,
Late in the second period, Briere would get in Huet’s kitchen again. This time, the goaltender knocked down Briere well after the play. Briere responded with a shot of his own. Both drew roughing minors after referee Don Koharski had seen enough.
“Sometimes the refs think he gets pushed into the goalie, but it doesn’t happen that way,” Huet said afterward. “If somebody does push him, he’s exaggerating. They’re not cheap shots. Everyone is trying to [go to the net] these days.”
Briere scored a killer power-play goal 3 minutes later.
“Look,” Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Danny Briere’s a pretty good hockey player, but we should be able to battle through that. We lost our cool too many times on retaliation penalties.”
from Jim Reeves of the Star-Telegram,
The Stars brought their infamous Sybil act to center ice Tuesday night at the AAC. Or was it Three Faces of Eve?
Whoever it was, she didn’t go over a bit well with the sellout crowd of 18,532. The fans showed up in black, as requested, expecting to see the same team that had played almost flawlessly in two impressive victories in Anaheim last week.
That Stars team must still be touring Magic Mountain or Knott’s Berry Farm. It certainly didn’t show up for Game 3, which didn’t break Anaheim’s heart at all.
from the CBC 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs Blog,
Perhaps it’s a testament to just how impressive the young Price has been this season that no one thought to ask his coach anything about him until the very end. But how many rookies, let alone rookie goalies, can enter the maelstrom of the NHL playoffs and act like he’s playing on his backyard rink?
“Everyday he shows that he’s one of the best,” said Habs winger Steve Begin. “He’s so calm it’s unbelievable. He just likes to win, and he doesn’t like to lose. ”
Price’s shutout was not the stuff of miracles because, as he himself pointed out, the Canadiens as a team were tenacious on defence and offered very little in the way of chances to the Boston Bruins.
But that’s assuming we’re not talking about the first period of the game.
from Adrian Dater at All Things Avs,
As a couple of the Minnesota writers have already noted tonight, Mark Kiszla’s “Ugly Betty” column wasn’t so off the mark, was it? What kind of hockey do you call that tonight, Wild fans? Are you denying your team gooned it up tonight, and only cost themselves even more doing that?
I’m going to stay out of the media fracas, but knowing Kiszla, I can guarantee he’s laughing pretty hard right now at how the game turned out.
from Russo’s Rants,
I take it back. Kiszla was right.
Talk about an ugly hockey game full of silliness. I never thought this would end. The Wild got so chippy out there, Peter Forsberg didn’t leave the bench in the third to protect him.
The Wild took a team-playoff-record 111 penalty minutes. Derek Boogaard played 2:03 and got 24 minutes of penalties. Stephane Veilleux, running around endlessly, took eight penalties, totaling 35 minutes.
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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