Kukla's Korner Hockey
From NHL.com’s Larry Wigge,
Mystery or secret weapon?
Some will say the silky-smooth Pavel Datsyuk is an enigma wrapped in a riddle and, well, a mystery because he came into the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season with zero goals in his last 26 games in the postseason.
By contrast, the numbers he’s put up in the regular season have solidified Datsyuk as a star…
Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Kovalev is at the centre of yet another media controversy.
Le Journal de Montreal and Radio-Canada in Quebec report that Kovalev recently gave an interview to Sovietsky Sports, saying he was unhappy with the way he was treated as a player this past season by the Canadiens.
According to Sovietsky, Kovalev added if things don’t change, wants out of the organization. The 13-year NHL veteran told journalist Pavel Lysenkov - his official biographer - that his gripe is not with Montreal journalists, but with the team itself.
From the AP via Toronto Star,
New Jersey Devils captain Patrik Elias will be sidelined for the first game of the second-round playoff series against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday because of a lingering cold.
“Patrik was here this morning and he will not be in the lineup,” Devils coach Lou Lamoriello said after the team’s morning skate. “He is much better. The way he feels, he’ll skate tomorrow and be ready for Saturday.”
From Reuters via MSNBC,
A blow to the chest of a young athlete from a ball, or hockey stick, or hard collision with another player, can trigger an irregular heartbeat that leads to sudden death — and commercially available chest protectors don’t do what they’re supposed to do, according to a new report.
“A significant proportion (about 40 percent) of sudden deaths reported in young competitive athletes due to blunt chest blows occur despite the presence of commercially available sports equipment generally perceived as protective,”
The study looked at 182 cases of the deadly irregular heartbeat condition “commotio cordis”. Of the 25 deaths analyzed, hockey injuries caused the majority:
The athletes who suffered fatal blunt chest blows were all male and between 5 and 23 years of age; their average age was 15. Thirteen were hockey players (including one goalie), ten were football players, six were lacrosse players (including three goalies), and three were baseball players (all of them catchers).
Potential Weakness for San Jose:
“Goaltending. I don’t know if Evgeni Nabokov has proven he can win the big games in the end. He has played really well so far, but now he has to deal with one of the best offensive teams in the league, so that could become an issue.”
more… *Rolston comments on all 4 Western Conference playoff teams
Be sure to check out the listings of hockey blogs and podcasts on Kukla’s Hockey Links page. Many are still busy covering their teams for the playoffs; and plenty keep it up even with their teams out of the playoffs. Lots of great choices to keep us entertained.
Also, the 2006-07 HockeyFights.com Awards are going on now. With categories like “Kocur Award: TKO or KO of the Year” and “The Biggest Let-Down Award”, you can have a little fun supporting your favorite (and least favorite) scrappers.
And finally, don’t forget to head over to the NHL’s own YouTube page for highlight videos, added most days.
Update 12:31pm ET:
If anyone’s interested, I’ve posted some audio of post-game trash-talk, depression and high-hopes with Earl from Battle of California, and J.J. of Canucks Hockey Blog. Both were good enough to share their thoughts with me on the air, after the Canucks/Ducks game last night. Earl was actually at the game when we chatted, so he’s in a pretty good mood, yet still very nice to this traumatized Canucks fan, so I had fun!
Update 1:24pm ET:
Joe Pelletier has written a post on a group of researchers who reconciled the Conn Smythe Trophy winners prior to the trophy’s birth in 1965, with some interesting results. Some hockey history to feed your brain.
Update 2:13pm ET:
How could I forget to mention all the celebrity bloggers covering their teams? Foolish of me. Find them here.
From Helene St. James at the Free Press,
The Wings drew admirers headed into the playoffs because of their depth—but six games in, that has dwindled. Holmstrom is nursing a cut left eyelid, and while he’s officially day-to-day, that can mean anything from a Game 2 return to missing two weeks. Brett Lebda is dealing with a sore right ankle, though he should return during the series. His injury further depletes a defense that saw Niklas Kronwall suffer a fractured sacrum in his pelvis March 30, which will keep him out through mid-May. [...]
The Wings need all four lines to generate offense, but two of those lines aren’t in top shape. Henrik Zetterberg missed practice Wednesday, meaning he won’t have practiced since Sunday’s end of the Calgary series.
Update 11:28am ET:
John Niyo at the Detroit News,
I’ve already gotten a half-dozen emails about the CBC mention on “Ater 40 Minutes” where they just casually threw out that Calder and Samuelsson have broken hands. Wings have denied it up till now. And I don’t expect that to change—this being the playoffs, you’re not going to get a straight answer out of anybody. But everybody saw Calder shaking hands with his left hand after the Calgary series.
*thanks to KK reader Millsz for the pointer!
From James Fink at ‘Business First’,
National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman, in his first visit to Buffalo in more than one year, remains impressed with the Sabres turnaround—both on and off the ice.
Bettman was in town to catch Wednesday’s opening game of the Sabres - New York Rangers playoff series.
As league commissioner, Bettman played a critical role in guiding the Sabres through their bankruptcy period that ran for nearly one year. The Sabres’ financial woes, which emerged in 2002, were the direct result of the accounting scandal that rocked former owner John Rigas, his family and Adelphia Communications Corp., the cable TV company he founded.
At the height of the scandal, the NHL took over ownership of the Sabres and kept the team afloat…
From John Glennon at The Tennessean,
Predators General Manager David Poile said Tuesday he doubts center Peter Forsberg will play in the NHL next season.
Poile stressed that his opinion was not based on talks with Forsberg since the end of the season, but simply on all the wear and tear that Forsberg has gone through over the course of his 12 NHL seasons.
Poile’s initial response to a question of whether he thought the Predators would re-sign Forsberg was, “Honestly, no.’‘
*My thanks to KK reader Jeff-OklahomaWingNut for bringing this story to my attention in the comments of a previous post
As might already be obvious by now, Paul will be unavailable today for family reasons, so you’re stuck with me yet again. I promise not to rant and cry about the Vancouver Canucks bad fortunes all day (F#$@*&!!!) nor make fun of Kukla’s beloved Red Wings.
Well, I’ll do my best on that last one… maybe we shouldn’t expect miracles.
Regular NHL updates will continue throughout the day. Thanks for your tolerance.
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org