Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the KYIV Post,
More than one Westerner caught in a career rut back home has headed off to Eastern Europe in search of a new start.
And 49-year-old Ohio native Curt Fraser might seem typical if it weren’t for his impressive past as a hockey pro.
Only a few years ago, Fraser was head coach for the Atlanta Thrashers, following 12 years as a left winger for the Vancouver Canucks, Chicago Black Hawks and then Minnesota North Stars.
But at the end of 2002, he was dismissed by the Thrashers, and his job prospects looked dim – at least until he was offered the chance to take charge of the Belarusian national hockey team, the darling of Europe’s last dictator, Alexander Lukashenko.
from the Tennessean,
Trotz has always maintained that Vokoun is the No. 1 goalie, but the coach has nonetheless found himself in an interesting situation ever since Vokoun returned from more than six weeks on injured reserve.
Vokoun had established himself as one of the league’s elite goalies over the past few seasons, but was predictably rusty and is still playing with a small plastic support on his left thumb.
Then there’s Mason, who made a better showing than anyone could have predicted filling in for Vokoun — starting 21 consecutive games, posting a 14-6-1 record and producing the league’s best save percentage at .928.
from James Mirtle,
It’s all based on the premise that, if you get 95 points in the standings, you’ll make the playoffs. There’s a chance you can sneak in with 93, maybe even 92, but beyond that, it’s going to be pretty unlikely under the NHL’s kooky everybody-gets-a-point system.
This is how hard it’s become for the Philadelphia Flyers to attract walk-up ticket sales.
Taking a page from the Phillies, the Flyers will hold a Dollar Hot Dog Night on Monday, Feb. 19, against the Boston Bruins.
Yes, the Flyers, normally one of the toughest tickets in town, are having trouble filling the Wachovia Center. It seems the team’s die-hard fans, who are year-in and year-out the most passionate group in the NHL, aren’t too thrilled with watching a squad that is currently a whopping 11 points behind any other in the entire NHL and is a putrid 3-15-6 at home.
from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Today would have been another chance for the brothers Johnson to catch up. Last summer, Greg signed a contract with the Detroit Red Wings, who will face the Blues tonight at 7:05. But a heart condition, detected during a preseason physical, forced Greg to retire from the NHL at age 35. Today, he lives with his family in Detroit.
“With Greg in the league, I always felt like he was there looking over me,” Ryan said. “This year, it almost felt weird the first couple of months not having him there. I’ve definitely felt like I’ve been playing a little bit for him this year just because I know how much he loved the game. I feel like I’m carrying a little bit of extra something with me this year.”
from Ed Willis of the Vancouver Province,
Bettman remains impervious to any criticism of his administration or the game’s direction, as the commissioner again demonstrated during a 40-minute presser in which he said absolutely nothing of interest.
He would, in fact, tell you the male-enhancement product is a natural for the NHL because it represents, er, growth ... and strength ... and upward mobility.
Actually, when asked about the NHL’s relationship with Versus, Bettman said: “We like the treatment we’re getting from Versus. They’re very NHL-focused in terms of their telecast. Their intermissions are about us, not about everything else in sports.”
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
The NHL’s 30 general managers will travel to Naples—Florida, not Italy—in 10 days to play the Deal or No Deal game with the clock ticking on the Feb. 27 trade deadline.
Who’s buying? Who’s selling?
Here’s a quick look at the NHL field, and what teams might do…
They’re looking for a big rental winger (they like Fred Modin) to presumably play with Teemu Selanne and Andy McDonald and a No. 4 or No. 5 defensive-type blue-liner. Their problem: they have no draft picks in the first round (the Oilers have it) or the second round.
Trade talk is heating up and Spector is on it today…
Early mornings and late nights will be his M.O. for the next 19 days…
from the Globe and Mail,
“I probably wouldn’t have gotten the chance in Toronto that I got in Chicago,” Sullivan said. “At the time with Pat, there wasn’t room to grow. Toronto had a good team that made the playoffs for the next [five seasons]. In Chicago, there was ice time to learn and you knew you were going to play every day.
“I was young. There were some nights I deserved to be in the lineup [in Toronto] and there were times I didn’t deserve to be in the lineup. There was the idea that [Quinn] liked bigger players, but I feel that if I was able to produce on a regular basis, I don’t think my size would have been a concern.”
from the Toronto Sun,
For a man who has battled two cancer procedures in the past three years, former Maple Leafs coach Pat Burns is well on the road to recovery.
Yet when he talks about his seemingly never-ending scrap with the deadly disease, Burns considers the experience as black-and-white as the spiffy tuxedo he was wearing at the Conn Smythe Sports Celebrities Dinner and Auction in support of Easter Seals Kids at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre last night.
You either fight it to the best or your ability.
Or you die.
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