Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Spector at Fox Sports,
The most under-rated free agent signing was defenseman Roman Hamrlik’s four-year, $5.5 million per season contract with the Montreal Canadiens.
Dismissed as a waste of money, Hamrlik brought stability and experience to the Canadiens’ blueline and was a significant reason for their improvement this season.
The worst UFA signing was forward Michal Handzus’ four-year, $16 million contract with the Los Angeles Kings.
Handzus was expected to be a strong two-way forward but in 81 games netted only 21 points and his plus-minus of -19 ranked among the worst in the NHL, not what Kings management had in mind when they signed him.
from the Press-Enterprise,
“I’m talking to guys who have ice packs and all kinds of things, my old teammates and buddies on other teams, and they’re saying, ‘It’s been a tough time,’ ” Selanne said with a laugh Saturday afternoon. “And I say, ‘Well, I feel great.’ I highly recommend that we play only 25 games before the real season starts and go from there.
“I’ve never felt this good. Obviously, the break was really good for me, mentally and physically, and hopefully I can take advantage of that.”
from the CP via the Calgary Sun,
Jarome Iginla scored his 50th goal of the season Saturday to lead Calgary to a 7-1 victory over the sagging Vancouver Canucks and boost the Flames’ confidence before the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Iginla, who also had two assists for a career high 98-point season, counted at 12:35 of the third period on a give-and-go with Eric Nystrom. He had been seeking the 50th goal for five games.
Watch #50 as called by Jim Hughson of CBC…
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
The problem is that “mangames lost to injury” is democratic, treating the absence of a fourth-line winger the same as the absence of a leading scorer.
As of Friday, in a comparison of figures calculated by teams themselves and compiled by the Avs’ public-relations staff, Colorado ranked seventh in man-games lost, at 322. The six teams with more were Florida (396), New York Islanders (390), Chicago (352), Boston (352), Edmonton (340), and Carolina (333). That made the Avalanche the only team in the top seven in the Western Conference playoff field.
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
You deal with the cards you’re dealt, and right now the Canadiens have all the right cards in their mitts. They know who they’re playing, and they’re playing well and winning consistently. Everything looks good for the playoffs when it’s considered they’re still winning without Saku Koivu and Mike Komisarek.
Okay, so you don’t have to remind me anything can happen in the playoffs, but somehow, I can’t imagine the Canadiens having too much of a problem with the Bruins. If I had a choice for my first-round opponent, it would be the Ottawa Senators, even though they won five of their eight games against the Canadiens this season.
It’s not only because the Bruins and Flyers made it to the Second Season through the front door and the Senators through the back. It’s because there has to be something terribly wrong with this Ottawa team off the ice as well as they were on it coming out of the starting blocks.
from Dan Steinberg of the Washinton Post,
Two female fans sported red tank tops with puffy paint spelling out slogans too racy for a family blog, and two more wore red T-shirts that read “Mrs. Ovechkin” and “Mrs. Backstrom.” They said the men of their dreams actually noticed these shirts.
“They kind of looked over and smiled,” reported 19-year-old Cam Mancini, the wishful Mrs. Ovechkin. “Probably thinking, ‘Okay, let’s call security now.’ “
Ten gents from Ontario, Canada—close friends of Caps winger Matt Cooke—arrived wearing matching off-red Caps T-shirts; some adorned with a handwritten “Cookie” on the back.
“If he scores I’m gonna streak tonight, maybe,” promised Gary Sage of Belleville. “It depends how much we drink, how long they’re going to keep me in jail, and if they can catch me. I’m big-boned, but I’m pretty fast.”
thansk to Ted’s Take for the pointer…
added 9:38am, Head Bangin Caps fans may enjoy this, others, like me, may walk away with a headache!
from Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,
The Jackets’ season was effectively over during Christmas shopping season. If you attended a party on New Year’s Eve, you might catch somebody discussing the talent at the top of the next summer’s draft.
This season wasn’t the same. It might seem like it because of increasing expectations, but it wasn’t even close. Coach Ken Hitchcock achieved his goal of making the Blue Jackets difficult for others to play against. His system allowed a team that didn’t have a depth of veteran talent to consistently beat teams that do, and he might have been one goal scorer from getting the Jackets into the playoffs. And they even had that scorer—Fredrik Modin—but injuries limited him to 23 games.
from David Climer of the Tennessean,
What’s taking so long? More than a month ago, word leaked out that a new contract was forthcoming. Majority owner David Freeman was on board, saying that Trotz “has done an outstanding job in a very challenging situation.”
Then nothing happened. It made you wonder if somebody had inserted a Playoffs Or Bust clause into the deal.
Well, the Preds are in the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. And of those four, this is the most unlikely team to make the postseason.
These Predators are relying on a goalie, Dan Ellis, who looks skinny before the game and downright emaciated afterward.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Time for bigger nets? Not yet. Not before one last look at the brotherhood of Stay Puft Marshmallow goalies and their arsenal.
In about eight weeks, a nine-member committee, dubbed the Goalie Equipment Working Group, will wrestle with this age-old question: Does size really matter? Comprising four general managers and five players, the group intends to convene for one day (June 11 in Toronto) and settle once and for all what, if anything, can be done about modifying goaltender equipment, in hopes of leading to more goals and more entertaining hockey.
“Maybe some of the equipment can be squeezed smaller, or maybe there’s a way of scaling it specifically to body size,” said Paul Kelly, executive director of the NHL Players Association. “What we know for sure is that everyone wants to resolve this, once and for all.
more and other NHL topics too…
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
Blow it up, clean it up, pimp it up.
Some or all of the above will be applied to the Maple Leafs in the next six to 12 months as the hierarchy finally responds to three straight years of playoff stagnation, part of the Loserpalooza that began in the late 1960s. Interim general manager Cliff Fletcher will lead the assault, with marching orders to rid the hockey team of dead wood, supposedly handing off to a president/GM free of meddling from the suits at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd.
It could mean a couple more nuclear winters for a franchise too used to watching Stanley Cup parades in other cities, though some would argue its necessity.
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 email@example.com