Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail,
Owen Nolan called it “nuts … I’ve never been a part of something this tight.” Alex Tanguay ventured that there were “no easy games” anymore. Jarome Iginla calculated that it would take 96 points to guarantee his Calgary Flames team a playoff spot. Coach Mike Keenan acknowledged once again that he is no fan of the three-point game, in which two teams can — and frequently do - earn a valuable point if a game goes into overtime or a shootout.
All of them were talking about the crazy playoff race in the NHL’s Western Conference which — in the past week or so — sorted itself out into hockey’s version of musical chairs, with nine contenders essentially vying for eight spots. The usual cast of also-rans have fallen far enough off the pace that they retain only the slim, Leaf-like hope for a miracle finish and a spot in post-season play.
Baseball fans have their own concerns when it comes to the rumors of a hockey game closing out Yankee Stadium next season. From Ian O’Connor via NorthJersey.com,
A slapshot cannot be the last athletic act performed inside Yankee Stadium, not when the stadium’s only power plays unfolded inside George Steinbrenner’s suite.
Hockey absolutely, positively cannot be the game that closes down the greatest baseball temple on earth. Nothing personal, just business. The business of giving a proper burial to a building that shouldn’t die on a marketing gimmick hatched by a sport with no place in stadium lore.
The Rangers have a monument they can send to the grave in the near future. It’s called Madison Square Garden, and it won’t be around for much longer, not with every other team in the market moving into new and improved digs.
From Craig Custance at the AJC,
“We have a very, very busy few months coming up,” Levenson told the AJC. “I believe we’re closer than a lot of people may think or give us credit for. Less than a month ago we were in the playoffs, it’s easy to see our team and see where we need to improve. We have the assets and cap room to make those improvements.”
And Waddell is the right man to make those improvements?
“Don has built an organization of 17 top-notch hockey people, those people will be involved in this. [Keeping Waddell] might not be the popular thing to do in some circles but I think it would be foolish and short-sighted to tear down this organization at this juncture.”
from Brian Duff at the Hockey News,
The following are under contract through the 2008-09 season and will likely be extended prior to reaching RFA status. To what extent? We shall see.
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh, second overall in 2004 (174 points in 147 games). Forget Richards money, Crosby-type dollars await.
Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles, 11th overall in 2005 (127 points in 141 games). The face of the franchise moving forward? He has to be one of them, but will it come at the expense of Mike Cammalleri, who is often mentioned in trade rumors.
from the Reporter-Herald,
“Three of us were sitting in a bar, perhaps one too many beers, and we said, ‘Let’s go to Calgary’,” Reuther said. “Look what the prize is for this one question and the few beers we had that evening, is that we went with about 65 people to Calgary. The trip was so nice, we decided to do it again.”
And again, and again, as a matter of fact.
A 13th trip to North America took the group — this time around 25 people — to Colorado for the first time last week. Friday night, they had their first taste of the action in the Central Hockey League, as they attended the Colorado Eagles game against Mississippi at the Budweiser Events Center….
“It’s a universal sport, where everybody goes to see a fast game with hard hits, with action on the ice. That’s the reason we go to hockey games; otherwise, we’d go see volleyball or something else.”
from the Star-Telegram,
Mike Modano watched Brett Favre break down and weep at his retirement press conference last week and suddenly had this out-of-body experience.
He could see himself sitting there, tears running down his face, too.
“When it’s my time, I’ll probably bawl like a baby,” Modano said Monday on the eve of his induction into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco.
The irony is that the last time we saw Modano cry, he was standing in front of his locker in Buffalo in the early hours of June 20, 1999, sobbing almost uncontrollably as he tried to get his mind around the fact that he and the Stars had just won the Holy Grail of hockey, the Stanley Cup.
from the Detroit Free Press,
When Scotty Bowman coached the Wings, assistants Barry Smith and Dave Lewis frequently spoke to the media. But Babcock prefers to handle reporters’ questions and leave his assistants free to concentrate on other things.
“That’s the way I’ve always done it,” Babcock said. “We’ve got one message when we come in this room. We got one message when we’re talking to the media.”
Perhaps that extra concentration time has helped his assistants’ contributions to the Wings’ 45-18-6 record and league-leading 96 points.
MacLean oversees the penalty kill and is responsible for changing defensemen during games.
McLellan oversees the power play. During games, he’s either in Babcock’s ear suggesting matchups or talking to forwards.
from the News & Observer,
The Carolina Hurricanes don’t expect defenseman David Tanabe, who has been out since December with a concussion, to play again this NHL season. Whether he ever plays for them again is very much in doubt.
Tanabe hasn’t been on the ice for two months and wasn’t even at the RBC Center for the team picture last week. The Canes may even be forced to consider buying out the final year of his contract this summer.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
It was a memorable offensive night for a number of Calgary Flames: Jarome Iginla established a franchise record for goal-scoring…
“I dreamed of being a goal-scorer,” said Iginla. “I’m fortunate — I’ve been in those situations and good things have happened. But as I get older — I’m 30 years old and I can’t believe how fast things have gone — it’s really cool to set the goal-scoring mark, but I want to win a Stanley Cup. Looking back, I want to be part of the second team that brought a Stanley Cup to Calgary. People still tell stories about ‘89. I want to be part of that.”
more on the Flames game last night…
And I am really dragging this morning. You know that flu bug that is going around, well, I think it hit too close to home for me this morning…
from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star,
How much is too much? When seeking to determine the National Hockey League player who has delivered the least for the most, it’s a subjective question.
There are many candidates….
Todd Bertuzzi, LW, Anaheim Ducks ($4 million)
On his fourth team in less than two years, he continues to befuddle. Even though he’s scored 13 times, he’s no longer the force he once was.
Anaheim teammates are likely asking the same question that puzzled Bertuzzi’s teammates before them in Detroit, Florida and Vancouver—what happened to the old Bert?
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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