Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail,
Take a look at the Detroit Red Wings’ Svensk embassy on ice, from venerable defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom to second-year forward Johan Franzen, who stands 6-foot-2, weighs 210 pounds and answers to the nickname Mule.
Every one of the Red Wings’ Swedish players — and there are six of them, not counting injured defenceman Niklas Kronwall — has made a substantial impact in helping Detroit stake a 2-0 lead over the Calgary Flames in their Western Conference quarter-final series.
Lidstrom, of course, has been a premier performer for years. So far, he has scored twice against Calgary while averaging 28 minutes a game. Forward Tomas Holmstrom has been his usual immovable self; a dumpster parked in front of the Calgary net. He’s also a plus three defensively.
from the Dallas Morning News,
Coach Alain Vigneault said Vancouver notified the NHL about the Stars bumping Luongo after the first two games in Vancouver.
“Obviously, all teams tell their players to go hard to the net, put traffic in front of the goaltender and to drive hard,” Vigneault said Monday. “Louie got hit twice there and once almost got hurt. The league is aware of it.
“Roberto doesn’t embellish anything whereas other goaltenders really do embellish,” Vigneault continued. “It’s tough for the referees to see everything going on out there, but obviously, he has been getting bumped. We need him to stay healthy.”
from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
But when Nick Polano finally saw the young Russian hockey star, 19-year-old Slava Kozlov, it was bad. He was in a hospital bed, recovering from a serious brain injury, a fractured skull, a broken cheekbone and broken ribs suffered in a car accident.
He didn’t look very good,” said Polano, who at the time was the assistant general manager of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings.
But Kozlov was alive. The passenger in the car wasn’t as fortunate. Kozlov and Red Army teammate Kirile Tarasov were hit by a bus and Tarasov was killed. Kozlov was fighting for his life.
Polano needed to be careful about what he said to Kozlov, because the patient in the bed beside him was specifically instructed to contact the KGB, Russia’s internal security, if anybody spoke to the young prospect about passports and visas.
from the Globe and Mail,
So the beverage buzz must be true of all other NHL arenas — the so-called “crazy beers” at Rexall Place in Edmonton jumps to mind — but like any good hockey rivalry, nothing quite matches the storied history of Calgary’s heroin beer.
“Maybe we just have a more exciting atmosphere,” Raines added with a laugh. “We certainly work hard to create a more exciting atmosphere.”
As Jason Zimmer and Jody Evans, both in their late 20s, carried cups of beer back to their seats during a recent regular-season home game, they offered their own insight into the phenomenon. There isn’t anything special in the beer, they agreed, but the heroin beer effect is real, they insisted.
from The Whitehorse Daily Star,
There have probably been many words used to describe Howie Meeker over the past several decades, but I guarantee you quiet, passive or understated certainly weren’t among them.
Animated, passionate, outspoken and honest. If I had to chose one word to describe the NHL and broadcast legend, I would say he’s a real firecracker. Meeker still has as much fire inside him at 82 years of age as anyone 50 years his junior.
Over a beverage at a local lounge Sunday, Meeker chats about his family, his former career and the current Toronto Maple Leafs. He shares his ideas on how Canadian hockey can and should improve, and even predicts this year’s Stanley Cup winner – the Buffalo Sabres.
from the CP via TSN,
“Obviously I think Jarome has a lot more to give,” Playfair said. “Their top players have outplayed our top players.
“(Tuesday) night is a game we expect that to be improved upon.”
The Flames have to cycle the puck more effectively through the offensive zone and get more shots on Detroit goaltender Dominik Hasek, who has seen just 20 and 15 respectively from Calgary.
“Get pucks to Hasek from every possible angle.” Playfair said. “You’re not going to score on Dominik Hasek very often on your first shot.
“It’s going to be second shot, your third shot. Maybe he doesn’t have his stick in his hand by the time you score because you keep pounding away on it.”
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi says he is ready to go, but coach Mike Babcock isn’t convinced.
Babcock said after today’s practice that whether or not Bertuzzi plays in Game 3 will be decided Tuesday.
“He has to convince me,” he is ready, Babcock said.
from Stan Fischler at The Maven,
• Michael Barnett, according to a high NHL source, could easily move into the Executive Director’s chair at the Players’ Association. What remains to be seen is, A: Whether Ted Saskin survives the overwhelming move for his ouster, and, B: Whether the deposed Coyotes’ GM is willing to accept the Union leadership. We hope the offer comes and Mike accepts!
• Word out of Edmonton is that the three clubs expected to try hardest to sign Ryan Smyth this summer are Rangers, Maple Leafs and Colorado. We’ll add the Islanders as well.
from the Capitals Insider,
Alexander Semin has been kicked off the Russian national team for failing to report to training camp on time, according to the Russian Hockey Federation’s website.
from Jim Kelley of Sportsnet,
What we didn’t know, expect or even think we were going to get was a Calgary team that didn’t show up for Games One and Two in Detroit.
Those outings were so pitiful that one well-respected hockey pundit called for the dismissal of head coach Jim Playfair and the return of Darryl Sutter behind the bench.
As if that would make a difference.
With all due respect to those who see the Flames having a hope of a chance to recover in this series via something as radical as a coaching change or even a few wins in the friendly confines of the Saddledome, let’s face facts.
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.
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