Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Fox Business,
So what’s in store for the NHL?
That all depends on whether or not the league finds ways to increase its revenue and get back on ESPN or a similar network.
If there is no alteration in the TV deal, “in the next five years they will look just like they do now,” said Fort.
The league could be forced to relocate franchises struggling to bring in revenue, such as Nashville’s Predators (Houston and Portland have been mentioned as potential destinations), said Brook.
The biggest battle the league might face over the next few years could be a public relations one.
“In the next five years I don’t see hockey making great strides but I also don’t see it making a great decline. I think the league is doing everything they can to make hockey better. It’s an issue on the perception side,” said Brook.
from the LA Daily News,
General manager Dean Lombardi will decide who to deal, who to keep and what the Kings can get to build for the future before the Feb. 26 trade deadline.
Rob Blake, the Kings’ all-time leader in games played for a defenseman, is the biggest bargaining chip. He’s 38 years old and in the final year of a two-year contract. But he’s also a likely Hall of Famer and a veteran with playoff experience that could put a contender over the top. Blake has a no-trade clause, so he will have control over his destination, but he has said he would consider waiving his right if Lombardi asked.
Defensemen Brad Stuart and Jaroslav Modry and forwards Ladislav Nagy, Brian Willsie and Scott Thornton are others often mentioned in trade rumors.
from the News & Observer,
One of the biggest reasons the Canes have slid in recent months is that they struggle to put together consistent games.
In their last game before the break, the Canes gave up three short-handed goals in a 6-3 loss to the New York Islanders. For chunks of the season, it has been the penalty kill letting them down. Injuries and illnesses haven’t helped matters.
Canes coach Peter Laviolette has seen the effort he’s looking for in recent games—he especially liked what he saw in a late two-goal rally for a 3-2 overtime win over the Islanders on Jan. 21—but the Hurricanes haven’t given the same effort nightly.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
“The goal (is) to finish as high as we can in the standings,” Christopher Higgins said. “That’s something we’ve talked about recently since we’ve been playing better. Before, we were talking about separating ourselves from the pack below but, now, it’s about catching who’s in front of us. That’s a healthy way to think about things.”
The reality is that, while the Canadiens have the second-best record in the Eastern Conference, they are as close to ninth place as they are to first. With 60 points, they are six points behind Ottawa with a game in hand, but only six points up on the ninth-place New York Rangers.
Chris Chelios via the Detroit Free Press,
“I think our biggest issue ... is getting some more exposure to our game, and I think we just signed a three-year deal with Versus. ... We need a better TV contract, more exposure on TV, and we’re not getting that. It’s not going to hurt for a team to go over to Europe for some of the stars to be seen over there. But our problem is in the U.S., selling buildings out and exposing the game.”
more on the Wings…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Sather, we’re told, is demanding the equivalent of a top-four defenseman in return for Malik, who carries a cap charge of approximately $950,000 the remainder of the way for this, the final season of his contract.
While there is widespread interest around the league in Malik, no GM has been willing to meet Sather’s requirement for making a deal.
from the St. Petersburg Times,
Gratton and Boyle have no-trade clauses, meaning they must approve any deal. But that doesn’t make things any easier.
“I try not to pay attention to it,” Gratton said. “We’re trying to stay focused and trying to climb back into the playoff race and worry about the task at hand.”
Would he waive his no-trade clause as he did when traded to Tampa Bay from the Panthers?
“You have to wait and see,” he said. “I was thankful to get the opportunity to come back here. I’ve made it known I don’t want to leave. But you always want to do what’s best for the franchise.”
“Ask me in a month,” Boyle said. “The last thing I want to do is talk about getting traded. I want to concentrate on playing well and helping this team turn things around. That’s my focus.”
from the Arizona Republic,
“Nobody really anticipated us to be right in the middle of this at this point in time, but we believe we can still play even better than we’re playing, and that’s a good thing,” Gretzky said. “But I think that the reality is the organization cannot trade any of its youth or younger assets we have just for a quick fix for a month.
“I think common sense sort of says if there’s something available that can help us this year in the stretch drive and playoff run and yet also help us in the future, obviously our organization will look at it.”
The team’s CEO, Jeff Shumway, said a “rental player” won’t be brought in.
more on Phoenix and their hunt for a playoff spot…
from the LA Times,
Brad Stuart is looking forward to keeping things simple for a while. Jaroslav Modry said the time will allow the Kings to further bond as a team. Rob Blake, well, he’s just indifferent these days.
Such are the opinions of the most veteran Kings players, as they prepare for an eight-game, 16-day trip, one of the longest of their careers.
“It’s right up there, for sure,” said Stuart, in his eighth NHL season and first with the Kings. “It’s going to be a long haul, but I think the good thing is we’re spending a lot of time in an area where we don’t have to travel a whole lot.”
continued (reg. req.)
from the AP via the Santa Barbara News-Press,
San Jose is among the league’s elite teams at 27-15-2-5, with remarkable team defensive play and Thornton’s usual playmaking brilliance in front of a workhorse goalie enjoying a career year. Yet the Sharks’ offensive struggles and lackluster home record have left even some players feeling that the club with the NHL’s third-best record is somehow underachieving.
‘‘I think we all realize we’re not even close to playing the way we want to,’’ said veteran defenseman Craig Rivet, whose steady play and off-ice leadership have been among the Sharks’ biggest assets. ‘‘We’ve got much more work to do in the next three months or so before the playoffs. We’ve got a lot to get done.’‘
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