Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the National Post,
Standing near the Calgary Flames dressing room yesterday morning, Don Meehan scoffed.
The agent confirmed that those numbers blowing out of the east all winter—a five-year extension at US$30-million for Dion Phaneuf, a 10-year extension worth $60-million—are, in fact, fabrications.
“You know, I think it’s people making guesses, really,” said Meehan, who, of course, would know—he is the representative of Phaneuf, who is facing restricted free agency this summer. Calgary’s young defenceman yesterday was elected as a starter for the first time for National Hockey League All-Star Game later this month.
from Inside the Kings,
“This is first game in months we played poorly and we played awful tonight,’’ Crawford said. “It was a stinker, there’s no two ways about it. You can’t mask this one in any way. It was awful and we all have to take responsibility for it.
“I think it starts with me. You have to look at the coach and say hey, these guys got scored on quite a bit early in the game. We’ve addressed that but we’re still having it happen. We can’t point fingers at (the players). I think we’ve all got to look at having some ownership and some accountability of it, myself included, and look at some ways we can address our games right now. From our coaching staff, I can assure you we’re burning the midnight oil analyzing and maybe overanalyzing our games.’‘
from Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun,
Interestingly, while goals decline, individual accomplishments have not. Nine players, including Vincent Lecavalier, Jarome Iginla and Sidney Crosby, at mid-season were on pace for 100-point seasons, and seven had a legitimate shot at 50 goals.
The league has been invigorated with the double-whammy presence of Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin, and fans should be salivating with the idea that John Tavares will make his NHL debut in October 2009.
If anything, though, there could be a wider gap now between the league’s best and everyone else. More than a few coaches this season have made note of the lack of secondary scoring throughout the league. Many teams have a couple of fairly prolific forwards, precious little afterward.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Indeed, one could argue that at the midpoint of the NHL season, Gretzky is the leading candidate for the Jack Adams trophy as the NHL’s coach of the year for what he’s done with his Phoenix Coyotes to date. The Coyotes were expected to challenge for top spot in only one category this year - the draft lottery - after cleaning house and deciding once and for all to go with a youth movement.
While many of the other long-time Western Conference also-rans bolstered their line-ups with free agent signings, the Coyotes made a few tweaks around the edges of the line-up, but mostly decided to play their kids (Peter Mueller, Michal Hanzal et al) and take their lumps.
from the OC Register,
Ducks coach Randy Carlyle hails from Sudbury, Ontario, the home province of Toronto, so it is safe to assume he was a Toronto Maple Leafs fan growing up rather than a Montreal Canadiens follower.
“Those were the days when it was French vs. English in northern Ontario,” Carlyle said. “It made for a natural rivalry.”...
“They’re easily the most recognizable hockey franchise,” he said. “Some people might argue Montreal. Having played there a number of years ago, and with the branding that’s taken place in the game, Toronto is front and center.”
Darren McCarty has signed with the IHL’s Flint Generals. The IHL consulted with the NHL before approving the deal.
The Generals play the Muskegon Fury tomorrow night. McCarty is expected to be in the lineup.
*More at Our Sports Central
added 9:02pm, from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star,
According to a league source, McCarty met recently with the Red Wings’ brass and a plan was outlined to see if he could fast track his way back to the big leagues.
It’s a no-risk proposition for the Wings, who recognize that if McCarty, an unrestricted free agent, still has what it takes to play in the league, he gives them a physical presence and would make Detroit a much unfriendlier opponent.
The scenario is very familiar to the winter of 1996, when the Wings rescued Joe Kocur from the beer leagues of Michigan and installed him on a very effective checking line with Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby during Detroit’s Stanley Cup wins of 1996-97 and 1997-98.
Of course, if you read Abel to Yzerman, you knew this about 4 days ago…
from Mike at Dump and Chase,
The line between rumors and lies is becoming blurred in rapid fashion. Not sure whether the bigger wingnut is the one making the stuff up or the ones who regularly visit to read it.
Make sure to check out Mike’s profile if you don’t know who he is.
from On the Rangers Beat,
The Rangers’ injury list mounted today as Sean Avery, whose right wrist was injured by a slash and swelled up after the Montreal game on Dec. 30, was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Saturday. “It’s been bothering him a lot,” said coach Tom Renney. Avery had surgery on the other wrist at the end of November.
So, Rangers fans who’ve been clamoring for youth will have their pleas answered tonight, with Nigel Dawes, Greg Moore and probably Pierre Parenteau—-summoned from Hartford to practice—-dressing to face the Lightning.
The Ottawa Senators’ Daniel Alfredsson gave a long interview to NHL Live on XM Radio today. With thanks to XM radio (which streams live from this link M-F from 12-2pm ET) here is the audio of that conversation.
From the CP,
ART ROSS: When Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby picked up his first Art Ross Trophy last season it was widely believed that it would be the first of many consecutive NHL scoring championships for the 20-year-old superstar. And that’s not to say he won’t end up winning it again this season, because he wasn’t that far away when the league hit its official halfway point over the weekend.
But kudos to Tampa Bay Lightning centre Vincent Lecavalier, who led the league in points for much of the first half. He’s en route to a career season and has sparked some healthy debate about whether he, not Crosby, is the top player in the game right now.
more… including storylines to watch for in the 2nd half of the season
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