Kukla's Korner Hockey
The National Hockey League begins arriving in Winkler, Man., Thursday as the small town gears up to host the 2008 edition of CBC’s Hockey Day in Canada.
CBC Sports personalities Ron MacLean, Don Cherry, Cassie Campbell and Dick Irvin, along with several former hockey heroes, will be in Winkler for the daylong festivities to be broadcast on Saturday from 11 a.m. CT.
The city of nearly 10,000 in the Pembina Valley region about 100 kilometres south of Winnipeg is buzzing with excitement as organizers make final preparations for the festivities.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette, .
..But the biggest free-agent bust is Sheldon Souray, whose season appears to be over because of a recurring shoulder injury.
Souray is a magnificent physical specimen, but he has also proved brittle in a career that has been marked by injuries.
He missed the entire 2002-03 NHL season with a wrist injury and has played more than 70 games only twice in his nine-season NHL career.
That should have set off a warning bell for Edmonton general manager Kevin Lowe, but he was blinded by the fact Souray played 81 games last season for the Canadiens and had a career-high 26 goals and 68 points. He set an NHL record for defenceman when he scored 19 of those goals on the best power play in the league.
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
While some shudder at the thought of having five players account for $28.5 million in cap space next season, the reality is those five players are all worth far more on the open market.
And outside of Alex Tanguay, they’re all here for at least the next five years.
A Vezina-winning goaltender in Miikka Kiprusoff, the hardest-hitting defenceman in Phaneuf, one of the most fundamentally sound defensive-types in Robyn Regehr and arguably the game’s best captain, Jarome Iginla.
Call them the Flames’ Fab Four….
Now all Sutter has to do is fill smaller holes and roles along the way, which should be even easier given how attractive playing in Calgary is these days.
from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Now, with the Blues mired in their lengthiest slump since the coaching change, Murray is concerned that the club is reverting to its old ways. After Tuesday night’s 5-4 loss to Tampa Bay — the Blues’ ninth defeat in 11 games — Murray angrily suggested that a “losing culture” was infecting the team’s postseason hopes.
Asked Wednesday to elaborate, Murray said, “They haven’t won much here for about three years, and we’ve been trying to change that. Is that a culture issue? I don’t think our issues are physical, so are they environmental? I’m not sure.
“You kind of thought we were turning the corner ... you don’t want to slip back, and that’s what we’re trying to avoid right now.”
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
The Star has learned the NHL’s salary cap will rise by about $3 million (all figures U.S.) next year – the third straight rise in the cap under the current collective bargaining agreement.
“It depends on a lot of factors, but I expect the cap will go up at least $3 million,” said a source.
The rising value of the Canadian dollar is one reason forwarded for an increase in revenues, but commissioner Gary Bettman has said merchandising revenue and ticket sales were up across the league.
more on how the increase of the cap can help the Leafs…
from Karen Crouse of the New York Times,
“The challenge of coming back and trying to win the Stanley Cup again appealed to me,” Scott said. Looking back, he said, he simply needed time to recharge. “If Brian had forced my hand,” he said, “I’d still be sitting at home and Rob would still be driving by on his way to practice and wondering what I was doing.”
When they are together, the Niedermayers are like Alphonse and Gaston: they are bracingly polite. That does not mean they do not sometimes needle each other. Rob’s nickname for Scott is Norm, after the George Wendt character on “Cheers.” Scott’s corresponding nickname for Rob is Cliff.
From Tim Sassone in the Daily Herald,
“Power forwards are tough to find, and I think [Dustin Byfuglien] fits that position,” Savard said Wednesday. “Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am. I think I’ve got a pretty good eye on hockey players and really strongly feel he’s going to become a good power forward in this league.
“We’re still tweaking with him. We know he can play defense, but I believe he’s going to be a strong power forward in this league. He’s had some good games on defense, too. I’m not saying we’ll never use him there again, but for now he fits up front, and we’ll evaluate everything as we go on.”
Not a hockey story, but it still caught my eye… from The University Daily Kansan:
Big 12 Rookie of the Week Krysten Boogaard is a 6-foot-5 freshman center from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Boogaard is coming into her own as a player, averaging 11.6 points, 7 rebounds and 2.6 blocks during the last five games. Her brother Derek is an enforcer for the Minnesota Wild of the NHL.
Q: Growing up, were you a bigger fan of basketball or hockey?
A: Well I grew up in a hockey family, like I was pretty much born in a hockey rink. So I really liked hockey and I tried it but it wasn’t something for me so I tried basketball. I’d say I was a bigger fan of basketball.
Q: Two of your brothers started a controversial camp, the Derek and Aaron Fighting Camp, for kids ages 12-18. What’s your stance on the camp?
A: I think it’s a good thing that they’re doing that because they’re teaching kids how to protect themselves if they do get into a situation where someone is going to try and fight them. It’s just like Tae Kwon Do or anything like that. The game plan is not to go out and fight somebody.
from the CP via TSN,
While the Detroit Red Wings are runaway leaders in the overall standings, they won’t necessarily represent the West in the championship series, says Clarke.
“Obviously, (GM Ken) Holland has the right people to get players for them, and (Mike) Babcock does a great job coaching,” says Clarke. “They’ve got a highly-skilled team and they have some physical players.
“They’re a tough team, Detroit, but a lot of the games they’re winning are by one goal. They’re good, but it doesn’t mean they’re like the old Oilers used to be. They could beat you by six or seven. Detroit’s really good but I don’t think anybody would concede they’re going to win the Cup.”
Bobby Clarke talks about other NHL topics…
from the Ottawa Citizen,
If fans of the Ottawa Senators are worried about their favourite team, owner Eugene Melnyk isn’t.
In fact, he’s boldly predicting that the team’s season is not going to end until mid-June, with another shot at the Stanley Cup.
“Don’t get the BBQ out till mid June,” he said in an e-mail Wednesday. “It is going to be a great run. Mark that.”
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