Kukla's Korner Hockey
from James Christie of the Globe and Mail,
Former National Hockey League president John Ziegler believes current commissioner Gary Bettman and his team have done a good job building the game, and that Bettman’s crowning achievement was to get owners to stand together to forge the last collective agreement with the players.
“They let the costs get out of control for too long and had to address that,” Ziegler, president of the NHL from 1977 to 1992, said yesterday. “But not only did they address it, they got a salary cap in place that’s led to this wonderful parity and a race down to the wire to get into the playoffs. I give a real salute to the people who got the game to where it is.”
from the Detroit Free Press,
“That was outstanding,” Mike Babcock said. “That’s the most fun I’ve had since I was a Red Wings coach. It was good. I was really impressed with Lils and I was really impressed with Sammy. Sometimes I think you think when you’re not from North America, if someone washes your face your supposed to say thanks. Well, they didn’t say thanks, they just responded. They’re big men, and they can look after themselves.”
When Lidstrom was quizzed about the rarity of Swedes fighting, he laughed and replied, “We’ve got the toughest Swede in the league right here. Just ask him.” But then Lidstrom must have figured Lilja might hear about it from Tomas Holmstrom, because Lidstrom added, “Homer might have a big argument.”
more on the Wings…
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ray Shero, son of famed coach Fred Shero, grew up with a far greater understanding of the league’s history and tradition than others who have risen to his rank.
He appreciated the difficulty of the playoff gauntlet long before he had his first NHL job, and he can testify to the stages of building a championship team, including the time-honored tradition of a team needing to know playoff failure before it knows playoff success. But he doesn’t necessarily buy the idea that history has an impact on the future.
from the Detroit Free Press,
Joe Rogers is unlike any goalie at this week’s USA Hockey Nationals in Fraser….
He can’t close his glove after catching a puck. That’s it.
Rogers, you see, was born without a full right hand.
And yet the 17-year-old has a 30-1-3 record, a 1.19 goals-against average, a .939 save percentage and 13 shutouts.
“It’s all I’ve ever known,” Rogers said of his birth defect, “so I don’t think anything about it.”
His fingers didn’t fully develop, and he had two surgeries as a young child to strengthen his thumb.
from the Courier Post,
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren confirmed Monday the Flyers were interested in letting LeClair play his final NHL game as a Flyer on the final weekend of the regular season, but with LeClair still interested in resuming his NHL career next season, the idea was scrapped.
more on the Flyers…
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Star,
The math is not at all complicated. Tonight is the Maple Leafs season.
It is that simple. You can add and subtract, multiply and divide, but the calculations remain the same.
This is one game for everything. One game to determine whether this is another failed experiment for the Leafs or whether this team has any chance of advancing to the post-season.
Tonight is a best of one against themselves and the equally desperate defending Stanley Cup champions, all at the same time.
A new spot for Gatorade by Downtown Partners DDB in Toronto, airing exclusively in Canada, reveals what happens inside the head of Sidney Crosby, center for the Pittsburgh Penguins, as he prepares to take a shot on goal.
As Crosby, the youngest player with two 100-point NHL seasons barrels toward the goalie, the camera zooms onto, and eventually smacks into, the back of his head.
Inside, we find a group of men dressed like air-traffic controllers gathered around a miniature hockey table with graphics reminiscent of a video game. Crosby’s mind is a hive of activity. In one area, men shovel coal into a blazing blue fire. In another, hundreds of pictures blaze by.
read on...and you can see the video there too…
A published report out Philadelphia suggests the Flyers are set to announce that they have agreed on a two-year contract with goalie Martin Biron worth approximately $6.8 million.
“We’re getting there and we could have some news for you by [Tuesday],” Lupien said. “For us, we want a shorter term. One year was too little. Five years was too long. We feel two years gives us some flexibility for Marty in future free agency.”
Holmgren said he and Lupien are playing phone tag and he doesn’t expect the deal to be done until Tuesday.
from Stan Fischler at the Hockey Journal,
• Much as we admire Sid (Der Bingle) Crosby, some of his on-ice antics are infuriating the (non-Pittsburgh) hockey community. As Bryan Murray notes, The Kid is becoming a master at diving and its assorted penalty-getting variations.
• One owner’s theory on Ryan Smyth is that time will heal the wounds he feels inflicted by the Oilers and he’ll reconsider a return to Edmonton next season. We still like his chances of staying on Long Island!
more NHL bits from Stan…
from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Bob Hartley is as much a hockey fan as he is a coach. He has a satellite dish at home to watch minor-league hockey in Canada, and his flat-screen television in his Duluth office keeps him constantly updated with feeds from TSN, Canada’s ESPN equivalent.
Right now the fan in him is puzzled. Why, he wondered on Monday after practice, are hockey pundits debating fighting in hockey when the NHL — and the Thrashers — are in the stretch run of an exciting race to the playoffs?
“Why are we not talking about this great race?” he asked. “Tell me a sport where we have seen a race like this, that’s what we should be talking about. Some teams won’t go down. No one wants to go down.”
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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