Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Toronto Star,
The rink is tiny and the team’s win total minuscule, but the game – hockey – is big on the Isle of Wight, of all places.
Make that a most peculiar brand of hockey.
They love their Wightlink Raiders in Ryde, the main city on the island in the English Channel, despite their franchise in the 12-team English Premier League having won only three of 43 league games this season. Plus, they play in a 1,200-seat arena with one of the smallest ice surfaces in pro hockey, or anywhere for that matter.
from the Buffalo News,
The Buffalo Sabres have made it all but official: They will have no playoff tickets left to sell to the general public this season.
A whopping 98.5 percent of season-ticket holders have put down a deposit for their playoff tickets, while 90 percent already have renewed for next year — more than six months before the start of next season.
from the St. Petersburg Times,
Karri Ramo said he has no indication about when, or if, he will play for the Lightning this season.
But considering what coach John Tortorella had to say, the goaltender, called up Monday from AHL Springfield, better keep his game face ready.
“He is part of the equation,” Tortorella said. “He’s not here to see his teammates so he knows them better during camp next year. We’re going to make decisions accordingly. Do I want someone to take the ball and run with this and be consistent? That’s what we need.”
from the Courier Post,
If you believe what Marty Biron and his agent, Gilles Lupien, have been doing and saying lately, it won’t be long before the 29-year-old goaltender signs a long-term contract that will keep him with the Flyers for the next three or four years.
After Monday’s rare practice at the Wachovia Center, necessitated by the latest team picture day in club history, Biron unzipped a pouch and revealed his new Flyers mask, glistening in orange and black with images of the Rocky statue, the Philadelphia skyline and the Liberty Bell.
from the Pioneer Press,
At the start of the season, Backstrom’s biography merely warranted “In The System” small-print status in the media guide, not the extensive spreads established players receive.
That’s changed. Backstrom has had an 18-8-5 run as a starter for the Wild and suddenly ranks No. 2 in the NHL with a 2.16 goals-against average.
At season’s end, he can become a free agent, and the team he’s expected to start against tonight in St. Paul — Wayne Gretzky’s Phoenix Coyotes — could be big in offseason bidding. Backstrom, 29, has shut out the Coyotes, who need a goalie, twice in two starts this season.
That’s not to say Backstrom is going anywhere. He said he enjoys Minnesota and wants to re-sign with the Wild. But if he finishes the season at his current pace, he’ll have several nice offers with which the Wild will have to compete.
from the Calgary Sun,
Expect Iginla to give what he can on the ice—he’s certainly been their best player the last two games—but you can’t help but wonder if the time has come for him to raise his voice in the dressing room.
You know the idea: Provide a fire-and-brimstone speech, break sticks or scream and yell to ignite his team, which has a mere four-point edge on Colorado for eighth spot in the Western Conference chase.
Fans may think such a development isn’t in Iginla’s repertoire but he insists—even if he’s not planning to do it in the next couple of days—it could happen at some time.
“It’s not out of character,” Iginla insisted yesterday.
“The funny thing is, I’m not the quietest guy. I don’t walk around and just whisper at guys. We’re not scared to tell people things.”
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Senators coach Bryan Murray yesterday accused Pittsburgh Penguins superstar centre and NHL poster boy Sidney Crosby of swearing at him during the first period of Ottawa’s 4-3 shootout loss on Sunday.
Murray said that’s conduct unbecoming of an NHL superstar.
“He’s one of those young people, and rightly so, that the league is really promoting as the example of the new NHL,” said Murray. “When he turns, and I’m sure he’s on camera quite often, using the language he does, I don’t think that’s something he should do. That’s all.”
Although he regrets injuring Kaberle and says he’s learned his lesson from the late hit, which earned a three-game suspension, Janssen has no intention of taking it easy on the Maple Leafs’ defenseman if their paths cross.
“If he’s got the puck and I need to make the hit on him to get the puck, well, yeah, I’m going to do it,” he said Monday. “I’m not looking to go head-hunting or anything like that. I just want to go out and play my game. I’m sure if I’m skating down the wing with the puck, he’s going to come hit me, too.”
The NHL Players’ Association announced Monday that Mike Gartner has stepped down from his post as Director of Hockey Affairs.
“These are difficult times for the Association and I feel at this point I can best serve the future of a changing union by stepping aside,” Gartner said in a statement issued Monday night.
“I will continue to fully support all efforts to restore the integrity of the NHLPA.”
Gartner joined the NHLPA in 1999 as its Director of Business Relations following a 19-year Hall of Fame career. In March 2006, he was named the NHLPA’s Director of Hockey Affairs, working towards improving the on-ice game and safety for the players.
from Lynn Zinser of the New York Times,
N.H.L. shootouts are played in front of crowds who stand for every shot, in arenas abuzz with expectation and, with the season waning, in situations that often have vital playoff implications. But the shootout decides not just which team gets a crucial point in the standings; it also forms a dividing line between shooters who are ready for the magnitude of that moment and those who are not.
That line has fallen in unpredictable places. The league’s best players, its best shooters and breakaway artists, do not necessarily make the best shootout performers.
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