Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen,
It’s a decent barroom debate.
Which NHL conference is stronger, the east or west?
The east has the emerging superstars, namely Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin, not to mention a glut of offensive talent, but the west has a stranglehold on Norris Trophy candidates, with the likes of Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Pronger, Dion Phaneuf and the possibly retired Scott Niedermayer.
from the Toronto Star,
To any fans poised to uncork the boos at the Air Canada Centre tonight, besieged Maple Leafs defenceman Bryan McCabe offered some perspective.
“I’m one of the higher-paid guys on the team and they expect the world out of you. But I can’t turn water into wine every night,” he said yesterday.
“I’m not that type of player. I’m a hard-nosed player. I’ve been fortunate enough to get rewarded for some of my points over the years. I’m trying to earn it.”
from the Mercury News,
“Say you win,” Nabokov says of tonight’s game. “What are you going to prove, that you’re better than them? They beat you in the playoffs. It doesn’t really matter.”
None of which is to say the Sharks - despite the usual disclaimer that all games count for two points, no more no less - are treating this like just another contest in an 82-game season.
“They’re a good measuring stick, a very good team, easily the best team we’ve played so far,” Wilson said of the Red Wings. “We have to measure ourselves against these kinds of teams and I’m sure they’re saying the same thing.”
from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,
Now that the distraction of union infighting is largely gone, the spotlight will invariably shift to the state of the NHL in its third season back in business, and especially to the man who won that labour war at the behest of his employers, commissioner Gary Bettman.
It’s going to get uncomfortable.
Spin it any way you want (and the great helmsman will certainly do his best). It’s still nearly impossible to argue that big-league professional hockey today is better off than it was before the lockout.
Though Bettman continues to deny the obvious, the huge leap in the value of the Canadian dollar, and not the new economic system, is the single biggest factor in the rising salary cap.
from the LA Times,
The questions posed in El Segundo likely will be following Kings defenseman Rob Blake to Canada here for the start of a two-game trip, and will probably be even edgier and to the point.
Uh, Rob, what about that minus-nine, worst in the NHL?...
“He’s been more a victim of circumstance,” Crawford said at Wednesday’s practice in El Segundo. “There’s been a big difference of his level of performance than Nagy’s. If you’re gonna look at statistics, sometimes they can be misleading and in his case, that is a misleading stat.”
read on (reg. req.)
In recent years, the NHL has become plagued by groin and head injuries produced by the musculatures of year-round training—220-pound slabs of muscle crashing into each other at 20 miles per hour, groin muscles tearing when said slabs attempt to turn on a dime. Add another layer of speed and it’ll just get worse.
Also, in addition to skating, hockey involves—speaking very generally—puckhandling, teamwork, positional play, checking and, most importantly, passion. Increasing speed won’t make the players better at anything else.
Edmonton Oilers’ defenceman Sheldon Souray is out indefinitely after suffering a separated shoulder.
ESPN now has weekly player rankings…
We’re giving you more rankings fun this season as we introduce our weekly Player Rankings. We’ll rank 15 players every Wednesday along with our Power Rankings.
read on and some guy nicknamed “Z” is 2nd…
Just a note about rankiings. I have always made it a point to stay away from updating KK readers on any tpye of weekly ranking. I will do so on occassion, but if I did so on a regular basis, well, all we would have here is rankings!
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
Thanks to Chelios and the members of the search committee, the NHLPA is working toward remaking itself into a voice that must be heard regarding the best interests of the players and, perhaps even the best interest of the game.
If Kelly does become the new boss of the NHLPA, it’s clear that he won’t be just like the old boss (Saskin) or even the boss before him (Goodenow) and certainly nothing like the boss before either of those men (Eagleson).
He will be the boss because the players, through due process, will have determined that he is.
Sidney Crosby on The New NHL and a few other topics…
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