Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Kevin Allen at USA Today,
At the start of this season, the general impression of the Coyotes was that they were still a patchwork team, a mixture of seemingly mismatched veterans and raw youngsters held together with crack filler and coach Wayne Gretzky’s good name.
Since Bryzgalov was plucked from the Anaheim Ducks on waivers, the Coyotes look like a cohesive group of skilled players. The Coyotes haven’t just been good since Bryzgalov arrived, they have been impressively good. The arrival of Bryzgalov has simply allowed us to see the real Coyotes.
From Jim Kelley at Sports Illustrated,
GB has done one heck of a job. Costs, for the most part, are capped. Revenue is up. Attendance is stable though lower than annually reported since the NHL came off the second of Bettman’s forced lockouts. And—this is most important and dear to every owner’s heart—the value of franchises has risen dramatically on his watch
Example: the expected sale of the Edmonton Oilers. The struggling franchise in what is arguably the NHL’s smallest city is expected to change hands for upwards of $200 million. Compare that to the $50 million cost of an expansion franchise (Ottawa and Anaheim) the day before Bettman was anointed in Palm Beach, Fla. in February 1993. Even with inflation, the increase is staggering—not nearly the value of an NFL or Major League franchise or even one in the NBA (which is hard to gauge because there haven’t been nearly as many in bankruptcy or for sale), but in the NHL, it’s a noteworthy achievement.
*related: an earlier article considering Bettman’s tenure posted on KK today.
Update 6:32pm ET: Pierre LeBrun at the CP flashes back on Bettman’s legacy today as well.
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
Nobody will ever convince me that criminalizing any and all minor ripple effects of someone’s physiological and/or psychological condition isn’t as barbaric and impractical as Canada’s court system gets.
The Lafleur family deserves our compassion, not any more punishment than their son’s poor choices have already delivered upon them.
They have been humiliated enough as it is, and the petty, spiteful charge Guy Lafleur faces today will do absolutely nothing to either end their misery or make the streets of Montreal safer.
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
That’s not good judgment on Guy’s part. His son is facing a laundry list of very serious charges including sexual assault of a 17-year old, uttering death threats, kidnapping, forcible confinement, drug possession (more than one count) and assorted acts of mayhem that police thought endangered people’s lives. It’s one thing if Marc Lafleur violated the terms of his bail, it’s something else again if his father helped him do it.
more and other NHL bits from Jim…
Update 7:05pm ET: Lafleur turns himself in to the authorities a day earlier than previously announced. He was released without condition and is set to appear in court February 7th.
Nice little feature from yesterday’s NBC Today Show, covering the pond hockey tournament recently in Minnesota.
*more at USA Pond Hockey
Anaheim Ducks’ GM Brian Burke will be Gary Bettman’s guest on the NHL Hour today.
The NHL Hour broadcasts live Thursdays from 4-5 pm ET on NHL Home Ice, (XM channel 204) and NHL.com. The show will re-run on XM Satellite Radio and NHL.com, with archived shows available for download via a podcast on NHL.com.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
However, as the team emerges from the All-Star break with visions of a Northwest Division title and a 100 point season, Flames general manager Darryl Sutter recognizes he has at least one missing piece…
Sources say the Flames and Florida Panthers have already discussed Calgary’s interest in Olli Jokinen, but the asking price is high - believed to be forward Alex Tanguay and a young player or a prospect.
Forsberg, Sundin and Jokinen are longshots and may never be available or attainable.
However, there is a sense the Flames see a lot of promise in this season, and while Feb. 26 may come and go without significant change, there is an appetite to swing for the fence with less than a month to go.
From Jim Barber at Simcoe.com,
The 31-year-old native of King City was without an NHL contract to start the season, and has spent much of the past few months trying to stay in shape on his own in anticipation of a potential offer from an NHL club.
But he missed being around a team atmosphere and so got in contact with the Colts.
“I am friends with (assistant coach) Drake (Berehowsky), and a friend of mine’s good friends with (head coach) Marty (Williamson). I just got in touch with them. I was looking to get back on the ice,” O’Neill told Simcoe.com after practice on Wednesday.
Don Waddell was just on Fan590 radio in Toronto and mentioned Kovalchuk will have an MRI today, but the team doctors feel it is not a serious injury. He won’t play Friday or Saturday, and hopefully will be ready sometime next week.
From Damien Cox at ESPN,
Well, the Senators haven’t been looking so much like those old Montreal teams of late. In fact, suddenly this season’s Habs are bearing down on Ottawa in the Northeast Division, largely because recent losses to teams like Washington and Florida have contributed to a mediocre 7-6-0 record in January.
Even ESPN hockey guru Barry Melrose has abandoned the Sens, now suggesting that Montreal will win the East. Murray chuckled when asked if his team’s confidence has been shaken by its recent struggles.
“Our confidence is really good,” he said. “But our dedication to checking is really shaky.”
The Nashville Predators and winger Jordin Tootoo have agreed on a contract extension.
Sources tell TSN it’s a two-year deal worth just under $1 million a 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