Kukla's Korner Hockey
By George James Malik
The Red Wings’ open practice revealed a myriad of small details about the players’ tendencies, the team’s work ethic, and in Saturday’s case, the astonishingly long shadow cast by an injury of unknown severity, but there is one fact you must know about the Wings’ transformation from a Bowman-era team to Mike Babcock’s team, and it can be summed up in one word: crisp.
I saw two practices last season, and they were very herky-jerky in terms of pacing. Babcock had to stop his drills regularly to either explain himself again or to admonish players for their lack of hustle.
The giggling, hot-dogging, and joke-cracking that form the groundwork for any practice remain, but once Babcock, McLellan, and MacLean explained the next 90-to-180-second drill, the boys got “professional” fast. Hustle like there’s no tomorrow, skating your brains out while doing a simple cycling drill? Check. An innate understanding of not only the technical aspects of what’s being asked, but also the expectations of the coaches in terms of fit and finish? You bet.
from the Columbus Blue Jackets:
The Columbus Blue Jackets have re-signed goaltender Fredrik Norrena to a multi-year contract, club President and General Manager Doug MacLean announced today. As is club policy, terms were not disclosed.
Norrena has appeared in 33 games with Columbus this season and compiled a 14-13-2 record with a 2.95 goals-against average, .900 save percentage and two shutouts. He set the franchise record for longest shutout streak by a goaltender when he went 155:28 without allowing a goal from Nov. 25-Dec. 9. That span included back-to-back games in which he posted shutouts at Edmonton (21 saves, 4-0 on Dec. 2) and Colorado (42 saves, 3-0 on Dec. 5). He was acquired by the Blue Jackets, along with Fredrik Modin, from Tampa Bay on June 30, 2006, in a trade that sent Marc Denis to the Lightning.
Does this mean that Pascal LeClaire is suddenly available, or is this simply a matter of a longer apprenticeship?
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Ultimately, their focus isn’t years down the road anyway — it is this year and next. As a GM, Sutter signed all his most important players — including Kiprusoff, the reigning Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender, and team captain Jarome Iginla, a former NHL scoring champion — to multi-year contracts, most of which expire at the end of the 2007-08 season. At that point, the team may find it cannot keep its core group together. So if the window is short, the Flames’ philosophy is clearly to go for it now and then let the chips fall where they may.
On paper, they probably weren’t good enough to compete with the Western Conference powerhouses a fortnight ago, when Sutter began his wheeling and dealing.
from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
It’s a full life, void in only respect. Therrien wants a Stanley Cup. There is a photograph in his office, of himself and J.C. Morrissette holding the Memorial Cup. A reporter pointed to it and wondered if Therrien could picture himself and Shero ...
Therrien interrupted the question.
“I will win a Stanley Cup one day,” he said. “I will. I won a Calder Cup (AHL), I won a Memorial Cup (CHL), I won President’s Cup (QMJHL). I won them all. There’s only one I need to win.
“It’s the Stanley Cup.”
more... A look at Therrien’s life and career… And to think, a month ago, some media types had him fired…
Anyone who brings up the bad NHL All-Star jerseys, just point them to this.
from Joe Posnanski of the Kansas City Star,
Now, reality is reality, and if the Penguins are going to move anyway, then it would be best if they moved here. But I hope that Pittsburgh works things out. And if it does work out, the NHL will owe a big favor to Kansas City. A big favor. And next year, it looks like the Nashville Predators — who have the best record in the NHL but play to empty seats every night — might flee their town.
For the record: I wouldn’t feel bad at all about stealing the Predators. Nashville doesn’t care about them anyway. Like I said, it’s confusing.
Want more trade talk… Spector has it and give the man a pat on the back, he is fighting the flu!
from KK Member SteveNJ
note: moved to the top of the KK Hockey section on Sunday, 2/11. Original post was 2/9/07 at 5:01pm.
NHL On NBC Countdown to Faceoff
Host: Bill Clement
Analysts: Ray Ferraro and Brett Hull
The Game of the Week on NBC
Colorado Avalanche vs. Dallas Stars
Play By Play: Mike “Doc” Emrick
Color: Eddie Olczyk
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire
Available in High Definition
Will Air in the Following U.S. Markets, accounting 58.5% of the United States: Colorado, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Jose, Anaheim, Phoenix, Minnesota, Detroit, Nashville, St. Louis
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
The Oilers gate receipts at Rexall Place from the October start of the 2006-07 season through Dec. 31 were $1.07 million a night; that’s about three times what the Blackhawks are getting at United Center. Then again, there will never be any tag days for Chicago owner Dollar Bill Wirtz. It’s also double what the best team in the league, Nashville, is averaging and more than Dallas, one of the usual high-rollers.
more on the Oilers and bits from the Western & Eastern conferences…
from the Columbus Dispatch,
There was the crack of a shot hitting a stick and the thunk of a puck hitting a shin pad. Crack, thunk, crack, thunk. This is the soundtrack of the post-lockout era, when the hallmark of every team’s defense is to cut off shooting and passing lanes and block, block, block shots.
“What we have now,” Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock said, “is five goalies.”...
“My least favorite thing about the NHL is that, at times, all of this great skating seems to be bringing us closer to critical mass,” Buccigross said in a recent e-mail. “There is so little time to get anything done that some games are a perpetual smacking of sticks. That, and the leaguewide philosophy of collapsing on the goaltender, has left the game with very few seams….”
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 email@example.com