Kukla's Korner Hockey
By Arnie Stapleton, via CBS4 Denver,
Karlis Skrastins, on the verge of breaking Tim Horton’s NHL record for durability by a defenseman, has never shied away from pucks or pain.
A life of bumps, bruises and breaks attest to the 32-year-old’s all-out style. He’s constantly dropping to the ice or skating into the shooting lanes to block shots for the Colorado Avalanche.
“Pain is part of our job,” he said.
Skrastins is set to break Horton’s nearly 40-year-old record Thursday night against Atlanta when he plays in his 487th consecutive regular season game.
From the Associated Press, via Chicago Sports,
Patrick Lalime stopped 34 shots in his season debut to earn his first shutout in almost three years as the Blackhawks beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-0 Wednesday.
Lalime hadn’t played an NHL game since last April after undergoing surgery for a herniated disk in September. However, he was 3-1 with a .930 save-percentage during a recent conditioning stint in the AHL, and it carried over with Chicago as he made his best save on Trevor Linden’s power-play tip midway through the third period.
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From Ken Warren at The Ottawa Citizen,
It’s poker season again for NHL general managers, who are deciding whether to gamble a piece of the future for the immediate hope of adding a veteran to help win the Stanley Cup.
Senators general manager John Muckler is no exception, weighing the various options in advance of the Feb. 27 trade deadline. Do you add a soon-to-be unrestricted free agent depth defenceman? Or pick up a gritty veteran forward with substantial playoff experience? Would it be possible to find a team willing to take on what remains on the hefty contracts of goaltender Martin Gerber and/ or defenceman Joe Corvo?
from the CP via TSN,
Gary Bettman dismissed any speculation Wednesday he may leave, or be forced from, his job as NHL commissioner.
“I’ve watched with fascination some of the newspaper reports having me going on sabbatical shortly,” Bettman said prior to the Vancouver Canucks playing the Chicago Blackhawks. “That isn’t the case, wasn’t the case.
“I think people were somehow under the impression my contract had a year to run and got fixated on that. Those stories were, to say the least, inaccurate.”
Went to a hockey game Tuesday night and a fight broke out _ several of them witnessed with aplomb and humor by the home fans.
What a difference a sport makes.
If this scene were duplicated at Arco Arena, during a Sacramento Kings game, it would be national news _ a black mark on the league, a stain on our culture, a threat to our children, a reason for David Stern to suspend players for weeks at a time….
Now the hockey fights are like trees falling in distant forests. If ESPN doesn’t televise the brawls live, did they really happen? They do and they did Tuesday night, to the applause of local fans with little else to cheer about in a 7-4 Ducks victory.
The fights didn’t disturb the sensibilities of this longtime hockey fan. They actually seemed kind of funny when they interrupted a one-sided game.
But that nonchalance toward hockey violence seems as out of whack as the hysteria that ensues every time NBA players swing on each other.
“I thought he brought an intelligence to the game that we like,” Rangers coach Tom Renney said Wednesday. “He skates well, he handles the puck well. He can shoot. He asserted himself. He’s a proactive player. I see Sean, with his ability to skate and read the game, as being a penalty-killer. I hope [the fans] respond well to him; I hope they respond well to our team.”
from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
It is a relationship forged when Bob Hartley was a minor-league coach and Patrick Roy was already a goaltending legend.
It continues today as Hartley is coach of the NHL’s Thrashers and Roy is part-owner, general manager and coach of a junior team in Quebec. Their phone calls criss-cross North America as much as three times a week with the Hall of Famer seeking advice from the man who coached him to a Stanley Cup title in Colorado.
from the CP via MetroNews,
Samsonov, a major disappointment this season, looked to be back in the fold Wednesday after meeting with head coach Guy Carbonneau and GM Bob Gainey.
It isn’t certain that he will be in the lineup for a game Thursday night against the Senators in Ottawa, but Carbonneau said “he"ll definitely be back in the lineup at some point.
“I never had problems with Sergei Samsonov as a man,” Carbonneau added.
from the Bellowing Moose at NBC Sports,
So what are the all-seeing antlered one’s latest predictions? First, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Alba don’t make it to Memorial Day, and second, Todd Bertuzzi gets traded soon by Florida….
Who would be interested? How about his former boss Brian Burke? The Anaheim GM has always been one of Bertuzzi’s biggest backers, and the Ducks could use some size on the front end.
Another Bertuzzi fan is Wayne Gretzky in Phoenix.
from the AP via Sports Illustrated,
Right now, that learning curve looks more like a straightaway.
“I’d hate to play them two years from now,’’ Trotz said. “They’re building something very special in Pittsburgh, and the city should be pretty excited.’‘
No doubt their fans would be more revved up if that building plan included a new arena - the team and the state are negotiating how to pay for a replacement for 45-year-old Mellon Arena, but an agreement has not yet been reached.
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