Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Daily Herald,
Rumors persist that the Montreal Canadiens have some interest in Hawks defenseman Adrian Aucoin and center Bryan Smolinski. Aucoin has played three solid games since his return from a groin injury.
There could be teams lining up before the deadline for a crack at the versatile Smolinski, who had another strong game in Vancouver when he played 23 minutes, was plus-3 and won 11 of 18 faceoffs in the Hawks’ 3-0 win.
Meanwhile, according to an NHL source, the Red Wings have shown an interest in Martin Lapointe as they look to add depth at forward for a run at the Stanley Cup.
Nicklas Lidstrom took part in an NHL tele-conference today.
Q. There’s been a lot talk that maybe your team is interested in a Swedish colleague of your, Peter Forsberg. I’m wondering how close you guys are and what kind of fit you think that might be?
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: Peter and I aren’t really close. I’m a few years older than he is, and we only played together on the national teams. So we haven’t really played together in the Swedish League before I turned pro. I think adding a player of Peter’s caliber would help any team.
I think a lot teams are looking at him if he wants to move, and I think we’re one of the teams if we can get him it would be huge for our team. Like I said, he’s a world-class player.
Q. You have had control of the Central Division for a few years. Nashville is in front now. Looking at the schedule, you’ve got Nashville once at the end the month and four times in March. Is that a make?or?break situation for you guys? How much are you looking forward taking on Nashville head?to?head?
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: I think the games coming up against Nashville are the key to winning the division. I think they’re playing really well and have been all year. As a team, they’ve been getting better all year. We played them in the playoffs before the lockout, and they’re a good team with a lot of speed and they’ve just gotten better and better. I think it’s going to be a race down to the last few games, but those games especially will be key to gain some points on them.
By Chuck Gormley
South Jersey Courier-Post
Peter Forsberg will meet with Flyers chairman Ed Snider, probably on Sunday, to discuss both sides’ next step. Snider spent last week in California, as did his right hand man Peter Luukko, the Flyers’ new president.
Here’s what I think will happen:
Snider will open the meeting by asking how Forsberg’s foot is doing and stress how much the Flyers have done for him to make it better – cross-continental flights to see doctors, etc. – and hint that Forsberg owes the Flyers something after all he’s put them through.
Snider will also map out a plan on how the Flyers can go from worst to first in one or two short years by signing forwards like Daniel Briere, Chris Drury or Scott Gomez and defensemen Kimmo Timonen or Sheldon Souray.
All the latest trade talk at TSN’s Backchecking...
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
By now, just about everybody this side of Samsonov has mostly figured out that play-me-or-trade-me, as a demand, went out of style around the time of mood rings and pet rocks.
It just isn’t that easy to move money anymore, at the best of times, not in a salary-capped world and certainly not when a player is underperforming at Samsonov’s current level.
Still, it shouldn’t be impossible. There was a theory that in the new CBA, the only way to move an underachieving, overpriced player was to find a second team in a similar situation and simply trade problems.
read on... plus much more from around the NHL…
from Pierre McGuire at NBC Sports,
• Peter Forsberg looks pain-free now with three assists against the Penguins.
• Two goalies who stepped up huge for their teams this week, Curtis Sanford of St. Louis and Joey MacDonald of Detroit. Sanford beat MacDonald 1-0, but it was robbery at both ends of the ice that kept the game so close.
• Henrik Zetterberg is the best two-way player in the league. He is getting it done in all situations, and Red Wings coach Mike Babcock knows it.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
If Samsonov is going to come close to earning the $3.525 million U.S. the Canadiens are paying him, he has to be in the lineup. While Carbonneau is right to stress the importance of the team over an individual, it’s difficult to believe there isn’t a spot for an eight-year NHL veteran who has averaged 23 goals a season.
Getting Samsonov back on track should be a team project. Samsonov has to do his part by working hard and bringing a positive attitude to the rink, but it’s also incumbent on Carbonneau and the coaching staff to find some way to use Samsonov to the team’s best advantage.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Winners of 16 of their last 22 games, the Lightning are within shouting distance of the Southeast Division lead (they trailed Atlanta by five points and had a game in hand as of Thursday) and more closely resemble the team that won the 2004 Stanley Cup than the one that was mired in the Eastern Conference cellar before Christmas.
If anything, the Lightning are a testament to patience, holding firm to a belief that whatever the questions, the answers are in the room and nowhere else.
“It’s not always about making changes,” Tortorella told ESPN.com this week.
from the Minnesota Wild,
Minnesota Wild President and General Manager Doug Risebrough today announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has acquired RW Adam Hall from the New York Rangers in exchange for LW Pascal Dupuis.
from the Sunday Paper,
At the height of the Cold War, Vyacheslav (or “Slava”) Kozlov was born. At that time, it was almost inconceivable that life’s road would lead him all the way from Voskresensk, Russia to Atlanta.
“When I was a kid, I had no idea what the Stanley Cup was,” he says of growing up in communist Russia. “We could not think about the NHL. There was only the Russian National Team. There were no Russians in the NHL.”
Then, when Kozlov was a teenager, Mikhail Gorbachev came to power. And while we’re all familiar with his contributions to world peace and politics, he also had a huge impact on Russia’s best athletes—especially hockey players.
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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.
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