Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
The most fascinating aspect of the Penguins’ struggle is that it provides us the first opportunity to gauge what kind of administrator general manager Ray Shero will be. Because this is his first GM job, we have no history to review.
But my hunch is Shero will be able to walk the fine line between aggressiveness and panic. I believe he will continue to look for scoring wingers, and I believe he will continue to be patient with Fleury. I believe he will be more patient with Fleury than his coach seems to be. I think if Shero believed Fleury needed an older goalie playing beside him, he would have acquired one last summer.
via Watchdog at Newsday,
For their eight games on FSNY, the Islanders are up spectacularly, from 0.07 percent of area homes last season at this point to 0.32.
The Rangers are up 102 percent on MSG compared to last year.
Make your selections for the NHL All-Star Game in Atlanta!
from David Amber at ESPN,
In this week’s Facing Off, the All-Star goalie tells us why he’s sick of talking about the departures of Chris Drury and Daniel Briere, what it was like watching his brother win the Stanley Cup last season and how he’s trying to make life better for cancer victims in his community.
Q: Is it hard to deal with (losing Drury & Briere)?
A: As a team, I’ve been trying to get rid of this built-in excuse that is kind of lingering over us. It can be a crutch to explain why we are losing. What it really comes down to is the guys in the locker room. We as a group need to step up and play. When I talk about those guys leaving, I think we need to move on. I still have a lot of respect for both of them. I learned a lot from them, even little things in practice. They are great leaders and have competitive spirits. I think having played with them will help me out in my career.
from the Christian Science Monitor,
Many sports fans have long believed that anyone could be a sportswriter – that anyone could sit up on press row, forgo cheering, and type up a few deep thoughts and pithy observations about the games professional athletes play.
These days in Washington, D.C., that widespread belief is being put to a test. To many sportswriters, it’s a scandal. To the owner of the Washington Capitals, it’s the future….
“Because of the way blogs are produced they can provide instant information and reactions that papers won’t publish until the following day,” Henschel says. “People want their information fast and, until recently, the bloggers were the only ones providing that service. I think it’s extremely telling that the Caps’ beat writers for the two major papers in D.C. have recently created their own blogs that can be updated as needed.”
In an unprecedented move, Minnesota Wild forward Marian Gaborik has apologized to fantasy hockey owners for playing in a defensive system.
“When developing this team it is obvious that management paid no attention to fantasy owners, but instead selfishly decided that winning games was more important,” Gaborik said in a “prepared statement.”
The Slovak scorer has 13 points in 12 games this season, including a game-winning goal against the Calgary Flames. For his efforts the Wild are off to a 9-6-2 start, but fantasy owners are frustrated that Gaborik is not a Top 5 in every offensive category.
“I will continue to help you out when I can,” Gaborik explained. “But I am afraid management is obsessed with giving Minnesota fans a Stanley Cup.”
From Brad Holland at NHL.com,
NHL Central Scouting’s preliminary rankings for the 2008 Entry Draft are out and, as expected, Sarnia Sting forward Steven Stamkos heads the list of Ontario Hockey League prospects. Belarussian forward Mikhail Stefanovich of the Quebec Remparts heads the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League list, while power forward Kyle Beach is ranked as the Western Hockey League’s top skater.
Each of the three, Stamkos especially, is expected to be a huge part of whichever team is lucky enough to nab him at this summer’s Entry Draft in Ottawa. But while the top player from each league is a forward, the 2008 Entry Draft will likely be remembered as the year of the blue-chip defensemen.
from John Ondrasik at Sports Illustrated,
Over a pre-game beer in the Grand Reserve Room at Staples Center, I recently had the chance to talk to Hall of Fame-bound and current L.A. Kings President of Business Operations Luc Robitaille….
John: I actually went to Game One of [last season’s] Stanley Cup Final and I sat next to Mr. Bettman. It was all I could do to restrain myself [laughs] about some of the marketing choices the NHL’s made in the last few years. What specifically do you think the NHL could really do for outreach?
Luc: The biggest thing is you gotta find a way for people to see the game. It doesn’t matter what channel it’s on, it’s how you market and promote it. You gotta tell people to go to a certain station, but I think we need to work harder at it. Look at the NFL. The NHL’s never really done a good job of marketing players. People on the inside say that hockey players are the nicest guys, but then nobody talks about them….
Fox Sports’ Al Strachan went to town in bashing the deficiencies of composite sticks on Wednesday, espousing a popular belief that all the NHL’s scoring woes can be attributed directly to the proliferation of composite sticks.
Strachan used the comments of two wood stick adherents in Sharks GM Doug Wilson, who has to write the checks to cover his team’s stick budget, and Al MacInnis, who used wood sticks for the vast majority of his career, to bolster his argument that players simply cannot take passes using composite sticks, and, moreover, that players are wasting teams’ money while using sticks that perform to the detriment of the game.
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
...But there is no doubt that, in the rush to safeguard themselves from being pillaged, GMs have put all their chips behind their Plan A’s and pushed any and all Plan B’s completely off the table. They have willingly straight-jacketed themselves without possessing even the most minimal Houdini-like skills and may need the aid of smoke and mirrors to stay employed….
So let it go, GMs. When it comes to the future, roll the dice and live a little. It’s like your mom told you after you first had your heart broken by some reckless harlot – yeah, the sting might hurt like hell in the short term, but eventually, someone better will come along.
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