Kukla's Korner

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The “Unlucky” Blackhawks

from the Chicago Tribune,

Attending the Blackhawks' 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets at the United Center, Bettman saw thousands of empty seats. "There is no more passionate owner in sports than Bill Wirtz and the Wirtz family," Bettman said. "This is just going to be a question of getting back on track. They were a little unlucky, and they have acknowledged they made some mistakes."
read on

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Thornton Carrying The Load

from the San Francisco Chronicle,

San Jose's workhorse center, and the league's leading scorer, is logging major minutes as the Sharks continue to try to climb in the Western Conference playoff chase. Thornton, who is up to an average of 21:27 of ice time per game -- topped by only six other forwards in the NHL -- knows he won't have any complaints about playing time the rest of the way. "He's a horse. The more you play him, the better he gets," Wilson said. "If we were in first place, it would be a different story, but we're not. I'll do everything I can to get ourselves in position to make the playoffs and, according to how the game goes, manage his ice time that way."

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Gretzky Wants To Return- Jones Will Be Subpoenaed

via TSN,

Despite all the hardships he has endured over the last few months, Wayne Gretzky intends to coach the Phoenix Coyotes again next season. "I'm inclined to return," he told the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday. "I enjoy the city. I enjoy the organization."
from the AP via Sports Illustrated,
Wayne Gretzky's wife will be subpoenaed to testify when a grand jury looks at charges in the case involving a betting ring allegedly run an NHL assistant coach, New Jersey's attorney general said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday.

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NYI Lose Zhitnik & Asham

from Alan Hahn of Newsday,

The Islanders' playoff hopes took a major hit when it was revealed on Wednesday that the team's top defenseman, Alexei Zhitnik, will be out the rest of the season with a fracture to his left ankle. The team also lost another veteran, forward Arron Asham, for 4-to-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain.

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Tanguay Confident

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

"Even though we lost two big parts of our core to the new CBA, it was important for this group to keep the same attitude," said Tanguay. "We always felt, ever since I've been here, that we are a team with a chance to win the Stanley Cup and especially with Jose (Theodore) coming, we don't feel any different. We feel, first we have to get into the playoffs because everything's so much tighter this year with the parity, but we feel the same way - that we have a shot, so let's do our best and see who comes out on top at the end."
read on

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Hasek Will Skate Thursday

via Sportsnet,

Hasek will accompany the team to Boston for their game against the Bruins on Thursday night. The 41-year-old will take to the ice for the first time since injuring his adductor muscle at the Turino Winter Olympics. Hasek will skate in Boston following the team's morning skate. He will not face any shots or participate in any practice drills.
update 7:56pm, from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
Senators' coach Bryan Murray conceded that Hasek's injury was "more serious" than they originally thought, but that his off-ice strength training shows he's very close to 100 per cent and now it's time to take it to the ice for the next step. If all goes well, there's an excellent chance he could be playing in a game before the end of the month, which gives him plenty of time to be ready for the playoffs that begin on April 21.

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Blues Can Still Finish 3rd

A reader of KK sent along this website and even though the website invloves "numbers" and "probability", I enjoyed just looking around. It covers all sports but they have an interest in the St. Louis Blues. from Who Wins, It once again remains the case that the best that the Blues can manage is sole possession of the third-most points in the conference. more

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Expand The Playoffs- The Players Respond

from the Hockey News via ESPN,

"Should the NHL increase the number of teams that qualify for the playoffs from 16 to 20?" That was the question posed to 30 NHL players as the league appears determined to increase the number of participating playoff teams in the near future, but don't expect players to take a victory lap if the announcement comes.
Best answer to the question-
No: "Teams 15 and 16 obviously are the least skilled, and it gets worse from there. Those teams won't upset nobody." -- Chris Higgins

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Sanford Out For The Year

via the AP,

St. Louis Blues goaltender Curtis Sanford suffered a MCL strain in his left knee and will miss the rest of the season. The Blues recalled Reinhard Divis from its AHL affiliate in Peoria in a related move.

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Trade Talk You May Have Missed

from Charlie Teljeur of the Hockey News,

At least six teams had interest in center Alexei Yashin. And, if you count the Islanders, it's seven. The Rangers had a deal with Ottawa that would have sent Steve Rucchin and a fifth rounder to the Senators for Zdeno Chara. Glen Sather canned the deal upon realizing that Chara was in fact Slovakian and not Czech.

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com


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