Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Star,
The math is not at all complicated. Tonight is the Maple Leafs season.
It is that simple. You can add and subtract, multiply and divide, but the calculations remain the same.
This is one game for everything. One game to determine whether this is another failed experiment for the Leafs or whether this team has any chance of advancing to the post-season.
Tonight is a best of one against themselves and the equally desperate defending Stanley Cup champions, all at the same time.
A new spot for Gatorade by Downtown Partners DDB in Toronto, airing exclusively in Canada, reveals what happens inside the head of Sidney Crosby, center for the Pittsburgh Penguins, as he prepares to take a shot on goal.
As Crosby, the youngest player with two 100-point NHL seasons barrels toward the goalie, the camera zooms onto, and eventually smacks into, the back of his head.
Inside, we find a group of men dressed like air-traffic controllers gathered around a miniature hockey table with graphics reminiscent of a video game. Crosby’s mind is a hive of activity. In one area, men shovel coal into a blazing blue fire. In another, hundreds of pictures blaze by.
read on...and you can see the video there too…
A published report out Philadelphia suggests the Flyers are set to announce that they have agreed on a two-year contract with goalie Martin Biron worth approximately $6.8 million.
“We’re getting there and we could have some news for you by [Tuesday],” Lupien said. “For us, we want a shorter term. One year was too little. Five years was too long. We feel two years gives us some flexibility for Marty in future free agency.”
Holmgren said he and Lupien are playing phone tag and he doesn’t expect the deal to be done until Tuesday.
from Stan Fischler at the Hockey Journal,
• Much as we admire Sid (Der Bingle) Crosby, some of his on-ice antics are infuriating the (non-Pittsburgh) hockey community. As Bryan Murray notes, The Kid is becoming a master at diving and its assorted penalty-getting variations.
• One owner’s theory on Ryan Smyth is that time will heal the wounds he feels inflicted by the Oilers and he’ll reconsider a return to Edmonton next season. We still like his chances of staying on Long Island!
more NHL bits from Stan…
from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Bob Hartley is as much a hockey fan as he is a coach. He has a satellite dish at home to watch minor-league hockey in Canada, and his flat-screen television in his Duluth office keeps him constantly updated with feeds from TSN, Canada’s ESPN equivalent.
Right now the fan in him is puzzled. Why, he wondered on Monday after practice, are hockey pundits debating fighting in hockey when the NHL — and the Thrashers — are in the stretch run of an exciting race to the playoffs?
“Why are we not talking about this great race?” he asked. “Tell me a sport where we have seen a race like this, that’s what we should be talking about. Some teams won’t go down. No one wants to go down.”
Martin Brodeur took part in an NHL tele-conference today…
Q. Out here in Vancouver, we wonder how Luongo can play every night. You’ve done it many times virtually playing every night. Do you get into a zone that you just want to be in there every single game?
MARTIN BRODEUR: Well, yeah, I think so. I think when you start playing a lot of games, I think you’re overcoming a lot of the ups and downs of the hockey season. Sometimes when you do take breaks, everything you do is a little magnified.
When you go in, bad game, good game, lucky game, it doesn’t matter. You have that confidence that you’re going to go out there the next time and do it again. I think it makes your season go through a lot easier as far as winning and stuff like that.
That’s what I found. For me playing lots of games, you don’t feel when you lose a couple games that you sit back for a week and wait for your next start; you just go right at it and get it over with and feel good about it.
I think if your body and your mental game is good enough to do it, I think it’s great.
The Detroit Red Wings have clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the 16th consecutive season, the latest milestone for a franchise that has set a standard for sustained excellence not only in the National Hockey League but for all of North American major pro sports. The New York Yankees, who have qualified for the Major League Baseball playoffs in each of the past 12 seasons, have the next-longest streak.
from the CBC,
Commissioner Gary Bettman said Monday the NHL isn’t going to debate the issue of fighting in hockey, but admitted the league may have to find a better way to protect its hulking players from fighting-related injuries.
“From a player safety standpoint, what happens in fighting is something we need to look at just as we need to look at hits to the head,” Bettman told reporters after a news conference in Toronto to announce the NHL had reached a new six-year broadcast deal with the CBC.
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
The game is such these days that a lot of players don’t care whether there’s a puck on the ice or not
They’re just out there to run other players. And they’re causing injuries.
In an earlier era, those players would have been held accountable. But with the instigator rule, and the low-scoring games that put a premium on power plays, they’re left alone. If the league scraps the instigator rule and keeps the fighters, those guys would think twice. And there would be fewer injuries.
In the long run, fighting doesn’t cause injuries; it prevents them.
via Sports Business Daily,
Hockey HOFer Scotty Bowman will post his first blog today for NBCSports.com, where he will discuss which teams he believes will make the NHL playoffs. Bowman will blog two to three times a week throughout the season and playoffs.
I did a quick search at NBC but didn’t find anything yet, if you happen to run into it, please post in the comments…
update 3:00pm, from Scotty Bowman at NBC Sports,
This Eastern Conference playoff face is sure tough to figure. Last year, the West was pretty close at the end of the season, but it was for one spot, which is mostly what I’ve seen. But now you could say it’s easily three open spots in the East.
Sure, there’s a couple of important races, and not just for the last few spots. The race between Atlanta and Tampa Bay for the Southeast is important because one of those teams will end up with the third seed while the other will be fighting just to get in the playoffs. Tampa’s got a decent schedule and it gets to play Carolina, which can also sneak up and grab first in the Southeast.
note: originally posted at 9:05am, 3/26/07
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.
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