Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
... What I do remember, though, is how the Kings felt in September, buoyed by the feeling they were getting, players showing up early for camp with the sense their focus was different than the last time they had to defend a title. Well, just like almost every other team that's won a Stanley Cup over the past 15 years or so, the hangover is in full effect.
As Scott mentioned, the Kings limp into the break sitting one point out of a playoff spot. I fully expect the defending champs to make the playoffs, but it's just eating at management to see how it's played out so far this seeason. The rope-a-dope thing, where the Kings turn it on just in time late in the season, is getting old for the L.A. front office.
Let's be fair, though, and note that losing Slava Voynov was impactful, because top-four blue-liners don't grow on trees. I suspect you'll see a trade or two before the March 2 deadline from GM Dean Lombardi, who's never scared to tweak his roster. Should be an interesting final two and a half months of the regular season in L.A.
read on for Custance on Penguins/Blackhawks, Strang on a ASG replacement for Bobrovsky and Burnside on the Avalanche...
“I want to be the team with the puck, and when you have the puck, it’s hard to hit guys. I don’t see physical teams or teams taking runs at us as an issue at all. This league is not about running guys anymore. And the word heavy — that’s the word of the day in the NHL, heavy and light. Our guys play hard. I’m more worried about our special teams, honestly, then about playing heavy teams.’’
-Steve Yzerman, GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune has more from Yzerman regarding the Bolts season.
from Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post,
When general manager Garth Snow traded for defensemen Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy just four days before the start of the season, almost all around the league applauded the moves and immediately inserted the Islanders into the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Yet to be at 31-14-1 and in first place 46 games into the season? To be four points ahead of the Penguins (who have on game in hand)? And to be five points ahead of the defending Eastern Conference champions and blood rival, the Rangers — who just so happened to win 16 of 19 before the break, yet still hold two games in hand.
“I’m very pleased up until this point with our hockey club,” Capuano said. “We’ve done a lot of good things, not only winning hockey games, but how we’re winning games and how we’re playing within the structure and the framework that we talk about every day.”
The thing is Capuano isn’t holding some secret motivational tool (as much as he often sounds like an excerpt from Rhonda Byrne or Tony Robbins). Instead, the motivation has come simply from piling up wins, which has come from the addition of new players who are playing well and have added depth.
Sometimes, it’s really as simple as getting better players.
13:49 Toronto Dion Phaneuf - Fighting - 5 minutes
13:49 Toronto Dion Phaneuf - Slashing - 2 minutes
13:49 Ottawa Milan Michalek - Slashing - 2 minutes
13:49 Ottawa Milan Michalek - Fighting - 5 minutes
Just about four minutes of highlights from the six NHL games on Wednesday night.
This might make the All-Star Game's goaltending situation...interesting:
from Rick Westhead of TSN,
A U.S. bankruptcy judge has reiterated that the NHL should not receive the $145 million it demanded from former Phoenix Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes.
Moyes became the controlling owner of the financially troubled team and its new arena in 2006.
Two years later, he told the NHL that he couldn't afford to fund the team's operating losses. The Coyotes' losses have eclipsed $50 million per season. In 2009, the NHL was told that Moyes was discussing a possible sale of the team to Jim Balsillie and that Balsillie planned to relocate the Coyotes to Hamilton.
The NHL demanded that Moyes stop negotiating with Balsillie. Moyes responded by filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the team and its assets, and he executed a sales agreement for the team to Balsillie.
What a season this has been for the Leafs. At one point, adding Eric Staal seemed like a dream scenario, maybe even for both sides. Now? If you’re Eric Staal, why on Earth would you want to bother getting involved with Toronto at this time?
-Jeff Blair of Sportsnet where you can read more on this topic.
from Randy Miller of NJ.com,
Pittsburgh Penguins fans are outraged at Flyers left wing Zac Rinaldo.
They're angry over a dirty hit that injured Letang in the first period of the Flyers' 3-2 overtime victory on Tuesday night a Wells Fargo Center and disgusted about Rinaldo's postgame comments in which he bragged that he "changed the game" and "might have changed" his club's fortunes in what's been a bad season.
Since his hit, Rinaldo has been getting bashed virtually nonstop with messages sent to his @rinaldozac Twitter account, many of which were quite vulgar.
Others kept it clean by calling Rinaldo a disgrace, thug, beer leaguer, embarrassment, idiot, Neanderthal, coward, punk, puke, scumbag, tooth bag, meathead, dirty, useless, moron, garage, trash, scrub, goon and savage.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Ray Whitney, 42, announced his retirement as an NHL player Wednesday, capping a terrific career which produced 1,064 points (385-679) in 1,330 regular-season games.
Not bad for a guy who was once waived.
He put up consistent production thanks to soft hands, great passing and playmaking ability, and the heart the size of a mountain.
"For the past 23 years, I have had the privilege of earning my living playing hockey in the National Hockey League," Whitney said in a statement released by his agency, CAA Sports. "Along the way, I have made countless memories and friendships, which I will always cherish. Every city I played in, the fans welcomed my family and me with open arms, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that.
"I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of my teammates and coaches, especially the 2006 Stanley Cup team in Carolina. I was lucky to have great agents at CAA Sports, who stood by me through the good times and the tough times. I want to say a special thank you to my parents, who gave me the chance to do what I loved.
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 email@example.com