Kukla's Korner Hockey
NHL trade deadline fun is only a week away and the five Southeast Division teams have either joined the party already or will be late arrivals, taking part in the festivities before “last call” at 3:00 PM Eastern next Monday afternoon. None, I suspect, will sit idly by without at least some effort to tinker with their roster (further than they have already, in some cases) either for a playoff push or some more long-term planning.
With a week to go, today we’ll have a look around the division to try and gauge what each Southeast club might do, with an eye on where they sit in the standings currently, what they’ve done already and names that have been bantered about here and there.
via Bob McKenzie tweet,
Not official yet, but BOS trading Wheeler and Stuart to ATL for Peverley and Valabik. Pending trade call.
added 1:40pm, McKenzie tweet makes it official.
Jovanovski is listed day-to-day with an upper body injury.
from Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Atlanta Spirit co-owner Michael Gearon said there is now a “sense of urgency” to find additional investors or a buyer willing to keep the Thrashers in Atlanta. If the ownership group does not get additional financial help in the near future the franchise could be sold and moved to another city.
“If we are faced with that as the only alternative, that’s what’s going to happen,” Gearon told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an exclusive interview Tuesday. “I don’t think there is an ability to stomach another $20 million in losses. We just can’t do it.
“The reality is we need fans showing up and we need investors, or a primary investor.”
via Chris Vivlamore tweet,
Thrashers have re-signed Dustin Byfuglien to multi-year contract. Details to come.
added 4:01pm, via Craig Custance tweet,
Told the Byfuglien deal is for 5-years in the $5 million per year range.
added 4:05pm, via Thrashers PR…
The Atlanta Thrashers have signed defenseman Dustin Byfuglien to a multiple-year contract extension, according to General Manager Rick Dudley.
“Dustin has emerged into an elite player this season and been invaluable as a leader both on and off the ice,” said Dudley. “It was a priority to sign him and we’re looking forward to witnessing his All-Star caliber play for many years to come.”
Byfuglien, 25, leads the team and ranks fifth in the NHL among defenseman in scoring with 43 points (17 goals, 26 assists) this season while leading all league defenseman in goals. He has tallied six game-winning goals, one shy of the NHL record for a defenseman in a single season and tied the Thrashers single-game scoring record for a defensemen with four points (one goal, three assists) against Boston on Nov. 28. Byfuglien was named the NHL’s second star of the week (period ending Nov. 28) and the league’s third star for the month of November. For his efforts this season, he was also named an NHL All-Star.
Time once again for a look at this past week’s AHL results for the affiliates of the NHL’s Southeast Division teams.
Let’s get right to it:
Click for individual box scores
Tuesday, 2/8/11: Charlotte Checkers 4, Providence Bruins 1
Charlotte goal-scorers: Jerome Samson (26), Chris Terry (20), Brett Carson (3), Jon Matsumoto (15)
Charlotte goaltenders (saves/shots): Mike Murphy (31/32)
Three stars of the game: 1 – Mike Murphy, CHA; 2 – Jerome Samson, CHA; 3 – Jon Matsumoto, CHA
Wednesday, 2/9/11: Grand Rapids Griffins 7, Chicago Wolves 5
Chicago goal-scorers: Nigel Dawes (24), Riley Holzapfel (6), Andrew Kozek (7), Ryan Garbutt (13), Darren Haydar (19)
Chicago goaltenders (saves/shots): Drew MacIntyre (15/19), Peter Mannino (11/13)
Three stars of the game: 1 – Francis Pare, GR; 2 – Mark Matheson, CHI; 3 – Jamie Johnson, GR
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
If it wasn’t one thing, it was another for Avery in the Rangers’ 3-2 loss to the Thrashers. He appeared to be yelled at throughout the match by the officiating crew, did not get a call when slashed at the end of the second period by Andrew Ladd (though coach John Tortorella, furious behind the bench at the time, said after the game it was not a penalty) and was cited for a bogus charge in the third.
Avery, who has had a good relationship this season with nearly all of the on-ice officials and who has been guarded with his comments, was furious after the match, worked by referees Frederick L’Ecuyer and Brad Watson and linesmen Darren Gibbs and Derek Amell.
“If the people watching the games don’t see that there are two sets of rules, one for me and one for everyone else, then I don’t know what they’re watching,” Avery told The Post. “I don’t play under the same rules as everybody else.
“When I go to [the officials] for an explanation, they tell me to [kiss] off.”
more on the Rangers…
LeBrun: OK, back on the pucks ... yes, making up ground late in the season seems like skating in quicksand, unless you’re the Buffalo Sabres. Another win last night, and suddenly the Sabres are just two points out of the eighth spot in the East with two games in hand on Carolina. You heard here first: the Sabres are making the playoffs this season.
Burnside: I am not sold yet on the Sabres, although having won eight of their past 11 contests is sure impressive. The power play is also starting to cook, which is crucial. During this stretch, they have beaten Tampa Bay, Boston and Montreal. That’s the key if you’re trying to make up ground, beating the also-rans and getting points against good teams. The Sabres have done that.
We’ve said it several times this season – that the Southleast is no more. With 308 combined points in the standings, Tampa Bay, Washington, Carolina, Atlanta and Florida comprise the Eastern Conference’s top division by that standard. Only the Pacific Division (321 points) has had more success as a group this season in the entire league. There’s even a fighting chance that four Southeast Division clubs could make the playoffs.
Suffice it to say, anyone still knocking the hockey played down here in this corner of the continent can be officially discredited. Clearly, anyone in that category hasn’t been paying attention this season.
Beyond team accolades, when the book is closed on the 2010-11 season, the Southeast Division has a legitimate chance for representation in almost every major year-end individual award. Some have sturdier ground to stand on than others in that respect but several individuals from Southeast clubs look to at least be in the conversation for some hardware in Vegas in late June.
Since premature awards speculation has started to heat up at a few other media outlets – always fun to keep tabs on ESPN’s Trophy Tracker but no Tampa Bay love in the Adams race, really? – here’s a list of potential trophy candidates from the Southeast Division, in no particular order.
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Debuted the new-look version of The Bolts Beat yesterday, complete with some first-time technical goofs, as I suppose we should have expected. (Our intro song was somehow infiltrated by a portion of, co-host Mark Pukalo was effectively muted throughout the broadcast without a headset, the camera didn’t pick up my good side and , overall, “goofy” comes to mind…) In all seriousness, if you tuned in, thanks for sticking with us, despite our clear need for some serious polishing in the show’s new incarnation.
If I had to sum it up briefly, I’d call on fellow old school professional wrestling fans to remember the infamous first appearance of “The Shockmaster” in WCW. (Look it up if you’re unfamiliar. It communicates yesterday’s frustrations pretty well…)
I’d have posted it here, as promised but I think I’ll wait to do that until we shine her up a little more.
Moving right along, it’s time for a look at this past week’s AHL action for the affiliates of the NHL’s Southeast Division teams, which is shorter than usual this week, thanks to the All-Star break.
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.
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