Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Kansas City Star,
If the reports are accurate, Kansas City will have to shift its attention to either another troubled NHL franchise, likely the Nashville Predators, or an NBA team, as an anchor tenant.
Some have speculated that because of the way AEG followed the lead of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman during the negotiations with the Penguins, Kansas City has put itself first in line for an NHL expansion team.
The Predators have the best record in the NHL but have struggled for corporate support, and owner Craig Leipold is putting 40 percent of the club on the market. The team has an escape clause in its lease, based on attendance, that would enable it to leave Nashville after the 2007-08 season.
That point will be proven again tonight as thousands of Detroit fans descend upon Gaylord Entertainment Center for the sold-out showdown between the NHL’s top two teams — the Predators and Red Wings.
The phenomenon began when the NHL awarded Nashville an expansion team in 1997.
Many Michigan natives had moved to the Nashville area in the 1990s after Detroit-based General Motors opened up a manufacturing plant in Spring Hill. They were thrilled when Nashville landed a team and many bought Predators season tickets.
But they weren’t about to turn their back on the Wings, who quickly became Nashville’s most hated rival.
Also from the Tennessean,
“We’re going to do the right thing for Peter,” Trotz said. “When he’s ready to play, he’s going to play. And if he’s not ready, we’re not going to force him into anything. We’ll probably see where is (today) and make a decision.”
more on Forsberg…
from the Oakland Press,
If the Detroit Red Wings and their leading scorer are going to come to terms on a contract before the offseason, it will need to be done before April 1. Pavel Datsyuk will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, but talks between his agent, Gary Greenstin, Datsyuk and Detroit general manager Ken Holland are ongoing….
“I don’t want to talk to (Greenstin) much because I only want to think about hockey,” said Datsyuk. “When I ask about (the contract), he sounds like a movie (advertisement) ... ÔComing soon. Coming soon.’”
fropm the AP via Sports Illustrated,
The Pittsburgh Penguins have reached a deal with city, county and state officials on financing for a new arena, a television station reported Monday night.
KDKA-TV, citing unidentified sources, said the deal is “done’’ and will be announced before Tuesday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres at Mellon Arena.
More from KDKA…
added 12:38am, from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
The puck stays here.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have reached an agreement with state and local officials for construction of a new arena that keeps the team here under a 30-year lease.
from Matt Higgins at the New York Times,
Last season, teams scored 3.0 goals a game, up from 2.58 in 2003-4, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Fast, skilled teams like the Sabres thrived, providing flashbacks to the pretrap era of the 1980s.
But this season, scoring has steadily edged downward. Through Sunday, teams averaged 2.90 goals.
How much of that can be traced to the trap?
“Everybody, whether they trap, has a checking scheme in the neutral zone,” said Colorado Coach Joel Quenneville, whose team sometimes created a human wall against Buffalo by putting four players across its blue line.
via Russo’s Rants,
Niklas Backstrom is your No. 1 goaltender.
That was the news of the day coming after this afternoon’s practice from gorgeous Vancouver.
...Jacques said the team is playing too well to fiddle with it. He says he wants to see how far this team can go with Backstrom at the helm. Obviously things can change if the team goes south.
But Lemaire said Manny Fernandez will play when the Wild can’t gain any more and/or the teams around the Wild take off either direction.
He also alluded to his dissatisfaction with Fernandez’s effort in practices recently. Manny wasn’t in the talking mood today.
from the CP via the Hockey News,
The gap between Denis and Holmqvist hasn’t widened much since. Both have had hot and cold runs this season in Tampa and Tortorella has made it clear that he hasn’t decided who will be the starter in the playoffs.
Denis currently seems to hold the upper hand. He’s posted consecutive wins over Edmonton and Calgary and expects to get the start on Tuesday night in Toronto.
But he knows he’s only as good as his next game.
from Stan Fischler at the Hockey Journal,
• In the view of some analysts, Mario Lemieux is getting off easy with his demand that his Penguins get a new arena or go bye-bye. “If his club could sell out The Igloo every night of the season – and it could with Crosby and Malkin – he could make enough dough to say,” one observer of the NHL fiscal scene opines. “Sure Mario would make more with a new building and all those luxury boxes but he’s just being greedy. The Penguins could survive right where they are now – if Lemieux was really interested in keeping them in Pitt.”
• Commenting on the NHLPA upheaval, Bill Wirtz tells us that the Union would benefit from studying the good side of Alan Eagleson’s Association leadership: “Alan Eagleson put it in the union constitution that the players must be issued annual financial statements certified by PriceWaterhouse….
from Wes Goldstein at CBS Sportsline,
Given up for dead as the All-Star Game approached, Florida has dramatically turned things around over the past six weeks, going 12-5-3 to climb back into the Eastern Conference playoff race. After a near-sellout crowd saw them beat Southeast Division co-leader and rival Atlanta on Saturday for the first time in seven tries, the Panthers find themselves just five points shy of the eighth and final postseason seed with 13 games remaining.
“I’m sure a lot of people have written us off, but in here, we’ve never thought we’re out of it,” said forward Nathan Horton. “Obviously, it took us longer than we wanted to get things going, but we feel good about things and now we’re making our push.”
Alex Ovetjkin finds a unique interview with Donald Brashear,
DUBINA : Is it true that Joey Kocur had a punch of horrendous blow force? Have you ever fought him?
A. Yes, once I had a scrap with Joey. I tried to stand for him, but he was punching and punching me. Kocur was hitting me in the helmet like a power hammer and in the end the helmet split! I remember the next day I had a terrible pain, my gums on the left side of my head were hurting even though he was hitting me on the right side of my face. I couldn’t chew anything. I wonder what it would be if I did not have a helmet? Too scary.
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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