Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
For all of his flaws—some real and some imagined by his detractors—Huselius is still arguably the most gifted offensive player on Calgary’s roster.
His passing skills are rivalled only by Alex Tanguay’s, but he’s much more willing to shoot the puck in scoring areas, so that makes Huselius very dangerous in the offensive zone, especially on the powerplay.
He’s more than capable of scoring that big goal at the right time, which is a big deal come playoff time.
As for those who say he disappears when the games get more physical, they’re dead wrong.
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
At the tail end of a brief interview following yesterday’s practice, Kristian Huselius was asked if he’d dealt with being a healthy scratch before.
“I did in Florida,” said Huselius, before adding a telling kicker as he walked away to abruptly cut short his first comments on the benching: “with him, so…”
“Him” being coach Mike Keenan, the man who relegated the healthy winger to the press box Tuesday as part of their latest clash in philosophies.
Back in 2003, when the two last worked together, Huselius was, by several accounts, a regular target of the demanding coach despite reaching the 20-goal mark in each of his first two NHL seasons.
Stories of Keenan loudly berating young Huselius for soft or indifferent play still circulate around Miami’s tiny hockey circles.
from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Calgary Herald,
And it begs the question whether the precocious 22-year-old should now be mentioned along with the Nick Lidstroms and Chris Prongers as a candidate for the Norris. As a human highlight reel leading Calgary to first place during the past two weeks, it’s getting harder to argue that Phaneuf’s time isn’t now. He eats up ice time and has the knack of being his most competitive in the big games. He has won the enmity of opposing players for his nasty side.
It comes down to your idea of how complete a defenceman needs to be to qualify.
added 10:49am, more on the Norris race at the Calgary Herald…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
When Calgary wins, the formula for success is as simple 1-2-3.
1. Kiprusoff outplays the goalie at the other end of the rink. When he’s engaged, the Finn moves well, plays big, covers lots of net, and generally limits the bad goals that he allows to a manageable few.
2. Iginla, the perfect captain, rallies the troops, by word and deed, with a manner that is rare in today’s NHL. With the team touch-and-go just to make the playoffs, he has turned in a first-star performance in virtually every win they’ve had over the past two weeks.
from the Calgary Flames,
The Calgary Flames Hockey Club announced Tuesday Dion Phaneuf has been named the recipient of the Ralph T. Scurfield Humanitarian Award. The Scurfield Award is presented each year to the Flames player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, determination and leadership on the ice, combined with dedication to community service.
In his third professional season, defenceman Dion Phaneuf has not only established himself as an elite player but has also proven he is a proud Albertan who truly understands how important it is to use his profile to enhance the work of local charities and make a positive impact on his community.
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
Phaneuf is a punk, by the way. And some day he’s going to get his, and it’s not going to be pretty for him. He’s going to hit one backside of a player too many, and somebody is going to rip that shield off his face and hand him his teeth….
This is a 22-year-old guy, at the top of his physical powers and who really has a lot of talent. But he doesn’t play an honorable game.
He hits you when your back is turned. Then, when you get mad about it and try to hit him back, he backs away and hides behind his shield, mouthing off. He’s got a lot of Bill Laimbeer in him.
from Ross McKeon of Yahoo,
People in Washington and Pittsburgh won’t like to hear this, but if the season were to end today, Jarome Iginla is the league’s most valuable player.
The Hart Trophy race has never been so hotly contested. The competition is very much a reflection of close races, parity throughout the NHL and certainly a trickle-down effect of what a salary-cap system means to the league overall.
But the 30-year-old Edmonton native, who captains the provincial rival Calgary Flames, is the choice. He may not have as many goals and not as many points as others, but Iginla is the living, breathing, skating definition of the award: the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team.
from Flames Insider at the Calgary Herald,
Hard to think of a better goal at the Saddledome this season than Dion Phaneuf’s coast-to-coast job against the Wild on Saturday night.
continued with youtube video…
from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Calgary Herald,
Wednesday, captain Jarome Iginla and the players were back in full penitent mode after the 1-3 road trip. Vowing to up the intensity, they echoed comments made ad nauseum this season and last about getting serious. Vows that evaporate like a spring snow.
Coming from Iginla, there is at least the sense of sincerity in his resolve. In fact, the captain’s shoulders are a little too broad sometimes. As any dim bulb can see, he’s the Flames’ best player and has gone the long mile to make a success of the team. He’s a consummate diplomat with the media and as good with the fans as any player I’ve ever seen. Iggy shows up for games and fights.
That Captain Canada effort has given some players on the team a free pass, however.
Why do it when Jarome pulls the sled?
from Greg Wyshynski at the AOL Fanhouse,
Iginla was in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday with the Flames, who lost, 3-2, to the Capitals. Playing in a city consumed by U.S. presidential primary politics, I asked Iginla if he had any thoughts about the historic race between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton—two individuals redefining expectations and inspiring young fans as much as Iginla has. Although he doesn’t have a horse in the race as a Canadian citizen, is he keeping up with the primaries? And what does the first black captain in the NHL think about Obama’s chances to become the first black president in U.S. history?
Update 2:56pm ET— Comments from Adam Proteau at THN:
I found this column by Washington-based writer Greg Wyshynski fascinating, because it quotes a bona fide NHL star weighing in on a topic considered absolutely radioactive in hockey circles: politics.
That’s right, politics – the ultimate uniting force on the planet today. And a player of Jarome Iginla’s stature actually talked on the record about it.
I’ll give you a moment to return your jaw to its non-slack position.
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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