Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Phaneuf also plays the point on the power play, where he has more shots (139) than any other NHL defencemen. He plays on the penalty kill, and, of course, five-on-five. He’s only 22 and Sunday’s game was only his 207th career outing, but you’d never know it….
He’s good; maybe even Norris-trophy good some day, whenever Lidstrom retires.
“He’s pretty much wired for sound every day,” says Keenan of his young blue-liner. “You never worry about Dion liking hockey or living life. It’s his personality ... he’s a treat to be around,” adds Keenan, who’s coached some big-minute, high-end D-men—Chris Pronger in St. Louis, Mark Howe in Philadelphia and Brian Leetch in New York. Guys who want to be out on the ice all the time and don’t run out of gas.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Interest from at least five teams is believed to have been narrowed to two with Curtis Joseph contemplating the resumption of his NHL career in either San Jose or Calgary.
Sources tell TSN both the Flames and Sharks are keenly interested in bringing the 40 year old goaltender on board, with Joseph expected to make his decision this weekend, if not sooner, perhaps as early as today.
from the National Post,
Lest you think Iginla was being picked on during the 3-1 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes, he had company on Tuesday in the second-period doghouse. In fact, personnel from the top two lines—Iginla, Kristian Huselius, Craig Conroy, Owen Nolan, Daymond Langkow and Alex Tanguay, the latter seeing a little more than two minutes of ice time in the middle frame.
The message from head coach Mike Keenan was clear—ice time has to be earned, and his top dogs weren’t earning it against the Desert Dogs.
But he also wanted to acknowledge the job being done by the worker bees on the third and fourth lines, and was looking for a spark from them.
from the National Post,
Standing near the Calgary Flames dressing room yesterday morning, Don Meehan scoffed.
The agent confirmed that those numbers blowing out of the east all winter—a five-year extension at US$30-million for Dion Phaneuf, a 10-year extension worth $60-million—are, in fact, fabrications.
“You know, I think it’s people making guesses, really,” said Meehan, who, of course, would know—he is the representative of Phaneuf, who is facing restricted free agency this summer. Calgary’s young defenceman yesterday was elected as a starter for the first time for National Hockey League All-Star Game later this month.
from the Calgary Sun,
“As a player, we all have our pride, and all have a certain way we want to play and a certain way we expect ourselves to play. It’s certainly not going all that great for me, but what can I do about it. I’ve just got to worry about the next game, and, hopefully, be better tomorrow.”
Heading into tonight’s clash with the Phoenix Coyotes, Tanguay has collected 10 goals and 33 points in 40 games. It’s behind the pace he’s set in recent campaigns, but that’s just the beginning of the cloud hovering over him.
While Kristian Huselius has flourished in the top-line left-winger—earning the NHL’s second star of the week honours with yet another prolific spell—Tanguay has been demoted to the second unit.
Compound it with the fact he’s not on the top powerplay unit, and Tanguay’s offensive totals have taken a hit.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The only downside to Huselius’s scoring surge: Every time he and Iginla put on a show, it only increases his value on the open market, if Calgary cannot get him signed to a contract extension before July 1, at which time he would become an unrestricted free agent. Huselius carried a lot of baggage when he arrived in Calgary a couple of years back.
from George Johnson at ESPN,
Phaneuf’s renown, however, rides on his ability to sap people of their senses. He currently sits a comfortable second in Western Conference All-Star voting among defenseman, trailing only the inevitable and unavoidable Lidstrom. And Phaneuf isn’t getting that kind of broad-based love at the ballot box for nimble poke-checks, stylish tie-ups or witty repartee.
He will develop over time and become a more well-rounded defenseman. He may even add some curly-cues to his repertoire. But what fans relish, and opposing forwards dread, is Dion Phaneuf, the Terminator.
from George Johnson of the Calgary Herald via the National Post,
...All is not daisies and buttercups between Iron Mike and the none-too-chipper Kipper.
The strain, hinted at on a few occasions already as the the halfway point of the NHL season approaches, is showing.
Keenan obviously wants more, and more consistently, from this franchise’s meal-ticket goaltender, who has, it must be said, been sub-par by his own towering standards for much of this season. Kiprusoff, just as obviously, isn’t over the moon about playing monkey to Keenan’s organ grinder - Pinocchio puppet to Iron Mike’s wicked Stromboli.
from the CP via TSN,
“It’s a challenging job and I’ve enjoyed it,” said Keenan. “Even though we had a very hard and difficult beginning in terms of working with the group and assimilating the group, I still wanted to come to the rink badly every day.
“I think the fire’s really burning right now. I’m looking forward to hopefully many more years of this yet because I’ve got that passion back again and it feels good.”
The good vibes are no doubt fuelled by the fact that Keenan’s team is among the hottest in the NHL, having recently become only the third squad in history to sweep a six-game road trip.
from the Calgary Sun,
As the Calgary Flames celebrated their victory to close out one of the most successful road trips in history, a symbol of their achievement hung from a pair of hangers hooked to the drop ceiling in their dressing room.
A large wooden broom.
It was a clean sweep.
The 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets punctuated a record-tying journey—only the 1971-72 Boston Bruins and 1982-83 Philadelphia Flyers had swept six-game road trips previously—and another strong performance by goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff made sure it ended just as it began.
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