Kukla's Korner Hockey
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
My look at the best players in each franchise’s history takes me to the Central Division…
ST. LOUIS BLUES
Best forward: Brett Hull. You can make a case for Bernie Federko, but I’m not buying. Hull was just too good.
Best defenseman: Al MacInnis. He was just as good in St. Louis as he was in Calgary. Yes, he gets my nod over Chris Pronger.
from Ace Burpee of the Winnipeg Sun,
It’s been a while since I’ve been dead-set on approaching someone for an autograph, but this past Wednesday I was in the same room as Bobby Hull for the first time in my life. I was actually nervous, which hasn’t happened since I first met Bob Irving.
A five-pack on meeting Bobby Hull:...
3. How charitable is Bobby Hull? He signed two autographs for me ... one “To Ace, All the Best, Bobby Hull” ... the other dedicated to nobody in case I wanted to sell it on eBay. That’s not my thing, but I do now possess a 20-dollar bill signed by Bobby should the right charity angle come along.
1. If I had scored over 900 goals between the NHL and WHA, I’d wear a rug too. He’s earned the right.
StarPhoenix reporter Cory Wolfe gets personal with a sports figure. Today, Chicago Blackhawks equipment manager Troy Parchman gets cornered….
The SP: OK, imagine this. The Pittsburgh Penguins are playing Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final at Chicago’s United Center. Sidney Crosby’s skate loses an edge in the third overtime and the Penguins’ skate sharpener seizes up at the most inopportune time. Do you help him?
Parchman: We would. In the old days, there were stories—especially in the playoffs—of one team trying to screw the other. But nowadays, you’d give (the other team) your portable. It would still take them probably 15 or 20 minutes to get that portable and get it set up. I don’t think I’d let them into my room to use my machine, but I’d lend them the portable.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Khabibulin has informed the Blackhawks he wants to play 60 games this season.
With newly signed Cristobal Huet soon to make his debut, that’s unlikely to happen.
Also unlikely is a team willing to give up more than a draft pick or a prospect for Khabibulin who has one year left at 6.75 million dollars.
Tallon isn’t desperate to move Khabibulin, but he is eager, and will patiently wait to see if an injury pops up around the league that may heighten interest….
If no deal surfaces, Chicago who will soon have cap issues of their own and may have to place the former Stanley Cup champ on waivers.
“What they’ve done is just tremendous,” he said. “It has been a long time coming, where you felt that buzz. I can’t say I wish I was part of it right now because I’m a Red Wing, but it’s great to see the fans getting excited again about Blackhawk hockey.”
“I found a new home in Detroit, but Chicago is always going to be home,” he said. “I intend on coming back and spending the rest of my days here, whether as a player or somehow being involved with the Blackhawks.”
-Chris Chelios. Read more from Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune as Chris took the Cup around Chicago today.
from Edward Fraser of the Hockey News,
As I’ve done with the Pacific, Southeast, Northwest and Northeast over the past four weeks, here are my picks for the top three ’09 UFAs from each team in the Central Division. I’ll finish the tour next Friday with the Atlantic.
DETROIT RED WINGS
Henrik Zetterberg ($2.9 million)
He’ll never get close to UFAdom; you can bet each of GM Ken Holland’s Stanley Cup rings on that.
Marian Hossa ($7.45 million)
Even if the Wings don’t repeat as champs and Hossa doesn’t get the Cup he so desires, don’t expect him to take another one-year deal. How does eight years and $68 million sound?
Johan Franzen ($1.15 million)
A shoo-in for the Conn Smythe if he didn’t go down with an injury in the playoffs, the 28-year-old is the heir apparent to an aging Tomas Holmstrom.
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,
The Hawks sold 57,000 single-game tickets Monday, and with their increasing season-ticket base have sold more than 500,000 tickets for the upcoming season, an increase of more than 300 percent from this time last year.
While no games are officially sellouts because the team is withholding tickets for season plans, many games — including the home opener Oct. 13 against Nashville, the Feb. 27 game against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins and games against the Red Wings — were unavailable to some buyers Monday….
McDonough said the Hawks’ season-ticket base had increased from about 3,400 at the beginning of last season to more than 12,000 so far this season. Full-season ticket-holders will get an opportunity to purchase tickets for the Jan. 1 Winter Classic against the Red Wings at Wrigley Field.
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
If his career continues, it will be with a team that ignores statistics and values the impact he has on others. You want points? Find somebody else. He’s not a 60-goal scorer or a 140-point guy for his career. You want a selfless teammate, a tireless worker, a consummate professional, a leader by example? He’s waiting by the phone.
Unfortunately, players like him aren’t in high demand in the NHL. The Blackhawks thought the world of his intangibles last year, but they’re over the salary cap after signing defenseman Brian Campbell. Don’t be surprised if they make some moves to get their salary structure in order and bring back Adams, who made $600,000 last year, for another season.
The Blackhawks acquired him because they thought he could mentor rookies Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews while boosting the penalty kill. After all, he’s been a respected leader for years and helped Carolina win the Cup in 2006. The Hawks wound up treasuring him more for his work while he was injured than they did for his play on the ice.
from Jason Kay of the Hockey News,
Seinfeld had the Summer of George. I’m predicting 2008-09 will be the Winter of Some Original Six Team. Theoretically, I’m not supposed to cheer, but deep down I’ll have a soft spot this season for these three golden oldie franchises:
Montreal: The Habs are celebrating their 100th anniversary this year, they’re holding the All-Star Game and the entry draft at Bell Centre and the club is a bona fide contender in the East. It’d be sweet to see the NHL’s most storied franchise reach the peak again.
“‘We’re going to do what’s best for the Chicago Blackhawks,’’ Tallon said. ‘‘If it’s keeping Khabibulin, we’ll do it. Right now we’re sitting tight.
‘‘Winning is the bottom line, and the No. 1 position to win is great goaltending. If you don’t have that, you’re going to struggle. If it doesn’t work out with the number of games [each goalie] plays or someone not wanting to be here, then we’ll have a look at it.’‘
-Dale Tallon at the Chicago Sun-Times. Read more on this topic including comments from Huet.
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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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