Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Spellman of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
The trucks carrying all the equipment for the next Winter Classic are scheduled to arrive in Chicago this week. A crew of a couple dozen will unload and assemble the boards for a couple of days, clearing the way for Craig and Company to build 1 to 11/2 inches of ice before a short Christmas break. When they return, if everything goes according to plan, all that will be left to do is spruce things up and paint the ice. Even with a warmer-than-normal Christmas Day forecast, the refrigeration system can get the job done.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “You know that it’s coming and you try to prepare yourself for it, but then when everyone gets there, it’s an unbelievable feeling to see so many people enjoying such a great event.”
But Craig realizes there’s no celebrating until he gets that ice just right, which can be a tricky proposition.
“Natural ice freezes from the top down. Artificial ice freezes from the bottom up,” he said. “We want to make sure that you can’t have the top freeze before the bottom freezes.”
from Hawkey Challenge,
Winners of three straight and four of their last five games, the Hawks are at last an NHL team to be reckoned with.
Chicago’s success has largely been due to the aggressive philosophy of General Manager Dale Tallon to land hockey talent in the Windy City, as well as Joel Quenneville’s success since taking over the job behind the bench….
Detroit lost tonight, 3-1 to Dallas, so the Hawks are just seven points back of the Red Wings now with a game in hand….
The excitement continues, as the Hawks not only remain poised to finally return to the playoffs, but also look to give Detroit a serious push for the top spot in the Central Division.
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
Total cave job by the mediocre, middlin’, muddlin’ Colorado Avalanche tonight, folks.
Had the night off, but I still watched the contest on the House Channel. Rest assured, Avs fans, it was just all “bad luck” tonight for the local according to the House Men (and I really do think Mike Haynes and Peter McNab are top-notch at what they do. I just wish they could speak their minds more. A shame, really. The real villains in this are the overly sensitive, we-can’t-take-any-criticism-so-we-self-produce-our-own-propaganda-on-house-channel sports team owners).
This is what mediocre teams do in big home games, games that could pivot a season toward the playoffs: they get out to a little lead early on, then have chances to build on it, but don’t do it. Then the mediocre team starts to tighten up a little, and, boom, the game is tied. Then the medidcre team starts to tighten up a little more, then gets a call go against them. Finally, the mediocre team has the BIG PLAY happen against it and falls behind.
From Dan Rosen at NHL.com:
The 200-by-85-foot rink will be situated between first and third base.
The center-ice faceoff dot will measure exactly 112 feet from home plate and 288 feet from the center field wall. The penalty boxes will be precisely 9 feet behind the pitcher’s mound.
Behind the team benches will be a 60-by-56-foot auxiliary rink constructed over the outfield grass. It will be used during the game by the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois. To the left and right of the auxiliary rink will be team logos that measure 40 feet long and 40 feet wide. Also draped on the outfield grass will be American and Canadian flags that measure 90-by-45-feet.
Update 1:28pm ET: The Hockey Show has more on the video below—
from Steve Rosenbloom of Rosen Blog at the Chicago Tribune,
Sundin has never been on a champion. He chose not to try last season. How can you not question his heart or spine at this point? I’m not sure I’d want Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews exposed to a whiff of that mentality.
Right now, this Hawks team has shown wonderful character and focus. This Hawks team also is playing perhaps the most exciting brand of hockey in the league.
This Hawks team is not ready to beat Detroit in the playoffs, either.
So that’s the problem. I don’t think Sundin is the solution.
from Dashiell Bennett of Deadspin,
...That three-day break was their only chance to get home before the holiday, and the team had arranged for a commerical flight to take the players back to Chicago right after their game against the Leafs on Saturday night. General Manager Dale Tallon was staying behind, to attend his father’s funeral in rural Ontario. Take it away, crazy anonymous emailer.
This plane departs on schedule, but without a single member of the hockey team. Back in the locker room a vote is taken after the game was complete, and a unanimous decision is made by this young team to skip this flight and stay one more day. They make arrangements to check back in the hotel and on a frozen Sunday morning charter two buses that have no heat and begin a journey two hours straight north into a sparsely inhabited Canada , but where hockey is its passion. They arrive at their destination to the surprise of the teams general manager who is there attending his fathers wake.
Thanks to a KK reader for the pointer and I did confirm with the Blackhawks the story is indeed true.
The NHL’s mobile cooling unit departs Mobile, Alabama enroute to Wrigley Field, the home of the 2009 Winter Classic.
from Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
If anyone was waiting to hear Kris Versteeg fire back at Phoenix Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky in response to the Great One’s comments following Sunday’s game at the United Center, it’s not going to happen.
For one thing, Versteeg said, it’s Wayne Gretzky.
And two, the Blackhawks rookie winger would never hear the end of it from his father.
“My dad’s got this big wall full of Wayne Gretzky stuff,” Versteeg said Tuesday. “So if I ever wanted to say something bad about Wayne Gretzky, he’d be the first guy here to give me a slap upside the head.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail
... For Tallon, the Sundin hurdle is there, in front of him. Does he make a new push this week, as Sundin’s agent, J.P. Barry, begins to collect offers from suitors around the league? Or just leave well enough alone? Tallon has made a lot of really smart decisions in the last few years (getting Calder Trophy candidate Kris Versteeg for journeyman minor-leaguer Brandon Bochenski may rank right up there as one of the great steals of the past few years).
As his counterparts in Tampa, flail away, making one increasingly desperate move after another in a bid to turn their season and organization around, it may bear noting: Sometimes, the sign of a good manager is the ability to sit back and simply do nothing at all.
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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