Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
He walked on his own from the shadows and into the spotlight to his place at the table of honor.
Though the steps might have been slow, maybe little more than a shuffle, they were nonetheless the steps of a giant.
And in the end, as the crowd in his hometown rose as one to celebrate one of the greatest athletes of all time, we should have expected nothing less from Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe.
"He knew what was going on. I could see it in his eyes," Hall of Famer Bobby Hull told a trio of reporters shortly after Howe was honored by the Saskatoon Kinsmen at their annual sports celebrity dinner.
As the event came to a close, Wayne Gretzky stood with Howe on the stage in the middle of a jam-packed ballroom and delivered a check for $25,000 for Alzheimer's research. The two hockey legends stood shoulder to shoulder with the crowd of 1,500 again on its feet, and Gretzky talked of his affection for the entire Howe family.
And then, as if to punctuate the evening, Gretzky said of Howe: "He was, is and will always be the greatest hockey player of all time."
“Athletes are no different than anything else. Sometimes you have bad days and kids walk away saying, ‘It wasn’t as great as I thought it was going to be.
“For me, every time I look at the picture I always have the same thoughts. He couldn’t have been nicer, better or bigger when I met him than I thought he was going to be. Every time I look at the picture or sign the picture, it’s nothing but great memories.”
-Wayne Gretzky on meeting and taking the now famous picture with Gordie Howe. More from Gretzky on Gordie Howe by Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the StarPhoenix.
The 55th Annual Kinsmen Sports Celebrity Dinner will hold a live news conference in Saskatoon where the club is honouring hockey legend Gordie Howe on Friday. Catch it live on Sportsnet, sportsnet.ca and Sportsnet 590 The Fan.
Wayne Gretzky is expected to be in attendance at the news conference, as well as Mark and Howe, Bobby Hull, Brett Hull and Kelly Chase.
The Kinsmen Sports Celebrity Dinner will be Mr. Hockey’s last public appearance.
Watch below... Conference scheduled to begin at 11:30am ET.
from Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post,
On his home ice, surrounded by thousands of Detroit fans that covered the Pepsi Center in a sea of red, young Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon dropped his gloves and fought for the franchise's lost glory.
Less than a minute after the opening faceoff, there was MacKinnon taking punches in the face from Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson. Ericsson had run MacKinnon roughshod into the boards, and the 19-year-old Colorado forward was not about to be bullied.
"It was in the heat of the moment, for sure," MacKinnon told me Thursday, admitting that he decided on fisticuffs to settle the dispute. "Right now, I don't feel like fighting anybody. But, it was a big game, and I asked him to fight. He said yes. It was fun."
MacKinnon did what hockey players do: He traded fists to prove his manhood. MacKinnon battled in the grand tradition of the blood feud between the Avalanche and Red Wings....
As the arena shook with an approving roar from a crowd with a lust for blood, here's what struck me: Is a teenager really the toughest man that Roy has got to stand up for team pride? And is MacKinnon really the best shot the Avalanche has of overcoming a wretched start to kick in the back door to the playoffs?
Watch the fight below...
"I thought their shot clock was screwed up. When we hit the net it's supposed to count (as a shot), when they miss the net it's not supposed to count. We (won't) worry about that. The NHL can figure that out."
-Mike Babcock, head coach of the Detroit Red Wings on the Florida Panther's shot clock. More on the Wings and their pnealty kill problems from Ansar Khan of Mlive.
NEW YORK (January 24, 2015) – The National Hockey League announced today the participating Clubs, locations and dates for the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® and 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™ games planned for the 2015-16 NHL regular season.
The 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® will feature the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA, on Jan. 1, 2016. When these long-time rivals meet, Boston will become the first Club to host the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® for a second time, after defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in overtime at the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® at Fenway Park. It will mark the first time the Canadiens will play in the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, and just the second time a Canadian-based NHL team will play in the game, following Toronto’s appearance in 2014.
The 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series will feature two games. On Sunday, Feb. 21, in a first for the Club, the Minnesota Wild will play host to the Chicago Blackhawks at TCF Bank Stadium on the Univ. of Minnesota campus. The following weekend, on Saturday, Feb. 27, the Colorado Avalanche will make their debut in a regular-season outdoor NHL game when they play host to the Detroit Red Wings at Coors Field.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Upon seeing a familiar ink-stained wretch from Toronto strolling around in the bowels of Buffalo’s First Niagara Center earlier this week, Mike Babcock couldn’t help but have some fun.
“Hey, did you hear the reports? I’m going to Philadelphia!” a grinning Babcock joked to Sun Media.
You have to give Babcock credit. Rather than wilt under all this speculation regarding his future, the Red Wings coach is having fun with it.
That’s not to say the Flyers don’t have significant interest in Babcock. Indeed, when the likes of TSN’s Darren Dreger, one of the most credible hockey journalists out there, suggests Philly could make a significant pitch for Babcock this summer, well, where there’s smoke, there very likely is fire.
And with Babcock said to be looking for a huge payday, the Maple Leafs immediately come into play, since the one thing MLSE does have is deep pockets.
But here’s the thing: As much as the rumour mill will only continue to turn around Babcock, he’s not going to make a decision until the off-season -- if he doesn’t re-sign in Detroit first, that is.
continued plus more hockey topics...
“Really, if he gets no more improvement than what he has today, then we are still ecstatic. He’s happy as a clam, he’s strong as a bull. He’s gained 20 pounds since Dec. 8, which was the day of the treatment.
“He’s so much stronger and he’s able to do all the things he likes to do now. We could have never asked for more than that.”
-Dr. Murray Howe on his father, Gordie Howe. Much more from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star.
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
The Leafs are known to covet Babcock, and as one of the NHL's billion-dollar franchises, they have the money to pay him whatever he wants. The Wings, however, have an owner in Mike Ilitch who repeatedly has shown that he'll pay to keep the talent he wants. The Wings are prepared to give Babcock the $3 million annually that would make him the NHL's highest-paid coach, and to offer it for five years.
Babcock and Holland won't directly talk publicly about the subject, but Babcock reiterated today what he has said many times before: He is happy in Detroit.
And why not? He has a competitive team highlighted by superstars Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg and many young, talented players. He did speak again, also, of how big of a difference it'd make to add a quality defenseman who shoots right-handed.
Babcock can leave players checking their self-esteem at times, but ultimately, they know he does it for a reason.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
As they approach the midway point of the season, the Detroit Red Wings are trying to figure out if they have a good team or not, according to coach Mike Babcock.
Their record (20-9-9) indicates they are good, since they're only three points behind the Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay Lightning.
Now they just hope their schedule over the next two months doesn't prove otherwise.
"To be a good team it's about finding a way to look after the details every single day, putting your work habits before your skill," Babcock said. "If you do those things you have a chance to be good in this league."
The Red Wings will learn a lot about themselves during a stretch that sees them play 17 of 23 games on the road. It begins Saturday in Vancouver, the start of a three-game Western Canada trip.
"Bottom line is we don't get matchups, you don't control everything," Babcock said. "You got to take care of the puck better, you got to play defense better, you got to keep the emotion in the game better.
"Plus, we spend a ton of time at home. The wives are sick of us, so let's get on the road."
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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