Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Tonight there will be no homecoming for Chad Kilger, the hockey player who has mysteriously disappeared.
He played his last National Hockey League game on Feb. 25 in Ottawa. The Maple Leafs won 5-0 that night. The next day, knowing nothing of the future, the Leafs traded him to the Florida Panthers.
In the hockey world, that was the last anyone saw of Kilger.
With more than $1 million US still owing on his contract, and without warning, “playing the best hockey of his life” Kilger never reported to the Panthers.
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
Here’s what happened: Moments after Campbell and Maxime Talbot fought a good fight, Crosby and McLean lined up in the faceoff circle. The puck was dropped,
Crosby grabbed McLean and took him down, shaking and pulling him around the ice – without throwing a punch.
McLean cut the bridge of his nose when he hit the ice, and Crosby was sent away with four penalties – including instigating and unsportsmanlike conduct. Crosby’s fighting style has been criticized lately, especially after he repeatedly took below-the-belt shots at Atlanta’s Boris Valabik last month.
After the game, coach Pete DeBoer and McLean didn’t have much to say on the subject, but Nick Tarnasky and Nick Boynton sure did. Tarnasky’s comments to me should be construed as off the record since we were just chatting during the second break, but Boynton went off as he finished getting dressed.
We’re you hoping he’d get back on the ice? ‘‘Oh yeah,’’ Boynton said.
more and watch the video below..
via the Florida Panthers Blog at the Sun-Sentinel,
The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Blackhawks have been invited to open the 2009-10 season in Prague, Czech Republic and that the Panthers will likely be the opponent.
Chicago team president John McDonough told the Tribune that Blackhawks had been extended an invitation, and added, “nothing has been finalized. We’ll know sometime in the near future.” The newspaper cited an unnamed source saying that Blackhawks’ opponent would be the Panthers.
Asked about the validity of the report this afternoon, Panthers team president Michael Yormark said, “No comment” through team spokesman Justin Copertino
from George Richards of the Miami Herald, .
..Florida lost that night, 4-2 to the red-hot Boston Bruins. The Panthers were 7-11-1.
‘‘We had hit a crossroads in the season,’’ DeBoer said.
As soon as the team got back, Martin put enforcer Wade Belak on waivers. Players were shocked.
Belak, who had signed a two-year deal to stay with the team in the offseason, cleared waivers and was welcomed back. Then he was traded to Nashville.
The Panthers haven’t been the same since.
‘‘I didn’t have a problem with Wade; he worked hard every day and did his job,’’ DeBoer said before Florida beat Belak’s Predators 3-0 on Tuesday. ``But at that point of the season, we needed to shake things up. He was a casualty of that. He’s gone on and done good things for Nashville.
``We’ve turned our season around, but it wasn’t because of Wade Belak or because of that trade. That would be simplifying it a bit. But everyone on our team needed to be put on notice, know that status quo wasn’t going to be good enough.’‘
from Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald,
For years, sportscasters have tried to coin catchy signature phrases to punctuate and celebrate baskets, goals, touchdowns and home runs.
Now the Panthers and Randy Moller are allowing fans to do it for him.
When 790 The Ticket’s Dan Le Batard suggested early this season that listeners call in with phrases that Moller could spew after goals, Moller felt apprehensive: ‘I thought, `Oh, my God! What are they going to suggest?’ ‘’
But listeners have delivered—and so has Moller, who has spiced his call with more than a dozen fan-suggested lines from movies and music. Sure, it’s gimmicky, but it’s also a clever and bold idea for a team that could use the extra publicity.
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
Last time Florida won four straight on the road prior to this season: Last year at this time; 1997, ‘96 and ‘95.
—Panthers pull into a tie with Buffalo for eighth in the East. From last in the NHL to Top Eight in the east, second in the division. Not too shabby.
Says Pete DeBoer:
“It wasn’t that long ago we were sitting at the bottom of the league. They’ve picked themselves up and it hasn’t been easy with the injuries we’ve faced. It would have been easy at that point to pack the season in, lose three or four in a row and be totally out of it in December.
‘‘Instead, they’ve kind of beaten the odds here. We’ve used different guys and they’ve clawed back into it. We have a long way to go. As I said a few games ago, we’re not throwing any parades around here.’‘
via the Miami Herald, I
njured winger Nathan Horton said the deep cut on his ankle ‘‘looks fine and has healed up nice,’’ but he’s still out of the lineup because he’s having trouble skating.
On Wednesday, he found out why after an MRI revealed a small fracture around his heel that is the source of his discomfort, he said. Horton said he’s day to day, although there is no timeline for his return. Horton missed his sixth consecutive game Thursday.
‘‘I tried to skate a few times, but it’s still sore,’’ Horton said.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
The $575,000-a-year goalie, whose paycheque is 10% of Tomas Vokoun’s, went into the game with the best save percentage in the league at .941 and a 2.09 goals against average and improved on both numbers to go 5-1-2 in his last eight games and 16-4-3 since Jan. 3 last year.
(Craig) Anderson left the building with one of the most fascinating stats you’ll ever find for a goaltender as he stretched his career record to 10-1-4 in games in which he faced 40 or more shots.
But sorry, he wasn’t the story.
Lots of shots. No chances.
That was the sorry story as the Oilers booted yet another home game as they began the stretch of games in which they’re supposed to reboot their season.
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
As expected, the local buzz surrounded Jay Bouwmeester and his contract. The general consensus around here is that Jay won’t be with the Panthers (big shock), and that Edmonton could offer some serious jingle to get their hometown boy back. I don’t think Jay will sign here to play under a microscope, and two people I talked to up here agree with that assessment. The Oilers are going to try to get him, though.
Pete (DeBoer) on Jay: ‘‘He’s been outstanding. I didn’t have a real appreciation for how good he is. He has that unique combination of speed and range where he can shut down the best players on every team. He’s also found his offensive game, something that started last year when he put up 15 goals.
more on Bouwmeester and the Panthers as the prepare to face the Oilers tonight in Edmonton…
from John Grigg of the Hockey News,
He’s a top-10 goalie having a down season on a bad team. Over the past three seasons, he’s averaged 31 wins, a 2.60 GAA, .919 save percentage and four shutouts. No goalie averaging 50-plus games played over that period has a better save percentage than Vokoun. To put it simply, he’s good and a number of teams will likely fall all over themselves for a shot at acquiring him.
The Panthers have little to play for over the next few years. Their future is not now and once other goalies begin to be traded, Vokoun loses value as an asset. So as Denis Lemieux might say, “Trade heem right #$@*~!& now!”
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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