Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Fire & Ice,
The Kings will be without defenseman Rob Blake tonight. He returned to Los Angeles because of a stress fracture in his ankle/foot and is expected to miss two weeks.
more on the Kings/Devils matchup…
added 2:25pm, More on Blake at Inside the Kings…
from Jaroslov Modry at the Hockey News,
Being traded at the deadline is really a shock. Even though you can see it coming sometimes, you feel like the team you’ve been working with just kind of gave up on you. But on the other hand, you have to look at it in a positive way: The other team really wants me, they want to upgrade themselves and I’m part of it.
It also means you might get a chance to be part of a Stanley Cup contender, if you’re going from a team that’s out of the playoff race to a club that’s in a good position to win that ultimate prize. If that happens, it’s a great bonus.
From Mike Brophy at The Hockey News,
So here’s the thing, if you are the Los Angeles Kings or the Toronto Maple Leafs, it is probably in your best interest – speaking big picture, that is – to lose the remainder of your games.
It would be better for both teams – and probably Florida, Tampa Bay and Buffalo, too – if they just gave up on this year and did everything in their power to get the top pick in the 2008 Entry Draft; in all likelihood Steven Stamkos.
The problem is: How do you tell 20 players, who are essentially auditioning for next year, as well as a coaching staff whose career might possibly hang in the balance with every victory or defeat, that you want to tank the year?
from the LA Daily News,
General manager Dean Lombardi will decide who to deal, who to keep and what the Kings can get to build for the future before the Feb. 26 trade deadline.
Rob Blake, the Kings’ all-time leader in games played for a defenseman, is the biggest bargaining chip. He’s 38 years old and in the final year of a two-year contract. But he’s also a likely Hall of Famer and a veteran with playoff experience that could put a contender over the top. Blake has a no-trade clause, so he will have control over his destination, but he has said he would consider waiving his right if Lombardi asked.
Defensemen Brad Stuart and Jaroslav Modry and forwards Ladislav Nagy, Brian Willsie and Scott Thornton are others often mentioned in trade rumors.
from the LA Times,
Brad Stuart is looking forward to keeping things simple for a while. Jaroslav Modry said the time will allow the Kings to further bond as a team. Rob Blake, well, he’s just indifferent these days.
Such are the opinions of the most veteran Kings players, as they prepare for an eight-game, 16-day trip, one of the longest of their careers.
“It’s right up there, for sure,” said Stuart, in his eighth NHL season and first with the Kings. “It’s going to be a long haul, but I think the good thing is we’re spending a lot of time in an area where we don’t have to travel a whole lot.”
continued (reg. req.)
from the LA Daily News,
If the Kings’ Rob Blake wasn’t so good, this wouldn’t be so awkward.
Blake, the club’s aging captain, has to go. He is still one of the top four players in franchise history and his Hall of Fame credentials are unquestioned. He is a stand-up guy.
But the team is going to miss the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year. His best contribution right now would come from leaving, with the club getting a couple of draft picks before the Feb. 26 trade deadline.
Chelios also talks trade possibilities, saying that he thinks a defenseman would help the team most. His defenseman of choice? Rob Blake of the Los Angeles Kings. “He’s in a situation there where there’s just no end at the light of the tunnel and he’s lost his drive right now,” Chelios says of Blake. “I’ve been there. I talked to him last time we played him, and he would love to come here.”
This week, Luc Robitaille of the LA Kings will be hosting a Celebrity Shoot-Out—a charity event in Utah to raise money for a spinal care center there.
This is just one of the many ways Robitaille involves himself in charitable causes; not only just throwing money onto a collection plate, but getting involved in a very personal, hands-on way. From Mike G. Morreale at NHL.com,
”Following Hurricane Katrina (in 2005), my wife and I started our own foundation (Shelter for Serenity) and actually went to New Orleans, picked up a bunch of families and brought them back to live in our house in Utah,’’ Robitaille told NHL.com. “We wanted to provide them a chance to restart their lives. But during this process, we realized that the people most affected and in need of help were the children. The kids were the ones at risk since they came mostly from poor families.’’
continued with much more about Robitaille’s various personal and team commitments to good causes.
via Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
Finally, a note to fans of the Lightning, Leafs, and Kings: It. Is. Over.
Miracles are never completely out of the question, but thanks to the NHL’s unbalanced schedule, there is virtually no possibility whatsoever Tampa Bay, Toronto or Los Angeles can leapfrog the five or six teams in front of them to secure a playoff berth. Let the firings and/or fire sales begin.
From Chris Zelcovich at The Star,
“I was telling him about how even though he has cerebral palsy and is one of the smallest guys on the team, he’s one of our best players,” says Peddle. Then he said that Johnson was his hero.
Peddle’s father, who winters in Tampa, mentioned he lived next door to Johnson’s godfather, Jeff Horne. A few phone calls later, the rendezvous was set up after Horne learned that Hill was taking Desmond to L.A. to visit his aunt and attend Thursday’s game against the Maple Leafs.
Johnson says he jumped at the opportunity to meet Desmond when Horne called him.
“I had trouble believing anyone in Canada liked me,” Johnson says with a laugh, referring to some of the devastating hits he registered against Team Canada while playing for the U.S. at the world junior tournament in 2006. “When I heard he had cerebral palsy but was playing with older boys I thought I had to meet him.”
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