Kukla's Korner Hockey
Retired NHLer David Littman tells some tales from his life in hockey, today at The Hockey News:
People may not believe this, but playing in the minors is just as much fun as playing in the NHL. The only difference is there are fewer zeros on your paycheck. Things happen in the minors that would never happen in the NHL.
I was playing for the Atlanta Knights in the IHL, the farm team for the Tampa Bay Lightning, and we were playing the Salt Lake Golden Eagles, Calgary’s farm team.
In the first period, there was a fight in front of my net and I jumped in to help a teammate. I looked up and Andre Trefilov, the opposing goalie, was coming at me full steam. We fought for a bit, got game misconducts and were kicked out of the game.
By the second period, we were both up in the stands sitting with our respective scratched teammates drinking beers. By the third period, we’d all had a few drinks when the Salt Lake backup goalie was hit and went down hard.
from Ron Kantowski of the Las Vegas Sun,
It was 108 in the shade Monday — and the Wranglers were getting ready to play another hockey game.
One hundred eight degrees. Hockey.
That had to be the strangest convergence of diametric entities since Julia Roberts married Lyle Lovett.
Human Torch, meet Mr. Freeze.
“The Flight of the Phoenix,” meet “Ice Station Zebra.”
Habanero pepper, meet Chunky Monkey.
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
These Sunbelt kids are part of a new wave, rising up from the bottom left corner of the continental United States, and infiltrating major junior hockey west of Ontario. They are taking a traditionally Canadian route to the NHL, skating beside tractor-strong Prairie boys and riding buses through the B.C. Interior.
The number of U.S. players in the WHL has doubled over the past five years, and the Sunbelt kids are behind that spike. They cut their teeth in Wayne Gretzky’s haunts, amid retired hockey professionals, with elite travelling clubs modelled after the Detroit-area youth programs founded by NHL owners such as Mike Ilitch of the Detroit Red Wings and Peter Karmanos of the Carolina Hurricanes.
From Adrian Dater at the Denver Post,
Patrick Roy will not be the coach of the Avalanche. Not for next season, anyway.
Roy told The Denver Post late Thursday night he wants to stay in Quebec at least through this coming season, mainly to keep coaching his sons, Jonathan and Frederick.
But Roy said he does want to coach in the NHL at some point, probably when his younger son, Frederick, leaves junior hockey.
“When Fred is done, it will be different,” Roy said. “But this is OK with me for now.”
from the Sault Star,
Craig Hartsburg said Saturday he’s looking forward to discussing a contract extension that would see him continue beyond next season as the Soo Greyhounds head coach.
Speaking like someone who expects to enter the 2008-2009 Ontario Hockey League campaign behind the Hounds bench, the 48-year-old Hartsburg said he can’t totally rule out a return to the NHL, but “as of right now I’m assuming I’ll be back.”
About to enter the final year of a five-year contract he signed in 2004, the Stratford, Ont., native’s name has been mentioned prominently as a top candidate for, among others, the Ottawa Senators head coaching job.
From the Canadian Press:
A 17-year-old hockey player has been charged with assault with a weapon following an alleged stick-swinging incident during an Ontario Minor Hockey Association game in Paris, Ont., that ruptured an opponent’s spleen.
It’s alleged that on Feb. 22, a player on the Paris Wolfpack midget team took a “two-handed baseball swing” with his stick and struck a Caledonia Thunder player in the abdomen, causing him to fall to the ice and later be taken to hospital, provincial police Const. Larry Plummer said Friday.
• a lot of spleen talk this week…
from the Times-Tribune,
Nathan Smith, a 26-year-old Alberta, Canada, native, was charged with public drunkenness, disorderly conduct, open lewdness and indecent exposure for his role in a streaking incident early Sunday.
According to police, Mr. Smith said he was acting on a bet when he ran naked into the street on the 100 block of Adams Avenue in Scranton at 2:29 a.m. Sunday.
Police said Mr. Smith apologized and put his clothes on before being handcuffed and taken into custody.
“I would like to apologize to the people of Northeastern Pennsylvania, to my teammates and to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Pittsburgh Penguins organizations,” Mr. Smith said in a prepared statement. “I made an embarrassing and regrettable decision this weekend and understand I will face disciplinary action. My conduct was unacceptable and totally out of character — it will not happen again. I promise (to) do my best to win back your trust and support.”
from the Daily Gazette,
Ryan Potulny’s first goal of the playoffs, 2:58 into the fifth overtime, ended the longest game in American Hockey League history, lifting the Philadelphia Phantoms past the Albany River Rats, 3-2, at the Times Union Center.
Potulny scored on the Phantoms’ 101st shot of the game, beating Rats goaltender Michael Leighton with a 15-foot wrist shot from the slot and ending the game at 12:39 this morning after 142 minutes and 58 seconds. Leighton finished with an AHL-record 98 saves.
“You can’t ask any more than what they gave,” Rats head coach-GM Tom Rowe said. “You hope you get that break. It’s frustrating for those guys in there because they worked so hard. In a game like this, you hate to see anybody lose, but somebody has to. We were hoping it was them.”
From Canwest via the Ottawa Citizen,
London Knights assistant coach and former National Hockey League player Dave Gagner is facing impaired driving charges following an incident in the southwestern Ontario city Wednesday night.
Gagner, 41, was involved in a rear-end collision about 10:30 p.m. ET Wednesday, said London Police Const. Amy Phillipo. He was charged at the scene when police arrived.
From Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet,
Fighting used to be ingrained in hockey culture. These days, however, there seems to be more taste for a kinder, cuddlier game. So is it time for fighting to go?
I can only shake my head at the attention the Jonathan Roy story has received in this country this week.
When did the tree huggers take over this bloody country? When did we all become such bleeding hearts that a junior hockey brawl shocked our collective senses so badly we became outraged?
Update 2:38pm ET: Gare Joyce at ESPN addresses how Patrick Roy’s situation may ultimately affect his legacy with the Montreal Canadiens.
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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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