Kukla's Korner Hockey
from The Spin, the blog of Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
That said, the final two spots in the east are still up for grabs, and it looks like its going to be a humdinger of a fight for those berths given that no fewer than seven teams are still in contention.
That’s called a bottleneck. Five teams are going to be pretty sour come the evening of April 8th.
Might even cost a few people their jobs.
So here’s how this “race” shapes up, with it seeming very likely it could all come down to the final weekend of the season April 7-8:
read on for the breakdown of teams in the East involved in the playoff race…
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
Quality teams, Canadian teams, Original Six teams, all are in danger of missing the National Hockey League playoffs.
With the 16-team tournament underway a month today, it’s certain that a number of clubs that finish over .500 will be watching the first round from the couch.
The Maple Leafs still are stinging from a 90-point season that didn’t qualify them last spring and they could be in for similar heartbreak.
from the Edmonton Sun,
The San Jose Sharks’ dressing room might become a good site for a Tim Hortons commercial.
Signs were strategically placed throughout the dressing room area this weekend stating: “I have found a source for Tim Hortons coffee - $85 per case, plus shipping.”
Equipment manager Mike Aldrich is behind the signs.
“We will probably have half the team order some,” said Aldrich.
from Kara Yorio of the Sporting News,
Chris Simon got off easy. He should not have the option of playing in an NHL game until the 2008-09 season. And if that were to end his career, so be it….
That is a mistake. It is part of the problem with the sliding scales of justice in the NHL, the unwillingness to have a blanket punishment for hits to the head or assaults with the stick. It’s nice to judge things on a case-by-case basis, in theory. In practicality, it just keeps the incidents coming.
from Wallace Matthews at Newsday,
Thugs come in all colors, shapes, sizes and sports, and Thursday night, Simon was a thug, pure and simple. But for too many of us, the sight of large black men brawling on a basketball court is a riot. The sight of white men brawling on a hockey rink is all part of the game, tough guys blowing off steam. If you think race doesn’t play a factor in that thinking, you are lying to yourself.
Yet, in the NBA, the gangsta culture is allowed to exist everywhere but on the court. In the NHL, it exists only on the ice.
The so-called “thug” league takes a much harder line on in-game violence than the NHL ever has or ever will. In the NBA, a punch leads to automatic suspension. In the NHL, it gets you a job. And maybe a featured spot on a league-sanctioned videotape.
We all know that, we accept it, and - admit it - we generally like it.
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail:
“Even though we will see bigger names hit the unrestricted free-agent market every summer, I don’t believe that free agency will play a bigger role than under the previous [non salary cap collective agreement],” one National Hockey League GM said.
“Maybe, if the cap continues to increase, we’ll see some of the bigger market clubs gain an advantage because we’ll begin to see some teams set their own team payroll cap.”
“There are different formulas for building winning franchises in a salary-cap world,” another club executive said. “But I think we’re more like junior hockey now, in the sense that a successful junior team keeps steady numbers of 17, 18 and 19-year-olds.
I have limited the NHLPA stories, but this one summarizes what is known…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The truth may be revealed by Sunday night, when two members of the NHLPA executive — Mike Gartner, director of hockey affairs, and Stu Grimson, associate counsel — convene a conference call for the 30 player representatives (known as the executive council), plus the seven members of the interim executive board, to investigate the matter and decide what happens next.
A small sampling of agents all came to the same basic conclusion regarding Saskin’s future. “He’s done,” said one. Another described Saskin as a “dead man walking.”
read on plus some NHL player talk…
from Terry Frei at ESPN,
Here’s a look at how the playoff goaltending shapes up, taking into consideration the 19 teams (realistically) still in the running. Disclaimers: (a) Prioritizing playoff goaltending situations isn’t necessarily the same thing as rating the goaltenders themselves, or rating the teams’ playoff chances; (b) playoff experience comes into play; and (c) offer void where prohibited.
2. Anaheim Ducks
Not only are the Ducks back on track, not only will they be able to withstand the temporary loss (again) of Pronger, but they have an ideal situation. Both Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Ilya Bryzgalov have been terrific in the playoffs; Bryzgalov, at least, for that amazing short-term run last postseason, and Giguere seems back on track.
from Alan Adams at Sportsnet,
• Doug MacLean is a great guy, but it’s obvious his plan to take the Blue Jackets to the next level is off track. If the Blue Jackets’ ownership wanted to make an astute move, they’d find a way to pry Jim Nill away from Detroit where he’s the longstanding assistant GM of the Red Wings.
• Lets’s face the facts here. The Coyotes are not a success on the ice and off the ice the team is said to be losing bucks. So why not have the league’s head office in New York create a job for Gretzky. Make him the NHL’s Hockey Ambassador. It’s better than watch a star fall to earth.
more NHL bits…
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Burke says he wants to strengthen the hockey tradition of players looking after their teammates. In the Original Six days, tough guys were called “policemen.”
“If my goalie gets run, I want someone in black and gold to handle it,” Burke says. “I don’t want zebras (referees) to handle it or the league office in Toronto to handle it.”
Burke’s position is when players have two instigator penalties, they don’t feel like they can do their jobs properly. He uses the case of the Florida Panthers’ Steve Montador.
read on.. including quotes from Bill Daly and NHL coaches…
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.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com