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Category: NHL-Talk

What To Watch For

from Pierre McGuire at NBC Sports,

Gazing around the league, here’s what’s striking me right now as the post-trade deadline stretch unfolds:
• Roberto Luongo for MVP. That trade by GM Dave Nonis in Vancouver has had more impact than any other in the league this season. Luongo has helped the Canucks change their whole organizational mindset. They really are New Jersey West, and that is a compliment.
• Monday night’s Islanders-Rangers game should be a great watch. The Islanders look even better since they added Ryan Smyth at the deadline. The Islanders are made up of an angry group that has created an us-against-the world mentality. That is tough to beat.

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A Fine Line

from Al Strachan of Fox Sports,

In the United States, even though there are hardcore fans in every city, most players tend to be nothing more than names or numbers.
If violence increases and players get hurt, it is of considerable concern to Canadian fans. In the United States, that’s not the case.
So the NHL finds itself in the position of trying to balance the two sides. It wants to allow, or perhaps even encourage, a high level of violence to cater to the American psyche, but at the same time, it has to appease the Canadian fans who are vociferous and, for the time being at least, paying a highly disproportionate amount of the league’s costs.
Perhaps being an international league isn’t such a good thing after all.

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What Will Iginla Want

fromJim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

Calgary GM Darryl Sutter didn’t have to agonize over signing Jarome Iginla before Tuesday’s deadline, like the Oilers did over Ryan Smyth here, but he knows the day of reckoning isn’t that far off. Jarome
Iginla has one year at $7 million US left. He has virtually no chance of getting that same number over five years in a new deal before he’s an unrestricted free agent. Three years, maybe.

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Could Clarke Be In Columbus

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

There’s speculation the clock is ticking on Blue Jackets president and GM Doug MacLean because his club is going to miss the playoffs ... again. Just wondering? Would the Jackets bring in former Flyers GM Bobby Clarke to take over from MacLean? Clarke is close friends with former Philadelphia and current Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock. The reason Clarke stepped down from his post with the Flyers was because he didn’t want to give in to owner Ed Snider’s demands to fire Hitchcock.

much more of the talk around the NHL…

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The Price Of Dealing

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

Good to know that it was the same old, same old coming out of Edmonton.
Another great guy became just another greedy bum on the way out the door, this at least according to the Edmonton management and media - or is that redundant?
Really, does anyone honestly believe Ryan Smyth left the Oilers over $100,000 a year? Why would Kevin Lowe - who, like Paul Coffey and Mark Messier before him, forced his way out of Edmonton in order to make more money elsewhere - feel the need to spread that fantasy tale?

more around the NHL bits…

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The Morning After

By George James Malik:

The Edmonton Journal’s Dan Barnes sums up the storyline that will become front and centre for the next few weeks in lamenting the Oilers’ decision to trade Ryan Smyth:

Too much? Absolutely. But this wasn’t supposed to happen under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Prongers of the world could be had, the Smyths could be kept; that was the bill of goods sold to long-suffering Oiler fans. They could have forgiven Lowe’s inability to find that defenceman. Heck, they would have forgiven a season sans playoffs, if only Lowe had found a way to keep Smyth. Didn’t he save enough money on the Pronger deal? Shouldn’t there be enough in the kitty to overpay the heart and soul of the franchise?

 

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GM’s Gone Wild

By George James Malik

Amidst the golf cart races, moonlit skinny-dipping (resulting in unconfirmed manatee sightings), and Key Lime Pie and Corona cocktail-chugging sessions, those wild and crazy General Managers actually decided to make recommendations to the Board of Governors.  Reducing instigator rule suspension thresholds, refining video review, and at least considering halving overtime penalties all sound downright progressive?
On the surface, anyway.

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You See The Details

By George James Malik

The Red Wings’ open practice revealed a myriad of small details about the players’ tendencies, the team’s work ethic, and in Saturday’s case, the astonishingly long shadow cast by an injury of unknown severity, but there is one fact you must know about the Wings’ transformation from a Bowman-era team to Mike Babcock’s team, and it can be summed up in one word: crisp.

I saw two practices last season, and they were very herky-jerky in terms of pacing.  Babcock had to stop his drills regularly to either explain himself again or to admonish players for their lack of hustle.

This year?

The giggling, hot-dogging, and joke-cracking that form the groundwork for any practice remain, but once Babcock, McLellan, and MacLean explained the next 90-to-180-second drill, the boys got “professional” fast.  Hustle like there’s no tomorrow, skating your brains out while doing a simple cycling drill?  Check.  An innate understanding of not only the technical aspects of what’s being asked, but also the expectations of the coaches in terms of fit and finish?  You bet. 

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Broadcasting Balance

By George James Malik

According to Ted Kulfan, one defensive game begets an NHL catastrophe:

Why, oh why, does the NBC (and Versus, for what Versus is worth) continue to force the Red Wings vs. Avs on everyone in the nation? WHY!!!! It’s only a heated rivalry worth watching, apparently, in the opinion of NBC. Nobody is left from the rivalry. The Avs aren’t even a playoff team. The Avs aren’t very good. The talent level on both teams isn’t close to what it was during the glory years. But it doesn’t seem to matter, apparently, to NBC. It wants to keep showing the outdated video of the fights and blood and gore of years long gone by. But, the present day games stink. And, it gives would-be fans another excuse to not watch.

With all due respect, it’s one game.  One game that’s less than scintillating does not a disaster make. 
The Avs are a thin team this year.  The Wings played a defensive game—while taking 41 shots on Theodore—because at least five Red Wings played through a vicious flu bug.  The Avs and Wings’ players regularly state that while they don’t want to punch each other’s lights out, they genuinely feel a rivalry still exists between the two teams, fueled by fans and the teams’ historical rivalry. 

 

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Shanahan’s Suggestion’s Unsafe At Any Speed

By George James Malik

Competition Committee founder Brendan Shanahan held court before the All-Star Game’s skills competition on Tuesday, and the Human Quote Machine made an interesting comment regarding the league’s crackdown on goaltending equipment:

“The goalies are going to hate me for saying this, but I think we failed a little bit with the goaltenders and streamlining their equipment,” said Shanahan, one of a handful of players on the NHL’s competition committee.
After the lockout, the committee pushed the league to downsize goaltender equipment by about 10 percent. But Shanahan—and others—aren’t so sure the changes had the desired effect.
“So much of the focus was on the width of their pads, and it’s really about the upper body,” Shanahan said. “You want to make sure these guys are protected.
“But I just don’t understand how a cop can walk down the street in a bulletproof vest and look normal, yet our goalies have to look like lacrosse goalies, or Michelin men, to stop a puck.”

 

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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