Kukla's Korner Hockey
Heidi Androl visits the Easton Hockey Factory to help build Ryan Getzlaf’s next hockey stick.
from David Amber of ESPN,
Q: Last season, the NHL wanted to promote Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin at the Winter Classic. This season, it’s the defending champion Red Wings along with you and Toews under the media spotlight. What does that mean to you to be given that international platform to showcase your skills?
A: It’s cool. Right now, the league is being taken over by the young players. I don’t think people realize how tough it is to make it to the NHL at that age, so to be one of the young guys playing in a game like this makes you feel good. Things were tough last year when we were getting 7,000 or 8,000 fans to some home games; no one knew who you were. So this game really represents a total 180 from where we were.
Q: You mention how young players are dominating the league. If you were starting up an NHL franchise right now and could have any player, who do you take?
A: I don’t think you could go wrong with Alexander Ovechkin. He has so much passion for the game, and he loves to score. It would be fun to play with a guy like that, and he’s so fun to watch, so I’d go with him.
Q. How did you come to settle on the number of six games, and two, had you spoken to the Stars before you decided on the suspension by the league? I get the feeling that they were going to take action if you had not.
COMMISSIONER BETTMAN: Let me take the second question first. What we have done is reflect the league response. This is what we felt was the appropriate response to what Sean Avery said, and what the Stars choose to do or not do is up to them. And you’ll have to talk to them if you would like their guidance in that regard.
With respect to the six games, as all of you who cover the game know, there is no formula that ever gets you to a particular number in disciplinary cases with precision. You have to do your evaluating based upon the entirety of the circumstances, what you think is correct.
What was guiding me in this case was a number of factors. One, we needed to be clear that this was the type of conduct that we did not view as acceptable and not representative of what our players do.
from Scott Cullen of TSN,
So, the teams that might consider an Avery trade would have to be teams that are looking to unload their own bad long-term contracts.
Some options worth exploring:
Sergei Samsonov, LW, Carolina - With just two goals and a minus-6 rating in 26 games, Samsonov still has two years and $5.3-million left on his contract after this season. It’s a bad deal, but probably not as bad as Avery’s, so the Stars would probably have to sweeten the offer….
Jason Blake, LW, Toronto - Though he’s played better in recent games, it’s still fair to say that Blake hasn’t lived up to expectations with the Maple Leafs.
read on with some trade talk too…
Chris Chelios will become the oldest player to ever play in an AHL game tonight when the Grand Rapids Griffins take on the Toronto Marlies in
Grand Rapids. Chelios is on a rehab assignment and hopes to play only two games with the Griffins before returning to the Wings.
from Pierre LeBrun at his ESPN Blog,
“[Wednesday] was a tough day,” Briere told ESPN.com Thursday.
An MRI revealed a significant groin strain, knocking the Philadelphia Flyers forward out of the lineup until the new year.
“We found out exactly what the problem was and we found out I’ll be out another 4-5 weeks,” Briere said. “It’s very frustrating. It feels like I’m letting the fans down, my teammates, the coaches, the whole organization.
“But I can’t control it. It is what it is. I have to move on. I did my pouting [Wednesday] and now it’s time to get back to work. I need to rehab and get ready to come back in 4-5 weeks and be at the top of my game.”
more and some Ducks talk too…
from Tim Panaccio at CSN Philly,
Both Gagne and general manager Paul Holmgren denied after the game he was concussed. Gagne said he had either the flu or a stomach virus, since he has been experiencing digestion problems for two days. Holmgren said Gagne was dehydrated and that’s all.
Gagne, like another famous Flyer, Keith Primeau, suffered multiple concussions last season and has experienced post-concussion syndrome.
Neurological experts say anyone who has suffered from post-concussion syndrome can experience concussion symptoms many months or even years later because they have suffered multiple brain trauma.
In other words, Gagne could have concussion symptoms without being hit or incurring an injury in a game.
from Jason Kay of the Hockey News,
Heck, things have been so dark that Peter Laviolette’s firing in Carolina and the electronic ballot-box stuffing in Montreal barely caused a ripple in The Hockey News editorial department.
So how about some good news? If even for half-a-blog? Here are some stories you can latch onto if you’re in need of a little warmth and shelter:
• The Original Six revival. Boston, the shiniest surprise of the young NHL season, has surged to first in the East. Chicago is a terrific feel-good story, a team on the verge of something special. The Rangers have remodelled themselves and are rolling. Detroit is Detroit, still the team to beat until someone does it. Montreal is celebrating a centennial season with typical style and grace and is a legitimate Cup threat. There’s even an air of expectancy in Toronto, if not for this season, then a few down the road.
read on for more ‘happy hockey talk’!
from Jeff Hale of Slap Shot at the NYT,
Hands up out there if you had Kris Versteeg of the Chicago Blackhawks as your candidate for the Calder Trophy this season.
Versteeg, 22, leads N.H.L. rookies in points (22), assists (15) and plus-minus (+13). Versteeg’s route to prominence was a long one. He has escaped major notice because he was drafted four years ago in the fifth round by Boston, who dealt him to Chicago for Brandon Bochenski in February 2007. The Bruins would probably love to redo that deal.
It’s possible that Versteeg’s main challenger could be just as unexpected. Steve Mason, 20, the goalie for the Columbus Blue Jackets, is 6-3-1 with a .917 save percentage and a 2.18 goals-against average. He also has two shutouts.
continued with some WHC and Phaneuf talk included.
from John Kreiser of NHL.com,
Now that the San Jose Sharks have tied the 1943-44 Montreal Canadiens’ mark for the most points in the season’s first 25 games, they’re a lock for the Stanley Cup, right?
Well — not quite.
The Sharks have been devouring opponents in the season’s first two months. Their 22-3-1 record is the best in the NHL, as is their 14-0-1 record at HP Pavilion. San Jose is the only team that hasn’t lost a home game in regulation, and the Sharks are 22-0-2 in their last 24 games at the Shark Tank.
continued and some talk regarding other teams too…
added 12:07pm, from Craig Simpson of Blogs and Columns at CBC,
Regular-season success might keep the building full and give the fans an exciting 82 games to watch, but winning games well into May and June is what every team in the NHL covets.
That is something that the Sharks have yet to prove they can do, and until they do, their continued regular-season success only add to the pain and disappointment of their early playoff exits.
The only measure of victory left for this franchise is to win the Stanley Cup, and it can’t come quickly enough for their loyal fans.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org