Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Famonn Brennan of NBC Chicago,
The gulf was so wide, even casual hockey observers took notice. It was obvious even to people who don’t know what offside is all about that the Red Wings were stronger, faster, and more complete—a scary real-life version of a “Mighty Ducks” movie villian. They even look intimidating.
(It should be noted here that this also goes for the Sharks—the Hawks are 0-3-3 against the top two teams in the West, and 21-5-4 against everyone else. This feels like talent threshold at work, doesn’t it?)
Perhaps the Hawks just aren’t on that level, even if last night’s win against the Flames would seem to say otherwise. Who knows, really, why the Hawks struggle with the Wings? We can probably chalk it up to a bad two games against a superior team, and leave it at that. But the Blackhawks already won over this city. That damage is done. Now it’s time for a new goal, one chanted nearly as often as “Detroit sucks”:
from Rangers Report,
One of my New Year’s resolutions was to cut back on senseless Sean Avery rumormongering—what, that wasn’t one of yours?—but I couldn’t help but notice this Page Six item about Avery being spotted recently at a club in New York.
While that part was about as surprising as Tom Renney being seen watching opposing team video, what was noteworthy was that Avery was reported “hanging with former teammates…
from Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
“I would not want to make a trade right now that I wouldn’t have made the first 20 games. To do something because we’re losing some games isn’t what I’m looking at,” Shero said yesterday from Ottawa, where he has been watching a wave of potential future NHL stars at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championships.
He wouldn’t rule out a deal “if there’s a chance to make the team better,” but pointed out that the mid-November trade in which the Penguins swapped defensemen with Dallas, getting Philippe Boucher for Darryl Sydor, was “a lateral move” in a season of few consequential NHL trades so far.
“There’s not a lot of movement right now,” Shero said, “so you stick with it a little bit and not do something you wouldn’t do when things are going well.”
from Just Jared,
Carrie Underwood may have her eyes set on a hot new boy — Canadian hockey player Mike Fisher.
The 25-year-old American Idol alum was spotted with her hair tied back at the “Ottawa Senators vs. Toronto Maple Leafs” hockey game at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on Saturday (January 3). Carrie’s 28-year-old Canuck cutie played with his fellow Senators but unfortunately lost out to the Leafs 3-1.
from John Glennon of the Tennessean,
Predators fans waiting for a big trade to help turn around the team’s fortunes probably shouldn’t hold their breath.
The Predators are far more likely to alter the lineup with promotions from Milwaukee than they are via trade, General Manager David Poile said….
“It’s a tough market based on the system, the salary cap,’’ Poile said. “There are a lot of teams that don’t have a lot of flexibility in what they can do.
“There are probably quite a few teams that wouldn’t mind making a trade, but it’s hard with the salary cap situation to do that. I think you’re going to see more happen at the trade deadline, but right now it’s not a big market of available players.’‘
more on the Predators…
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
When you consider what the bodies of the Vancouver Canuck players have been through in the last four days, it was pretty surprising they were as close to winning as they were last night.
When you mention they’ve just played three games in four nights with a diagonal trip across the continent thrown in just to make it fun, it sounds like you’re making excuses for these guys.
But the fact is it doesn’t matter how much money you get paid, how well conditioned you might be or how well you’re supposed to perform, the human body is simply not going to function at the level required to win at this league.
Just why the NHL does this to the customers they so desperately need to please is a mystery. Really, at what point is the insatiable greed which begets this type of ridiculous scheduling counter-productive?
from Terry Jones of the Edmoton Sun,
The travelling crew that has produced the skills competition around the NHL for the last 18 years said they’d never seen a faster time produced than the 13.1 seconds it took Erik Cole to skate around Rexall Place yesterday.
But Cole was more impressed with the scene.
“They certainly don’t do this in Carolina. I don’t think anyone would show up,” the former Hurricane said.
“To see this building full with lots of excitement for this ... it’s amazing.”
What made it special was that the sellout crowd gave the players the kind of unconditional love they don’t otherwise get from crowds of critical customers in a city that specializes in tough love for its shinny stars.
from Ed Moran of the Philadelphia Daily News,
The latest news concerns goalie Antero Niittymaki. According to Holmgren, Niittymaki suffered a groin injury in the shootout loss in Los Angeles on Saturday night. The injury was not disclosed right away and he did not leave the game, playing injured in the overtime and shootout.
But he is doubtful for tomorrow night in Washington and the team will not say anything more before today at the earliest. Scott Munroe will be called up from the Phantoms to take Niittymaki’s place on the bench, but for how long no one knows.
“The fact that he stayed in the game, played the overtime and participated in the shootout should mean that it’s not that serious,” Holmgren said. “I just hope it’s not his hip.”
more on the Flyers injury situation…
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Here is a look at the good, the bad and the ugly of the opening half of the ‘08-09 campaign:...
BLUE LINE STUDS
Dan Boyle (Sharks): Showing he deserves to be on Canada’s Olympic blue line.
Shea Weber (Nashville): A leading Norris candidate.
Zdeno Chara (Boston): He’s healthy, he’s driven, he’s big.
Brian Campbell (Chicago): Skates like the wind in the Windy City.
Honourable Mention: Mark Streit (Islanders), Nicklas Lidstrom (Detroit), Dion Phaneuf (Calgary).
from Scott Burnside & Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
What can we expect from the NHL in 2009? Here are 10 picks to ponder:
• 2009 will see the end of Nicklas Lidstrom’s stranglehold on the Norris Trophy for the NHL’s best defenseman….
• In spite of wishful thinking by BlackBerry mogul Jim Balsillie and many Canadian media and fans that pine for days of NHL hockey in Quebec and Winnipeg, no NHL franchise will fold, declare bankruptcy or relocate in the coming year….
• Evgeni Nabokov of the San Jose Sharks will be the first Russian goaltender ever to win the Vezina Trophy….
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