Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Jim Kelley at Sportsnet.ca:
One thing we’ve learned is that the art of denial is exactly that; it is an art form and it has reached new and fascinating heights.
For instance, lost in a spate of denunciations is the fact that no one in the Sabres organization denied the original point of the story that the team is for sale. What minority partner Larry Quinn said was that, “We are not in negotiations to sell the team.” Quinn neither named the “we” nor did he say that team owner Tom Golisano, the man most likely to be in the discussions to sell the franchise he purchased out of bankruptcy in 2003, was or was not involved. In fact, Golisano is said to be at the winter meetings in Florida but nowhere to be seen or heard. The owner made no public appearance after Day 1 of the Board of Governors meetings despite the fact he winters in Florida and the other 29 owners have, essentially, come to his house.
via Lightning Strikes,
Lightning forwards Chris Gratton and Radim Vrbata cleared waivers. Gratton is expected to be assigned to AHL Norfolk, and Vrbata likely will play for a team in his native Czech Republic.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail
... For Tallon, the Sundin hurdle is there, in front of him. Does he make a new push this week, as Sundin’s agent, J.P. Barry, begins to collect offers from suitors around the league? Or just leave well enough alone? Tallon has made a lot of really smart decisions in the last few years (getting Calder Trophy candidate Kris Versteeg for journeyman minor-leaguer Brandon Bochenski may rank right up there as one of the great steals of the past few years).
As his counterparts in Tampa, flail away, making one increasingly desperate move after another in a bid to turn their season and organization around, it may bear noting: Sometimes, the sign of a good manager is the ability to sit back and simply do nothing at all.
from John Grigg of the Hockey News,
He’s a top-10 goalie having a down season on a bad team. Over the past three seasons, he’s averaged 31 wins, a 2.60 GAA, .919 save percentage and four shutouts. No goalie averaging 50-plus games played over that period has a better save percentage than Vokoun. To put it simply, he’s good and a number of teams will likely fall all over themselves for a shot at acquiring him.
The Panthers have little to play for over the next few years. Their future is not now and once other goalies begin to be traded, Vokoun loses value as an asset. So as Denis Lemieux might say, “Trade heem right #$@*~!& now!”
from the ICEMAN Bloggeth at the AJC,
The Thrashers’ overall record of 9-14-3 for 21 points means they have a .404 winning percentage, (based on points won versus points available). If you want to put that into the perspective of what it might take to land a playoff spot this coming spring…stop laughing…well, let’s look at it this way.
Last season, Ottawa and Boston entered the post-season as the 7th and 8th seeds in the East with 94 points. (Yes, I know Nashville was the 8-seed in the West with 91…but I’m using the model in the east since that is the conference Atlanta plays in). Anyway, in order to get to 94 points, the Thrashers would have to earn 73 of the remaining 112 available to them over the last 56 games. That would be a points winning percentage of .652.
To date, the teams that are playing at or above a .653 points winning % are San Jose, (.852 pnts. %)…Boston, (.778 pnts. %)…Detroit, (.769 pnts. %)…Montreal, (.673 pnts. %).
So, if the Thrashers can play… from this points on… at the same level of the Sharks, Red Wings, Bruins, and/or Habs…then they can make the playoffs.
more on Atlanta…
from the Fan590,
The former Lightning coach joins Don Landry and Gord Stellick on the Morning Show to discuss his brief tenure in Tampa. Barry holds nothing back as he is brutally honest about his feelings towards the Tampa Organization and the players in the dressing room.
listen to the interview from this morning…
added 12:44pm, from Bolts Report,
There is just so much uncertainty surrounding this team on and off the ice.
So where do they go, where do they turn to for answers? Does it mattwr at this point? Are you the fans willing to watch this team finish at the bottom of the standings again if it means another top two draft pick, which means either John Tavares or Victor Hedman (6-6 Swedish defenseman) winds up in Tampa?
After all, no matter what was being said before the season, this team is not built for this season, they are a couple of years away, but with an identified core of Vinny Lecavalier, Ryan Malone, Andrej Meszaros, Steven Stamkos and Paul Ranger. (Yes, Marty is still a big part of this team, but not long term)
added 10:34pm, Make sure to check out the Tocchet talking about Melrose.
from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,
Blue Jackets assistant coach Gord Murphy recalls the sinking feeling of watching former Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Paul Coffey gather the puck behind his net and with swift, powerful strides begin skating up ice.
Like a thunderstorm rolling across the Plains, Coffey would gain momentum as he blew past the first forechecker, head up, puck on his stick. Murphy, a 14-year NHL defenseman, had no neutral-zone trap in front of him or butterfly goaltender behind him.
It was 1990, a different era, a golden age for offensive defensemen.
“Guys like Coffey could scare you from 100 feet away,” Murphy said. “He would come flying down the wing and you would think, ‘Oh, no, here he comes, what’s he going to do?’ “
from Steve Zipay of Newsday,
Only San Jose and Detroit average more shots per game than the Rangers (32.5), but only Florida and Tampa Bay are averaging fewer goals per game. Defensive schemes are forcing the Rangers outside the prime shooting lanes, goaltenders are regularly turning away the first shot attempts and the Rangers are being beaten to the second and third opportunities.
“We’re not a really big team up front,” coach Tom Renney said yesterday. “We’ve got to be quick, we’ve got to pounce, work hard for body position if you’re not strong enough to get inside. We’re going to have to use quickness and second and third effort to get there. Everybody’s got to do everything they can to get to the front.”
from Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun,
Vancouver is a good team when goalie Roberto Luongo and his defencemen are healthy. But to win anything, they need more. And if it isn’t Sundin, it will have to be somebody else.
“The only problem is the idea that these things can be perfectly planned … that’s false,” Gillis said Monday from NHL meetings in Florida. “You can have theories about where you want to go and what you want to do, but things change daily. Something that isn’t available today might be available in January.
“Every team wants a big, dominant centre-ice man. Other than goalie, it’s probably the most coveted position in our league. In the event that Mats doesn’t end up here, we’ll be looking at other things.”
from John Shipley of the Pioneer Press,
The Wild sent center Krys Kolanos back to Houston on Monday, and it’s not because Owen Nolan is due back soon.
Could it be the harbinger of Marian Gaborik’s return?
Assistant general manager Tom Lynn would only say “it’s a possibility” that Gaborik will practice with the team this morning. The franchise’s career scoring leader has been skating on his own the past week or so “as he ramps up to full strength,” Lynn said.
Gaborik has missed 24 of 26 games with what the Wild are calling a lower body injury. If he practices today, he could make the team’s three-game road trip to Phoenix, Los Angeles and Anaheim, Calif.
added 4:33pm, via MinnesotaWild.com,
A bit of an early practice today (10:30 a.m.) because the Wild wives held a luncheon. The big news out of the skate is that Marian Gaborik practised with the team for the first time since suffering a lower body injury in mid-October. Gaborik wasn’t on a particular line, and was the only player with a light green sweater. Jacques Lemaire said that Gaborik was not scheduled to go on the trip out West.
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.
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