Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
The Hawks set a record for the 82-year-old franchise Sunday night with their ninth consecutive victory, a tidy 4-1 decision over the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.
“I kind of feel like the Boston Celtics a little,” captain Jonathan Toews said.
It might be more appropriate for the Hawks to feel like the Detroit Red Wings, whom they now trail by only 4 points in the Central Division.
Next up: back-to-back games with the defending Stanley Cup champs, including Thursday’s Winter Classic at Wrigley Field.
“I think we can win every night,” said Dustin Byfuglien, whose 2 first-period goals got the Hawks off to a fast start. “We’ve got the group of guys and the work ethic to go out and beat any team we want to beat.”
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
It’s fine for Tom Renney to call out “very key members of our hockey club who need to better,” as he did without naming names following Saturday’s 4-2 loss at the Garden to the Devils New Jersey Devils , but the head coach’s words won’t mean a thing unless he’s willing to back them up.
Which means benching and/or scratching those athletes who consistently fail to play to their capabilities, regardless of the names on the back of their uniforms, the letters on the front, or the numbers on their paychecks.
And that means Chris Drury Chris Drury , the captain who has had a distinctly disappointing Year II on Broadway. That means Scott Gomez Scott Gomez , the alternate captain who is playing the worst hockey of his life. That means Wade Redden, who for most of the season has appeared so unaccountably detached from the action around him.
from David Pollak of Working the Corners,
Wilson said Sunday night that Lemieux — a right wing once regarded as the league’s top agitator and most hated player — will be given a two-way contract Monday that would enable the Sharks to bring him to San Jose from the franchise’s Worcester development team where he has been playing for the past month.
The G.M. emphasized, however, that the evaluation process is far from complete and continued to play down the likelihood of Lemieux winding up in San Jose….
Offering Lemieux a two-way contract also gives every other NHL team a chance to claim him by noon Tuesday under waiver rules. But if none does, the Sharks would be free to bring him up just as they have several rookies this season.
from Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post,
Although short on talent, the Avs displayed plenty of spunk during their neutral-ice game at the Pepsi Center against longtime hated rival Detroit.
Neutral ice? Sad, but true.
The most unsettling trend in the blood feud between the Avs and Wings might not be that Detroit remains a legit Cup contender while Colorado now too often seems like a gritty pretender. What really grates is how many Detroit fans treat the 303 like their own area code.
What gives? There were more Red Wings sweaters in the building on this Saturday night than red Chrysler Sebrings were sold in the Motor City during the entire month of December.
more on the Avalanche…
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals retired Mike Gartner’s No. 11 jersey prior to tonight’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, honoring the Hockey Hall of Famer who ranks second in Capitals history in goals (397), assists (392) and points (789). Gartner becomes the fourth player in Capitals history to have his number retired, joining Yvon Labre (No. 7), Rod Langway (No. 5) and Dale Hunter (No. 32).
“I always look back on my 10 years in Washington with great memories, great admiration and great thankfulness,” Gartner said. “I will always have a very special place in my heart for this area and for this franchise. I really became a hockey player here, and I also became a young man, and was shown the importance of being involved in the community.”
continued at WashingtonCapitals.com…
Watch a tribute video below that the Capitals put together for Mike…
from Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger,
Brent Sutter’s squad has faced significant challenges along the way and successfully handled almost all of them. The Devils, who have won four of their last six and 13 of 18, trail the Rangers by four points and the Flyers by two, and are one point ahead of the Penguins.
“I think it has something to do with leadership and something to do with character in your room,” said Sutter, who gave his players a day off Sunday, said of his team’s rise. “It’s a very confident mind-set in the dressing room. It’s been there since Day One of training camp. Guys have worked and played hard and paid attention to what is put in place.
If you hurry, you can watch the Winter Classic ice crew painting the ice at Wrigley. White is going down now and next would be the ice markings, including blueline, redline, etc.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
• Caps center Michael Nylander has been on the trade block almost all season, but word out of Washington is that suddenly the team isn’t quite as keen to move him. He still could very well be moved before the March 4 trade deadline, but the sense is that Caps GM George McPhee isn’t as sold on it as he was before. A big reason is that the Caps are playing so well, so why mess with a good thing?...
• The Los Angeles Kings seem to be turning a corner this season with their rebuilding efforts, and we wouldn’t be surprised if they were to make a major splash July 1 to bolster their youthful core. Marian Hossa, anyone?
more hockey topics…
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Matt Stajan spent Sunday in a hospital with an eye injury and he will be lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs for at least a week as the result of a rowdy soccer game.
Stajan, the Leafs’ No. 1 centre, was hit on the eye with a soccer ball before the Leafs’ practice on Saturday during a warmup exercise common to NHL teams. Players gather in a circle and try to keep the ball in the air as long as possible by kicking or heading it. If a player allows the ball to hit the floor he is out of the game and the game ends when no players are left.
from Capitals Insider,
My name is Slava Malamud. My position is Foreign Correspondent in North America for Sport-Express, Russia’s daily newspaper, the most widely read sports publication in the Motherland…
Tarik and I have decided that in light of the sudden popularity of all things Russian among the Caps fans it would be good to have me occasionally contribute to this blog with stories on this very subject….
Q & A with Alexander Ovechkin
If you and Malkin ever got into a fight on the ice - who would win?
“Whoever landed the first punch. But fighting is not my calling. And really, I don’t see any rivalry between myself and Malkin. Or between myself and Crosby. And now they are adding Semin to our threesome too. There is nothing of that sort: we just play, get our points, someone is in front, someone is second… Of course, a headline like “Ovechkin Versus Malkin” catches the eye, but I don’t see any reason to pour gasoline onto the fire.”
Of all the players you have met on the ice, which one is the most unpleasant?
“Probably (the ex-Penguin, now a Senator) Jarkko Ruutu. He is the dirtiest player and does everything in an underhanded way. Just a rat running around…”
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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