Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Capitals Insider,
I was able to join Alex Ovechkin’s conference call with the Detroit media a few minutes ago. Ovechkin will be playing at Joe Louis Arena for the first time tomorrow night against the league-leading Red Wings, and the local reporters had lots of questions for him.
Q: Can the Caps still make the playoffs?
A: “Last week was very important for us. We play five games and we win four and lose one. We still have a chance. We play better and better.”
Q: How much are you looking forward to playing in Detroit?
A: “Detroit is one of the best teams in the league. It’s a great place to play hockey and I’ve never been here. So I’m really excited. They have great players so it will be big challenge for my team.”
The team learned on Sunday that centre Mike Fisher, who suffered an oblique muscle injury Saturday against the Atlanta Thrashers, is out for their two-game road swing through Boston and Atlanta this week.
Fisher, who was on a hot streak going into Saturday with three goals and five points in four games, joins a list of hurting regulars that includes winger Patrick Eaves (separated shoulder) and defenceman Anton Volchenkov (broken finger).
“It’s a substantial loss,” said Senators head coach John Paddock on Sunday.
from the News & Observer,
After the Hurricanes won the shootout for a 6-5 win Saturday after 65 minutes of rough-and-tumble hockey, Carolina forward Chad LaRose stood in the hallway between the two dressing rooms looking for Flyers forward Scottie Upshall.
LaRose emerged from the Carolina dressing room furious with Upshall for “dirty” and “personal” things he said on the ice.
“I even put someone else’s shoes on so I can kick him in the face,” LaRose said.
Hurricanes defenseman Niclas Wallin and video coach Chris Huffine retrieved LaRose from the hallway and LaRose declined to comment afterward. He was escorted past the Flyers dressing room to the Carolina bus by another team staffer.
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post,
All indications point to the NHL salary cap rising to about $55 million next season.
Theoretically, that would leave the Flyers about $11 million in cap space to sign unrestricted free-agent defenseman Jason Smith and restricted free agents Jeff Carter, R.J. Umberger, Randy Jones and Riley Cote.
Can they do it?
“We’re going to have to be very creative,” Flyers president Peter Luukko said.
Smith is the Flyers’ top priority. At 34, he still plays a take-no-prisoners brand of defense and his quiet leadership cannot be overstated on a team that desperately needed—and found—a true captain.
from Wayne Fish of Phiily Burbs,
I want to see the Flyers play a game outdoors, just like the Penguins and Sabres are doing on New Year’s Day.
Much to my surprise, Flyers management agrees with me.
In fact, general manager Paul Holmgren already has some plans in mind — namely a game between the Flyers and Penguins at Penn State.
That’s not a typographical error: Penn State, Beaver Stadium, 100,000 rabid hockey fans shouting their heads off, all under the stars.
from the OC Register,
The Ducks are counting on the puck-moving ability of Niedermayer, Pronger, Schneider and Beauchemin, as well as the addition of Weight and Ryan, to boost a group of forwards that has been lacking in offensive balance all season.
Weight, expected to play against the Sharks despite not having arrived from St. Louis in time for Saturday’s practice, is a premier playmaker who had seen diminished ice time this season under Blues coach Andy Murray. The Ducks are hopeful Weight will click with winger Todd Bertuzzi, or perhaps Chris Kunitz, if Carlyle should opt to play Bertuzzi on the top line with center Ryan Getzlaf and right wing Corey Perry.
more on the Ducks…
from the Miami Herald,
‘‘We played so flat, there was no energy or work ethic whatsoever,’’ Jokinen said moments after the players finished a postgame meeting. ``When the game was 4-2, I think some of our guys stopped playing. That shouldn’t happen in this league. That’s a first-place team, but it’s not a lot to ask to work your back off every single shift. Play hard. I didn’t see that tonight, and that’s the scary part.’‘
Said Vokoun: ``If you don’t want to play in games like this, you’re in the wrong business. . . . If [players quit], we have a big problem here.’‘
more on the loss to the Wings…
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
League sources told Sun Media yesterday that Paul Kelly, the newly appointed NHLPA executive director, has been telling players the number of regular-season games in Europe is going to rise dramatically.
Kelly has suggested the NHL increase its regular-season schedule to 84 games and don’t be surprised if those extra two games are held at European venues. The belief among players is there could be as many as 8-10 games per season in Europe in the next two or three years.
“It’s the only way that revenues can be grown,” said the league source. “They’ve pretty well tapped everything they can in North America. Europe has tremendous growth potential and the NHL wants to do something about it. The players are partners now and need to do their part.”
more and your weekly dose of NHL rumors and talk…
from Sun Media,
For a couple of weeks, Sun Media has been polling NHLers, coaches, scouts and other media personalities from east to west and everywhere in between, looking to come up with a Best Of list.
We asked them to give their top pick in a number of categories ... and some of the answers are surprising.
When asked for the NHL’s funniest player, several answered: “Marc Bergevin,” a player who’s not even in the NHL any more. “Marc Bergevin is still the funniest player I’ve ever been around,” said one. “Nobody could touch him.”
THE PLAYER YOU CAN BUILD AROUND
1. Sidney Crosby
2. Roberto Luongo
3. Vincent Lecavalier
read on for the complete list…
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Some 15 months ago, it was the Islanders committing budgetary lunacy, inking then-25-year-old netminder Rick DiPietro to a 15-year deal worth $67.5 million. The Goalie for Life at the time stood a sub.-500 58-62-13. With a 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh last night, the ex-BU Terrier has gone 46-31-11 since signing the historic pact.
Now we have the Flyers sizing up the 22-year-old Richards, the 24th overall pick in the 2003 draft, as their franchise piece going forward - up to and including the 2019-20 season (good seats still available for that ‘19-20 opener).
What’s it all about? Well, specifically, it’s about: 1. Thomas Vanek and 2. Dustin Penner. And, to a certain extent, Brad Richards, too.
read on plus numerous NHL topics…
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