Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN.com,
If you’re the 0-for-‘08 Detroit Lions, there’s hope.
The galactically dysfunctional New York Knicks and Dallas Cowboys? There’s hope….
That’s because the perennially worst franchise in sports has performed reconstructive cosmetic surgery on itself—and it worked! Any prettier and the Chicago Blackhawks would have their own modeling deal.
You can hardly recognize the Hawks these days. They’re winning (nine in a row going into Tuesday night’s game against Stanley Cup champion Detroit). They’re compelling. They’re as cool as a fresh sheet of ice. And if they can do it, then any franchise can.
added 4:45pm, For those few Detroit Lions fans, you may want to take a look at long time Lions beatwrter Mike Ohara’s new blog.
from Matt Vevoda of AnaheimDucks.com,
Thrust onto the Finnish Flash’s spot on the second forward line and on the first power play unit, Ryan was given the burden of trying to emulate Selanne, who at the time of his injury was the team leader in goals and league leader in power play tallies.
The 21-year-old rookie has not disappointed. In the five games without Selanne (including the game against the Oilers, in which Selanne skated only one shift), Ryan has been on the scoresheet in each contest while netting two goals (both with the man advantage) and eight points. His current five-game point streak is the longest yet of his promising career. Also with his recent surge, Ryan has vaulted into a tie for sixth place among rookie scorers in the league despite playing at least 10 games fewer than anybody else in the top 10.
This from the Stat Wizards at the Elias Sports Bureau…
Rookie Bobby Ryan assisted on the tying goal in the third period and scored the winning goal for the Ducks in their 4-3 victory in St. Louis last night. Ryan, who played 23 games for Anaheim last season but did not play his first game this season until Nov. 16, has scored 18 points (6 goals, 12 assists) in 19 games) since being recalled from the American Hockey League—the highest point total over that span among all NHL rookies. Chicago’s Kris Versteeg is second with 16 points.
from the CP via TSN,
The Montreal Canadiens say former star Jean Beliveau has been taken to hospital with an undisclosed illness.
update 4:33pm, via Kevin Mio of Habs Inside/Out,
Canadiens legend Jean Béliveau is doing well in hospital after falling ill on Monday. He was taken to a hospital after feeling ill while attending a funeral.
His blood pressure dropped suddenly, causing him to feel sick, according to reports.
update 5:23pm, Beliveau has been released from the hospital and resting at home. Good news!
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
So, when does meltdown occur in Ottawa?
Not sure about the exact timing, but the clock is surely ticking. Not only are the Ottawa Senators looking less and less like a playoff team, they’re looking more and more like a draft lottery team….
The challenge for Murray is that he is practically bereft of attractive assets to move beyond rock-solid defenseman Anton Volchenkov, who must stand as one of the team’s very few untouchables (along with captain Daniel Alfredsson). No one is going to be interested in Jason Smith at $2.6 million this year and next. Dany Heatley? With a $35 million price tag, plus what’s left of a $10 million tab this year, he’s hardly going to fit into most teams’ budgets. In other words: Yikes.
read on plus more questions and answers from Burnside…
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
Most of these guys aren’t dynamic league leaders. Rather, they’re skaters or stoppers who are having good seasons and really helping their respective clubs. Although a couple dozen guys could qualify for the list, I’ve decided to settle on 10. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to let me know.
Travis Zajac, C, Devils (10-16-26, plus-12). Let’s start with Z. This 23-year-old Winnipeg native was selected with the 20th overall pick in 2004 and seems to be finding his way in his third pro season….
Duncan Keith, D, Blackhawks (4-14-18, plus-19). In Chicago, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews get most of the attention. And, there’s nothing wrong with that. However, Keith has quietly become one of the top defensemen in the league.
NEW YORK (Dec. 29, 2008)—Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, Atlanta Thrashers center Bryan Little and Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending Dec. 28.
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
Luc Bourdon, Alexei Cherepanov, Mickey Renaud, each still blossoming as an athlete and a human being, also died this year, long before they had the chance to best manifest their talents.
But above and beyond those gut-wrenching goodbyes, there just seemed to be something inescapably melancholy in virtually every facet of the hockey world this year.
There was ‘Boots’ Del Biaggio’s expensive, heartbreaking charade in Nashville and the myriad of questions it raised about the NHL’s leadership group.
In Tampa Bay, new owners Len Barrie and Oren Koules rode to the team’s rescue and promised an adventure for Lightning fans.
Blood and urine samples taken from Alexei Cherepanov shows he had engaged in blood doping.
More from the AP via USA TODAY
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
From the aforementioned list only Vachon, in the early 1970s, provided top-notch goaltending for more than a few seasons. The Kings’ inability to find and develop elite goalies transcends generations and general managers and generally defies common sense.
That’s why it’s tempting to get excited about Quick, who has two shutouts in his first four starts this season and will start for the fifth consecutive time when the Kings play the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at Staples Center.
He stays square to the shooters. He doesn’t get rattled. He’s competitive and he’s a quick learner—after being banished to the ECHL last season because he showed up late to a couple of practices, he now takes practice as seriously as games.
“To his credit, he actually handled it pretty well,” General Manager Dean Lombardi said.
Son of a father who’s a route salesman for Entenmann’s bakery and does construction work on the side, the 22-year-old native of Milford, Conn., knows the value of hard work.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
With 11 goals and 15 assists for 26 points, while at the same time being a plus player this season, Souray has not just been a big shot from the point but a complete player at his position.
Scoring the game winner in each of the previous two games and producing a goal and an assist when it mattered most in last night’s 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators, Souray became the Oilers’ top goal scorer for the season to put him on pace to duplicate his 64-point Montreal Canadiens 2006-07 season and do it without that massive minus.
“You are always a work in progress but I don’t think people knew me well enough, or had seen me play enough,” said Souray of those who thought his acquisition was a major mistake by the then general manager….”
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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