Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,
With the Maple Leafs struggling badly on their own ice – they haven’t scored a goal at home in more than 127 minutes of play – Matt Stajan has asked for a little more life and energy from the Air Canada Centre crowd to help the team get over the hump.
“We want our crowd to be as loud as it can be from the start of the game to the finish…we want the fans to cheer as loud as they can. We would love to have that on a nightly basis here,” he said this morning.
“We get it some nights but, obviously, we would like it more nights. We have to do a better job of giving them some excitement but we hope they can bring some excitement and energy to this building as well.”
from The Good, The Bad And The Duthie,
But it is the last minute scratches which are a major headache for the league. There is an unwritten rule from the NHL that if you pull out of All-Star Weekend, you better miss at least the game before the All-Star break, and the first game after it. Of course, this is impossible to enforce.
Sensational Columbus goalie Steve Mason played back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday, and made some typically spectacular saves. Yet his team announced Tuesday he wouldn’t be going to Montreal because of back spasms.
Washington sophomore Nicklas Backstrom looked fine against Ottawa Tuesday night, but he’s pulled out too.
I’m not judging either player. In fact, I’m guessing the decision was probably made by coaches or management. But it troubles me.
via Wayne Fish of PhillyBurbs,
More and more, it looks like this is going to be a lost year for Flyers center Daniel Briere.
Briere, who will undergo his second abdominal surgery of the season today in Philadelphia, has played in only nine games this year.
He\s attempted two comebacks already and both have failed. The current one was a gallant attempt but ultimately, he simply has a chronic problem which probably requires long-term rest.
The official prognosis indicated Briere might only miss two weeks of action. But that seems somewhat unrealistic, given the history of this problem. Even the worst-case scenario—six weeks on the sidelines—might not be reasonable.
At some point, the Flyers might have to consider shutting down Briere for the season. They have too much money, $52 million over six years, invested in this player. If the problem becomes too chronic, he might never be right.
from Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
“It doesn’t matter how we feel out there,” Toews said. “There are going to be tough times during the schedule with little things nagging at you like injuries, fatigue or whatever it is.
“We need to figure out those little excuses don’t matter and we all need to step up and play better in those moments and learn how to play through adversity.
“We know what kind of team we are and showed it in December. We want to keep going down that path and keep getting better. Obviously the way we’ve played the last two games is a setback.”
The Hawks still are fourth in the Western Conference, but it’s a team in a downward trend, particularly offensively.
Quenneville questioned the Hawks’ work ethic in the last little while.
“The mind-set is we have to think of checking,” Quenneville said. “A lot of things are going to be resolved by checking and simple plays and getting opportunities off it.
“I think we’re probably sick and tired of people telling us how good we are instead of how hard we work, and that’s going to get us out of it.”
more on last night’s loss to the Blues…
via Tom Reed of Puck-rakers,
R.J. Umberger had a strong game with two goals and nearly a third midway through the third period. And if that wasn’t enough he was hammered from behind by Dion Phaneuf in the first period, drawing a game misconduct for boarding. Umberger smacked his cheek hard against the glass, but said he was mostly just dazed.
“I’m lucky I was so close to the boards,” he said. “If I were a little further out, I could have been in trouble.”
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
“Marty went to the doctor today and got the OK to skate,” Lamoriello said. “He did skate today, but I would not rush that. And by saying he’s skating, it’s part of the physical therapy he’s going through. It will be a day-to-day situation as far as skating goes with the exercise he does.”
Lamoriello said Brodeur did not take shots and has not been cleared to do so yet. He would not estimate how long Brodeur skated for and did not know if he would skate again on Thursday.
Thomas decides to make the ‘aggressive’ save against Jason Blake. The Bruins win the game 4-3 in a shootout tonight after being down 3-1 at the start of the 3rd period.
from George Richards of the Miami Herald,
Florida Panthers general manager Jacques Martin said winger Rostislav Olesz needs surgery to repair a sports hernia that already has cost Olesz six weeks of his season.
Olesz was injured Dec. 4, with the original diagnosis being a pulled groin. Olesz returned to practice a few weeks ago before being shut down after the pain failed to subside.
from a fan Q & A with Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
Q: With the hole the Stars dug themselves into at the beginning of the season, do you see them being a seller as the trade deadline approaches? If so, who would be the top names they would likely jettison?
HEIKA: If they are completely out of it, the likely people you could nab would be: Darryl Sydor, Brian Sutherby, Toby Petersen, Mark Parrish – the role players who will be unrestricted free agents and either don’t cost much or could be reacquired in the summer.
If a team asked about the big-dollar contract guys – like Marty Turco, Mike Ribeiro or Brad Richards – my guess is the Stars would listen very hard.
But my guess is they will be in the mix for the playoffs, will be very small buyers and will try to add a defenseman and/or a veteran backup goalie.
more Dallas related questions and answers…
from Michael Caples of DetroitRedWings.com,
While Hockeytown is snowy and frozen this week, assistant general manager Jim Nill and the masterminds behind the Red Wings’ success were meeting in warm and sunny Arizona in preparations for the 2009 NHL Draft.
Nill and general manager Ken Holland gathered the entire Detroit scouting staff to the Phoenix area to decide on what amateur players the Red Wings will target in late June in Montreal.
“What we’re doing is going over each league, and we’re going to rank the players, talk about the players, discuss what’s good and bad about them,” Nill said. “Get all the information on the players then we’ll start to rank them.”
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