Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
The smartest team in hockey wasn’t smart enough, this time around, to beat the salary cap.
And the fallout, for the Detroit Red Wings, was most likely what killed their 2009-10 season. Mikael Samuelsson escaped to Vancouver, where he scored 30 goals and eight more in the playoffs. Marian Hossa and his under-appreciated 200-foot game left for Chicago. Waterbug Jiri Hudler bolted to Moscow Dynamo of the KHL . . . and then, there’s the pair of Detroit bit players who have figured prominently in the boxscores of two of the three games in this Stanley Cup final.
How much better, and deeper, would the Wings have been had they not lost Game 1 hero Tomas Kopecky to Chicago through free agency, or traded Ville Leino, whose third-period goal forced ovetime in Game 3, to Philadelphia in February for the proverbial bag of pucks?
DENVER – The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the team has signed goaltender Peter Budaj and forward David Koci each to a one-year contract for the 2010-11 season.
Budaj appeared in 15 games (11 starts) for the Avalanche this past season, compiling a 5-5-2 record with a 2.64 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and one shutout. He also saw action in one game during the Stanley Cup playoffs against San Jose.
Budaj, 27, was Colorado’s first selection (second round, 63rd overall) in the 2001 Entry Draft. He has spent each of his five NHL seasons with the Avalanche, compiling an 86-70-23 career record with eight shutouts, a 2.74 GAA and .903 Sv% in 197 appearances. He ranks third in franchise history in games, shutouts and minutes (10874), and is fourth in wins. Budaj led the Avalanche with 31 victories in 2006-07 and 20 wins in 2008-09, and also paced Colorado in goals-against average (2.86) and save percentage (.900) as a rookie in 2005-06.
“Peter has been a valuable goaltender for our franchise over the last five seasons,” said Avalanche General Manager/Executive Vice President Greg Sherman. “He’s had success at the NHL level and we look forward to having him back for another year.”
Koci, 29, appeared in a career-high 43 games in his first season with the Avalanche in 2009-10. The 6-foot-6, 238-pound left wing tallied one goal and no assists while finishing second on the team with 84 penalty minutes.
“David brings grit and toughness to our lineup,” added Sherman. “He was a good fit for our team last year.”
NEW YORK, N.Y. (June 3, 2010)- VERSUS, the fastest growing sports cable network in the country, garnered a 3.1 national HH rating and averaged 3.6 million viewers for last night’s Stanley Cup Final Game 3 telecast. The game made VERSUS the most-watched cable network in the country among total viewers, all key male demos and among Adults 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54.
It was the most-watched Final game on cable since 2002 and the highest-rated and most-watched telecast ever in network history, surpassing the net’s previous high set by Game 4 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final (2.8 HH rating and 3.448 million viewers). The game peaked at a 4.3 HH rating and 5.051 million viewers between 10:30-10:45 p.m. ET.
Locally, VERSUS garnered a 17.7 HH rating and averaged 1.099 million viewers in Chicago and a 17.4 HH rating and 801,000 viewers in Philadelphia, making VERSUS the top-rated network overall-among both broadcast and cable-in both markets. The local market ratings were the best ever for a Blackhawks or Flyers game on cable in both cities.
A few answers then exit stage right.
from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
Does Jason Spezza want to be traded?
That was the question posed to the Ottawa Senators forward on Thursday after reports had surfaced that he was unhappy with his current hockey team. Spezza, who was booed by Ottawa fans at the end of this season, has five more years remaining on a US$7-million annual contract.
But the 26-year-old said the decision is not up to him.
“I don’t have a no-trade now, so if they trade you, then you get traded,” Spezza said at a charity event in Toronto. “If not, obviously I’ve spent some time there so I’m happy to be there and we’re looking forward to the future.”
When asked again if he wanted to go back to Ottawa, Spezza responded: “Yeah.”
added 2:58pm, from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
Here is everything you need to know about the Jason Spezza situation in Ottawa.
The Senators, in a perfect world and for the right price, would not be opposed to trading Spezza, although that won’t be easily done with another five years left with a cap hit of $7 million per year on his contract and with Spezza coming off a sub-par playoff performance.
Spezza, all things being equal, would likely appreciate a fresh start, somewhere where he’s not the poster boy for playoff failure or the guy who gets booed every time he turns over the puck.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
There always has been this connection between the now budding and surprising stars, Antti Niemi and Ville Leino, but it wasn’t supposed to be about playing for championships.
They were just hoping to get an opportunity to play.
Leino was confident enough in his own abilities to figure he was going to make something of himself with the Detroit Red Wings. But he’ll be honest and tell you: “I wasn’t sure about Antti. I thought he was pretty good, but it’s a lot harder for goalies. There’s only so many jobs.”
Turns out he was wrong and he was wrong.
Leino didn’t factor much with the Red Wings, who tried to turn him into something he wasn’t and Niemi is a very good reason why the Chicago Blackhawks are this close to their first Stanley Cup in 49 years.
After a hot shower and a few minutes to decompress, NHL referee Bill McCreary paid his form of highest compliment to this Game 3 overtime victory for the hometown Flyers.
“It was a man’s game,” said McCreary, who Wednesday night broke the all-time League record for most games officiated—43 and counting—in the Stanley Cup Final. “The players deserve the credit for the way they played. It was a tremendous hockey game.”
McCreary passed Hall of Famer Bill Chadwick to top a category that is the telling indicator for a professional hockey official.
“Officials are no different than players who work hard all year to make the last round of the playoffs,” McCreary said. “What stands out to me is that I have been selected for the Stanley Cup Final by four different officiating managers. I guess that means I have been consistent enough to break the record. I am very proud of it.”
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Danny Briere—the man who started the play that led to Claude Giroux’s overtime winner in Philly’s 4-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 Wednesday night—seemed genuinely surprised when asked if he had ever thought about the alternative, about losing, on this night.
“To be honest, I never thought about it. I never thought that we were losing that game,” said Briere, who had another monster night for the Flyers. He scored the team’s first goal on the power play and then in overtime found an open Matt Carle, who sent a sharp pass that Giroux deflected past Chicago netminder Antti Niemi 5:59 into overtime.
“When I came back after the third period, the way we had played in that third, it was like, ‘OK, we’re going to win it,’” Briere said. “It’s a good thing I didn’t even take the time to think about the alternative, but you have to think positive. We did that and we believe in our team.”
This rocking, back-and-forth, emotional contest might have been the best game of this entire postseason. Maybe it felt that way because there was so much riding on the outcome, especially for the Flyers, who had dropped two one-goal games in Chicago to start the series.
from David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune,
“We’re up 2-1,” Toews said after the Flyers’ 4-3 overtime victory in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals. “That’s a great situation to be in.”
Not as great as being up 3-0, but you get the point of Toews trying to accentuate the positive. That’s what good team leaders do.
Perhaps the hesitation in Toews’ voice in what seemed like a shaken Hawks dressing room came from knowing deep inside that they aren’t that far away from being down 2-1 in a series that just got very interesting.
Clearly, the Flyers have no plans to abort this mission. For the second straight game, they dominated the third period and established the desired tempo. For the third straight game, the difference was one goal.
Any time the Hawks want to start acting like the favorites in this series again, fine by me. Any time the Hawks want to focus on attacking the Flyers more than answering their attacks, nobody will complain.
“It’s just one loss,” Toews said. “Yeah, it’s a tough way to lose, especially in OT, and you have the lead in the third. But we’re not going to beat ourselves up.”
from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider,
Defenseman Joe Corvo and winger Scott Walker have been informed that they won’t be re-signed, GM George McPhee said today.
Corvo and Walker - both pending unrestricted free agents - were acquired at the trade deadline to bolster the Caps’ roster for the playoffs.
“They were great, but we can only carry 23 when the season starts,” McPhee said.
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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.
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