Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
• The betting here is that Nik Antropov, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Pavel Kubina and Matt Stajan will not be Maple Leafs by the time the NHL trade deadline passes. And if Brian Burke can find teams who want the contracts of Jason Blake, Lee Stempniak and Ryan Hollweg, he’ll move them too. Where things get interesting are with injured defenceman Tomas Kaberle, who Burke likes but understands he has the most market value of any of his players.
• The more I watch Jay Bouwmeester the more I’m convinced that a) some team is going to overpay for him at the trade deadline or b) some team is going to way overpay for him in free agency this summer. He’s good. He’s not great.
more hockey notes among other sports observations…
via Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,
Hawks leading goal scorer Patrick Sharp left Saturday’s game with Dallas 39 seconds into the first period with what appeared to be a left knee injury.
Sharp was unable to put any pressure on his leg as he was helped to the dressing room.
Coach Joel Quenneville said after the Hawks’ 6-2 win that Sharp would not be going on the road trip this week to Tampa, South Florida and Dallas and that more details would be announced on Monday. Several Hawks acted as if Sharp would be out for a long period of time.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Too many teams in the NHL playoff race means not enough players will be available at this year’s trade deadline.
With a little more than two weeks to the March 4 deadline, only Toronto, Atlanta, Ottawa, Tampa Bay and the Islanders appear to be out of the chase.
In the Western Conference, all 15 teams still have a realistic chance of making it to the post-season, with only 10 points separating fifth place to 15th as of yesterday.
The closest teams to being sellers in the West would be the Blues and Avalanche.
continue on for some trade talk…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Today would be as good a time as any even if Avery, who played his first game for the Wolf Pack in last night’s 4-1 loss to Manitoba, might need another game or two to build his stamina, After claiming Avery on re-entry, the Rangers could assign him to Hartford for conditioning.
“I think [the NHL] is where I belong; that’s the type of player I am,” said Avery, who had last played 11 weeks ago today for the Stars in Edmonton. “But in saying that, I’m just happy to be playing here and I’ll worry about [the NHL] when the time comes.”...
Two NHL teams with the right to claim Avery on re-entry before the Rangers - Tampa Bay and Toronto - had scouts at the match, though neither is believed interested. Unless there’s a shocker, he’s the Rangers.
Also from Brooks,
Wade Redden is Glen Sather’s Folly. That has become painfully obvious fewer than 60 games into a six-year, $39 million contract that stands as the worst in the history of the NHL, if not in the history of hard-cap pro sports.
With skills declining so precipitously over the last three seasons that if he played baseball, one would deduce that he had built his previously admirable career resume on PED’s, the 31-year-old defenseman is the GM’s Greatest Mistake, far more substantial than Stephane Quintal or Theo Fleury or Bobby Holik, or any of those pre-lockout signings that all came with erasers.
from Bolts Report,
Washington’s Mike Green made NHL history on Saturday becoming the first defenseman in league history to score a goal in eight consecutive games.
Green, who leads all defenseman in goals, notched his 22ndh of the season at the 5:33 mark of the second period with a power play marker
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
Here’s how Brodeur’s informal meeting with the media went today.
Were you nervous for your first practice with the full team?
“No, not really. I knew was not going to get as much work in practice time. They said we were going to practice only for 20 minutes, so I said, ‘All right. I’m going ot have to some work after.’ So, I wasn’t really nervous. I was anxious to get going and see the speed of the shots, speed of the guys. It’s totally different than just making drills when guys are coming at a high pace. That’s why I need to practice, just to get used to that. It was good.”
Through the process of your recovery have you had any setbacks?
This one time—I don’t think I was on the ice yet—doing some of my rehab, I tweaked it pretty hard. It was the first time that broke scar tissue, so that panic. I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ And that was catching a lacrosse ball. We stopped right away and put ice (on it). I talked to (the doctor) and (he) was like, ‘Don’t worry about it. It’s going to happen.
from Matthew Sekeres and David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The Phoenix Coyotes are among the poorest teams in the NHL, but head coach Wayne Gretzky makes far more than any other coach in the league.
Gretzky earns between $7-million and $8-million (all currency U.S.) per year on a five-year contract, or more than seven times the average annual salary for an NHL head coach, according to several sources. The contract is so generous that even though Gretzky was said by one source to have agreed to defer up to half his salary this season, he would still be the best-paid bench boss in the league.
The huge compensation came based on the notion that Gretzky would help sell tickets at the Jobing.com Arena in suburban Glendale. But now, in Gretzky’s fourth season behind the bench, that does not appear to be the case.
from Craig Stancher of ColoradoAvalanche.com,
Defenseman Adam Foote will accompany his teammates on their trip to Detroit and could be available for Sunday’s game against the Red Wings. Following Saturday’s practice at Family Sports Center, Foote proclaimed himself, “ready to go.”
“It’s been awhile,” said Foote, who also mentioned the level of frustration that comes with being sidelined. “There always is when you’re injured, whether your team is winning or going through a lull. That will never change.
“The last couple of games we played with a lot of energy and we deserved better. We didn’t get the two points, but we have to stick with that same game plan.”
more on the Avs…
from Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail,
Fire the coach. Send the kid goalie to the minors. Trade the Russians. The panic button has truly been punched among fans of the Montreal Canadiens.
Like the song says, love hurts, and the anguish of heartbreak is palpable among the spurned legions of Habsland.
Their beloved NHL team is suddenly catastrophically bad and seems to have forgotten how to play, losing nine of 11 games going into last night’s match against the Colorado Avalanche - which the Habs won 4-2.
“Don’t they understand what this is doing to us? I’m embarrassed to leave the house,” wailed a caller named Stephane, one of hundreds of disconcerted fans to phone the city’s pre-eminent hockey open-line show in recent days on CKAC, the Habs’ French-language radio broadcaster.
from Rob Oller of the Columbus Dispatch,
Hitchcock, like Holland, would begin his ideal team with a goaltender. In Dallas, he saw the before/after effect of Ed Balfour, whose work in net helped the Stars win the 1998-99 Stanley Cup.
“You don’t realize how important a goalie is until you have one,” he said. Which is why the Blue Jackets are so better positioned for a deep run into the playoffs, once they finally get there, than many teams.
Would Mason, who appears fully recovered from mononucleosis that kept him out of the previous three games, be able to hold up under playoff pressure? Impossible to know for sure, but the best goaltenders—the ones left standing, as Hitchcock likes to say—are the most competitive ones. And Mason burns with a bristly passion to win.
“There couldn’t have been a better team to come back against,” he said.
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.
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