Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
He called out Phil Kessel for his lack of offence and then zeroed in on the meek response the Leafs gave after falling behind 4-0 to the Flyers and letting Philly enforcer Daniel Carcillo rub their noses in it. Kessel, who has just one goal the past 10 games, declined to talk to reporters afterwards.
“Ooh, he gets singled out in professional sports,” a caustic Wilson said of the stir his speech created. “He hasn’t played well the past 10 games. I could single out a lot of players, but he’s our best player and a lot of times that needs to be the message.
“We (criticize) it here (in public) because I’m ticked off. You do need a kick in the rump sometimes and then we’ll see how people respond.”
Wilson also ripped the team for its penchant for allowing early goals, lack of special teams’ success and their general compete level, after the Leafs teased everyone the night before with a come-from-behind win over Florida.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
“Nobody saw this drop-off. We started (this season) 12-6-3,” said GM Scott Howson. “Now, seven weeks later we’ve dropped almost out of sight. Everyone is just sort of bewildered by it. Including the players.”
Don’t forget the head coach.
On Wednesday, in the midst of the most perplexing and disappointing seasons in the career of a lifetime hockey man, Hitchcock stood inside Rexall Place pondering his predicament. In the city where it all began for him, a few words from an old coach came to mind.
“He said, ‘Did you sign up to win? Or did you sign up to coach? Because you can’t do both,’” Hitchcock said with a smile. “‘If you signed up to win, and that’s all you signed up for when you got in this business, then you might as well get lost. It ain’t going to work.’”
And so Hitchcock, and the Blue Jackets, are losers once again.
from Donna Goodison of the Boston Herald,
The success of the NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park [map] has prompted House Speaker Robert DeLeo to lobby the league for an annual outdoor hockey match featuring the Boston Bruins [team stats].
DeLeo sent a letter to National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman, asking him to consider having an outdoor Bruins game each year somewhere in the Greater Boston area.
“For the NHL, maintaining a permanent outdoor presence in Boston could help to both solidify the league’s base in our area and help ensure a healthy future for the game,” DeLeo wrote in the letter. “It is my hope that this event can be recreated - even if not on New Year’s Day, of course - in the years ahead. As last week’s game showed, fans in Boston - the ‘Hub of Hockey’ and the best sports town in America - are eager to support an outdoor hockey game year after year.”
Frisco, Tex.—The Dallas Stars announced today that center Mike Ribeiro has been placed on injured reserve and is expected to be out four-to-six weeks due to a throat contusion suffered on Wednesday night at the New York Rangers.
Ribeiro underwent a procedure at St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center in Manhattan last night to repair the contusion, which included a tracheotomy. He is expected to stay in the hospital for a few days before returning to Dallas.
Ribeiro suffered the injury when he was hit in the neck by the stick of Rangers forward Chris Higgins at 15:32 of the second period last night. Higgins was assessed a two-minute minor penalty on the play.
from Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post,
The Avs cannot blow this. Can they?
The NHL’s feel-good story isn’t feeling so hot. When the snow of winter blows, glass slippers lose traction. The slide has begun.
When the Avalanche fails to make the playoffs, don’t come crying to me.
Think this horrendous 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders was no big deal? Then you didn’t see the anger seething in the eyes of Avs coach Joe Sacco.
“We didn’t play our game,” Sacco said Wednesday night.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
As they prepare to visit the Boston Bruins in our Game of the Week on Thursday night, the Hawks remind us of another team from recent memory, in terms of their ability to produce wins in a variety of settings: the Detroit Red Wings.
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville, never given to hyperbole, seems flattered by the idea that is the outside view, but points out quickly—and accurately—there’s a long way to go between where the Blackhawks are now and what the Red Wings have accomplished in the last decade (winning Cups in 2002 and 2008, reaching the Cup finals last season and piling up no fewer than 108 points in every season since 2000).
“That’s a heck of a compliment,” Quenneville told ESPN.com this week. “I know how good they’ve been and how long they’ve sustained that, and that’s a greater compliment.”
Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun answer some questions related to the 2nd half of the NHL season…
Which of these teams will most likely fade out of the playoff picture: Colorado, Phoenix or Nashville?
Burnside: I’m not sure any of them will, but I think the Preds are most susceptible to falling just below the Mendoza Line when the dust clears in mid-April. They are currently dealing with the loss of team goal-scoring leader Martin Erat and have historically struggled to score.
LeBrun: Keep an eye on the Avs. Hopefully I’m wrong, because I love the way coach Joe Sacco has this team playing, but I worry about the durability of twin 18-year-old centers Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly. Sacco’s system asks a lot of the centers. Craig Anderson’s numbers have dipped a bit after a torrid opening two months, and I think it’s because he’s been a bit overtaxed. The rest during the Olympic break should be beneficial to him.
What jersey will Ilya Kovalchuk be wearing at the end of the regular season?
Burnside: We’re guessing now it won’t be an Atlanta Thrashers jersey, so will go with a dark horse, the Philadelphia Flyers. Second choice? Chicago Blackhawks.
LeBrun: Just for kicks, how about the Montreal Canadiens?...
Alexander Oveckin and a few other Capitals go behind the scenes on the Caps Verizon video shoot.
The Lightning bear watching in the second half. Vin Lecavalier has re-awakened and Marty St. Louis never stops hustling. If Ryan Malone gets on track, Tampa Bay will have a playoff team.
-Stan Fischler at the Hockey Journal where you can read more hockey notes from Stan.
from David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune,
From the moment Kane saw the kid wearing his jersey at Fenway Park as part of the Jan. 1 ceremony unveiling the U.S. Olympic hockey team, he got an idea. Kane was traveling to St. Louis with the Hawks but felt so moved by the gesture that he immediately contacted front-office personnel to begin tracking down the boy’s name.
A few phone calls later, and Kane arranged through the family to sign the jersey Thursday so the kid would have more than a memory to mark the occasion of making Kane’s Olympic moment official.
“The whole thing was very cool,” Kane said.
In a sports town where life has been decidedly uncool lately, how nice to see a local hero embrace his status and exceed expectations as a person and player. On the current landscape of Chicago superstars as 2010 begins, there is Kane and there is everybody else.
more about Kane…
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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