Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail (Tuesday edition),
“I didn’t even know I was drafted,” said Ericsson, whose Wings are tied 1-1 with the Ducks in their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series. “I wasn’t following it that day. I wasn’t even thinking about it.”
Ericsson was an instructor at a youth hockey camp in Sweden when a local reporter informed him of the news. Ericsson remarked that he didn’t contemplate the tall odds he had to overcome to play in the NHL, he was just excited to be taken by the same NHL club that housed Swedish heroes such as Nicklas Lidstrom, Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom.
“I was just thrilled to be drafted,” the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Ericsson said….
“He’s a lot like [Anaheim’s Chris] Pronger, only he doesn’t crosscheck and do that sort of stuff,” Babcock said.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
He casts a wide-bodied presence — a lunar eclipse on skates when he gets set up in front of the net — for a team that understands the best way to make Luongo look mortal is to block his view at every turn. And if a guy occasionally loses an edge and accidentally-on-purpose goes crashing into the goalie, well, that’s good for business — Blackhawks business, that is.
“I’m there, I’m there,” said Byfuglien, when asked if he’s in the heads of Vancouver players. “But it’s been good. It’s been fun. I’m just doing my job and playing the way I can.”
“He’s a big body,” ventured Bieksa, following Canucks practice yesterday at the United Center. “He’s played well for them, obviously. Last game, he played well. He gets in on the fore-check, he finishes his hit. He’s a big body in front of Louie.
“But it’s more about us worrying about ourselves right now than us worrying about them.”
from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,
Why can’t Vancouver hold a lead? Can the Canucks handle Chicago’s speed? And maybe the most gutsy question of the afternoon to goalie Roberto Luongo: What are your thoughts on being shellacked?
He stared for a good three seconds before answering that one.
“Is that a serious question?” he responded.
So there might be a little panic surrounding the Vancouver Canucks, but they promise it hasn’t seeped into their room.
It’s going to take more than one loss to shake the confidence of a team that opened the playoffs with five consecutive wins.
“I would like to sincerely thank Glen Sather and the New York Rangers for giving me the opportunity this past season in New York. I would also like to thank the Vancouver Canucks and all of their fans for their support over the 11-plus seasons I was a part of their organization, as well as to the Pittsburgh Penguins where I began my NHL career.”
-Markus Naslund in his official retirement announcement. More at NewYorkRangers.com.
from Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated,
Florida defenseman Jay Bouwmeester figures to break the bank when he becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1. So, what about the second-most coveted free-agent defenseman: Montreal’s Mike Komisarek?
According to an NHL team executive, his organization initially viewed the right-side blueliner as a $6 million player but downgraded him slightly after his mediocre season. One problem is the rugged Komisarek brings virtually no offense into the equation. He is an upgrade over Scott Hannan, who signed a four-year, $18 million contract with Colorado in 2007, but with the salary cap poised to shrink in 2010-11, Komisarek might be worth closer to $5 million annually.
read on for more hockey topics…
COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets announced today a restructuring of the National Hockey League club’s broadcast teams. Jeff Rimer, Bill Davidge and George Matthews will each return to the broadcast booth in 2009-10, while television analyst Danny Gare will not.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Interesting morning down at the Verizon Center in advance of Monday night’s Game 2. …
• First, it continues to boggle the mind that the NHL chooses not to force the Penguins and Caps—or, frankly, any two teams during the playoffs—to take the morning skate in the same building.
The Caps don’t like to skate at Verizon Center on game days, choosing most often to skate at their practice facility in Arlington, Va. Fair enough, but for the media covering the series—and, really, isn’t it always all about the media?—travel between the two sites on the morning of a game is difficult, not to mention annoying….
continued with more pre-game notes…
via John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
The Buffalo Sabres acquired Mikael Tellqvist at the trade deadline as a short-term insurance policy. Turns out that’s exactly what he was.
The goaltender’s career in Buffalo lasted just six games, as the pending unrestricted free agent has signed to play with Ak Bars of Russia’s KHL. A report out of Sweden said Tellqvist signed for about $1.3 million, up from this season’s NHL salary of $800,000.
from Mike Brophy of Sportsnet,
I love overtime in hockey. Who wouldn’t?
But overtime period after overtime period after overtime period? No way!
I am quite certain this will offend many and quite frankly, I don’t care.
Play one period of 5-on-5 overtime and if the score is still tied, play 4-on-4 until a winner is declared. It really isn’t a radical idea. I understand this would be a huge break from tradition, but that doesn’t mean it is wrong. The NHL went to 4-on-4 in overtime in 1999-2000 and we survived, right?
For heaven’s sake, it’s just a freaking hockey game! The fate of the world is not depending on the outcome.
from Bruce Arthur of the National Post,
The one guy who knew Simeon Varlamov really well - better than anybody else on the Washington Capitals, probably - was Dave Prior, the team’s goaltending coach, and he didn’t want to use him. Sure, José Theodore had been ventilated in the first game of the playoffs, and Washington’s whole enterprise was suddenly unsure.
But though Varlamov had played well in his six regular-season appearances, Prior didn’t know if the silent Russian kid could handle playoff hockey, playoff pressure. Nobody did.
“Well, it wasn’t an easy choice,” said Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau Sunday. “I lost hair over that one.”
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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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