Kukla's Korner Hockey
via Sam McCaig of the Hockey News,
Can the Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup?
Wow…just the fact I can pose this question without crashing the entire Internet shows how far the Hawks have come in a very short time.
Well, let’s see: a quality coach in Joel Quenneville; top-notch goaltending from Nikolai Khabibulin; hard-rock defensemen in Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith; a true offensive blueliner in Brian Campbell; and plenty of productive forwards led by Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and a still-healthy Martin Havlat.
The short answer has to be: Yes, the Hawks can win the Cup. The long answer is: Yeah, the Hawks could, but it’s unlikely given their youth and playoff inexperience and then there’d be a long-winded explanation getting into all that.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
Scene: A meeting room where eight chairs are shoehorned around one older man, who sits on the edge of a desk….
A young, athletic-looking man who’s wearing comically oversized sunglasses looks around, then realizes the counsellor is talking to him.
“Why don’t you stand up and tell us about yourself.”
The younger man rises.
“Are there any TV cameras here?” he asks.
“No, son,” says the counsellor. “You’re completely anonymous here.”
The younger man looks disappointed for a moment.
“Are you sure you don’t know who I am?” he asks.
“No idea,” someone in the group says, and again he looks disappointed before he continues.
“My name is Sean,” he says.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
A Thrashers-Wild blockbuster could be in the works.
Denials will come from Thrashers GM Don Waddell and Wild counterpart Doug Risebrough (they always do), but the whisper around the NHL is those teams have been discussing a huge deal involving superstar forwards Marian Gaborik and Ilya Kovalchuk.
Risebrough has been shopping Gaborik all season, but it’s been tough to find a taker because of his injury history. The talk is the Thrashers might have an interest if they can get Gaborik signed to a long-term contract, but the asking price would be high.
There’s a belief the sides have been talking about sending Gaborik and D Kim Johnsson to the Thrashers in exchange for Kovalchuk and RW Colby Armstrong.
continue to read more whispers…
added 10:18am, from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
If Gaborik stays in one piece, the Wild will be looking to move him to an Eastern Conference-based team. I’m sure they’ve talked to the Montreal Canadiens. Bob Gainey and the Wild tandem of general manager Doug Risebrough and coach Jacques Lemaire are buddies from their playing days with the Canadiens.
Chris Higgins, a strong winger who seems to have fallen into disfavour in Montreal, is a likely target for Minnesota. Maybe Guillaume Latendresse, too, because Mark D’Agostini has come up from the minors and keeps scoring. A former Habs first-round pick, left-winger Max Pacioretty (Hamilton Bulldogs) is another possibility.
With expectations through the roof for Kovalev following his brilliant 84-point campaign of a year ago, there was no shortage of sprained ankles from everyone jumping off AK-27’s bandwagon. After scoring the overtime winner to down the Sabres, Kovalev appears to be heating up with 10 points in his last 10 games.
“I’m more confident shooting the puck right now. I’ve been working hard in practice at hitting the right spots and I’ve also been watching my own DVD,” said Kovalev with a smile, about his wildly popular instructional video launched last season.
“I’ve been saying all along that it was going to happen and the puck would start to go in. I knew we just had to keep pushing and working hard,” said Kovalev. “I think what we’re all doing a much better job of right now is getting the puck on net and jumping on the rebounds. We’ve been talking about the fact that our goals won’t all be pretty.”
It’s plain and simple, there’s not enough guys that want to make a difference, their clock killers, that’s all it is. I’m [expletive] fed up.’’
“I don’t think there’s enough guys who really want to win. Yeah, we say the right things, but [forget] that. What’s winning? It’s being aware of every flipping play that matters, especially now when you’re in a hole. When you’re six or seven games over .500 and everything is rosy, you can make mistakes, it happens, you can live with it. But right now, when we’re in the situation we are, it’s plain and simple embarrassing.’’
-Marty St. Louis after the Lightning lost to the Thrashers last night. More from Eric Erlendsson at Bolts Report.
from Ted Wyman of the Winnipeg Sun,
There’s no exact science to determine the best player in the NHL.
After all, players play different positions with different styles and differing levels of ability in certain aspects of the game. There are so many factors to consider.
So, in order to compile our third annual list of the top 10 current NHL players, we decided on a democratic vote of Sun Media hockey writers from across the nation….
10. Mike Richards, Philadelphia Flyers (23 voting points)
The 23-year-old centre from Kenora, Ont., is a solid two-way player who has a fiery, abrasive style and is a born leader….
9. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks (25 voting points)
Another of the NHL’s young guns, the 6-foot-4, 221-pound centre from Regina possesses immense skill and scoring touch to go along with an ability to play the physical game….
8. Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings (45 voting points)
The 28-year-old from Sweden is hockey’s best two-way player, a forward who can score (he’s on pace for 40 goals this season) but is just as adept at shutting down the opposition’s top guns.
from Sun Media,
From water coolers to pub tables to hockey stands, debates rage—arguments over hockey’s great questions. Wagers are often made. Wait no more hockey fans. Hockey writers from across the Sun Media chain have polled more than 50 players, scouts, coaches, executives and media members on 25 of the most critical questions and compiled the results.
MOST OVERRATED PLAYER ...
1. Sean Avery, in limbo ... 9
2. Dion Phaneuf, Calgary ... 8
3. Wade Redden, New York Rangers ... 4
4. Jeff Finger, Toronto ... 3
MOST UNDERRATED PLAYER ...
1. Marc Savard, Boston ... 6
2. Mikko Koivu, Minnesota ... 5
3. Tim Thomas, Boston ... 4
4. Patrick Sharp, Chicago ... 3
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
The Bruins’ front office doesn’t seek this space for advice, but if I were general manager of the hottest hockey team on Causeway in 15 years, I’d try to tie down Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez today for three-year extensions worth an average $3 million a year. I could be wrong, but I think each of the 34-year-olds might bite (key stat: age 34). That wouldn’t be music to the ears of wunderkind Tuukka Rask, eager to launch his NHL career, but Thomas and Fernandez are proven NHL commodities.
more NHL notes including MacTavish and Hartsburg on the hot seat…
from Mark Everson of the NY Post,
They not only survived, the Devils prospered, their plague of injuries becoming a plague on their opponents. And they’re all the stronger for it. The players are the biggest heroes, but significant credit must go to coach Brent Sutter, this recent prodigy of junior coaching no longer unproven at the NHL level.
Sutter doesn’t go around telling everyone what a genius he is, quite the opposite. He sometimes feigns not being taken seriously, pretending he’s wrongly regarded as a rube from the prairie, when he’s not being so viewed.
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
Twenty-two-year-old netminder Justin Pogge is expected to make his NHL debut for the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Atlanta Thrashers on Monday.
The Leafs will promote the young prospect from the Toronto Marlies of the AHL after No. 1 goalie Vesa Toskala suffered a groin injury in the second period of Toronto’s impressive 7-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday evening….
“We’re concerned with our goaltending issue on two levels,” Burke said from California before the game. “We need to take care of the health of our goaltender’s health and stability over an 82-game schedule and we need to get a look at this kid.
“[Pogge] hasn’t been dominant at the AHL level, but we need to see what we have with him.”
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.
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