Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Rich Chere at the Star-Ledger:
The hiring of Bob Sommer to promote the Devils and other events at the Prudential Center immediately raises the question about whether chairman Jeff Vanderbeek has been unhappy with the manner in which Lou Lamoriello and his staff market the hockey team.
Lamoriello has sometimes been criticized for an unwillingness to market his players, but Vanderbeek said the decision to hire Sommer was no reflection on the approach the club’s president/CEO/GM has taken.
“This is not a Devils hire. The marketing department of the Devils will be the same as it’s always been,” Vanderbeek told The Star-Ledger. “More publicity for the Devils, I think, will be one of the end results of this hire. But it was not the driving force behind this at all.”
From the CP via TSN:
Thornton said at the time that he was “blindsided” by the deal that sent him to the Sharks for Brad Stuart, Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau. Facing Boston now is just another game.
“Really that’s all it is to me,” he said. “There’s not too many ex-teammates over there, and it’s just really an important game in the schedule.
“They’re the best in the East and we’re the best in the West. So it’s an important game that way rather than I’m playing against friends.”
read on for more from Thornton’s media conference call today
From Ken Campbell at The Hockey News:
Over the past 11 seasons, the team losing in the Stanley Cup final has made it out of the first round of the playoffs the following year only once – the Dallas Stars got to the second round in 2001 after losing the final to the New Jersey Devils in 2000. Four finalists failed to return to the playoffs a year after their run, a number that will grow by one unless the Penguins start playing with some level of consistency down the stretch.
Some have pointed to the oft-used Stanley Cup hangover, but if that exists, why did the Ottawa Senators get out of the gate with a 15-2-0 record to start the 2007-08 season? More than a hangover, the real reason for a team’s lack of success, at least in the salary cap era, lies more in what kinds of roster decisions the team makes after going to the final.
The reason for the Penguins’ demise has been fairly easy to figure out. With the top-end players they have in their lineup, they had to give huge pay increases or risk losing them the way they did Ryan Malone. Marian Hossa not re-signing with the Penguins hurt them, but it says something about the direction an organization is headed when a player turns his back on a multi-year deal in order to go somewhere else for a one-year contract.
From Eric Duhatschek in the Globe & Mail:
“People ask me about fighting and I really don’t know sometimes what I want,” said Regier. “I believe that things are going to happen over time, where I don’t think society is always going to accept (fighting).
“I see it in Canada now. There was a poll about fighting (conducted by the Harris-Decima firm, in which 54 per cent of Canadians surveyed favoured a unilateral ban on fighting, while 40 per cent wanted to retain the status quo). If you go back 10 years, I don’t think those numbers would be anywhere close to where they are right now.
“So I think it’s going to be more of a statement of the position of society – and I’m talking about true hockey fans, and their culture.”
The Washingon Capitals claimed Staffan Kronwall off re-entry waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday.
The 26-year-old defenceman was placed on waivers by the Maple Leafs on Thursday.
From Ansar Khan at Mlive:
Update from Friday’s practice: The Wings announced that Tomas Holmstrom will have surgery to repair a sports hernia and will be out three-to-five weeks.
An MRI revealed a small tear in his groin. Holmstrom hopes to have the surgery early next week in Philadelphia.
He had the same procedure on June 11, but on the other side. He said this tear is smaller, so he’s optimistic he won’t be idled as long. He’s hoping to return with about 10 games remaining in the regular season.
From Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy:
Yesterday afternoon, Pittsburgh Penguins rookie forward Luca Caputi was a guest on former WCW announcer Mark Madden’s 105.9 FM “The X” radio show (listen to the podcast here). The conversation turned to Penguins star Evgeni Malkin, and Caputi let slip an interesting behind-the-scenes detail about Pittsburgh’s huge rally to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning the other night: That Malkin offered up $1,000 between periods if the Penguins came back to win.
read on for a transcription of the relevant part of the interview.
From Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal via Faceoff.com:
Tkachuk is no stranger to trade deadline turmoil.
In 2007, with Tkachuk an unrestricted free agent, the Blues sent him to the Atlanta Thrashers, a team desperate to make the playoffs. The Thrashers did make it to the post-season with Tkachuk, but were swept in the first round by the New York Rangers. Tkachuk then re-signed with the Blues in the off-season.
At the 2001 trade deadline, Tkachuk went to the Blues for the first time in a trade with the Phoenix Coyotes for Michal Handzus, Ladislav Nagy, Jeff Taafe and a first-round draft.
From Larry Brooks at the New York Post:
The Rangers have conducted thorough internal discussions regarding the feasibility of bringing Sean Avery back to Broadway and appear to be on the verge of allowing Dallas to send Hockey’s Public Enemy No. 1 to Hartford in what would be the first step of the process, The Post has learned.
The organizational meetings included management personnel, coaches and players. They yielded a consensus that Avery’s return to the Rangers New York Rangers is very much worth pursuing and that his injection into the lineup this season would be a constructive move.
Update 10:14am ET: From Steve Zipay at Blue Notes:
Should the Rangers reacquire Avery—-who hasn’t played since Nov. 30 after being suspended for an inappropriate televised remark about former girlfriends and would first have to pass through waivers twice—-it could pretty much detour any other significant deals before the trade deadline.
I think the Rangers could be kicking the tires—-team execs speak a lot—-but I can’t believe this is anything but a long shot for this season, especially after Avery’s remarks about some current Rangers as a Star.
Update 11:36am ET: An overview of all the speculation and issues from Stu Hackel at the NYT Slapshot blog.
Update 12:19pm ET: Deadspin today is looking forward to Avery return, and speculates on his recent behavioral therapy—
The details of his treatment haven’t been specified, but I imagine it’s Avery being shuffled around from doctor to doctor trying to explain that there’s actually nothing wrong with him, and the NHL is just antiquated and boring. Then they show him a picture of a black splotch on a white piece of paper, give him some Prozac, and then pump him full of positive reinforcement before he goes off shopping for chinchilla-lined pea coats.
Capitals goalie Brent Johnson will have hip surgery next week and is expected to miss up to two months.
The decision to have the operation was made Thursday. The Capitals said Johnson could be out six-to-eight weeks.
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