Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
But with his Montreal Canadiens down two games to none in their Eastern Conference final tussle with the sizzling Philadelphia Flyers, Martin does have one bold card to play.
Hint: It wasn’t putting Sergei Kostitsyn in the lineup for Game 2. That was just strange.
No, the move that’s there for Martin is to insert netminder Carey Price in place of Jaroslav Halak.
Risky? Absolutely. Worth the risk? Absolutely.
The Canadiens need to find a way to seize the initiative in this series starting with Game 3 at home Thursday night. So far it’s all been about what the Flyers have been doing and what Montreal hasn’t been doing, which for the most part has been putting pucks behind Michael Leighton.
And what, pray tell, will changing goalies do to help the likes of Mike Cammalleri, Brian Gionta and Andrei Kostitsyn find the net?
from Craig Custance of The Sporting News,
Sporting News asked 363 players, coaches and executives to pick its 2010 NHL award winners, and all cast one vote for the player of the year. Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin garnered 108 first-place votes, followed by Washington’s Alex Ovechkin with 86 and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby with 72.
continue for a look at Henrik Sedin…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Quenneville also had a giggle at a question about what might constitute too much male bonding, given that the Blackhawks had been on the road since eliminating the Vancouver Canucks in the quarter finals - oh, about a century ago. One Blackhawks player confided that it was time to come home when all that was left to watch on the hotel movie channels were a bunch of chick flicks.
“I never heard of that one,” said Quenneville - this to the question about male bonding, not the chick flicks. “But I think these guys are probably fed up with the video games. I’m sure it’s pretty competitive in there as far as who was the king of the hand-held games.”
from Craig Custance of The Sporting News,
Belief: Sidney Crosby is hockey’s best young leader and most clutch performer.
Reality: OK, that still might be true. Nobody can take away Crosby’s 2009 Stanley Cup and Olympic game-winning goal. But Jonathan Toews is making his case as hockey’s best big-game player.
Toews graciously accepted his role on Team Canada’s checking line during the Olympics and emerged as one of the tournament’s best two-way players. He had eight points in seven Olympic games and was named to the all-tournament team. If the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup, he’ll likely take home the Conn Smythe. He’s on an 11-game point streak and leads playoff scorers with 23 points.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen him this good,” teammate Patrick Kane said. “Seems like the guy is a big-time player.”
Belief: The regular season means something.
Reality: Hockey, more than other sports, has always been about making the playoffs. Then anything can happen. But come on, No. 7 playing No. 8 in the Eastern Conference finals? All the finalists for the Jack Adams, Vezina Trophy and Hart Trophy done for the summer? “It’s way wacky,” Feaster said.
from Mike Halford of Orland Kurtenblog at the Vancouver Province,
Chicago isn’t alone in questioning its cap status. Here’s a look at some other teams who could be in trouble (all salary figures courtesy CapGeek.com):
Players under contract for next season: 17
Estimated available cap space: $4 million
—Let’s start up front, where the trio of Matt Stajan, Nik Hagman and Ales Kotalik will count for $9.5 million against the cap. Is now a good time to mention that, in 80 combined games for Calgary last year, those three put up 32 points? It probably is. Just to throw another horrible contract in the mix, let’s mention that Daymond Langkow had 37 points last season, his lowest total in 10 years. Good thing he’s on the books at $4.5 million a year until 2012.
—The Flames’ other worry: these albatross deals keeping them from retaining their better value players.
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
Not only are the Panthers expected to announce that they are reducing the capacity for most home games at BankAtlantic Center on Thursday, but the team is also going to unveil a new pricing structure for individual game tickets.
Team president Michael Yormark says the new setup is based on the way airlines sell seats – prices will be determined as it gets closer to game time.
“It will pay to buy earlier,’’ Yormark said. “As inventory sells and gets tighter, the pricing will jump from tier to tier. It’s all about supply and demand. Fans won’t get the best price if they wait. When single game tickets go on sale in September, you will want to buy because the price will increase.’‘
MONTREAL – Montreal Canadiens General Manager Pierre Gauthier issued today a Wednesday update on the status of defenseman Andrei Markov.
Markov underwent successful surgery today to repair a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee. His recovery is estimated to be six months.
Markov, 31, suffered this injury to his right knee during the first period of the opening game of the playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, at Mellon Arena, on April 30.
“They know that no matter where I’m at or what’s going on, I’m going to be competing, for sure. If you look over the course of my career, every time I’ve had some sort of setback, I came back even stronger. I think that’s what people should plan on. Because that’s what I plan on.’‘
-Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins. Chris Nichols of Sportsnet looks at Thomas for next year from a fantasy point of view.
from Bruce Arthur of the National Post,
This edition of the Canadiens has five French speakers in the dressing room, but none are otherwise essential: Bergeron, Maxim Lapierre, Mathieu Darche, Benoit Pouliot - and bilingual anglophone Dominic Moore, who grew up in Thornhill, Ont.
“As you look around the NHL, there’s less and less [francophone players],” Bergeron said. “Players are coming from all over the world, and we are a small part of the world. Before, you had a better chance to get a better player [from Quebec] ... There’s a lot of good French players in the league; just not as much in Montreal.”
No, in this series, Quebec’s stars play for the Flyers. The oft-injured Gagné, a one-time 47-goal scorer, rode a five-game scoring streak into Tuesday night; Brière, from Gatineau, had 17 points in his previous 10 games before Game 2; and Giroux, a Franco-Ontarian from Hearst, Ont., who played his junior in Gatineau, had 13 points in Philadelphia’s first 13 playoff games. And Thursday night, they get to do it closer to home.
“The guys are going to get a warm welcome, I’m sure, in Montreal,” Bergeron said, with a wry grin.
from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
It probably is too harsh to say the Lightning has steered without a rudder since the April 12 firing of general manager Brian Lawton. But it is not too harsh to say the recent storm over whether to pay for Stephane Veilleux’s surgery is a good example of why new owner Jeff Vinik needs to finally hire a new GM and chief executive officer.
If nothing else, the hires would lay out a vision for the organization, and would put people in place to make buck-stops-here decisions. Whether you agree or disagree with the Lightning’s position on Veilleux – it balked at paying to repair injuries to his right shoulder the team believed were not hockey related – the public-relations nightmare might have been avoided and the disruption mitigated had those positions been settled.
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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