Kukla's Korner Hockey
from The Good, The Bad And The Duthie,
The teams selling W’s right now include Boston, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Washington, Detroit, Chicago, San Jose (by the bushel), Anaheim, Calgary, and Vancouver. Nashville, Carolina, and Minnesota are also in the W Club right now, but barely.
Buffalo could also be squeezed into that group, but I’ll stick them in with the Hopeful, only because a Sabre-obsessed buddy of mine told me even he believes they are still a year or two away from serious Cup contention. Others selling hope include Columbus, Phoenix, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Edmonton (though they were hyping W’s before the season), Florida, and yes, Toronto (Brian Burke Luke Schenn, and a lot of cap room, are enough to gain admission into the Hopeful).
And then there’s the third category: The Others.
The Others don’t have the wins, or the hope. And that miserable place, my friends, is where we currently find your Ottawa Senators.
Oh, they have some company. Tampa is a mess. Atlanta and the Islanders have a few good prospects, but not enough. Colorado has been a disappointment, and underachieving Dallas is Ottawa, Southwest Edition.
from the Bob Sturm Blog at DallasStars.com, .
..don’t look now but Marty Turco is playing like Marty Turco. After back to back starts where he held Detroit and Phoenix to 2 goals (total) on 61 shots, he looks like he owns his crease, and if it were not for that meltdown goal where Trevor Daley mishandled a Turco pass last time Phoenix came through town, the Stars may really be rolling right now.
Since he was pretty much the most vocal Dallas Stars player regarding the Sean Avery soap opera, I was very curious if the exit of Avery would have any impact on Turco’s play. If people suggest that the play of Turco was negatively affected by the circus, wouldn’t it be positively affected after that?
from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,
How good are the Hawks?
OK, it’s still somewhat early, but in my book they are the third best team in the Western Conference behind San Jose and Detroit, in whatever order you want to put them.
The Hawks have a terrific offense, terrific goaltending, a mobile and deep defense and a good coach.
Do the Hawks have weaknesses? Of course. They are somewhat small and don’t play overly physical, but those are things to worry about more come playoff time when it all tightens up. But for right now, with the rules as they are in today’s NHL, a fast, quick, high scoring team such as the Hawks, with their great goaltending, can be dominant.
Bill Eichenberger of the Sporting News Today chats with the Capitals Mike Green,
Q: How is this team different than it has been over the last few years?
A: We have a lot more structure. I think the guys are following what the coaching staff is telling us. With (coach) Bruce (Boudreau) here, he’s been the biggest difference.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
So how is it that the Kings can play up to the level of the NHL’s top teams but still hover around .500?
That they can commit thoughtless mistakes—one of which led to a successful penalty shot Wednesday by the New York Rangers—but still take the second-best team in the East to overtime and then have every reason to feel dissatisfied after a 3-2 loss?
The conclusion is inescapable: They will go nowhere, and might soon regress, if they don’t upgrade their goaltending.
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
...Either way, now would not be a bad time to consider the regular fate of Panthers fans or Coyotes fans or Canucks fans. ... or Oilers fans.
It’s a tough world out there in pro sports, and the Stars have been protected for years by good management and a lot of money. The management, I believe, still is good. The money could be much tighter.
Because the bottom line is the cap is going down next year – and probably even more the next. And the Stars’ internal budget could go down even before that. So, you really may get a chance to see what it feels like to be an Oilers fan.
But, if you’re looking for a little silver inside that cloud, check out the possible top six forwards for next season – Brenden Morrow, Mike Ribeiro, Brad Richards, James Neal, Fabian Brunnstrom and Loui Eriksson. That’s a group you can build around.
from John Grigg of the Hockey News,
After running down the top 10 NHL bargains last week, we’d be remiss if we neglected to make note of the league’s most overpaid players. So that’s the focus of this week’s THN Top 10…
2. Chris Drury, Center, Rangers – $7.05 million
Team captains are normally offensive catalysts. And that’s what the Rangers thought Drury would be when they signed him to a five-year, $35.25-million deal. But Drury failed to crack the 30-goal mark last season and is on pace for the worst points total of his NHL career.
1. Ed Jovanovski, Defense, Phoenix – $6.5 million
Two goals and 15 points through 31 games is not horrendous for a blueliner. But Jovo-Cop has lost his status as the desert’s best defenseman to Zbynek Michalek, who makes $5.25-million less. Jovanovski’s team-worst minus-12 rating is tied for 746th in the league, out of 759 players.
from Fran Spielman of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Last month, rooftop owner Tom Gramatis told the Chicago Sun-Times that demand for rooftop tickets to the Winter Classic was “the biggest thing ever — bigger than any Cubs game” when the event was announced last summer.
But Gramatis said “the buzz” died down when the economy went south and the stock market tanked. That forced him to cut his price in half— from $400 a head to $200, including food and drink.
“There were rooftops asking $750 a head [at one time]. Some are still at $500. They’re smoking a crack pipe. They’re not gonna get it. The economy sucks. It’s also Jan. 1 at noon — not an ideal time for somebody to wake up and go to a hockey game after New Year’s Eve,” Gramatis said.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
From the moment Gretzky decided he wanted to be a head coach coming out of the lockout, an element of curiosity has always followed his efforts. He had been many things to the game, including its best player ever and arguably the finest ambassador it has had. But coaching? That was something else entirely.
More than a few quizzical eyes were cast toward Gretzky’s newfound profession, a sense that this was an experiment, kind of like when Michael Jordan decided he wanted to be a baseball player, something that surely would run its course.
“I think I’ve put in my hours now and my time,” Gretzky said. “I think the first year, or maybe even the second year, people might have thought, ‘Well, it’s going to end.’ But I truly enjoy it. I have as much fun coaching as I did playing.”
It is a shocking admission, really.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Update from Wednesday’s practice: Wings goalie Chris Osgood did not practice due to a sore groin, coach Mike Babcock said. Babcock wasn’t sure about the extent of the injury, but it appears he might not even be able to serve as Ty Conklin’s back-up for Thursday’s game against San Jose.
Still waiting to hear what roster moves the team will make, whether it will be Jimmy Howard or Daniel Larsson recalled from Grand Rapids and whether they will waive a player to make room.
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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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