Kukla's Korner Hockey
from On the Islanders Beat,
Because salaries are pro-rated against the cap on a daily basis, when they reach the mid-point of the season, the Islanders will have the ability to take on players whose contracts total up to $15 million at that point because half their salaries already will have been paid. So, cap room isn’t a problem.
But since the NHL isn’t a fantasy league, the trouble is finding someone who is ready to give up a goal scorer. That’s not likely to happen much before the Feb. 26 trade deadline. At a time when the Islanders have gone 12 straight games without scoring more than two goals (not counting the shootout goal against Ottawa), that’s why they must look within for help.
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
Crosby will likely be climbing the walls by the time his trip to Western Canada concludes. His passion runs high for playing games in Canada, but his time away from the rink is spent keeping a low profile. In other words, Crosby won’t be found looking for a postgame pint on Electric Avenue in Calgary.
“Probably a little busier, more interviews,” the reigning NHL MVP said when asked about the difference between playing in Canada and the United States.
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
Sundin was dismissing a highly speculative report that the Swedish contingent on the Detroit Red Wings, including Niklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom, are set to lobby general manager Ken Holland to acquire the Leafs captain if Toronto falls out of the playoffs.
But Sundin said Saturday night he was not in cahoots with the Motown Scandinavians and repeated yesterday that, as long as he controls his fate with a no-movement contract clause, he’ll stay put.
“That’s very safe to say,” Sundin said. “I didn’t sign a one-year deal last summer to (better accommodate a trade), I want to be a Leaf.”
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
So what if Toronto makes Mats Sundin available as a rental? What if Tampa Bay GM Jay Feaster believes the only way out of the mess he’s made of the Lightning is to place all-world Vincent Lecavalier on the auction block? What if Atlanta can’t sign Marian Hossa to an extension and looks to move the winger, or Columbus drops out of the playoff picture and dangles Sergei Fedorov as a lend-lease operation, or Rob Blake is willing to waive his no-trade out of LA?...
The Rangers are loaded with young affordable assets. The trick now is to identify whom the organization can afford to trade - and whom it can’t - when a championship-caliber veteran becomes available prior to the Feb. 26 deadline.
from the Chicago Daily Herald,
Hawks’ attendance is up about 1,000 per game over last season, but the 13,485 average over the first 13 home games means there’s still plenty of empty seats. UC capacity is 20,500. This season’s high was 19,045 when Detroit visited on Nov. 11.
more on the Blackhawks trying to take advantage of home ice…
from the Calgary Sun,
Hey, many in the media morbidly want to see Keenan in a high-profile tiff with one of his players, especially if it becomes the start of another fall for Iron Mike.
Certainly, Keenan’s words after Saturday night’s disappointing 4-3 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets will add to the pyre.
“Let’s call a spade a spade. We should have better goaltending. Period. If we had, we’d be rewarded with a victory tonight,” said Keenan, who has been remarkably patient with his criticism of Kiprusoff this season.
He has a right to be frustrated and disappointed. Keenan used fact when asked what Kiprusoff must do: “Improve his save percentage dramatically. If you check the statistics, you can find out all about it.”
added 12:03pm, from Mike Brophy of the Hockey News,
But with roster adjustments not being quite the option they once were in the pre-cap days, Keenan needs to find a way to get the likes of Kristian Huselius (who dangled with the puck last season under Jim Playfair, but looks like a deer in the headlights this season), Adrian Aucoin, Alex Tanguay and Craig Conroy contributing more. Otherwise, the Flames will continue to flounder.
I admire Keenan’s self-constraint with his new team – there have been very few meltdowns thus far - but the Flames have been one of the most disappointing teams of the season and there has been little indication of better days ahead.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
Philadelphia Flyer forward Riley Cote is likely to be suspended for his match penalty at 17:46 of the third period in Dallas’s 4-1 win over the Flyers on Saturday.
Cote delivered a high head shot against Dallas defenceman Matt Niskanen. Any player assessed a match penalty is automatically suspended pending a review by the league. It will be a shock if Cote isn’t suspended by the league.
from David Amber at Sports Illustrated,
They are rarely the guys leading the league in points. Some don’t even see time on the power play. Others are basically fourth-line players. Still, with the game on the line, these are the players who are front and center, driving goalies nuts, scoring the deciding goals and making the highlights on “SportsCenter.”
In this week’s 10 Degrees, we look at the top shootout stars since the format’s inception.
10. Ales Hemsky, Edmonton (10 goals, 27 attempts)
from the CP via TSN,
The Predators outplayed Montreal for most of the game, but Huet held them off with a succession of fine saves in the first two periods and with the help of two hit goalposts.
“This was a perfect chance to get a win despite the team having a bad game,” said Huet. “It is disgraceful to blow a lead like that, especially at home.
“I can’t explain it.”
Except that he did later, saying: “We’re a fragile team. We’re a little weak between the ears.”
His teammates jumped to Huet’s defence, saying the game could have been out of reach early if he hadn’t shut the door in the first two periods.
from the Buffalo News,
Who’s holding a “viewing party” for thousands of Buffalo Sabres fans unable to score a ticket for the Jan. 1 NHL Winter Classic in Ralph Wilson Stadium?
Will fans attending the game be able to park their campers or RVs at the stadium a day or two beforehand for a festive New Year’s Eve party?
When will the ice be put down?
continued... all the information you will need about the game…
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