Kukla's Korner Hockey
Our weekly “Faceoff” features ESPN.com NHL writers Scott Burnside (based in Atlanta) and Pierre LeBrun (based in Toronto), who duke it out over any given hockey topic. Let the games begin!
This week’s topic: Should the NHL consider realigning its 30 teams?...
Scott Burnside: ...When you see compelling games like the Flyers-Caps tilt the other night, it makes you pine for more. It brings us to the question of realignment, which pops up every now and then, and will likely continue to do so as we discuss the future of franchises in Phoenix, Atlanta and Nashville, among others.
The assumption has long been if the NHL ever gets to a point where it is serious about realigning the conferences, the first order of business will be to move Detroit into the Eastern Conference, which would set up some interesting rivalry possibilities with Toronto, Buffalo and Ottawa.
Pierre LeBrun: Scotty, I wouldn’t be so sure about moving Detroit. I think Chicago, among others, would have serious issues with that.
from Rich Hammond of Inside the Kings,
I highly doubt that this will discourage any Internet gossip-mongering, but Dean Lombardi said yesterday that the Kings aren’t close to any type of significant trade. And when the Kings do start seriously looking, it will be up front, not in goal.
Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson admits that a big part of his team’s struggles this season are a result of his team’s inability to overcome adversity and show mental toughness.
“We’re very fragile,” Alfredsson said on Friday afternoon. “When we get a goal against us, we get away from our game plan. We don’t follow through and trust. It’s individual mistakes and when we make them, we can’t overcome them.”
What team do you pick to finish 1at at the end of the regular season? The standings listed below are as of this afternoon.
from Brad Holland of NHL.com,
Less than a year ago, Milan Lucic, Brandon Dubinsky, Nicklas Backstrom, Marc Staal, and Kris Letang were the rookies, the wide-eyed, first-year skaters heading to the NHL All-Star Game simply to savor a taste of the experience.
Only a year later, and my how things have changed! The peach fuzz may still remain, but the wide-eyed stare has been replaced with the seen-it-all glare of an NHL veteran.
Five of the boys are back in town for their second All-Star Game (six, along with Patrick Kane, named to the Western Conference starting line), in the hockey-mad city of Montreal.
The five veterans of last year’s YoungStars Game returning for the 2009 incarnation will be joined by five more of their contemporaries—Atlanta’s Bryan Little, San Jose’s Devin Setoguchi, Edmonton’s Andrew Cogliano, Vancouver’s Mason Raymond and the Kings’ Erik Ersberg—and the 10 players will take on the “younglings,” the rookies from the 2008-09 season, in a battle of the brightest of the League’s future.
from Glenn Odebralski for FloridaPanthers.com,
It took awhile for the Panthers to grasp head coach Peter DeBoer’s attacking, aggressive system, starting out the season 7-11-1, but they seem to be playing it now going 12-5-5 in their last 22 games, including a 4-2 victory over Carolina Thursday night.
“We have to be the hardest working team out there,” said winger David Booth who leads the team with 17 goals. “Getting pucks in the offensive zone and cycling teams and wearing them down. Finishing our hits. Getting pucks to the net, jamming, getting rebounds. I think that would be the identity of our team.”
“I don’t think I’ve played good enough to be an All-Star. I’m not mad or sad or anything. I just haven’t played good enough.”
-Henrik Zetterberg of the Detroit Red Wings via Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News.
from Paul Branecky of CarolinaHurricanes.com,
As Paul Maurice said in his postgame comments, last night’s game in Florida was indeed unusual, but it wasn’t the first. The Canes’ two games there this season, both losses, have been statistically two of the strangest games in team history.
The first one, which Florida won by a 3-2 score, was the franchise’s first penalty-free game on the road since 1980. Last night’s game, a 4-2 win for the Panthers, was the first time Hartford/Carolina didn’t have a power play on the road since 1981. Each of this year’s games had just two total penalties.
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski has been suspended for three games after shoving an offical Thursday night. Sources tell Hockeycentral the Leafs are contemplating appealing the league decision.
Grabovski received a game misconduct for shoving a linesman late in the third period of Thursday’s 6-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
added 11:15am, via TSN,
The three game suspension for abuse of official is automatic, and the Maple Leafs have chosen not to appeal the ban.
from Empty Netters,
We’re always slow to call for someone to lose their job in any sort of sporting profession, particularly when they’ve enjoyed recent success, but how does anyone defend Michel Therrien and his staff at this point? We still think Therrien is a viable NHL coach, but he just doesn’t appear to be connecting with this current crop of players. And well, you can’t fire the players.
-If Scotty Bowman can be fired by this franchise, Michel Therrien sure as heck isn’t untouchable.
read on for a recap of the Pens loss to the Predators…
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.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com