Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post via USA TODAY,
It has been 33 years since Reggie “The Rifle” Leach victimized goalies with a lethal slap shot that produced a league-high 61 goals.
No Philadelphia Flyer has led the NHL in scoring since then, but Jeff Carter could become the next. Thanks to a wrist shot that many consider the best in the league, the center has 20 goals, second in the league and two behind the league-leading total of Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres….
“His shot is the hardest shot I’ve ever seen in my life,” Flyers goalie Antero Niittymaki said. “The reality is that he can score goals from the blue line. He has a long stick, and it’s always tougher when you face a big guy with a long stick.”
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
We can talk about the uncertainty of America’s economic future until the Dow Jones Industrial Average looks like a bowling score, but the Detroit Red Wings are still going to offer Henrik Zetterberg the moon and the stars over the next couple of months to preserve the team’s significance in the hockey universe.
Marian Hossa, Marian Gaborik, Johan Franzen and Mike Komisarek will be paid like rock stars when they are the hot unrestricted free agents in the summer of 2009 and the Atlanta Thrashers will probably offer Ilya Kovalchuk a deal that will pay him more than $100,000 per game.
But after hearing a couple of economic experts discuss the state of America’s financial woes, it’s fair to say that NHL team officials might be thinking that they will have to adjust their business differently moving forward.
ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues President John Davidson announced today that goaltender Manny Legace’s injury has been updated to a mild concussion and he has been placed on injured reserve. Legace was injured in the first period on Wednesday, Dec. 10 at Anaheim.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Sources tell TSN the Tampa Bay Lightning are investigating legal grounds for withholding the remainder of Barry Melrose’s contract with the team.
Melrose’s assessment of rookie forward Steven Stamkos is the basis for the investigation.
from Terry Frei at ESPN,
In 2003, winger Dustin Brown arrived in the Los Angeles Kings locker room as a reserved teenager with a slight lisp that sometimes made him additionally self-conscious.
One of his teammates was Luc Robitaille, and Brown almost felt as if he should walk up to Robitaille in tandem with Robitaille’s son, Steven, and ask for his allowance.
“I was closer to Luc’s son’s age than to Luc’s age,” Brown said with a smile after the Kings’ morning skate in Denver on Tuesday.
Only five years later, his maturation and transformation are stunning.
Brown’s relentlessly energetic, pedal-to-the-metal game and his tendency to play far “bigger” than his listed 6-foot-1 and 203 pounds remain attention-getting, but he also has progressed so far as a leader, the “C” on his sweater this season seems to fit.
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
As expected, the local buzz surrounded Jay Bouwmeester and his contract. The general consensus around here is that Jay won’t be with the Panthers (big shock), and that Edmonton could offer some serious jingle to get their hometown boy back. I don’t think Jay will sign here to play under a microscope, and two people I talked to up here agree with that assessment. The Oilers are going to try to get him, though.
Pete (DeBoer) on Jay: ‘‘He’s been outstanding. I didn’t have a real appreciation for how good he is. He has that unique combination of speed and range where he can shut down the best players on every team. He’s also found his offensive game, something that started last year when he put up 15 goals.
more on Bouwmeester and the Panthers as the prepare to face the Oilers tonight in Edmonton…
from Travis Paterson of the Victoria News,
Q: Who was the greatest NHLer you ever played with?
A: “I’ll give you my top four. “Gretzky, No. 1. Cam Neely, No. 2. Pavel Bure, No. 3 and Brett Hull.
Q: Who did you find was the toughest NHL player to play against?
A: “Toughest guy to play against was (Chris) Chelios.”
more from Courtnall who is coaching the Victoria Grizzlies
He turned down a multi-year offer from the Penguins and is reported to have rejected an $81 million, nine-year offer from the Edmonton Oilers for what he felt was his best chance to win a championship.
But then came the credit crunch, falling stock prices, rising unemployment and the very real chance that NHL clubs will have fewer dollars to throw around for the next batch of unrestricted free agents in July.
“I know the economy is not great now, but no regrets,” Hossa said Thursday on a conference call. “I came here to Detroit for one reason and that was to go all the way.
“We’ll see at the end of the year if it was the right step, but for now, it’s been a great experience - winning and playing for a great team. That’s what I was looking for.”
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
So here are four teams I’m ready to say are out of the playoff picture as of today – and the punishments I’m willing to accept if they defy the odds and continue to play once the regular season is done:
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
I feel awful for long-suffering Blue Jackets fans. But I cannot in good conscience put any faith in a team that currently has a 9.9 percent power play efficiency rating.
That’s right – nine-point-nine stinking percent. Is it possible to decline penalties like they do in the NFL?
If They Make The Playoffs, I Will: Attend a Blue Jackets game wearing a Civil War-era military uniform and sit quietly while Doug MacLean regales me with his draft record as Columbus’ GM.
read on for three more teams that won’t make the playoffs…
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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