Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,
“My intention today was to practice and not do anything (Saturday),” coach Ken Hitchcock said. “After the meeting got going, there was tremendous dialogue (between Hitchcock and players), and I didn’t want to extend it any further.”
In an hour’s time yesterday, the Jackets’ schedule went from having practice to canceling it to conducting the first two-man optional in recent memory—all from a team that has won nine times since Nov. 19 and has faded from the Western Conference playoff picture.
The Blue Jackets are not only losing, but losing by decisive margins. Only Toronto and Tampa Bay have incurred more losses by three goals or more (14) than the Blue Jackets (13), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Resilience has not been a strong suit. When the opposition gains an upper hand, these Jackets are tapping out.
from Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette,
At the NHL level, the margin between winning and losing is razor-thin. The great ones have what Roy had: a ferocious will to win. It might be worth no more than a half-goal a game, but ultimately it’s the difference between Halak’s 14-9 record this season and Price’s abysmal and embarrassing 11-21.
A few fans last week accused me of “hating” Carey Price. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I was proud to cover the first regular-season game Price played for the Canadiens, on the road in Pittsburgh, because I thought I was seeing history. Like many others, I was fooled into believing that he might be a great one.
By now, I am heartily weary of the whole Price/Halak debate, especially of the obscene verbal abuse and mind-numbing justifications Price’s defenders trot out every time their overgrown baby draws a little flak.
But while I no longer believe Price has the inner stuff to be a great goalie, I still think he could be a good goaltender. I simply believe that it’s bad for Price and bad for the club when he’s handed a job he hasn’t earned - not once, but over and over again.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
“I am definitely not where I want to be or should be,’’ said Lucic, the left wing on a line with center Marc Savard, just returning from the disabled list, and ex-Sabre Miroslav Satan. “I would expect a lot more from myself, and I’m hoping maybe Savvy gives me a boost.’’
Count Lucic among those who believe he must do a better job generating speed to carry out heavy hits and be a force around the net.
“I know I’m not moving my feet like I can, like I have, and I’ve got to get over that,’’ he said. “I have to move my feet like I used to. I mean, that’s how I’ve been successful before, outracing guys to puck and pounding the boards. I have to be harder on myself.’’
Lucic broke a finger earlier this season, requiring surgery. The combination of fractured finger and testy ankle has hindered his effectiveness. His game has needed time.
more on the Bruins…
via Tim Bontemps of the NY Post,
The benching is just the latest in a series of struggles Redden has gone through since leaving the Senators to sign a six-year, $39 million contract with the Blueshirts after the 2007-08 season. But the former All-Star, who was taken second overall in the 1995 draft by the Islanders, has left a lot to be desired since he arrived.
Known as an offensive defenseman, Redden last season registered his lowest point total (26) since 1998-99, finishing with three goals and 23 assists. But even after those struggles, Redden’s play has sunk to a new low this season.
In 47 games, Redden has one goal and seven points, putting him on pace for what easily will be the worst season of his career. Tortorella scratched Redden twice in December in the hopes of kick-starting his season, but the moves have seemed to have little impact, as Redden has just two assists since Nov. 23.
“Unequivocally, I’m not trading him. My plan is to get him signed.”
-Ducks GM Bob Murray on the rumors of Bobby Ryan getting traded. More from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.
from Tony Blais of the Edmonton Sun,
An Edmonton sports merchandise company is suing the National Hockey League Players’ Association for $1 million, alleging the organization interfered with a deal to sell special player jerseys at the 2008 all-star game.
In a statement of claim filed in Edmonton’s Court of Queen’s Bench on Jan. 20, Next Wave Sports Inc. alleges the conduct of the NHLPA was in “callous disregard” of its rights and legitimate business interests and says the company is entitled to an award for punitive damages…
Next Wave alleges it contacted the Atlanta Thrashers hockey club in January 2008 and asked for the opportunity to market the product by displaying and selling a jersey featuring Thrashers star player Ilya Kovalchuk.
The Edmonton company alleges the Thrashers and the NHL gave it authorization to display and sell the JAC product featuring Kovalchuk during the NHL all-star-game weekend in Atlanta on Jan. 26 and Jan. 27, 2008.
Green received 2 minutes for elbowing.
added 11:26pm, via the Twitter of Tarik El-Bashir,
Mike Green on his elbow to Michael Frolik’s head: “I didn’t mean to elbow him. I might have got it up. I thought it was my shoulder.”
If you missed the knee-on-knee hit Green took tonight, you can watch it here. The knee hit was after the elbow…
from Jim Gintonio of the Arizona Republic,
(Scottie) Upshall left Thursday’s game against the Calgary Flames in the third period with what appeared to be a knee injury. He is listed as day to day because of a lower-body injury. Upshall, the team’s leading goal-scorer, underwent evaluations Friday.
“Number 1, we’re just waiting to see if this is something significant, long term, then we probably have to dial up our search for another offensive player,” Maloney said.
For the interim, the Coyotes recalled Mikkel Boedker from the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL.
If Upshall’s return is on a fast track, then the Coyotes likely would stand pat before the Olympic break, during which time trades will come to a halt. Maloney believes that’s the prevailing wisdom around the league, regardless of whether teams are battling injuries.
“That’s the way it’s trending, it’s turning that way,” he said. “I will say conversation has picked up, but all you have to do is look at the standings.”
more on the Coyotes…
Washington Capitals’ defenceman Mike Green has left tonight’s game against the Florida Panthers’ with an apparent knee injury.
Green collided with Panthers’ defenceman Dmitry Kulikov with just over three minutes remaining in the second period. It appeared to be a knee-on-knee collision.
He briefly returned to the Capitals bench in the third period but left for the dressing room once again shortly thereafter.
Earlier in the game Green was involved in another incident when he appeared to nail Panthers’ forward Michael Frolik with an elbow to the head. Green received a two minute elbowing penalty on the play, however the league may well review the hit.
Watch video of the knee-on-knee hit below and note, instead of play by play in the vid, we get some music…
via Ansar Khan of Mlive,
General manager Ken Holland said the club is in the process of finalizing the details of the conditioning stint. Holland said it would be for three games and six days and include an option to extend it for two days.
Lilja, who has been out since Feb. 28 of last season with a concussion, said this morning that he would welcome a stint with the Griffins.
“I’ve been out for so long, if they told me to go down I wouldn’t hesitate,’’ Lilja said. “I need game time. If that means I have to go down to Grand Rapids to play, I got nothing against that.’’
Lilja would not count against the salary cap or the 23-man NHL roster while in Grand Rapids.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org