Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Russo’s Rants,
You would not believe the excitement and anticipation going on right now in this city for Sunday’s matinee between the Wild and Detroit Red Wings.
It’s strange, but for some reason, sports fans from North Carolina and Connecticut and East Lansing and, most bizarre, Villanova, Pa., have flocked to Detroit because NHL matchups just don’t get bigger than the Wild and Wings. I mean, who knew there were so many Wild fans in Delaware County?
Planes were full. Hotel rooms are like going for $500 a night. Downtown was just a carnival atmosphere with all sorts of neat outdoor activities. It’s awesome that the Wild’s finally gotten onto the map because of this battle for the postseason.
from Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune,
This Wild season has been one long snoozefest. My 14th season covering the NHL is about to wrap up and I’ve never been so bored covering a team—and I’m including the lockout year when no games were played, folks.
This season has been blah from the very beginning. I mean, did anything remotely exciting happen?...
The Wild, which truly believes it does it better than everybody else, is a stand-pat organization in every area.
Well, somebody better stand up this offseason and take a hard, honest assessment of things and say, “It’s not good enough.”
If the front office convinces owner Craig Leipold that this was a throw-away season solely because Gaborik was hurt, it’s an injustice to everybody who paid a dime for tickets or merchandise.
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
First off, I don’t know if Francois Giguere is going to keep his job or not after April 12. From what I hear, it’s still being considered by those higher on the food chain, and pretty much that consists of only two people: Pierre Lacroix and E. Stanley Kroenke.
Lacroix has not and, according to Avs VP of media relations Jean Martineau, will not speak with the media in the near future. There is nobody more secretive and tight-lipped with the media than Pierre Lacroix, so what follows, for now, is a little educated-guessing parlor game about who the next GM would be if Giguere goes.
There are a couple of sources around the Avs who do believe there is a decent chance Lacroix will step back in to the GM role, replacing the man who he picked to succeed him with himself.
So, here is a look at probable candidates, should the job open up: First up, Pierre Lacroix
read on with more candidates…
from Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger,
Back with the Devils after an injury to Kevin Weekes, goalie Scott Clemmensen said he was actually flattered when GM Lou Lamoriello decided not to trade him at the March 4 deadline.
Clemmemsen, who will serve as Martin Brodeur’s backup while Weekes recovers from a left knee injury, said he asked to be traded when he was sent back to Lowell (AHL) but wasn’t shocked when it didn’t happen.
Late in the 3rd period with the Bruins leading the Rangers 1-0. TV timeout, Bruins goaltender taking a break on his knees.
Avery skates by and stick makes contact with Thomas. Avery looks innocent, and the fun begins.
Both Avery and Thomas received 2 minutes for roughing and the Bruins ended up winning, 1-0.
The above video is via the Rangers network and watch the Bruins network broadcast of the play below…
from James Duthie at the Ottawa Citizen,
It’s time for the highly anticipated, anxiously awaited, goose-bump inducing, second annual, “Top 10 Surprises of the NHL Season”....
10. Jeff Carter
The Philadelphia Flyers owe a big man-love hug to Tomas Kaberle. Last year at the deadline, the Flyers and Leafs had agreed to a deal to send Carter AND a first-round pick to Toronto for Kaberle. But the Leafs defenceman refused to waive his no-trade clause. Carter has 44 goals, 15 more than his career high, and will likely be a superstar in Philly for the next decade.
9. Celebrity Senator Sidekicks
Duff, Underwood ... Who knew the Senators would get more coverage in Us Weekly than The Hockey News? Be careful Nick Foligno, it is only a matter of time before Miley Cyrus hunts you down.
from Dan Barnes of the Edmonton Journal,
As Textgate proves, Daryl Katz can be all thumbs.
The hardwired Edmonton Oilers owner whose heartfelt but clumsy text vote of confidence in head coach Craig MacTavish poured digital fuel on a raging bonfire in the middle of this hockey-mad community, has been in cyber-contact with other members of his team this season. He sent Andrew Cogliano a text after the diminutive centre scored the winner against Tampa Bay on Feb. 24.
“He just said ‘inspiring game, keep it up, you’re playing well.’ It goes a long way to showing what kind of guy he is. I thought it was pretty cool to have your owner text you,” said Cogliano. “It’s not like you’re talking to an owner, just a regular guy.” Katz also sent Sam Gagner a text on the road on March 17.
from Chip Alexander of Canes Now at the News & Observer,
Canes fans seem to appreciate Tuomo Ruutu and his sometimes rambunctious, often entertaining brand of hockey. When he controls the puck or smacks somebody into the boards at the RBC Center, there is the “R-UUUUU” rumble from the stands.
And guess what? Ruutu likes it here, too. A restricted free agent after the season, he made it clear this week that he hopes to stay with this team, in this city.
“I feel like it’s home here,” he said. “It was a big change coming from Chicago, but right away I felt like I came home.
“This season I realized it — that it’s a great place to live and to play, as well.”
from Sam McCaig of The Hockey News,
NEW YORK RANGERS
Standings story- New York has steadily slid down the Eastern Conference standings and is clinging to a playoff spot with a week to go. The Rangers would be a lot further down if not for netminder Henrik Lundqvist, their runaway MVP this season.
Home: vs. Montreal on Tuesday; vs. Philadelphia on Thursday.
Road: at Boston on Saturday; at Philadelphia next Sunday.
In or out?- OUT. The Rangers had an uptick after adding Sean Avery and Nikolai Antropov, but that momentum has been lost and New York is limping to the finish. That, combined with a tough schedule in the final week, will result in the playoffs escaping from New York.
Standings story- Two points behind the Rangers for the final playoff spot, with two fewer victories, Florida is pushing hard for its first post-season appearance since 2000.
Home: vs. Pittsburgh on Sunday; vs. Washington next Saturday.
Road: at Philadelphia on Tuesday; at Atlanta on Thursday.
In or out?- IN. Florida hasn’t been in the playoffs for nine years and hasn’t won a playoff round since that surprise run to the Stanley Cup final as third-year expansion franchise in 1996. It’s time for a return.
more on teams in the playoff race…
Who Can Clinch Today
#1 Boston Bruins can clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference:
* If they get at least one point against the New York Rangers.
#3 New Jersey Devils can clinch the Atlantic Division:
* If they beat the Buffalo Sabres and the Philadelphia Flyers get no points against the Ottawa Senators.
#4 Philadelphia Flyers can clinch an Eastern Conference playoff berth:
* If they beat the Ottawa Senators.
#5 Carolina Hurricanes can clinch an Eastern Conference playoff berth:
* If they beat the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Below you can find today’s NHL schedule plus an extended schedule for all game remaining in the regular season.
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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