Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jay Feaster at the Hockey News,
When I managed in Tampa Bay we typically held our mid-winter meetings in January. Our goal was to allow our scouts to get through the end of the calendar year and see each team in the NHL, American League, Canadian League and major European leagues at least twice; once at home and once on the road. We also wanted our scouts to see the World Junior Championship and the Spengler Cup prior to coming to our meetings. We wanted to get as much coverage as possible prior to bringing the entire group together….
The bottom line was the mid-winter meetings helped set the table for the rest of the season. With the NHL trade deadline less than 60 days away, it will be interesting to see which organization’s seeds will bear fruit and which fields will lie fallow down the stretch.
Let the trading begin!
NEW YORK (Jan. 5, 2009)—Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Rick Nash, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski and Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending Jan. 4.
from Darren Eliot at Sports Illustrated,
Are they still responsible defensibly? Sure. Do their forwards track back with purpose and passion when the opposition has the puck? Absolutely. But they skate forward just as passionately and purposefully when attacking, and even unleash a forecheck from time to time for good measure.
Yes, defending is central to the Devils’ identity. But today under second-year coach Brent Sutter, they’ve modified with the times.
“I’m very comfortable with this group,” Sutter says. “They’re more comfortable with me. A lot of what we went through last year is in place regarding systems and expectations. I don’t even have to bring up accountability anymore. The players in the room handle that.”
from Famonn Brennan of NBC Chicago,
The gulf was so wide, even casual hockey observers took notice. It was obvious even to people who don’t know what offside is all about that the Red Wings were stronger, faster, and more complete—a scary real-life version of a “Mighty Ducks” movie villian. They even look intimidating.
(It should be noted here that this also goes for the Sharks—the Hawks are 0-3-3 against the top two teams in the West, and 21-5-4 against everyone else. This feels like talent threshold at work, doesn’t it?)
Perhaps the Hawks just aren’t on that level, even if last night’s win against the Flames would seem to say otherwise. Who knows, really, why the Hawks struggle with the Wings? We can probably chalk it up to a bad two games against a superior team, and leave it at that. But the Blackhawks already won over this city. That damage is done. Now it’s time for a new goal, one chanted nearly as often as “Detroit sucks”:
from Rangers Report,
One of my New Year’s resolutions was to cut back on senseless Sean Avery rumormongering—what, that wasn’t one of yours?—but I couldn’t help but notice this Page Six item about Avery being spotted recently at a club in New York.
While that part was about as surprising as Tom Renney being seen watching opposing team video, what was noteworthy was that Avery was reported “hanging with former teammates…
from Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
“I would not want to make a trade right now that I wouldn’t have made the first 20 games. To do something because we’re losing some games isn’t what I’m looking at,” Shero said yesterday from Ottawa, where he has been watching a wave of potential future NHL stars at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championships.
He wouldn’t rule out a deal “if there’s a chance to make the team better,” but pointed out that the mid-November trade in which the Penguins swapped defensemen with Dallas, getting Philippe Boucher for Darryl Sydor, was “a lateral move” in a season of few consequential NHL trades so far.
“There’s not a lot of movement right now,” Shero said, “so you stick with it a little bit and not do something you wouldn’t do when things are going well.”
from Just Jared,
Carrie Underwood may have her eyes set on a hot new boy — Canadian hockey player Mike Fisher.
The 25-year-old American Idol alum was spotted with her hair tied back at the “Ottawa Senators vs. Toronto Maple Leafs” hockey game at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on Saturday (January 3). Carrie’s 28-year-old Canuck cutie played with his fellow Senators but unfortunately lost out to the Leafs 3-1.
from John Glennon of the Tennessean,
Predators fans waiting for a big trade to help turn around the team’s fortunes probably shouldn’t hold their breath.
The Predators are far more likely to alter the lineup with promotions from Milwaukee than they are via trade, General Manager David Poile said….
“It’s a tough market based on the system, the salary cap,’’ Poile said. “There are a lot of teams that don’t have a lot of flexibility in what they can do.
“There are probably quite a few teams that wouldn’t mind making a trade, but it’s hard with the salary cap situation to do that. I think you’re going to see more happen at the trade deadline, but right now it’s not a big market of available players.’‘
more on the Predators…
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
When you consider what the bodies of the Vancouver Canuck players have been through in the last four days, it was pretty surprising they were as close to winning as they were last night.
When you mention they’ve just played three games in four nights with a diagonal trip across the continent thrown in just to make it fun, it sounds like you’re making excuses for these guys.
But the fact is it doesn’t matter how much money you get paid, how well conditioned you might be or how well you’re supposed to perform, the human body is simply not going to function at the level required to win at this league.
Just why the NHL does this to the customers they so desperately need to please is a mystery. Really, at what point is the insatiable greed which begets this type of ridiculous scheduling counter-productive?
from Terry Jones of the Edmoton Sun,
The travelling crew that has produced the skills competition around the NHL for the last 18 years said they’d never seen a faster time produced than the 13.1 seconds it took Erik Cole to skate around Rexall Place yesterday.
But Cole was more impressed with the scene.
“They certainly don’t do this in Carolina. I don’t think anyone would show up,” the former Hurricane said.
“To see this building full with lots of excitement for this ... it’s amazing.”
What made it special was that the sellout crowd gave the players the kind of unconditional love they don’t otherwise get from crowds of critical customers in a city that specializes in tough love for its shinny stars.
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