Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
With the NHL in its fourth season after implementing the shootout, here’s what we know:
• The Ottawa Senators have the fewest shootout wins with 10, while the New York Rangers have the most with 34. To be fair, the Rangers also have been in the most shootouts (57).
• The most impressive win-loss record belongs to Dallas (the Stars are an amazing 31-12), followed by New Jersey at 32-18. The Rangers can hold their head high at 34-23, while Edmonton is next at 30-20.
from Joe Haggarty of WEEI,
A statement about which team ultimately wants first place and permanent home ice will be made in the rare Sunday afternoon matinee between the Devils and Bruins at the Garden, even if some players are feigning standings ignorance.
“Why? Where are they?” asked Aaron Ward when asked how hard it is to ignore the surge of the hard-charging and pointy-tailed Devils. “Does that answer your question?”
Don’t let the dose of B’s bravado fool you, however. Each of the Bruins players knows exactly where every relevant team is in the standings, and most of them read the newspaper every day. If they don’t check it in the morning edition or daily blog, then there is a giant dry-erase board with all of Eastern and Western Conference standings positioned in the hallway between the practice ice and the team dressing room.
Brian Stensaas of Russo’s Rants,
Big news out of Wild practice today. Barring any setbacks, Marian Gaborik said he feels he will return to the lineup Sunday afternoon against Edmonton.
Gaborik will travel with the team to New Jersey this afternoon. But he said playing tomorrow night against the Devils is unlikely. Instead, he’ll wait for the Oilers.
“We’ll probably shoot for Sunday’s game,” Gaborik said after an hourlong practice this morning. “Hopefully everything will progress. Hopefully I’ll be more pain free each day and go from there.”
from Craig Stancher of ColoradoAvalanche.com,
In a welcome sight, Avalanche captain Joe Sakic was on the ice this morning before the rest of the team went through its morning skate at Pepsi Center….
While Sakic didn’t speak to reporters this morning, Avalanche head coach Tony Granato stated that his captain’s goal remains the same - to return to the lineup before the end of the regular season.
“Joe wants to play, so I’d like to see Joe, obviously, get in good enough shape and feel good enough to get back on the ice in a game,” said Granato. “That’s been his goal since the injury. It was great to see him out on the ice.”
from Rob Brodie of OttawaSenators.com,
The standings don’t exactly agree with his sentiment.
But given their performance level of late, Ottawa Senators head coach Cory Clouston will gladly match his team up with any of the squads currently occupying one of the eight Eastern Conference playoff berths.
“We feel like we’re a playoff team,” Clouston said of the Senators (29-30-10), who stand 12th in the East, 13 points shy of a playoff berth. “Whether or not we end up in the playoffs, that’s (yet) to be determined, but we still feel that we’re a playoff team. We’ll feel we’re doing enough things right now and beating enough teams and we’ve shown and proved to ourselves that we’re a playoff team.
“Hopefully, time will be on our side.”
A court has ruled Martin Brodeur must pay his ex-wife $500,000 a year until 2020.
The AP has the story via USA TODAY.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Not surprisingly, the New Jersey Devils are first in the NHL since the halfway point, picking up 76 percent of their possible points with 44 in 29 games. Detroit, recovering from the first-half Cup hangover, is second with 40 points in 30 games and the stunner in third place, the St. Louis Blues.
In the actual season-long standings, the Blues are 11th, two points out of the playoffs in the crazy race that is the Western Conference. But what it tells you is, if the Blues can get in, they might be on quite a roll and be a dangerous first-round foe.
That’s what happened in 2005-06, when the upstart Edmonton Oilers got hot at the right time and played the role of giant-killer all the way to the Cup finals as the No. 8 seed.
more with the 2nd half of the regular season standings…
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,
The Canucks can start talking contract extension July 1, and it would be in their best interests to start kicking those tires now and then lock up the restricted free agent long-term. Allowing Kesler to build on this career season when the final year of his deal plays out in 2009-10 would only up the ante because he will also have arbitration rights.
If Kesler is willing to agree to a sensible salary—he’s earning a paltry $1.75 million annually—coupled with long-term security, it will be music to the ears of Canucks GM Mike Gillis. Maybe not so much for Kesler’s agent, Kurt Overhardt.
“It’s important that I don’t talk contracts and important that I fly under the radar,” Overhardt said Wednesday. “Ryan has always had the skill and fortitude. It’s about opportunity and maturing.”
from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,
Huet wasn’t very good. Neither was Campbell, who continues to make decisions that leave you scratching your head, especially on the power play.
Campbell is pressing big time and seems to be getting worse instead of better.
Three bad goals by Huet, by my count. Definitely not playoff goaltending. He did make a few huge stops, but the goals were killers. Time to play Khabibulin. A lot.
The Hawks have 13 games to play. Nik should play at least 10 of them.
Jeremy Roenick on being drafted as an 18 year old…
“I was scared to death. I actually just came out of my junior year of high school and I was about 155 pounds, I was really small, so when I came in the league, I came in with these giant men that had hair all over their body, beards.
I can barely grow a couple of hairs on my face.”
Much more on Roenick by Jessica Ayala of the Spartan Daily (San Jose State Univ.).
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.
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