Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
While the Bruins coaching staff is left scrambling for line combinations and innovative, new ways to put the same odd-shaped pieces together that still remain healthy, Marc Savard began the long road back to recovery Monday morning at Ristuccia Arena.
Savard was walking gingerly, but without too much of a limp, after being diagnosed last weekend with a Grade 2 tear in the MCL of his right knee – an injury that’s basically a severe sprain of the joint that doesn’t require any surgery….
“I don’t stay [down] on the ice too much. I knew right away when it happened that it was sore and stretched out a bit,” said Savard. “I just wanted to be careful with it and hopefully everything heals up. It’s on a good pace, so hopefully I’ll be back sooner rather than later.
“We haven’t really had our full lineup all year. Hopefully we get rolling into the playoffs and we get a full lineup. Who knows how good we’ll be?”
NEW YORK (January 11, 2010)—Vancouver Canucks left wing Alex Burrows, Anaheim Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller and Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Mathieu Garon have been named the NHL ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending Jan. 10.
from Spector at FoxSports,
Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli recently told the Boston Globe that trade talk amongst his peers was picking up, which only lends credence to the theory of increased player movement prior to the Olympic break.
For now, only the Carolina Hurricanes and Edmonton Oilers would be considered certain sellers as their chances of climbing back into the postseason race are pretty much non-existent.
Ignore Wild internet speculation of the Hurricanes shopping franchise players Eric Staal and Cam Ward as the players they’ll likely move are impending unrestricted free agent forwards Ray Whitney and Matt Cullen.
The final insult to Thrashers fans will come when Kovalchuk is traded by Waddell, a good hockey man who has run desert-dry of excuses and should’ve been replaced one or two years ago.
Unfortunately, the franchise’s still-festering ownership battle has allowed Waddell to stay in power. If he is permitted to retain that power once Kovalchuk departs, it will be impossible to blame any and all remaining Thrashers fans for abandoning ship as well.
-Adam Proteau of The Hockey News. Read more from Adam on this topic.
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
• One NHL Governor said that, at the December BOG meetings, an owner got up and said, “We should have six outdoor games a year.” Thank God that had little support.
• If Kovalchuk does leave, the number one reason will be the mess that is Atlanta ownership. Those guys have fought in court for five years, with no sign of a resolution. That uncertainty is the number one reason he may bolt. What is the future? What if they move to a city he doesn’t like? I do agree with Mike Milbury, though, that Kovalchuk should tell the Thrashers if he intends to leave. He’s been good for them, but Waddell has also been very good to him.
• Jimmy Howard should teach every NHL team and fan the value of patience. How many times during his four-year AHL run did people give up on him? Now, at 25, he is saving the Red Wings’ season.
from Michael Arace at Puck-rakers,
Coach Ken Hitchcock, who has been under fire here in Columbus, fielded scads of questions from large media hordes during the recent Western Canadian road trip (which began with a 7-4 loss in Vancouver). The questions were variation of “Are you worried about getting sacked?” Hitchcock needed to escape. He saw some old friends in Edmonton, his hometown, and they provided a mental lift. Then came the victory over the Oilers.
“The whole season changed with the third goal in Edmonton,” Hitchcock said. “It made a difference on the bench, a difference in the locker room, a difference in the feel. The tension was everywhere. Oh, no, here we go again. Something bad is going to happen. When we (Kristian Huselius) scored the third goal in Edmonton, the whole season changed.”
Hitchcock was asked whether the 2008-09 Blue Jackets have entered the building. They have allowed two goals or less in seven of the past nine games.
“Yeah,” he said. “I don’t see any reason why we can’t play like this the rest of the year. The players were comfortable with it. Obviously, it’s winning hockey. We’re grinding it out with some really good teams. Every night, if we play this way, we’ll give ourselves a good chance to win. Seventy-five to 80 percent of scoring chances are coming off the check, which is what good teams do. Rather than looking for space, we’re fighting for space.”
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette via the National Post,
They remain little boys inside the hockey uniforms of grown-ups, not unlike playground gradeschoolers who get their jollies out of shoving a snowball down another kid’s pants.
Pranks and practical jokes have been a part of hockey forever, from house-leagues to NHL dressing rooms.
They can be craftily conceived and executed with skill:
Montreal Canadiens Hall of Fame defenceman and then Calgary Flames assistant coach Guy Lapointe, the ruler-for-life in hockey’s Kingdom of Prankdom, was sitting in the sauna when he got wind of Flames trainer Brian Patafie coming his way with a bucket of ice water. So Lapointe beat Patafie to the punch, turning a hose from head to toe on his approaching fellow joker. Only then did he realize that Patafie’s pail was empty—and that the trainer was wearing Lapointe’s expensive new suit.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
The Rangers’ recent correction in which they have gone 8-1-3 since the Dec. 16 Garden defeat to the Islanders that prompted the twin two-game exiles of Wade Redden and Ales Kotalik presents a challenge for GM Glen Sather.
Because even though the Blueshirts seem to be a playoff caliber team in a conference overloaded with deficient squads, this run against a succession of terrible opponents should not and must not interfere with the real business at hand of constructing a Stanley Cup contender.
To that end, no matter the standings, no matter the “game with points streak,” no matter the revenue the Garden would stand to derive from a few playoff home dates, Sather has the responsibility to be a seller rather than a buyer as the trade deadline approaches.
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
Our fans have to understand I’m as frustrated as they are,” said GM Brian Burke. “Way more so.”
If there’s change to come, it won’t be the coach. Ron Wilson’s job is “100 per cent safe,” said Burke.
Change is more likely to come in the form of call-ups – Tyler Bozak and Jay Rosehill at the top of the list – followed by trades.
“I’ve been moving heaven and earth on the trade front for some time, I would be more concerned if there were deals going down all around me. There aren’t,” said Burke. “We’ve looked at call-ups. No one at this point has kicked down the door to the point where we have to give them a recall. Bozak and Rosehill have been strong the last couple of games, so we’ll think about giving them a look.”
Fans of a team on a 2-6-2 slide are understandably frustrated, but have yet to entirely throw in the towel. One site, boycotttheleafs at ipetition.com, is urging fans to stay away from the Air Canada Centre, to send a message that fans are sick and tired of losing. As of Sunday, there were only 18 signatures.
from Ian Mendes of Sportsnet,
The Ottawa Senators are hoping that a little bit of talk will lead to some action. And more importantly, they are hoping it can lead them to a much-needed win.
Following a 4-1 loss to the Hurricanes on Sunday night, the Senators held a players-only meeting in the dressing room at RBC Center. The meeting took only a few minutes, but the players insisted there was no tension inside the room. The message coming from several players was that now was the time to stick together, since the club is battling so much adversity.
“We’ve got to stay positive, we can’t start blaming each other. We’ve got to be honest with each other and realize we need to step it up,” netminder Pascal Leclaire said. “We’re not that far off.”
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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