Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Kiley of Blackhawks Confidential,
Either Niemi or Huet should beat Edmonton. But the bigger point is what statement Q makes in picking who wins, since both guys know they are likely to a notch an easy W if Q just lays the finger of fate on them rather than giving one guy the finger.
Maybe it’s true the Hawks are blessed to have two dependable goalies. Maybe it’s also true a team without a clear-cut No. 1 goalie won’t win the Stanley Cup, as Jeremy Roenick contended recently.
Q has to start cutting through the haze of what ifs with his goalies and decide what now and what will be. I know he isn’t likely to name his Stanley Cup championship starter today. But Tuesday would be a hell of a time to start parting the fog so we can see clearly.
from Chuck Gormley at NHL.com,
Kyle Okposo knows what some folks around the NHL are saying about his New York Islanders—that they’re too young, too inexperienced and too short on talent to remain in the Eastern Conference playoff race much long.
“What we did in the first half, I don’t think anybody expected us to do outside of the group we have in the locker room,” Okposo told NHL.com. “We play hard for each other every night and we know if we keep going the way we can, anything can happen. We want to stay in the hunt and be playing in April.”
Okposo understands the reason for the skepticism. The Islanders haven’t been in the playoffs since sneaking in on the last day of the 2006-07 season, back when Okposo was a freshman at the University of Minnesota.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
* The Senators would be interested in Carolina LW Ray Whitney, but there’s now talk he may re-sign with the Hurricanes. It’s believed the Senators like Hurricanes C Matt Cullen, who has a cap hit of $2.8 million and is being shopped by GM Jim Rutherford.
* Oilers GM Steve Tambellini is willing to move just about anybody. Naturally, W Dustin Penner would interest the Senators because they had him included in the failed Dany Heatley deal last summer, but Penner has been one the few players who has been consistent for Edmonton this season.
* The Thrashers are expected to deal RW Colby Armstrong, who is making $2.4 million. If the Senators are interested, they won’t be alone. The Flames have been trying to acquire Armstrong for weeks, but haven’t been able to get a deal done.
* Toronto GM Brian Burke wants to deal LW Alexei Ponikarovsky, C Matt Stajan and LW Niklas Hagman before the deadline, but it would be difficult for him to deal with one of Leafs’ top rivals.
* Flames GM Darryl Sutter said publicly Sunday he believes in the group he has. What else is he going to say? Sutter has been trying to wheel and deal. Underachieving C Olli Jokinen is being shopped, as is C Craig Conroy. Both can become UFAs on July 1.
“We’re trying to pull each other together here right now and turn this thing around and make this a team that becomes closer. Sometimes when you have all this negative stuff, it does pull you closer, and it makes you more positive. Instead of giving a guy grief if he makes a mistake, pick him up, help him out. You don’t want to beat a dead horse.
“We’ve had some practise, had a few arguments, and now we’ve turned that around and we’re looking to go in the right direction.”
-Craig Conroy of the Calgary Flames via Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Amid speculation that the Thrashers are shifting to action mode in dealing star sniper Ilya Kovalchuk, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli was not at the RBC Center yesterday to see his club’s latest loss, a 5-1 thumping at the hands of the revitalized Hurricanes.
But don’t bet on Kovalchuk, one of the game’s prime goal scorers, coming to the Hub of Hockey. The Thrashers will extract a high price, even if Kovalchuk departs only as a rental, and the Bruins would have to surrender such prized possessions as Milan Lucic and David Krejci to make such a deal.
from Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star,
The Maple Leafs are on the verge of a fifth consecutive non-playoff season, and they have yet to draft a player over that span with the instant, high-level success that Drew Doughty will bring on Tuesday night when the Los Angeles Kings make a rare visit to Toronto.
Doughty, from London, Ont., the second overall pick in the 2008 draft, comes to Toronto with a stellar resumé, and as much promise as any teenage defenceman to stick in the NHL since Bobby Orr.
“Well, I’ve been around a long time,” Kings coach Terry Murray said Sunday. “I remember Ray Bourque coming into the league as an 18-year-old and he was a force for the Boston Bruins right from his first year. I watched Paul Coffey over his career and I coached him in Philadelphia, and he was great as a teenager. I had Scott Stevens as an 18-year-old in Washington, and going back to when I was a player, I can remember (Orr) as a teenager and no one was as good as him. ... That’s a special group of players and Drew belongs in that class.”
from Jack Tood of the Montreal Gazette,
But now, with this curious up-and-down season coming up on the Olympic break and then the short, furious scramble for playoff spots that is sure to follow, you have to wonder. Will the battling Slovak finally be given the job he has legitimately won a half-dozen times?
Or will Jacques Martin and Bob Gainey go on with business as usual, giving Price the bulk of the work and trotting him out every time Halak has the misfortune to lose a game?
To tell the truth, Price has been much better this season than I thought he would be. He’s been better - but he hasn’t been as good as Halak.
from Gene Principe of Sportsnet,
“I never thought I’d be waiving it (no trade clause),” Souray said. “I chose Edmonton over other teams because I intended on staying here.”
His future in an Oilers uniform could now be in jeopardy as Souray’s agent and Edmonton general manager Steve Tambellini look at other possible hockey destinations for the defenceman.
“It’s probably best you talk to my agent and Steve (Tambellini),” Souray said. “We are submitting a list of teams that I would consider being moved to and I gave them my opinion on it. In a few more months (July 1), the no-trade clause doesn’t apply so then they can move me anywhere.”...
“It would have to be a good situation and it would have to be a good team. Family is as important to me as the game and that’s why I first signed in Edmonton.”
from Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun,
The Vancouver Canucks’ feud with the CBC and Hockey Night In Canada host Ron MacLean apparently won’t die of nautural causes.
On Saturday, the Canucks turned down all interview requests on their nationally televised game against the Chicago Blackhawks. No Canuck player appeared pre-game, between periods or post-game despite the fact Vancouver handily beat the Blackhawks 5-1.
The three stars, as chosen by HNIC, were Canucks Roberto Luongo, Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler. It is customary for at least one of the three stars to do a post-game ‘hit’ with host Scott Oake.
The boycott came from the top of the Canuck organization and was in direct retaliaton for MacLean’s one-sided piece a week earlier on the Alex Burrows-Stephane Auger ‘referee-gate’ incident.
from Chuck Gormley of Flyer Files,
Flyers right wing Arron Asham has accused Penguins forward Matt Cooke of biting him during a third period scrum. Asham told a small group of reporters following the Flyers’ 2-1 loss to the Penguins that while he was pulling Cooke off teammate Scott Hartnell, Cooke bit his finger.
Here is Asham’s account:
There was a scrum, I grabbed him. There were two guys on Harts and my glove got tangled in his mouth and he bit me, so I lost it.
It’s not bad, but he’s a gutless guy. I have no respect for him at all. I lined up against him and asked him to fight and he didn’t want to. If you go and bite someone … I just have no use for him.
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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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