Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
Devils defenseman Paul Martin will make his return from a fractured left forearm tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
It will be Martin’s first game since he was injured when he was hit by a Bill Guerin shot on Oct. 24 in Pittsburgh.
Mark Fraser and Anssi Salmela will be the healthy scratches on defense for the Devils tonight.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Martin, who missed 49 games. “It’s just exciting to be around the guys and get back in there and play a game. I’m trying not to get too excited, but I think it will be fun.”
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
It almost defies logic, but somehow the Pittsburgh Penguins are first in the Atlantic Division, two points ahead of New Jersey, despite losing all five games to the Devils this season.
The teams’ season series finale is tonight in Newark, and this is a game that has all kinds of meaning for both teams.
The Devils, with a game in hand, can tie the Pens for the division lead and head into the playoffs with the confidence of a 6-0-0 sweep of the reigning Cup champs. (Put that card in the deck and pull it out later in the spring, if you know what I mean.)
The Pens need a win to put a little space between first and second place in the Atlantic, and, perhaps more importantly, know they can finally beat Martin Brodeur and his team this season.
What games do you play? Fifa and Madden
Bucket list: I’d like to go to the World Cup, not in South Africa, but some day. And I’d like to go to the Superbowl, too, but it’ll have to wait until I’m done playing hockey.
All-time hero: Steve Yzerman and Mario Lemieux are the guys I always looked up to. Mario, I wanted to try to play like him, and Yzerman, just the way he is off the ice and how professional he is.
An NHL player you admire: There’s lots of guys. Someone like Jarome Iginla. He leads by example and plays consistently and has for a really long time.
from John Grigg of The Hockey News,
In honor of St. Patty’s, we tip our hats – and our pints – to the Emerald Isle and offer you our Top 10 NHLers with Irish names.
10. Chris Kelly, C, Ottawa
Seventh on the Senators in scoring, Ó Ceallaigh is quietly on pace for one of his best seasons statistically. Kelly is a decidedly Irish last name – the second-most popular in Ireland according to one website – and means ‘bright-headed.’ No wonder, then, that Kelly has turned into one of the Sens’ most dependable penalty-killers.
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
Instead of taking advantage of home ice by moving ahead of the very team they’re chasing, the Flames are now three points back with 13 games to go.
And while that gap is by no means insurmountable, its evident momentum and the schedule are now both conspiring to work very much against Calgary down the stretch.
Not only are nine of their final games against playoff clubs ahead of them in the standings, four are early afternoon road affairs, which the Flames have long struggled with.
Perhaps more importantly, none are against the two teams they’re chasing — Detroit and Nashville — meaning they’re also at the mercy of two teams that control their own fate.
from Jeff Schultz of the Altanta Journal-Constitution,
The Atlanta Spirit ownership group has been disputing reports that it is seeking to sell the Thrashers and that the NHL team might be on the move to another city. Now comes a report that the Hawks also might be on the market.
A New York Times story on sports ownership during the recession references both the Hawks and Thrashers as being among franchises that might be for sale. The paragraph in question reads:
read on and the NYT also mentions the Columbus Blue Jackets potentially could be sold…
St. Patrick’s Day is upon us, and the New Jersey Devils will celebrate in style as part of the NHL’s three-game schedule on Wednesday night.
The Devils will wear their retro red, white and green uniforms when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Prudential Center at 7 p.m. ET. The Devils had green as one of their colors from the franchise’s inception in 1982 until they switched to black in 1992.
from Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull,
The Flyers’ season may hinge on goalie Michael Leighton’s injured left ankle.
The goalie, a waiver-wire wonder this season, suffered a high ankle sprain early in Tuesday’s 4-3 shoot-out loss to Nashville. He will have an MRI Wednesday to determine the severity of the injury.
“I just went out to get the puck and it got away from me, and I kind of went back on my leg and felt my leg pop, my ankle,” Leighton said. “It’s just the way I fell backwards. I felt something pop and it didn’t feel good.”
Brian Boucher replaced Leighton and played admirably, allowing one goal the rest of the way and helping the Flyers salvage an important point.
“Once he has settled in, he has played really well,” coach Peter Laviolette said.
from Greatest Hockey Legends,
The Leafs were hosting “King Clancy Night.” Clancy was as big a star as Toronto has ever seen. They honored him with the night, the jersey, and a number of stereotypical gifts that would keep any Irish eyes smiling.
Several junior players stepped on to the ice through large potato props. Red Horner emerged from a boxing glove. New York Ranger’s star Bill Cook hid in a shamrock. All the while the Knights of Columbus Minstrel Band played Irish music.
But the highlight of the night was when Clancy was introduced to the sold out arena. There has never been anything quite like it in sports before or since.
Chicago Blackhawks yuck it up with Jay Leno.
I put it below so I would not spoil it for you if you planned to watch it on TV.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org