Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
Yes, the Oil leads the league with 12 double-digit goal scorers, despite icing 16 players under age 26.
But simply put, the Flames are the envy of the NHL in terms of building blocks for the future.
Defying conventional wisdom that suggested the salary cap era would prohibit clubs from collecting superstars as used to be the case with the old New York Rangers or Detroit Red Wings, Darryl Sutter has four of the league’s very best locked up for the next six years.
With the game’s best leader (Jarome Iginla), most complete and feared defenceman (Dion Phaneuf), a Vezina-winning goalie (Miikka Kiprusoff) and one of the top stay-at-home defenders (Robyn Regehr) all inked to lengthy extensions this year, the Flames are essentially guaranteed to avoid the type of sorry season the Oilers had last year.
from the Denver Post,
Denver Post columnist Woody Paige, Avs beat writer Adrian Dater and Post news staff writer Kevin Simpson — a former sports reporter and longtime Avs fan — sat down recently for a roundtable session….
How far does the Avalanche advance in the playoffs?
Dater: The Avs do not win the Cup, I’m sorry to say. I don’t think they even make it out of the first round. They’ve yet to develop the kind of consistency and chemistry they’re going to need. But, I will give one caveat: If they can somehow keep Forsberg healthy, I think they’ve got a shot. But I think they lose in seven games in the first round.
Paige: If they can get to sixth or seventh place, they can be a scary team. I don’t think teams are going to want to play them. This is a team that is better than a lot of teams ahead of them, if Forsberg and Sakic stay healthy.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Speculation abounds, for example, that Darcy Tucker is first on the buy-out list for this summer.
But what if the new GM wants to keep Tucker, or believes that given time, he could trade the veteran and get something for him?
The only sensible approach would be to put every important decision on hold, and to get a permanent somebody in by mid-June.
But that’s not the Leaf plan.
So while Peddie was ostensibly doing damage control, all it really did was make it abundantly clear that the dazed and confused Leafs are pursuing the future with continued maximum dysfunction as their guide.
Gary Bettman faced some question from Blue Jackets fans…
from the Columbus Dispatch,
Q. Doesn’t the NHL need to increase its TV exposure, say, by getting back on ESPN?
A. When we came back (after missing the 2004-05 season), we felt it was important to go to a place that would give us special, priority treatment. Coming out of the lockout, ESPN was not prepared to love us the way I thought we deserved to be loved. I’m not sure being on ESPN at this point would give us what we need in terms of presence and promotion.
from the Pioneer Press,
(Mike) Ramsey has no idea how, when or why the retina became detached. All he knows is that, starting early last month, he had terrible trouble with his vision. Now he’s in his own playoff race.
Doctors will not let him fly until he no longer can see that gas bubble. When it disappears, it means the retina is fully reattached and that Ramsey is free to step into the pressurized cabin of an airplane. Ramsey can’t wait, which is ironic.
There are few worse air travelers than Mike Ramsey, who has been known to lock himself in the restroom for the duration of a team flight. He has been battling a fear of flying his whole career. When he began coaching with the Wild, it flared up
fromm the Ottawa Citizen,
“We haven’t played well for some time here,” said captain Daniel Alfredsson, who says the meeting was called collectively by all players. “We have to make sure in these last three games ... it’s a test for us to see what kind of character we have. How can we get this turned around? It’s possible (Washington could catch us), if we lost all three. We have to try and win at least two of the three and try to get some momentum for the playoffs. It has been a crazy season. We got off to such a great start, but we have not been able to handle the expectations that came with it.”
more about the Sens…
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Sundin is going to keep people waiting for his decision on whether he’ll re-sign with the Leafs, go somewhere else or simply retire and get ready for his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Many NHL insiders believe after what’s been a taxing season full of disappointment, Sundin might decide to hang up his sweater and walk away, comfortable in the fact he’s had a tremendous career.
Given all the bluster about not wanting to be dealt at the trade deadline, it would seem unlikely that Sundin would sign elsewhere unless Detroit D Nicklas Lidstrom and fellow Swede does a full-court press to get him to sign with the Red Wings.
more NHL talk…
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Nicklas Lidstrom is going to win his sixth Norris trophy, but Sergei Gonchar may finish in the top three. The Penguins defenceman has been maligned for years for his play away from the puck, but this year he’s been very good. He might deserve more praise than Zdeno Chara in Boston, or Brian Campbell before he was traded from Buffalo to San Jose. “He matches up against the other team’s best players every night. I think his game has gone to another level there,” said Penguins GM Ray Shero
more and other NHL topics…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
This afternoon, Jaromir Jagr will play the 420th regular-season game of his career here at the Igloo. The Post wanted to know if he expects to be his last.
“Are the Penguins moving?” a grinning Jagr responded following practice yesterday, before the Rangers departed for the opener of a back-to-back, home-and-home series against the division leaders they trail by six points while holding a game in hand.
“Should I wave to the fans?” Jagr asked. “Maybe I’ll wave . . . after I score.”
Jagr was as coy in talking about his plans as he has been since telling The Post on March 9: “I have a pretty good idea what I’m going to do next year and I’ve known for three or four weeks, but I’m not going to say anything.”
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
You would think Afinogenov would have evolved into a leader by now, but that hasn’t happened. He makes you long for Pierre Turgeon. He’ll make $3.5 million and become an unrestricted free agent after next season for a team looking to get younger (see: cheaper). Gee, maybe they placed their bets on the wrong guy.
Why keep him? Well, he sells jerseys.
If the Sabres think he’s a source of entertainment, they’re kidding themselves and insulting the intelligence of their fans. The only people he entertains are youngsters who are enamored with his style and can’t see his flaws. Anyone with an ounce of hockey sense can see he needs a change in scenery.
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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