Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Wigge of NHL.com,
There are no more growing pains for Zdeno Chara.
The 6-foot-9, 255-pound defenseman from Trencin, Slovakia, hasn’t had a major growth spurt since he was 17—shortly after he grew six inches in a two-year span. He no longer has to hear coaches tell him maybe he should try basketball or some other sport. He’s no longer a big joke to some teammates, who watched him clumsily skate around the rink and laughed behind his back.
No, when Chara turned 22, the rest of his body caught up with his height, a development for which the Boston Bruins are eternally grateful. Now, equipment comes custom made for Chara. He no longer plays with skates held together by tape, glue and screws. Nor does he have trainers sew extra material from old sweaters onto the bottom of his jersey to cover his hockey pants.
“I wasn’t supposed to make it. I was too tall, too awkward, too everything,” Chara said. “I couldn’t make anyone in Slovakia believe I could play ... so I had to leave home.”
via Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
On an innocent line change, Perron tossed the puck into the offensive zone, and the puck found its way to the back of the net.
“I thought someone else scored,” Perron said. “I had no idea what happened. I turned around and (Cam) Janssen was all over me.”
The crowd of 17,512 was just as surprised as Perron and the Blues. Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky shook his head in disbelief.
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
Lang suggested that, if all continues to go well and the Canadiens hang around the playoffs for a spell, his season might not yet be finished.
“If everything’s perfect and the team plays long enough, then it’s possible, yes,” he said of a postseason return.
“If everything goes according to the rehab protocol, it could be 10 weeks, 12, maybe 14, who knows. I have no idea when I’ll be able to skate, but it is possible to come back and still help the team if we stay in the playoffs.
“Get to the playoffs and hey, anything can happen.”
Fourteen weeks from the date of surgery is May 11, one month after the Habs’ final regular-season game.
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
In terms of truth, I’d rather swallow whatever drivel A-Rod is selling than the garble generated near the NHL trade deadline. The only thing planted between an overage of gossip and a shortage of substance is an exaggeration of facts. But every now and again, a juicy hockey rumor actually makes sense.
That brings us to the latest “Tim Connolly is headed for [insert team]” chatter making the rounds in recent weeks. This one had the pending unrestricted free agent going to Columbus, where the Blue Jackets have been clamoring for a center of Connolly’s ilk.
And why not?
Connolly alongside Rick Nash would be frightening with the big winger manning the left side and the right-handed center wheeling and dealing the way he can when healthy.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
“I’m not a four-line guy,” the head coach of the Rangers said yesterday after conducting his first practice. “Your best players need to be your decision-makers.”
And so beginning here tonight against the Maple Leafs, it will be on Scott Gomez and Nik Zherdev, united at yesterday’s practice, to prove to Tortorella that they are horses worth riding, and not stallions. It will be on Chris Drury to prove that he can handle the ice time without diminishing returns, and on young buck Brandon Dubinsky to make a statement on left wing with Drury.
It will be on Wade Redden to provide evidence that he belongs on the power play, the specialty unit that Tortorella himself will handle while assistant coach Jim Schoenfeld takes on the penalty kill assignment.
from Kevin Allen of Mucking and Grinding,
My best guess is that the Ducks won’t trade Pronger at the deadline, simply because if they do decide to trade him, they could get a better package this summer.
The Ducks’ issue seems to be that they are being handcuffed by their salary cap, and they need to move one of their major breadwinners to ease their pressure.
Two seasons ago, the Ducks paid more than $13 million for Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger and they won a Stanley Cup. Have they now decided they can’t afford both?
It doesn’t seem as if the Ducks know yet whether Niedermayer is coming back.
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
Lots of rumors flying around tonight. I don’t normally indulge in a lot of “Let’s make up a bunch and hope one of them sticks, then go around claiming we’re a good reporter, while ignoring the 99 we got wrong” type of stuff like many others do. But, hey, it’s getting near deadline time, so let’s trot out a couple I’ve been hearing tonight:
Rumor is the Avs are going to be involved a big, multi-player deal involving an eastern team real soon. Boston or Pittsburgh are the runaway favorite teams said to be likely to be involved. I still can’t get rid of my Chris Drury itch, either. I know that Francois Giguere loves him. But as much I love Drury, too, it’s probably not a great deal for a team like the Avs right now. And I doubt Drury would OK any deal out of New York. But I still rumor-monger about him a bit, I’ll admit.
Could Jordan Staal become an Av? Could be. Could Ryan Whitney? Could be. Could Manny Fernandez? Could be. Could a couple of first-round picks be coming Colorado’s way, along with any of the above players, for someone like Ryan Smyth and/or Jordan Leopold? Could be….
Now, some of the folks who were hot on the above rumors are backing off them quite a bit. See how much fun this is, folks? Trying to figure out what hockey GMs will do - basically a giant guessing game.
from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
Under Tocchet, the Lightning worked with Stamkos, put him on a weight program, put him in a classroom video situation with assistant Wes Walz. It has helped big-time as Stamkos is playing his best hockey of the season. The there is this: Stamkos, with 10 goals, needs three to tie Vinny Lecavalier’s rookie output in 1998-99, and with 25 points, needs three to tie Lecavalier as well.
Below are some comments from Roman Hamrlik talking about his situation in Montreal, specifically his relationship with Pasquale Mangiola (more on the background available here). Hamrlik was apparently concerned about how his situation has been reported in the Czech press, so the Canadiens gave him permission to speak to one media outlet in his home country.
Here’s the link to the original Czech (including video), but below is the English translation of a segment, provided by a friend of KK who regularly translates material for us.
Canadiens players are not allowed to talk about this to media but Hamrlik was given permission to speak to one Czech TV station and he has chosen TV NOVA.
Lets start with what Hamrlik is saying [about Pasquale Mangiola]:
“When you come to a new city, you don’t know where to go after the games. Sometimes we went for a dinner and that was everything. I provided him with some tickets for hockey games. I didn’t know he was doing some bad things, I didn’t know he has something in common with a, b, c, or d. Drugs or guns or whatever he did. I didn’t know he was involved in this. I didn’t meet this guy this season because I have already known he talks too much about hockey players and he draws attention to himself that he knows us. I didn’t meet him this season. I think this is really big lesson for my next life.”
Important Note: Any errors in this translation are ours, and should not be attributed to anyone else. But it is our belief this is an accurate translation.
added 2/27/09, Here is a little more thorough translation of the video found at TV Nova…
I provided him with some tickets for hockey games. I didn’t know he was doing some bad things. Where do I know him from? One hockey player introduced us but I wont tell his name. This man used me a little bit, he took pride in knowing me and other players. I think it is difficult to find the right friend here in Montreal - everyone loves you just because you are hockey player, because you play in NHL and because you have money. They dont like you because of who you really are and what kind of person you are. I didn’t know he has something in common with a, b, c, or d. Drugs or guns or whatever he did. I didn’t know he was involved in this. It is sad what happened here but life goes on and nobody is perfect. I know I made mistake that I was somewhere with him but I didn’t meet this guy this season because I have already known he talks too much about hockey players and he draws attention to himself that he knows us. I didn’t meet him this season. I think this is really big lesson for my next life. Every day we learn something new and all of this is unpleasant because of what has been written about me. Nobody knows the truth, just me. I made quite good hockey career during all those years and now it is not good for my name, for my family and especially for my daughter. She doesnt deserve to read those absurdities about her daddy. I am really sorry there are lies in Czech newspapers. When you come to a new city, you don’t know where to go after the games. Sometimes we went for a dinner and that was everything.
from Brahm Resnik of the Arizona Republic,
The City of Glendale has been quietly bailing out the money-losing Phoenix Coyotes for several months, according to documents obtained by 12 News.
A record of lease payments by the Coyotes shows the city has been letting the team play virtually rent-free at Jobing.com Arena for seven months. Based on past payments, the break could be worth up to $4 million over the course of a year.
The city is giving the team the multimillion-dollar break even as it tries to plug a multimillion-dollar hole in its own budget.
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.
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