Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star,
“It’s not over yet,” Phaneuf said after practice. “There’s a lot of games left. We are where we are, but we have to do our best to get points and make a push for the playoffs. ... If teams lose and you win a few, you’re right there.”
The Leafs have 47 points, 10 behind eighth-place Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference, and somehow need to total somewhere in the 93-point range, the norm for an eighth-place team in the East the past few seasons.
It’s a tall order, to be sure, but the recent eye-popping trades have instilled new hope and confidence, bolstered by the team’s 3-0 win over New Jersey on Tuesday in its first post-blockbuster outing.
It was called a goal on the ice and Toronto agreeed, saying the hand-slapping motion from Chipchura came after the puck hit his glove.
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
Joe Nieuwendyk sounds pretty cautious to me.
As the first-year Stars general manager prepares for his first NHL trade deadline, he has done a lot of work. He has visited with scouts, he has talked about needs and he has assessed the situation around the league.
And yet he might do very little at the trade deadline.
The reason? The Stars are still very much in the playoff race, and Nieuwendyk believes the team has every chance to make it. And that will be a big part of the team’s thought process as it gets ready for the March 3 trade deadline.
“You definitely want to give your team every chance to compete, and that is a huge part of how we will look at things,” Nieuwendyk said. “I do believe these five games leading up to the Olympic break will be very big for us. We play four of them on the road, we’ve struggled on the road, and we have the opportunity to make a statement that we’ve addressed those issues and improved our team. If we do that, I definitely think that sends a message.”
from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
The Thrashers’ next game is Friday night in Washington. It seems unlikely the team would want Kovalchuk in uniform, while negotiations for his departure are ongoing. His destination, most likely a playoff contender, and a timetable for a deal have not been determined….
Kovalchuk has been seeking the maximum salary allowed under the collective bargaining agreement, which is 20 percent of the salary cap, or roughly $11.3 million per season. Grossman confirmed that he has not come off that number during negotiations and was asking for a “lifetime” contract in the 10-to-12-year range.
The Thrashers have offered multiple deals, none close those terms. Waddell has approached the cap allowance with an offer of $10 million a year, but sought shorter terms (at three, five or seven years). According to Grossman, the Thrashers’ last offer on the table was for $101 million but the deal would span 12 seasons for an annual average of $8.42 million.
added 7:50pm, from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
So, all things being equal, the Thrashers would like to put this all to bed in the next few days and perhaps have Kovalchuk traded before the team’s next game on Friday night.
If that happens, no one should be surprised.
But while there are reports that five or six teams are “seriously” interested in Kovalchuk, the dynamic for each of the teams is different, unique if you will, and those expressions of “interest” would appear to run the gamut from tire kicking to legitimate but somewhat cautious interest.
Compounding the muddiness of the picture is what Waddell and the Thrashers expect to get in return for Kovalchuk.
via a James Duthie tweet,
Carolina and SJ working on a deal that would send Nic Wallin to the Sharks. Wallin has a no-trade clause. It’s believed he has waived it.
and Darren Dreger tweet too,
another trade is close. Canes working on sending Wallin to SJ. Wallin won’t play in Calgary tonight.
from Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet,
I cringe at the thought of what could have been recorded off the ice when I played pro hockey. Do you think Dion is the first hockey player to grab a microphone and sing a song? You’d love Mark Messier’s rendition of Elvis Presley’s Suspicious Minds or Kevin Lowe’s Crocodile Rock at the Auction House in New York City.
Limo rides? Heck, the Chicago Blackhawks have nothing on my Washington Capitals team back in the late ‘80s. At least the Blackhawks weren’t wrongly accused of inappropriate behaviour by a teenage girl like my teammates were, and end up the focus of a front-page Washington Post scandal.
COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have relieved Head Coach Ken Hitchcock of his duties behind the bench and named Assistant Coach Claude Noel as the club’s interim head coach, club General Manager Scott Howson announced today.
Noel, 54, joined the Blue Jackets as an assistant coach on June 28, 2007 after spending four seasons as the head coach of the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals. During that time, he led the club to a 183-94-12-31 regular season record, three 100-point seasons and two West Division titles. He also compiled a 33-21 record in the Calder Cup Playoffs, including two appearances in the Finals (2004, 2006). During the 2003-04 season, the club compiled a 46-24-7-3 record and went 16-6 in the playoffs en route to capturing the organization’s first Calder Cup championship. That year, Noel was named the AHL’s Coach of the Year.
“This season has been very disappointing for the Blue Jackets organization and our fans and the responsibility for that rests with all of us from management to the coaches and players,” said Howson. “Hitch worked tirelessly to build an identity for this team that was missing before he arrived and deserves a great deal of credit for those efforts. He earned and received the opportunity to turn things around this season, but unfortunately that has not happened and it has become apparent that change is in the best interest of our organization. Claude Noel is a good hockey coach with a proven track record in the American Hockey League. He knows our team and is deserving of this opportunity.”
Ilya Kovalchuk’s days as a member of the Atlanta Thrashers appear to be numbered.
Thrashers general manager Don Waddell met with the star forward on Wednesday and told him to expect a trade to another NHL team over the next few hours or days.
added 3:44pm, via Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
The Kings, Bruins, Rangers, Flyers and Blackhawks are reportedly interested, but all the stories we’re seeing now do not include the Flyers and Blackhawks.
added 3:55pm, via a Tweet from Bob McKenzie,
Teams in mix for Kovalchuk include: Boston, New Jersey, Rangers, Philadelphia, Calgary, Chicago and L.A. Some more. Some less. Auction time.
added 4:06pm, via a Tweet from Craig Custance,
Kovy very much in play, but I’m being told that the Blackhawks aren’t in the mix right now.
added 4:47pm, via a Tweet from Kevin Allen,
Thrashers’ want list hasn’t changed for Kovalchuk deal: they need players who can help now. There are interested teams we don’t know about
added 4:53pm, Another Tweet from McKenzie,
About a half dozen teams still in the mix for Kovalchuk. Likely to take at least another two or three days to sort itself out. No deadline.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
There’s certainly an element of satisfaction in quieting critics who say the Sedins can’t stand alone.
“I think so,” said Daniel. “We can’t do much about those kinds of things [what other people think], but it is good to know. For him to see he could play that kind of hockey, I think it was huge, and for myself, too.”
Henrik has also changed his game. Henrik has always been the passer, Daniel the shooter. But Henrik potted 10 goals while Daniel was out. Who knew?
“I don’t know if he shot the puck more, but he was finding the scoring areas,” Daniel said. “He really took it upon himself to do things out there and it was great to watch for myself. And for his confidence, it really helped. Once I was back, he just kept doing the same things. I think he got better as a hockey player.”...
“For a coach, you talk about low maintenance or no maintenance at all, he just goes out and does his job, prepares well,” Vigneault said of Henrik. “And he’s a real team guy. His focus is always on what the team needs.”
That’s what a leader does.
Some confusion going around regarding the dates and times of the trade freeze for the NHL, so let’s clarify…
via Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
The NHL roster freeze goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. ET on Feb. 12 and doesn’t end until 11:59 p.m. ET on Feb. 28. The trade deadline is 3 p.m. ET on March 3.
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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