Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
The crowd at the Bell Centre today will roar for one of its own, the hometown kid who made it big in the NHL and brought the Stanley Cup back to Montreal—though only for a visit—in the summer of 2007.
But when the starters are announced for today’s All-Star game and Jean-Sebastien Giguere’s name is called for the West, the Ducks’ goaltender will be looking for someone who is not there, listening for a voice that was silenced too soon.
Giguere’s father, Claude, who bought the second-hand gear that launched his youngest son’s hockey career, died on Dec. 15 after valiantly fighting cancer that began in his colon and spread throughout his body. Claude rallied after J.S. visited him in late November but the disease won out before he could see his son’s All-Star moment.
“But I know he’s going to be there, somewhere, watching,” Giguere said. “He’s no stranger to me being there, too, I think. You’ve got to believe that he’ll be there.”
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
• The euphoria over the possible drafting of John Tavares, and what he could do for an NHL team, is overblown. Think about this: Rick Nash and Jay Bouwmeester were the best two players drafted into the NHL in 2002. Six seasons later, neither has been in a playoff game.
• Department of Dumb: Suspending Nicklas Lidstrom, who has played hurt, been to a million all-star games, and never has taken a shift off in his spectacular career, for not playing in today’s all-star game. This is so typical of Gary Bettman: He’ll protect his bankrupt owners but toss the best of his players under the bus.
more hockey notes…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
• How hilarious, meanwhile, that Detroit’s GM Ken Holland, who led the misguided charge to limit information released to the media concerning player injuries, now believes it appropriate to tell the world that one guy’s got a bad hip and the other’s got a bad elbow. Guess that whole thing about protecting his players isn’t quite as critical as Holland posited last June.
• Tampa Bay management can deny, deny, deny in the best tradition of all sorts of scoundrels, but it is most certainly true that 2008 first-overall draft pick Steven Stamkos is available for trade, at least according to two franchises that have been in contact with the Lightning and have no reason to fib about it.
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
Ovechkin’s unexpected public interaction with Malkin had to catch most puck-watchers by surprise. The two Russian-born stars have been estranged over a personal matter that neither player was too interested in discussing. The feud caught the eye of fans and media when both players went out of their way to hit each other in recent games between the Caps and Pens.
According to one source, Thrashers captain (and fellow Russian star) Ilya Kovalchuk brokered the peace deal between Ovie and Geno. In playing the part of the peacemaker, Kovalchuk might have been looking toward the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The three snipers figure to be a big part of Team Russia’s gold-medal hopes.
more on the Saturday night festivities in Montreal…
Q. Alex, where did you get the idea to do the hat and the glasses?
ALEX OVECHKIN: Well, it was last night. I talked actually with Nate about it, and I said it’s going to be fun, and you have to try it.
Q. Can you just comment on, it seems like you really enjoy the spotlight and playing up to the crowd. Do you think hockey needs a little bit more of that?
ALEX OVECHKIN: Well, I think, you know, fans have to see how we are, who we are, you know. They see our skills and, I think the last trick like was just for fun. I think fans love it.
Watching the YoungStars I also have been writing a song to mark the moment. I call it “Mamma, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be YoungStars Goalie.”
Thanks, I’ll be here all week. Remember to tip your waiters and bartenders.
-Phil Coffey of NHL.com. Phil is actually blogging the All-Star SuperSkills at NHL.com.
from Damien Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times,
The Lightning captain, 28, returned home this weekend to play in the 57th All-Star Game commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Canadiens franchise. What’s it like for Lecavalier in a city that craves a French-Canadian superstar for whom to cheer and is buzzing with speculation the Canadiens could try to trade for him? Lecavalier tells us.
Do you understand the fascination among fans and media about having a French-Canadian centerpiece on the Canadiens?
The people, they want a French-Canadian, there’s no doubt about it. They talk about it every summer when free agency comes. Some people say there’s not enough on the team, and they try to get more. It’s part of the tradition. People are fascinated by it. They want a French-Canadian who can play there.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
The National Hockey League Players Association has requested additional information from the NHL regarding the leagues intent to enforce a policy that will keep Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom out of Tuesday’s game against Columbus.
It’s possible the Players Association could file a grievance; however the impartial arbitrator wouldn’t be able to hear the case before Tuesday.
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
So, as the injuries get more serious and the scary incidents work their way up the hockey ladder, it’s clear the league will do nothing concrete about fighting until someone in the NHL suffers the same fate as Don Sanderson. In the back of my mind, I think Colin Campbell is convinced exactly that is going to happen someday. Bettman talks about taking a “good, hard look at it,” but offers no structure of how that’s going to happen and no timeline for any changes.
In other words, the NHL is basically giving the issue lip service because of the perfect storm that has happened lately, but don’t expect anything drastic.
“Based on the conversations I’ve had with lots of constituencies – players, owners, managers, coaches – I don’t think there’s any appetite to abolish fighting in the game,” Bettman said. “There are lots of reasons for that, including that it has been a part of the game.”
more and Bettman talks about other hockey issues…
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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