Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
On a night when he went low on Bruins Stephane Yelle and Milan Lucic, and ultimately punched out his time card with 18 penalty minutes, the Stars’ Steve Ott achieved a feat that few have managed to accomplish….
Saturday night, Ott took his under-the-skin game to new lows by appearing to target the knees of Yelle and Lucic, then refusing to answer the bell for his questionable tactics. After Ott went low on Yelle, Shawn Thornton tried to retaliate but was instead tagged with a four-minute roughing double minor. Later in the game, Shane Hnidy and Lucic tried to fight Ott but couldn’t get approval.
from Bruce MacLeod of the Macomb Daily via the Oakland Press,
One financial dark cloud is that the Red Wings are operating with very, very little room under the salary cap from the beginning of the season for the first time since the new collective bargaining agreement came into place three years ago. Coming from the opposite direction is another dark cloud—the contracts of Marian Hossa, Henrik Zetterberg Johan Franzen, Mikael Samuelsson and Jiri Hudler will expire after this season.
A perfect salary cap storm for a franchise that has perfectly (just about) managed the salary cap for three seasons. In other words, in order for the Red Wings to keep this fabulous roster intact, they need the salary cap to go up as it has in each of the past three seasons.
The only other option would be to have Hossa, Zetterberg and Franzen—who conservatively are in line for at least $10 million in combined raises next season—to sign contracts worth roughly half of their market value.
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
This is a mediocre team looking more and more every night as if it is confirming what seemed to be a significant possibility as the season opened: The Avs often seem to be misconstructed, with an overabundance of blue-collar types for what so many hoped would be a return to up-tempo hockey; and the front office made misjudgments about some of its young players, including when discussing the state of the roster with Joel Quenneville before he was handed his walking papers.
The six-man defensive corps, considered the strength of the team going into the season, has remained constant through the first 11 games — with no man games lost to injury and without veteran Daniel Tjarnqvist cracking the lineup for even one game. But the group collectively has been nothing more than ordinary, and maybe even worse.
And up front, right now, it’s a mess.
from Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger,
Kevin Weekes, who will start in goal against the Sabres, said the torn tendon in his catching arm that required surgery in the offseason was originally diagnosed as a bruised elbow.
“We talked (Saturday) night a couple of times. We texted back and forth,” Weekes said. “He’s a little bit unsure as to what his status is. We kind of bounced some things off each other. He was nice enough to text me. I appreciated that. I texted him back and gave him what information I had.”
Brodeur described to Weekes what he was feeling. He apparently hurt the elbow reaching for a shot during the second period and felt more pain when he made another move.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
...the most distressing pattern thus far revolves around the Renney’s reluctance to give his best playmaking center, his most creative pivot and his elite puck-carrying breakdown skater - they’re all Scott Gomez, by the way - complementary wingers who belong on his line. The head coach’s attempt to spread the wealth has created a fragmented offense lacking a go-to line with which the opposition must contend.
The Rangers have committed $51M over seven years to Gomez, yet they’ve assigned him to play with Nigel Dawes and Ryan Callahan, wingers who probably are more compatible to third-line responsibility. They have taken their most talented center and all but marginalized him as an offensive force.
more issues with the Rangers…
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post,
But on several occasions on Sunday they seemed perplexed by the judgment of referees Dan O’Rourke and Wes McCauley, who whistled the Flyers for seven minor infractions and the Oilers for six.
“It’s hard to distinguish between what a penalty is because it’s somewhat inconsistent,” Flyers captain Mike Richards said. “Just because a guy gets by you, you can’t make a desperation play because even if you touch him the arm is going to go up.
“I don’t want to say anything and get fined, but it’s hard because of the inconsistency.”
from James Duthie of TSN,
...the hockey-related opinions and puck policies of the candidates may well decide the next leader of the free world. You think I’m kidding? Just take a look at the following actual quotes from the key figures in the race. (Now, I can’t 100 percent confirm the context of the statements, but I’m pretty sure I know what they were talking about.)
“What Washington needs is adult supervision.” - Obama, after watching Alexander Ovechkin and his teammates pretend to be a rock band for a team video.
“We are paying a very heavy price for the mismanagement - that’s the kindest word I can give you.” - McCain, a Leafs fan, commenting on the last forty-odd years of the franchise.
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
Brett Hull was ready to get out the pointy boot Sunday and apply it to the posteriors of his Dallas Stars players.
Hull, on Sunday, was asked about his patience after losses to Chicago and Boston in which the team twice allowed five goals: “I’ve lost my patience. These players either need to kick themselves in the [rear], or they need someone else to do it for them, but it’s going to happen.”
read on for more on the Stars…
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
• Why Ron Wilson is the coach of the month in the NHL: Name another coach who has fixed two teams, one by arriving and one by departing.
• Barry Melrose claims the difference between coaching in the NHL the first time around and now is that then he had three millionaires on his team. “Now I have three who aren’t,” the Tampa Bay Lightning bench boss said.
more hockey notes scattered about…
from Pierre LeBrun’s Blog at ESPN,
There were reports coming out of Russia this weekend that star winger Ilya Kovalchuk was on the trade block. Not so, Atlanta Thrashers GM Don Waddell told us. “I can you tell you that is definitely not the case.”...
First of all, Kovalchuk has another year left on his deal after this season at $7.5 million. He’s not eligible for unrestricted free agency until July 1, 2010. Why the heck would Waddell be shopping him now? In my mind, Waddell would be writing his own pink slip if he did that.
more hockey topics like, head hits, the Canadiens and some Sundin talk too…
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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