Kukla's Korner Hockey
...Mike Comrie is enjoying his break with Hilary Duff.
from James D. Horne of The Leaf Chronicle,
All in all, my first official NHL game at the Sommet Center featuring your Nashville Predators against the New Jersey Devils Monday night was a very pleasant experience….
As a sports fan in general, I liked seeing all the action at the net and how teams set up their offenses and power plays, and of course, being that close to see the crashing on the boards was way cool. TV definitely doesn’t do that any justice.
And I always thought it got cold at hockey games, but it really doesn’t get that way. Really, I was nice and comfortable….
This year, the Preds’ offense seems non-existent. After going down 2-0 early in the second it looked like they were just content to skate around and stopped being aggressive.
What’s worse is the power-play goal Nashville scored that cut it to 2-1 in the third was more luck than skill, and the crowd felt that way, too. The constant boos in that period helped make that evident.
And that’s the worst thing, the crowd knows the product on the ice isn’t as good as it has been and that they deserve better.
But those boos also tell me and almost affirm that the Preds’ days in Nashville are truly numbered.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
The record is 28-16-4, the Rangers are 10 points ahead of their pace of each of the last two seasons, but the most important number to digest is, 800,000 . . . as in $800,000 under the cap.
As in, only $800,000 under the cap….
Understand this: Glen Sather’s Summer of Folly has not only boxed in his team for the foreseeable future - next season and the one following that loom as pending cap catastrophes - but the GM’s hands-off approach to managing this season’s roster has compromised the team’s ability to add missing vital parts for the stretch run and the playoffs.
Where are the Rangers going to get the power forward they so obviously lack and so desperately need in order to be more than a one-and-done playoff team with so comparatively little to spend?
from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,
How is it the NHLPA, under its newest executive director, Paul Kelly, is expected to announce Friday its membership has declined to reopen its collective agreement with the league, as is its right, and will play on under the current contract until 2011?
That deal, cut under duress, cut after their union was effectively broken, is working just fine for the players, thanks. They’ll say all the right things about not wanting a labour disruption during these trying economic times, but the bottom line is they continue to earn loads of dough in a vigorous market for talent, while league owners are faced with several teams now teetering on the brink of insolvency….
If anything, those clubs are in worse shape now than they were before the lockout, their decline accelerated by the credit crunch and ensuing recession, coupled with shaky ownership.
If they’re still in business come 2011 — and who would like to bet their life on that right now? — the next labour war won’t cure what’s wrong with them, either.
Sportscentre counts down the most creative to the downright best shootout goals from the first half of the season.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman spoke to ESPN.com earlier this week about a wide range of topics, including the economy, the Phoenix Coyotes, the New York Islanders and the future of the league’s participation in the Olympics.
There is a perception Bettman is anti-Olympics or anti-NHL players in the Olympics, but the commissioner likes to point out he was the one who put the NHL and the Olympics together back in 1998 in Nagano. “I’m the guy that made it happen,” he said.
That said, after the 2010 Vancouver Games, there’s going to be time for some soul-searching about whether the NHL and the Olympics are a fit going forward. After three visits to the Olympics (Nagano, Salt Lake City and Torino) and with a fourth on the way, “there are aspects of this endeavor that are problematic,” the commissioner said.
Jeff Schultz and Eric Fehr, who play for the NHL’s Washington Capitals, left frigid D.C. during the All-Star Break to come to sunny Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and play THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.
PGATOUR.COM: What did you think about the 17th hole? I hear you had a 10-foot birdie putt there.
SCHULTZ: It wasn’t as hard as I thought. But I guess if you’ve got a couple of stroke lead coming down the last day and everybody watching you, I can see why they call it one of the hardest holes in golf. It’s a tough green to read. I was able to par it. It was the highlight of my day.
PGATOUR.COM: What similarities do you see between golf and hockey?
FEHR: I think it’s kind of the swing—a slap shot and a golf shot. To me I putt like I’m playing hockey. I put my hand on the bottom of the putter.
from Damien Cox at ESPN,
Competitively, the fight for the Cup promises to be a fierce one, with defending champion Detroit having all but withdrawn its players from All-Star Game consideration as it prepares its title defense against a horde of tough challengers.
With much left to be unfurled, these have been the attention-grabbing story lines so far:
The game’s hottest new rivalry
It’s the Sharks and the Red Wings, a new rivalry made more intriguing by the fact former Detroit assistant coach Todd McLellan has crossed over to the San Jose side and made the Sharks the Western Conference’s best team so far. The Sharks have won two of three meetings, including a terrific 6-5 home-ice triumph last Saturday in San Jose. The two clubs meet next Feb. 25 at The Joe.
many more story lines…
from Tom Fornelli of NBC Chicago,
Nikolai Khabibulin has also played well while minding the net this season, but he’s in the last year of his contract, and the team actually tried to move him before the season. The fact he’s in the final year of his contract will make him more appealing to teams looking for somebody to help them make a playoff push—not to mention the fact he’s already won a Stanley Cup in Tampa—and that means the Hawks can get something they need in return. Whether that would be another scorer or a center—preferably someone whose both—or another enforcer to help protect Patrick Kane, we’d have to wait and see.
Losing Khabibulin wouldn’t be that big of a blow to the team either, as Corey Crawford has played very well for the Hawks AHL affiliate Rockford Icehogs this season, and would be more than capable as a backup.
The point is that while moving Khabibulin would be somewhat risky, with a young team losing a player with a lot of playoff experience, the Hawks really have nothing to lose.
For the second straight year the NHL All-Star game will be without one of the game’s biggest stars as Sidney Crosby has pulled out of this weekend’s mid-winter classic in Montreal.
MONTREAL (Jan. 22, 2009)—Martin St. Louis takes the place of Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, who received a record number of votes in All-Star fan balloting but will not participate due to injury.
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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