Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun,
Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson held a meeting yesterday to suggest summer vacation plans.
Essentially, Wilson reminded his players that the organization will expect them to report to training camp next fall in much better shape than last year—and that means they’ll be given off-season training regimens to follow, which will be probably be more intense that what they’ve had in the past.
“I want to keep hammering this point home until everybody realizes what’s going to be expected of them this summer,” Wilson said yesterday, following practice at Lakeshore Lions Arena. “This isn’t, ‘Thank God we got through the season and I’m taking two months off, and you’ll see me on the beach in the Bahamas.’ No. We’re talking right now about making sure that everybody understands the importance of conditioning and taking care of themselves.”
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
There’s an unintended consequence to Nikolai Zherdev’s disappointing production that, unlike the winger’s mediocre 19-31-50 numbers, actually stands to benefit the Rangers.
Barring a goal-scoring spree over the final 14 games, which the Blueshirts would more than welcome, the impending 24-year-old Group II free agent will not be in position to hit a salary arbitration home run should he fail to reach a contract agreement with GM Glen Sather before July 1.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
They will have no tough guy in the lineup today when they visit the Blues. While their toughness is often questioned, particularly after physical games in which they surrender several goals, such as Thursday’s 6-5 shootout loss to Calgary, the Red Wings don’t believe it is an issue.
“People always look for weaknesses in our team. If people want to point to that as being the weak part of our game, I think we’re doing all right,’’ defenseman Brad Stuart said. “When you get into the playoffs, the further along you go, the less important that stuff gets. The most important thing is to stick up for yourself and each other. I don’t think we have any problems there.’‘...
“I’m playing hockey,’’ Franzen said. “It wouldn’t be very smart to fight if you’ve never fought before. If you’re (up against) a guy who fights on a regular basis, he’d probably break my skull because I’ve never fought.’‘
from David Staples of The Cult of Hockey,
It might be a helluva good idea for the Oilers to rent out some beautiful houses on the river valley, houses with great views of the city, near good schools, so that when new veteran players come to town, they can be rapidly set up in excellent quarters, nearby to their teammates.
How about the team buying up some houses in Daryl Katz’s neighborhood? Then the players and their kids can go for a dip in that his pool. That might even have kept a society lady like Lauren Pronger happy….
Over-paying any player is the new dread disease of NHL management. Why couldn’t all the Oiler contracts be so fine as Hemsky’s $4 million a year deal? I know there are reasonable answers to this question, but it’s also an issue that haunts the Oilers, a franchise that is pressed right up against the top end of the cap, but isn’t pressed right up against the top end of the standings.
Some NHL hockey bosses, such as Ken Holland, spend dozens and dozens of hours with their top prospects, impressing on them the lessons they will need to learn if they are going to make it as good people and good players. If an NHL exec isn’t doing this, if it’s not out there constantly teaching and mentoring these young draft picks, that NHL team is squandering its talent base.
from Drew Sharp & Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press,
Six months after he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, Detroit Pistons owner Bill Davidson died Friday at the age of 86.
Davidson became majority owner of the Pistons in 1974. He also owned Palace Sports & Entertainment and the WNBA’s Detroit Shock. He owned the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning until 2008.
from Scott Cullen of TSN,
Amid all the financial doom and gloom coming out of the GM Meetings in Naples, Florida this week, it seems like an appropriate time to look ahead to this summer’s free agent market, when teams will be forced to make a lot of tough decisions.
Here’s an early look at the unrestricted free agent market:
Marian Hossa, LW, Detroit - Signing a one-year deal with the Wings seemed a little risky at the time and seems that way even more with the prospect of a shrinking salary cap in years to come. Nevertheless, Hossa’s done his part, scoring 34 goals in 61 games.
TORONTO – Colorado Avalanche forward Cody McCormick has been suspended for two games, without pay, for a high sticking incident in NHL Game #1014 against the Minnesota Wild, the National Hockey League announced today.
McCormick was assessed a double minor for high sticking Minnesota forward Cal Clutterbuck at 11:47 of the second period.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, McCormick will forfeit $5,618.28. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
McCormick will miss Saturday’s game at Edmonton and March 15 at Vancouver. He will be eligible to return March 17 when the Avalanche face the Wild in Minnesota.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
Thanks to a cap-induced leveling of the playing field, the must-win games for the league’s bubble teams start popping up early in March instead of the middle of April. Six teams are in contention for four spots in the Eastern Conference (even though the Flyers are just two points ahead of the Habs, I consider them a lock). So who will bemoan a season of missed opportunities while cleaning out their lockers a month from today? All will be revealed below.
Currently: Fifth place, 80 points
Last 10: 6-3-1
Remaining: 14 games—9 at home, 11 vs. teams below them in the standings
The Skinny: Give Bob Gainey credit for this much: he recognizes a losing hand when he deals one.
read on for more on the Eastern conference bubble teams…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
In the years leading up to the 2006 entry draft, Phil Kessel was projected as a legitimate candidate to go No. 1 overall because of his breakaway speed and shifty moves. Gradually, over the course of that season, his stock dipped and he ended up sliding to fifth overall to the Boston Bruins. The Blues, one of the teams that passed him up (they took Erik Johnson first overall instead) tried to remedy that at the deadline, but couldn’t coax the Bruins to part with him in a package for Keith Tkachuk and David Perron. Anaheim also made a pitch for Kessel, but was turned down as well.
After adding Steve Montador in a deadline deal with the Ducks, the Bruins now boast five ex-Flames in their line-up: Stephane Yelle, Chuck Kobasew and Andrew Ference, all of whom played on Calgary’s 2004 Stanley Cup finalist team, plus Marc Savard, Jarome Iginla’s ex-centre.
many more hockey notes plus a feature on Martin Brodeur…
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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