Kukla's Korner Hockey
from P.J. Stock of Blogs and Columns at CBC,
Best of the season to everyone except those that rip me about my blog entries. I hope many of you get coal in your stockings and reindeer manure under the tree. For all the others, a WII, a new car, gum, whatever you’re looking for, I hope you get….
Deserving of a gift:
1. Boston Bruins
Why? Despite competing with three other teams in the city that are all champions (Celtics, Patriots, Red Sox) and an owner who has a bad reputation in the city as a frugal man, the Bruins are back.
They have a star youngster, who, one year after being scratched for games in the playoffs because he wasn’t competing enough, responded by being one of league’s top scorers. That’s Phil Kessel….
more gifts and coal being passed out too…
from Hey, Missy at the Chicago Tribune,
In particular, the Red Wings will have to navigate a particularly steep and narrow set of about 15 steps down from the tiny visitors clubhouse and make one of the longest walks in baseball to the dugout and then out to the rink. Three times. For the last portion before getting to the dugout, anyone over six feet (and with skates on, that pretty much applies to everyone), they also have to be careful not to bump their heads.
It’s that time of the year again, so here are the presents people in the hockey world should see under the tree.
read on for the rest of the story at my NHL.com submission for the week.
from John Grigg of the Hockey News,
...But there’s one under-the-radar player who is fast making a name for himself around the NHL and coming up in Calder chatter (at least when I’m involved) – Boston defender Matt Hunwick.
The 23-year-old native of Warren, Mich., is an alumnus of the U.S. National Team Development Program and the University of Michigan. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder started this year – his second pro season – with the American League’s Providence Bruins, but was called up after just two games. His first NHL game this season came on Oct. 15, but then he sat out until November. When Andrew Ference fractured his leg, Hunwick got a chance to be a regular and has only missed one game since.
After failing to register a point through his first five NHL games this season, Hunwick reeled off a six-game point streak in which he tallied three goals and eight points. He currently has three goals, 14 points (tying him for 10th among rookies with Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan) and is plus-13 in just 21 games.
from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,
Five questions to answer in 2009
Will the Sharks finally break through in the playoffs?
No, we don’t expect the Sharks to keep winning at this pace and finish the season undefeated in regulation at home. But we also don’t anticipate the annual playoff collapse, either. There’s something different about this San Jose team, and the roster finally has players who know what it takes to advance beyond the first two rounds.
How quickly will Brian Burke tear things down in Toronto?
There’s no easy way to rebuild, but the worst thing a rebuilding franchise can be is average. It needs to get much worse in Toronto before it gets better—and that starts by dealing anyone who can return prospects and picks.
read on plus a look at 2008…
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have recalled defensemen Bryan Helmer and forward Andrew Gordon from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL), vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.
Helmer, 36, is a 6’1”, 215-pound 16-year pro from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. He is the Bears captain and is the active AHL games played (894) and assists (361) leader. The undrafted Helmer, No. 43 with Washington, has 11 assists in 25 AHL games with year. He was recently named captain for the Canadian team in next month’s AHL All-Star Classic. This is Helmer’s second recall of the year, as he recorded one assist in six games with the Capitals from Nov. 28 – Dec. 10. He has 24 points (8g-16a) in 140 career NHL games with Washington, Phoenix, Vancouver and St. Louis.
Gordon, 23, is a 6’0”, 185-pound second-year pro from Halifax, Nova Scotia. He has 20 points (10g-10a) in 30 AHL games this year and is one of only four Bears to have double-digit goals and assists. Gordon has two game-winning goals and has tallied at least one point in 15 games this season.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
...there’s a good chance that if Wheeler (11-9 -20, plus-19 in 33 games) continues to produce at his current rate, he’ll earn some extra cash to tack onto his $875,000 base pay.
Wheeler is in line to hit three $212,500 Individual A bonuses: scoring at least 20 goals, finishing among the top three Bruins in plus-minus, and making the All-Rookie Team. Wheeler is on pace to score 27 goals. He is second on the team in plus-minus, trailing only Marc Savard (plus-20). Among rookies, Wheeler is tied with Toronto’s Mikhail Grabovski with 20 points, trailing Columbus’s Derick Brassard (25), Chicago’s Kris Versteeg (25), and St. Louis’s Patrik Berglund (21). Brassard dislocated his shoulder last Thursday and is expected to miss the rest of the season.
more on the Bruins
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
The Oilers have an abundance of young, skilled, play-making future stars but they clearly haven’t found a goal scorer to go with Ales Hemsky, are still seriously short on guts and remain at the bottom of the league in penalty killing and faceoffs. There’s been a serious shortage of will and willingness to compete. Some of the veterans aren’t as safe as they were at this time last year.
There’s no need for Eric Cole to remain here playing on the third line or that he’ll have a future fitting in on the first two. If you’re scoring Lowe is oh-for-three trying to find Hemsky a mate.
First there was Joffrey Lupul. Dustin Penner keeps getting chances and keeps failing to claim the spot. And getting right winger Cole to play with right winger Hemsky didn’t work either. Next.
from Brent Jang of the Globe and Mail,
(Peter) Pocklington, who’s now 67, is trying to keep things in perspective. Having hundreds of familiar and valuable possessions seized isn’t driving him to distraction, he insists.
“I don’t want to get involved in the public again. You never win. It’s ‘he said, you said.’ I don’t really give a shit what people say any more. I really don’t care. You can write whatever the hell you want. Thirty or 40 years from now, who gives a shit,” he says. “With all the shit that I’ve been through in my life, I don’t really mind. I’m not a bitter person. People who are bitter end up having heart attacks. That’s why I’m healthy at my age. I don’t internalize things.”
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
After Ottawa finishes an eight-game, season-defining road trip—which begins tonight in Philadelphia—fans will pretty much know where their team stands.
While Senators owner Eugene Melnyk says the media will be calling it a miracle turnaround when his team vaults into the top four in the Eastern Conference by March, it’s these next eight games that will determine what kind of miracles this team can perform.
After tonight’s game against the Flyers, the Senators will get a two-day Christmas break before heading to Western Canada for games in Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton.
After returning home for New Year’s, the Senators, who are being displaced by the world juniors, will hit the road for four more (Toronto, New Jersey, Buffalo and Boston).
In pursuit of a playoff spot or in pursuit of a lottery pick? It could go either way.
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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