Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Wigge of NHL.com,
New toys. Gifts under the tree. For an old grump like me, the best present is doing what I do every day: Watch and enjoy hockey.
I love new toys in the form of so many energetic youngsters showing their skills and making a great game even better with their hunger to show us all how great they can be.
“We haven’t seen such a great group of young players come into the NHL each year for a long time,” Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky told me. “It’s exciting to see all the skill, the speed, the energy they bring.
“As a coach now, it keeps me young to see how excited they are to be in the NHL.”
from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,
After an offseason roster overhaul, the Jackets find themselves next to last in the Western Conference, four points behind their pace from a season ago with a six-game road swing looming.
The second-year general manager said fan disappointment is understandable but that he supports the coaching staff and the team. He believes the Jackets can qualify for the playoffs as currently constructed, yet is working to improve the lineup after the loss of rookie center Derick Brassard to season-ending shoulder surgery.
The Dispatch has learned the Jackets have been in trade talks with six or seven teams. Howson would not confirm a total. The NHL’s holiday roster freeze ends tonight at 11:59.
“I still think we can make the playoffs with the team we have now,” he said. “But we are trying to tweak the roster for sure. We’ve had conversations (with other general managers) over the past week.”
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
As his team readies to face the slumping Senators, Phaneuf is a study of the glass being both half-full and half-empty.
On one hand, he has just three tallies—not exactly on pace with previous seasons. He scored 20 goals in his rookie year and 17 in the last two campaigns.
On the other hand, the blueliner has 23 points, which is close to being on target for his career-high.
On one hand, he’s a minus-11, which puts him near the bottom of the league.
On the other hand, he’s tops in the NHL with an average of nearly 28 minutes of ice-time per game.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
The NHL’s holiday trade freeze ends at midnight local time tonight, but General Manager Dean Lombardi said Friday he’s not planning to look for a goaltender—for now.
About a month ago the Kings were discussing a multi-team deal that would have brought Nikolai Khabibulin from Chicago, but the trade fell apart when one team tried to switch a player in the mix.
There isn’t much out there, anyway, Lombardi said. “You hear of any goalies available that I’m not hearing of?” he asked, joking.
via Ed Moran of the Philadelphia Daily News,
Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen and forward Scott Hartnell were injured in last night’s 5-1 loss to the Blackhawks.
Timonen had a soft cast on his right foot after chipping a bone in the ankle.
“It will depend on how Kimmo feels, but it looks like [he’ll be out] a minimum of a week,” Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. “Hartnell broke his big toe blocking a shot. We’ll see how he feels, but it’s a very slim chance [he’ll play tonight].” *
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune
, It didn’t take long for the Blackhawks to erase any fear they would lose momentum during their Christmas break.
The Hawks picked up right where they left off as they scored 1 minute 13 seconds into Friday night’s 5-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers before a franchise-regular-season-record crowd of 22,712 at the United Center.
The crowd eclipsed the previous regular-season mark of 22,690 on Oct. 25 against the Detroit Red Wings.
The victory extended the Hawks’ winning streak to a club-record-tying eight games, matching the mark set during the 1971 season and again in ‘81. Their fifth victory in a row at home extended the Hawks’ points streak to 10 games (9-0-1).
continue for a game recap…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Still, with the Rangers New York Rangers having needs that now include the ability to play with poise under pressure, what would Henrik Lundqvist Henrik Lundqvist think if Brendan Shanahan Brendan Shanahan somehow suddenly walked through the door into the locker room?
“I don’t want this to be taken as a sign of disrespect to anyone, because I believe in the group we have here now, but I like Brendan a lot, he helped me and our team a lot, and I would definitely welcome him back,” Lundqvist told The Post following yesterday’s up-tempo practice. “But it’s hard to say what the impact would be, because we’re a different team than the one he left.
“I look at that the same way I did when there was the chance that Mats [Sundin] would come here. Mats and Brendan are two players who know what it takes, and I think any team with the cap space would love to have either, but you don’t know how adding players like that in the middle of the season would affect team chemistry.
“I’m not saying we need it, but sometimes change is good. But it doesn’t do any good to talk about players who aren’t on our team,” said The King, who will face the Devils tonight at the Garden.
from Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
The Thrashers aren’t merely the 28th-ranked team in a 30-team league. They are a mediocre, even if hard-working, bunch put together with the primary objective of losing as little money as possible. The roster screams it. The payroll confirms it. Nobody denies it.
A franchise can’t possibly send a worse message to an already dwindling fan base.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where we sit in salaries in the league,” general manager Don Waddell said before Friday’s loss to Carolina — and it should be noted here that while he didn’t shirk responsibility for the way this team has devolved, it always helps to spread the blame….
All of the problems obviously can’t be attributed to finances. Most of the problems can be traced back to year one. Waddell was here, the Spirit wasn’t. Even in budget-crunching times, a general manager can make things work to a degree if there’s a solid foundation. Waddell poured the foundation. It hasn’t been just about bad drafts or miscalculations in personnel. It’s mostly about never having a successful plan, a structure, an identity.
Nick Lidstrom did not appear after the first period in tonight’s game in Nashville.
Word is he is out for the rest of the game with a lower body injury.
edit 9:54pm, Nick did play about a minute in the 2nd period, then went to the locker room.
added 11:05pm, SnapShots has all the details and in summary, nothing major, xrays were negative and Nick could play either tomorrow or the next game.
Seems Lidstrom took a shot to the foot and had discomfort in skating.
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
I’ve had a zillion dreams involving the Avs. They happen all the time. In many of them, I’ve been an actual player on the team. And it felt so real . I’m usually a fourth-liner, but I’m out there playing, hearing the crowd, talking with teammates on the bench. For about an hour every so often in my sleep, I’m an actual NHL player, literally and figuratively living the dream. It’s wonderful. It’s a major bummer when I wake up, therefore, and go back to being a 40-something newspaper hack with a bad back and an ambien habit.
So last night, here are scenes from the dream factory, and I’ll just tell them in the same scattershot manner in which they happened and that I have of them now: I’m at a game between the Avs and Red Wings - in Sweden. The Avs win 1-0 on a goal in the last couple minutes, but I missed it, because I’m trying to get online in the press room of a foreign country and things aren’t working right…
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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