Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jamie Fitzpatrick of Jamie’s Hockey Blog,
It’s a long, long season, with many disappointments and tailspins yet to come.
But 2009-10 is already a success for the Axis of Underdog.
The Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche, Nashville Predators and Phoenix Coyotes should have all faded away by now, according to media types like, well, me.
They remain among the top 10 teams in the NHL.
from Stan Fischler of Game On,
No, I’m not going to call the Rangers a juggernaut; nor a jugger nor a naut. At least not yet.
But The Maven has this bit of advice for the Flyers whose City of Brotherly Love will be invaded by the Blueshirts on Thursday night: build a puck-shelter for whichever goaltender will face the new New York blitz.
And, a reminder to all of those pessimists in Rangerville who quickly are jumping back on the Seventh Avenue bandwagon; remember, it was The Maven who predicted at the start of October that John Tortorella’s skaters would finish FIFTH—read that again, FIFTH—in the Conference at season’s end.
That’s right; I based my prediction on the assumption that players such as Brandon Dubinsky, Marc Staal and Chris Higgins—among many others—would be meaningful contributors at some time or other this season. So, why not now?
via Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Defenseman Niklas Kronwall was feeling much chipper Tuesday morning after skating with the team for the first time since suffering a sprained left MCL on Nov. 21.
“Had a good day skating (Monday) and today it felt even better,’’ Kronwall said. “Hopefully, I’ll come in tomorrow morning and it will still feel really good. It definitely feels like we’re onto something.’’
He didn’t want to estimate when he might return.
“I don’t want to say too much, then I have the doctors and trainers all over me,’’ Kronwall said. “If I can just keep progressing like this it’s just a matter of getting the legs back and we’ll go from there.’’
Said Babcock: “As soon as you start feeling better and it looks like you’re turning the corner, it’s pretty easy to get energized. When it’s not, it sucks the life out of you.’’
added 10:08am, from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
Niklas Kronwall remains roughly a week to 10 days away, according to GM Ken Holland. Johan Franzen should be back just before the Olympic break or definitely after it.
more on the Wings…
Hossa probably still wondering how the puck did not hit the back of the net.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail, I
n the immediate aftermath of Black Monday – a night in which the two Alberta teams combined to get clobbered 15-1 by the San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche – the only thing they share in common is the experience of being an NHL punching bag.
That’s been going for some time in Edmonton, which is 1-13-1 in its past 15 games. Heading into last night’s NHL schedule, the Oilers were in 15th place in the Western Conference, 10 points out 14th and 20 out of the final playoff spot. Their fate is sealed.
The only race worth monitoring there is the one between the Oilers and the Carolina Hurricanes for the right to draft Taylor Hall first in the June entry that – a consolation prize of some note. The Oilers, at least, can offer a reasonable excuse. They’ve been plagued by injuries and their talent level was only so-so to begin with. Without their top goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin and their perennial scoring leader Ales Hemsky, they are too young and too small and too error-prone to compete this year.
Calgary, by contrast, has been extraordinarily healthy.
Sutton received five for boarding, a ten and game misconduct.
from Ethan J. Skolnick of the Sun-Sentinel,
How many NHL coaches does it take to turn on a light bulb?
In this case, none.
“I wish I could tell you that I did, that I figured it out, because then I could have a job for life in any sport I wanted,” Pete DeBoer says.
No, sometimes, the light just goes on, even if the athlete it illuminates remains in the dark about that occurrence.
“I think it has for him,” DeBoer says.
Just in time.
You see, this is the time of year when I traditionally write a “Nathan Horton is underachieving” column, devoting ample space to Horton’s aversion to shooting and inconsistency of effort.
Pierre LeBrun of ESPN responds to a poem about the Flames, asking basically what is the problem in Calgary…
More was expected from Jay Bouwmeester given the contract he received this past summer, more than the two goals and 16 assists he has through 50 games. Dion Phaneuf hasn’t been much better (19 points) and Robyn Regehr, though not counted on for offense, has struggled overall.
Up front, Jarome Iginla has been hot and cold, and Olli Jokinen mostly cold. Then, there’s a player like David Moss. It was hoped his breakthrough, 20-goal season in 2008-09 would propel him to better things this season, but he has only seven goals. Hey, the talent is here, as shown for most of the season when the Flames were rolling. They’ll rebound. But if I was GM Darryl Sutter, I would give the Carolina Hurricanes a call about rental player Ray Whitney, a dependable winger with point-a-game talent who can also spark a power play.
read on for more responses from Pierre on different hockey topics…
from Eric Stephens of Ducks Blog,
Spent a few minutes with goalie Jonas Hiller and discussed if there have been any talks about a new contract between himself, his agent Allain Roy and Ducks general manager Bob Murray. Hiller said there have been conversations but that any progress on a new deal may have to wait until Murray makes some key decisions over the next few months.
“There is talk going on,” Hiller said. “I’ve let them know that I want to stay here … if the conditions are right.”
The biggest obstacle could be the fact that the Ducks still owe Jean-Sebastien Giguere about $10.6 million on his contract, including $7 million next season. But the 32-year-old veteran is virtually untradeable, given the money he’s owed next season and that he’s now relegated to backup status.
Even if a team were to show serious interest, Giguere doesn’t figure to get many opportunities to play as the Ducks will lean on Hiller in their desperate push to make the playoffs.
from Bruce Garrioch of Off The Posts,
The Chicago Blackhawks don’t come to town very often.
Surely, there aren’t going to be empty seats.
The Senators announced Monday there are more than 2,750 tickets left for the visit by the Hawks to Scotiabank Place Tuesday.
That is surprising.
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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