Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ethan J. Skolnick of the Sun-Sentinel,
This statement is so startling that it can’t wait for a second paragraph: the Panthers’ plan appears to be working.
Collect yourself. Call a witness.
“It’s important to have a plan,” Panthers general manager Jacques Martin said.
It sounds simple. You would assume that every self-respecting sports franchise would conceive one, develop one, follow one. A plan making sense. A plan seen through, tweaked when necessary but abandoned only in emergency. For too many years, however, even the Panthers’ best-laid plans were prematurely laid to rest, buried alive when the team got buried again in the standings. Play the kids. Bring in vets. Play the kids. No, go with vets. The Panthers switched strategies like teens change crushes.
from Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen,
Memo to NHL coaches: think twice before accepting that all expenses paid trip to Europe to start the NHL season.
It may shorten your coaching career.
When Pittsburgh’s Michel Therrien was fired on the weekend, he became the fifth coaching casualty of the NHL season, but the third coach to lose his job after his team opened the 2008-09 season in Europe. Incredibly, two of those fired coaches had just been hired prior to the season.
from Damien Cox of the Spin at the Toronto Star, T
he Leafs, it’s needless to say, have only one untouchable on their roster, and that’s Luke Schenn. Otherwise, any player could be had, with different trade values assigned to them all.
The four players believed to be most in play, however, are rearguards Pavel Kubina and Tomas Kaberle, and forwards Nik Antropov and Dominic Moore. Kubina and Kaberle both have no-trade clauses and time on their contracts beyond this season, while Antropov and Moore are both pending unrestricted free agents.
Interestingly, the approach on all four is likely to be very different.
For Kaberle, don’t listen too closely to what Burke is saying publicly. He’s trying to set a market.
from Homer McFanboy,
John Buccigross is an exception to the rule.
While ESPN has largely ignored professional hockey, the former NHL 2Night co-host has gone above and beyond to show the NHL some love. His weekly column on ESPN.com is a must read for any diehard, so we asked him to take some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about the Washington Capitals. Thankfully, he agreed to play along….
When it’s all said and done, where will Alex Ovechkin rank among the league’s elite? You’re already on record as saying he’s the best player in Capitals history, but will he be mentioned in the same breath as Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux as one of the best to ever play the sport?
“I think that will depend on how prolific his goal totals end up being,” Buccigross said. “He has already proved to be one of the more unique players in NHL history. Really, who else compares? If he approaches 800 goals that would be interesting, but I wonder with Ovechkin’s style of play if he can have a long career. Either way he will go down as an NHL great and a player teenagers will grow up talking about and comparing subsequent players to.”
from Scott Cruickshank at Flames Insider,
After stunning saves on RW Steve Bernier (left pad) and C Mats Sundin (glove), Kiprusoff had needed to lunge to his right when puck squirted over to Wellwood. The shot, seemingly into an empty net, was batted away by the back of the Flames netminder’s paddle.
Great save, right?
“Kyle got what he deserves,” said Vigneault. “I mean, he is not bearing down and had an open net. He’s shooting the puck two miles an hour. You have to bear down, you have to put your full weight into it, you have to shoot it. He might have been standing there a little bit. Obviously, it looked like the goalie made a big save, but the player didn’t have a great attempt there.”
read on and watch the save below…
from Elliotte Friedman of Blogs and Columns at CBC,
If Bob Gainey really wanted to trade Alex Kovalev right now, the Russian winger wouldn’t be “resting.” He’d be packing.
Sunday’s loss in Vancouver wasn’t necessarily No. 27’s final game in a Canadiens uniform. Unless he shows up on the upcoming off-day Friday dragging the Stanley Cup behind his car – a la George Costanza with the World Series Trophy in Seinfeld – Kovalev will play for this team again.
This is part of Gainey’s three-pronged attack to warn the roster that no one is secure, that spoiled behaviour and indifferent play will no longer be tolerated. Add Kovalev’s banishment to Sergei Kostitsyn’s demotion and the trade for Mathieu Schneider and what has Gainey done? He’s rattled everyone without permanently getting rid of anyone. And that’s critical to the point here.
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
Nationwide Arena is dark and quiet when Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock arrives each morning around 6, a newspaper in one hand and a coffee in the other. He doesn’t go straight to his office. That can wait. He heads for the arena’s empty lower bowl.
“I love the solitude of the rink in the early morning,” Hitchcock said. “I can think when it’s that quiet I sit there and soak it all up while I’m getting ready for the day to get rolling. You can feel the building and all the stories it has to tell, almost like it’s alive.
“To me, it’s a beautiful place to be, especially when they have the curtains pulled back from the upstairs windows and the sun comes shining in on the ice.”
Sportsnet.ca hockey columnist Mike Brophy breaks down every team in the Eastern Conference by looking at each club’s needs and trade bait and what they might do before the March 4th deadline.
Team needs: Somebody to play with Ilya Kovalchuk. Because if they don’t get somebody soon, it will be Kovalchuk insisting he be shipped out of town. His best years are slipping away and thus far, he has four playoff games to show for six years in the league. Beyond that, the Thrashers need to get some young scoring talent up front to go with Kovalchuk and Bryan Little as well as some veteran presence on the blueline.
Trade bait: The Thrashers have a team most of second- and third-liners that might be of interest to other teams including Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Todd White, Slava Kozlov ... oh, what they heck, anybody except Kovalchuk and Little.
now that you have the layout, go read about the rest of the East…
from John Buccigross of ESPN,
Every September, I begin another season of weekly hockey columns by attempting to predict the top eight teams in each conference. This season, I added a “vibe” for each team. Let’s look back and see what I wrote then, and I’ll update where each pick stands today. I’ll list the teams in the order of their projected finish.
15. Los Angeles Kings
The vibe: Hope. I know it sounds strange, but I like the Kings’ position. They have very good young players who also appear to have some character.
Now: The Kings still might finish 15th in the tight West, but that is unimportant. Hope is alive, and with another year of experience and a free agent or two, the Kings will be thinking playoffs next season.
As the trade deadline of 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 4 approaches, the National Hockey League has prepared the following:
How is a trade made?
After two clubs have come to an agreement on a trade, the clubs must advise the League office, either by telephone or by FAX, of the terms of the trade. The League office then schedules a conference call with the two teams to review the transaction and give final approval for the deal. Prior to the trade call, the League office will ensure that the team has the appropriate salary cap space to make the deal; if draft choices are involved, that the club has the available choices; and that the team has available space on its reserve list to add the player (s). It should be noted that the 23-man roster restriction is no longer in force from February 27 on.
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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