Kukla's Korner Hockey
via Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette did not announce outright his starting goalie, but hinted strongly at going back to Michael Leighton.
“Our goaltender has the best numbers in the playoffs, I don’t think I have to announce it,” Laviolette told reporters during media availability Tuesday afternoon after practice.
Leighton twice has been pulled in the Cup finals, including Game 5 in Chicago.
I think going with Leighton is the right call, but any sign of his game being off, he will be replaced.
from Risto Pakarinen at NHL.com,
“You have to be a superstar in the NHL to be a superstar in Finland, because the NHL still seems so far away. Even if people complain about the level of hockey at the Worlds or the Finnish league, the majority of people still follow mostly those. However, for anyone following the NHL, there’s never been a better time,” said Aki Mäki-Kuhna, a Helsinki-based fan.
Niemi and Leino have never represented Finland in a major tournament, and while Leino was a bona fide star in the Finnish SM-Liiga just two years ago, he wasn’t the kind of household name that makes people get up in the middle of the night to watch a hockey game—regardless of how good the matchup is.
All Cup Final games start at 3 a.m. in Finland, probably the worst possible time for the working man. But of course, where there’s a will, there’s a way.
“I do time-shifting, so I record the game, and get up at, say, 4:30, then watch the first two periods, fast forwarding past the commercial breaks and the intermissions, and then watch the last period live,” Mäki-Kuhna said.
There is another option. The games are broadcast the next day as well.
from Greg Wyshynski of PuckDaddy,
In our digital age, the designs for Stanley Cup championship merchandise have been leakier than an old faucet. Please recall last year when Shop NHL accidently gave away the shirt and hat designs for the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins after fans simply increased the last digit on site URLs by one to discover the “hidden” gear. (A flaw the NHL corrected after that leak.)
Two years ago, Shop.com goofed by releasing Detroit Red Wings Stanley Cup champions gear before the Wings actually won the championship. That same site is the source for the collection of small images of Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers designs you see, including the official 2010 Stanley Cup champions hats that some collect annually.
continued with pictures (none photoshopped)...
from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider,
The agent for goaltender Jose Theodore, who just completed his second season in Washington, said there have been no discussions regarding an extension for the 33-year-old unrestricted free agent to be.
“They haven’t communicated with me at all,” Don Meehan said this morning from his Toronto area office.
Meehan didn’t want to speculate about the Caps’ plans. But we know this: if there hasn’t been a single discussion of an extension by now, most likely there’s not going to be one.
“Jose can’t control anything as far as his association with Washington,” Meehan added. “It’s a matter of going to free agency on July 1 if Washington chooses not to establish a relationship with him. He’s a veteran, he’s been around a long time, he’s positive.”
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
• If Columbus is going to deal that fourth pick, it’s got to address the number one thing missing from the roster - a centre to play with Nash. I’m just spitballing here (Howson makes it tough because he’s so tight-lipped), but I wonder what the Blue Jackets think of Jason Spezza. This is a perfect place for Spezza, tired of being the Ottawa fans’ whipping boy. In theory, the framework makes sense for both teams. But, would McConnell rather eat nails than commit to $35 million US over the next five years?
• If I was a Canadian team’s GM, I’d take a long look at Adam Burish. He’s a UFA making $712,500, so he won’t be ridiculously expensive. One day during the Cup Final, he must have done a 30-minute scrum. I asked him if he saw that as important, and he said yes. “I know (Jonathan) Toews doesn’t really like doing it, so if I can go an extra 10 minutes to lighten his load, it helps.” It’s tougher on a daily basis in Canada, but this country’s teams need players like that.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning added NHL veteran and Stanley Cup Champion Pat Verbeek to its professional scouting staff, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced this morning. Verbeek joins the Lightning from the Detroit Red Wings where he had spent the previous four seasons as a professional scout.
“Pat brings a wealth of hockey knowledge and experience as a player and a scout to our staff,” Yzerman said. “His ability to identify and evaluate talent will be a great resource as we move forward and we are pleased he elected to continue his career with the Lightning.”
from Cory Wolfe of the Leader-Post,
“I know about his family and he knows about my family,” said Babcock, the Saskatoon-raised head coach of the Detroit Red Wings. “You build a relationship over time.”
Their relationship fused into a lifelong friendship two years ago when Bowman’s son Stan faced a second battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Babcock—a longtime supporter of cancer charities—connected the Bowmans with Dr. Lennie Sender, one of the world’s foremost oncologists. Babcock met Sender while coaching the Anaheim Ducks….
And like the Hawks’ fortunes, the friendship between the elder Bowman and Babcock continues to flourish. How tight is their bond? Well, consider that Scotty Bowman cancelled plans to attend next month’s British Open so that he could come to Saskatoon to help Babcock raise funds for the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan….
Bowman said he’s thrilled to help.
“When you get fortunate—and we’ve had some good bounces on the health side of late—this is at least some way that I can give back,” he said.
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
Last season wasn’t a mirage. If you’ve watched the postseason, you know a string of mediocre seasons has left the Wild short on young talent, star power and depth, particularly at center.
General Manager Chuck Fletcher knows this, which is why he’s trying to build on the fly by acquiring youngsters Guillaume Latendresse and Cam Barker last season and signing college free-agents like Casey Wellman and Nate Prosser.
But a lot more has to be done. With limited salary-cap room heading into a weak free-agent market anyway, Fletcher will have to get creative and bold this offseason if he’s going to turn the Wild into a true playoff contender.
The trade route might be the only way, especially with the second-most popular trading time of the year coming up—the June 25-26 draft. But the problem is the Wild owns precious few assets that could draw back the significant pieces needed.
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
The Wings have offered a two-year deal to unrestricted free-agent forward Todd Bertuzzi….
The cap is expected to rise $2 million to $58.8 million, leaving roughly $6.5 million in cap space. Besides re-signing Bertuzzi and the five restricted agents, the Wings will use what is left toward a veteran defenseman—possibly Andreas Lilja—and seeing if there’s a gritty forward available via free agency.
more on the Wings…
from Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post,
Stan Kroenke intends to keep ownership of the NHL’s Avalanche and the NBA’s Nuggets within his family, as well as own the NFL’s St. Louis Rams, he made clear in a statement Monday. Kroenke also made his first public comments about transferring ownership of the Nuggets to his son, Josh.
“Our son Josh has been involved with many of our organizations for several years and that family continuity remains a priority,” Kroenke said in a statement to The Denver Post. “My family looks forward to owning the Rams, Nuggets and Avalanche for years to come while being compliant with all stipulations set by the NFL. Our family remains committed to fans in St. Louis and Denver.”
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.
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