Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Kevin Allen of Mucking and Grinding,
At 39, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nick Lidstrom simply won’t act his age. In the midst of Detroit’s worst season in many years, the six-time Norris trophy winner is still performing like a player in his prime.
In the past 14 games, he has four goals and 11 assists and he’s been plus-12. On a team that has given up more goals than it has scored, Lidstrom is plus-20.
To put that in perspective, consider that Detroit defenseman Brad Stuart played exceptional for a stretch early in the season and he is still minus-9
from Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated,
For those Nervous Nellies in Montreal who are now yapping for general manager Bob Gainey to trade laconic 22-year-old Carey Price and anoint 24-year-old Jaroslav Halak as the No. 1 goalie, please take a giant step back from the situation. Maybe Price doesn’t blossom into the Second Coming of Ken Dryden, but it is still far too early to tell in a profession rife with late bloomers such as Miikka Kiprusoff, Tim Thomas and others who have had a far skimpier portfolio than a fifth overall draft pick.
more plus additional hockey topics, including a look at the Coyotes…
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
In a season that passes in a blur thanks to the Olympic break, these games pass by all too quickly: a clash of the two best teams in the Western Conference, and arguably—with all due respect to the Washington Capitals—the two best teams in the NHL.
But talk to players from the Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks and they’ll tell you Thursday’s game is important on a number of levels, but remains about keeping things in perspective; another day at the office.
With a win, the Sharks could open a four-point lead in the West. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, could pull into a tie in points and jump ahead by two victories if they can steal another game in San Jose in the final of four meetings between the two conference powers.
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
Here is what Washington fans, players and management have to fear as the NHL’s regular season hobbles toward a much-needed Olympic break:
1. Do we have the goaltending and defense corps to compliment The-Best-Player-We’ll Ever-Have come playoff time?
2. Somebody’s always watching Alex Ovechkin to make sure he isn’t risking life and limb in some previously unheard of, frenetic off-ice activity such as Midnight Moguls or Zamboni Racing, right?
That’s it. That’s the sum of the Capitals’ stress.
Mike Babcock was on the Fan590 about 20 minutes ago.
Talked Wings and very frank in his discussion. Then talked Team Canada before talking more Wings, including Osgood.
He also mentioned Williams back tomorrow, Homer back Sunday or the next game and Franzen scheduled to play the last three games before the Olympic break.
Ray Thill,Tampa Bay Lightning Equipment Manager, discusses the protective gear players wear.
via Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
The Blues were victimized last night. A 2-2 game, midway through the third period at Vancouver. Paul Kariya was sent off for two minutes for “slashing” Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin. There were only two problems with the call: (A) in an attempt to con the officials with an acting job, Sedin dramatically shook his left hand. Except that Kariya had actually “slashed” Sedin’s right hand. Still, it was very impressive the way Sedin thrashed that left hand around. He was in so much pain that he skated away from the puck — just abandoned the thing — during live action. Sedin was so good in conveying his near-death experience.
I wonder if the ref will have a pre-game chat with Henrik when the meet up again? On the other hand, I doubt it…
from Graig Woodburn of WEEI,
Here are a few other players who may be on the trading block and could possibly be a good fit for the Bruins. They may not be an impact player like Kovalchuk, but they also may not command as steep a price.
Paul Kariya – St. Louis
It would certainly be interesting to see how Kariya would mesh skating with Marc Savard. He would add team speed to the Bruins and provide a nice counter-attack off the rush.
read on for more players plus a report claiming Atlanta wants the Bruins #1 pick (via Toronto) for Kovalchuk…
from Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News,
A goalie has won the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s MVP only four times. Montreal’s Jacques Plante won it in 1961-62. Jose Theodore won it for the Canadiens in 2001-02. The Sabres’ Dominik Hasek won it back-to-back in 1996-97 and 1997-98.
If I had a vote now, it would go to the Sabres’ Ryan Miller. You can make arguments for other players, but Miller has been the most vital player to his team, the man most responsible for his team’s lofty position in the standings.
KK readers, who is your Hart Trophy winner or is it to early to tell?
from Dave Staples of The Cult Of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal,
There are some pundits who say the Edmonton Oilers will be able to get something of value in return for players like Sheldon Souray. There are others, such as TSN’s Bob McKenzie, who aren’t nearly so optimistic.
I’m firmly in that not optimistic camp, but I’m hoping to be surprised.
Here’s how I see the trade value of various Oilers, the ones who are on the block, have been on the block, might be on the block, or should be on the block:
Pisani’s contract is up this July, so he’s a pure rental, a veteran with Stanley Cup experience who is one of the best penalty killers in the NHL. A great pick up for any team with cap space, the only risk being his health.
Best case for Oilers: Now if the Oilers’ goal is to win next season, they might want to pick up a cheap, veteran goalie for Pisani, or any solid, defensive-minded veteran player aged 23-28.
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org