Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN,
So I’m standing in the United Center suite with Mr. Hockey himself, Michael Jordan, and his buddy, Kid Rock. We’re killing time between the first and second periods of the Chicago Blackhawks-Detroit Red Wings playoff game, and I’m thinking, “NHL, where have you been all my life?”
I mean, when’s the last time you saw MJ at a hockey game? Even more incredible, when’s the last time Jordan slipped on a personalized No. 23 Hawks sweater (but only after team officials sewed a red patch over the maker’s company logo), walked out to his seat and happily posed and waved to the geeked crowd as the Versus cameras recorded every surreal moment? After all, who thought MJ would commit to the Indian?
“That’s never happened,” says an amazed Jay Blunk, the team’s senior vice president of business operations. “We celebrate the little things.”
“It’s validation,” says Hawks president John McDonough, who has known Jordan for years. “It’s validation.”
from Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger,
As they compile their wish lists for the start of free agency beginning July 1, GMs will likely be facing the first decrease in the salary cap since it was instituted for the 2005-06 season.
The cap could drop by as much as $2.5 million for the 2009-10 season from its current $56.7 million figure, according to NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly. Although Daly couldn’t say, it is not inconceivable that the figure could fall to $50 million for the 2010-11 season.
“At this point, we don’t really have a good estimate of where the cap will be,” Daly wrote in an e-mail to The Star-Ledger. “If the NHLPA wants a 5 percent inflator, and we agree, the cap should be relatively ‘flat.’ If there is no inflator applied, the cap will be down $2-$2.5 million.”
Q. Mike, Brian Campbell labeled the Kronwall move as gutless. Whats your response to that?
MIKE BABCOCK: I thought it was a great hockey hit. I thought it was a great hockey hit. So far from being gutless it’s not even funny. He did it right. He didn’t leave his feet. The puck was right in between the guy’s feet. I mean, no way.
Q. Can you update Draper, Datsyuk, their situations for tomorrow? If Draper can’t play, who would replace him?
MIKE BABCOCK: Draper can’t play. Abbie is going to go in his spot. Be good for him. Play his natural position. Datsyuk is going to be the same thing as it was the day before. We’ll see. I noticed his stuff was hanging up. They’re hoping they can get him in his boot and get him going.
Q. What is the update on Khabi and Havlat?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE: Khabi is doing better today. We’ll see how he presents tomorrow. But good progress.
And Marty, as well. I thought Marty really looked good today. Hopefully he progresses today in the same fashion for tomorrow and a chance he could play tomorrow.
Q. What did you think on the hit on Havlat?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE: It’s a dangerous hit. Same stance as I had last night. You know, he didn’t touch the puck. The guy left his feet. You know, it was a tough hit.
Q. Will Khabibulin possibly start tomorrow?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE: We’ll see. We’ll make that determination tomorrow.
from Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times,
But now it’s nasty, too.
Michael Jordan was in the house, wearing a No. 23 Hawks jersey with his own name on it, of course, and one had to wonder what he felt about Kronwall’s crushing blow. Memories of the Pistons’ ‘‘Bad Boys’’ back in the day?
No matter. One more victory at home, and this thing is all even.
Guaranteed, that victory isn’t going to come easy. It might not be pretty, either.
Seat belts, everybody.
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
For decades, the photograph was folded in half and archived in a wood barrel in the basement of former Canadiens goaltender Gerry McNeil, remarkable history unceremoniously stored.
It is a magnificent, early 1950s oversized glossy snapped by photographer James (Scotty) Kilpatrick, the sharp fold giving this end of Detroit Olympia ice a second crease: McNeil is sprawled on his back, wearing the tortured look of every maskless netminder, as teammate Émile (Butch) Bouchard arrives to clear the rebound.
Five years ago, upon the death of his father, David McNeil discovered the image in a dusty cardboard box stacked in the basement locker of the Pointe Claire condominium where his parents had lived.
McNeil has since learned more about the precious Kilpatricks his father had been given and squirreled away, photos he discussed during a poignant half-hour presentation at the Bell Centre last Saturday to the annual meeting of the Society for International Hockey Research.
continued and make sure to check out Gerry McNeil: Goaltender Under Pressure Manuscript Description that contains some fantastic old-school hockey pictures.
from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,
Through earlier upsets of New Jersey and Boston, it was the stellar goaltending of Ward combined with the relentless offence of Staal that carried the Cardiac Canes.
But now, two losses into the series, Carolina desperately needs a big performance from both those players in order to keep that deficit from becoming insurmountable.
Staal has not scored in the last five games and has but a lone assist in the conference final. Ward gave up six goals in a 7-4 loss Thursday, the most he has ever allowed in a playoff game. In 38 previous post-season appearances, Ward had never given up more than four goals.
As he watches Crosby and Malkin put up big numbers – nine points between them in the first two games – Staal understands he also has to produce.
from Vicki Hall of the Calgary Herald,
“Mike’s a guy who was coaching in his heyday in the ’80s and early ’90s when he had his success,” Regehr said late Friday afternoon after news of Keenan’s dismissal broke. “If you don’t adapt, it doesn’t work anymore. It’s become a lot more technical.
“We just were lacking in that area.”...
Since 1996 in St. Louis, his teams have not advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs.
“The biggest difference from back then is the margin of error,” Regehr said.
“The margin of error was a lot greater back then. You were able to play that type of hockey. There was so much talent on some of those teams. There was a big, big discrepancy. They could just turn it on in a period and win games and do it on a regular basis.”
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
After lollygagging through the first three rounds of playoffs with nonsensical extra off-days thrown in willy-nilly, the NHL is prepared to play Games 1 and 2 of the Cup final on back-to-back nights, because NBC is weak in prime time on Fridays and Saturdays, and will deign to telecast both games if the NHL doesn’t mind twisting itself into a pretzel to co-operate….
If they play on the 5th and 6th, and go every second day from that point on, they would play Game 3 on June 8, Game 4 on the 10th, and so on, meaning a possible Game 7 on the 16th, a day later than the NHL’s written-in-stone pledge to have the season end by June 15.
So in order to keep its promise, the league would have to schedule another back-to-back within the series….
If the league’s owners had the stones they were born with, they might actually rise up and challenge the commissioner once in a while when his desire to be bigger than he (or the league) really is — regardless of the cost to its dignity — makes hockey look pathetic.
But he has led them this far, and they have drunk his Kool-Aid. Evidently, they are unwilling, or unable, to rally in the name of common sense.
from Mark Everson of the NY Post,
Devils coach Brent Sutter told The Post last night that the firing of Mike Keenan by elder brother Darryl Sutter in Calgary “has zero impact” on whether he will return behind the New Jersey bench next season….
“Absolutely not. It has nothing to do with my thinking,” Sutter told The Post. “I’m employed by the New Jersey Devils, and that’s the way I look at it.”...
There have been rumbles that GM Lou Lamoriello would not be heartbroken if Sutter decides not to return for the third year of his lucrative contract. One wise man suggested that if Sutter isn’t coming back after next season, Lamoriello might want to cut the cord now.
But Lamoriello surely would want compensation from a team that might sign Sutter, a first-rounder is the going rate, especially if the coach was to go to Calgary.
more & I recall reading that compensation for a situation like this is no longer allowed…
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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