Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Rich Hofmann at the Philadelphia Daily News,
Johnny Gottselig is the answer to the trivia question. He was the captain of the Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks in 1938. Though he was raised in Canada and played youth hockey there, he was born in Odessa, Russia. So, literally, Gottselig was the first European captain to win the Cup.
But, well, no. Gottselig left Russia as an infant. He was not trained there and his game was not shaped there. He was not a European in any kind of a hockey sense. He was from Saskatchewan.
Nicklas Lidstrom is not from Saskatchewan.
“It would mean a lot,” Lidstrom acknowledges when the question is asked, the question about what it would mean to be the first European born and trained captain to win the Cup, the first real European captain.
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail,
Maybe we’ll see a comeback yet in these Stanley Cup finals. Maybe we’ll see one team spot the other a lead and then roar back, on the strength of their talent or their will or even just because the puck took a funny hop on the soft ice of the Mellon Arena.
That was how it was supposed to be in the new NHL, right? Players told you all the time: No lead was safe anymore. With the dark forces of obstruction finally exorcised from the game, teams could not go into lock-down mode if they got an early advantage. They had to play until the final whistle.
Except … in these playoffs, with these two teams, every lead but one has been safe. The Pittsburgh Penguins are a perfect 11-0 when they score the first goal; the Detroit Red Wings are almost as efficient, at 12-1.
Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said Tomas Holmstrom would not skate at practice Friday and is unlikely to play in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“Game 4, I don’t know, Holland said. “We like to think he’ll be back in the series.”
And Red Wings Corner has more on the lineups that were used in practice today.
From Erik Erlendsson at Bolts Report,
I’m currently up in Toronto for two purposes. The first was to have the chance to meet Steven Stamkos and his family, which I did on Thursday night. The other was to swing by the combine today for the physical testing of the top prospects, including Stamkos, to find out about this VO2 bike test they put the prospects through, which has barf buckets right next to the bikes. Look for that story in Saturday’s paper.
As far as Stamkos goes, he certainly seems like one of the nicest high-profile teenagers you might ever meet. Spent just over two hours at the family house outside of Toronto and had some great conversations. Very humble family and you can see how that has carried over to Steven. Despite all the heavy marketing the Lightning have already done with Stamkos, they still answer everything with “if Tampa Bay drafts’’. They are taking nothing for granted, and that’s just how they are, they don’t want to get ahead of anything.
more on Stamkos
Q. Holmstrom may or may not play. What does that change, if he’s not in the lineup?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: They still have a lot of quality players. And it’s not going to change anything for us. It might change something for them, but for us our focus will remain the same.
Q. The numbers with Fleury on home ice are pretty staggering. Is there something that you’ve noticed, something in his play, like is there something that changes for him in this building?
Q. There’s been a lot of attention in terms of the Red Wings, maybe their top 5-man unit, particularly with the defense, people focus on Lidstrom. But can you talk about what Brian Rafalski means. He played with a tremendous Hall-of-Famer in New Jersey, and just kind of gets the short shift of attention in Detroit.
SIDNEY CROSBY: He’s a good puck moving defenseman. He skates well. He’s not the biggest guy, but I think he’s smart and plays his position well. So I think he probably makes up with his size with how well he plays his position, and probably helps anybody he plays with to be that much more solid.
Q. This is a time to kind of celebrate the game, but there’s some sad news yesterday with Luc Bourdon. I know you new him a little from Atlantic Canada Midget Hockey, can you talk about how you’re getting set to play the biggest game of your career and there’s some sad news like that?
From Damien Cox at the Toronto Star,
One of the worst kept secrets in hockey is expected to become public in the next few days as Barry Melrose returns from TV exile to take over the coaching reins of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Melrose, who last coached in the NHL with the Los Angeles Kings 13 years ago, is expected to get the Tampa job, replacing John Tortorella, who has yet to be replaced or reassigned.
More at TSN.
Update 8:42pm ET: Melrose responds on ESPN‘s SportsCenter—
“This is no different than any of the last 10 years,” Melrose said in response to a report in the Toronto Star. “I’ve been contacted by a handful of clubs every year since joining ESPN. My desire to coach again has never been a secret, but I love what I do at ESPN.”
Melrose’s return to NHL coaching has been speculated upon several times in recent years but, when asked about the report on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” on Friday, Melrose added: “I want to coach again in the NHL. But nothing’s going on. Uh, I work for ESPN and I’m very happy working for ESPN.”
From Daniel Malloy at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Away from the ice, though, the ferocity disappears, replaced by an aggressive philanthropic spirit.
Mr. Laraque doesn’t turn down a request for his time—“There are no bad charities,” he says—and spends about four days a week during the season working in the community, mostly with children.
“A lot of athletes will talk about doing good things, a lot of them do good things, but Georges takes that to an entirely different level,” said Cliff Benson, who has collaborated with Mr. Laraque on various charitable initiatives around town.
“He makes that a purpose in his life. That makes him different from most.”
from John Dellapina of the NY Daily News,
With desperation setting in, the three parties who must work out the complex logistics associated with the event - the NHL, the Yankees and the Mayor’s Office - plan to sit down next week for a Stadium hockey summit.
“This is not dead yet,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Daily News yesterday.
Although reports yesterday stated that the NHL will play its 2009 Winter Classic at Wrigley Field - with the Detroit Red Wings visiting the Blackhawks - the preferred option is to have the Rangers play host to the Boston Bruins in what would be the final sporting event at the current Yankee Stadium.
“The only two options at this point are Yankee Stadium and Wrigley Field,” Daly said. “Wrigley Field is not done.”
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,
Sobbing uncontrollably just hours after losing her son, Luc Bourdon, in a tragic motorcycle accident, Suzanne Boucher said she had tried desperately to stop him from buying a bike.
Her plea worked last year when her fears changed his mind. That’s when Bourdon, the promising Canucks defenceman, first told his mom he dreamed of riding, and was spellbound by the “power and beauty” of motorcycles.
“I was scared when he told me that,” Boucher said yesterday through tears from her home in Shippagan, N.B. “I disagreed with it so much. I said, ‘You can’t do it.’ It was too risky, too dangerous. His girlfriend helped me reason with him. But this year was different. This year he wasn’t going to listen….”
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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