Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dirk Hoag of On The Forecheck,
In the chase for the playoffs, some NHL teams have a harder road to travel than others, and as we flip the calendar over to February, the Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues and Calgary Flames will face the stiffest opposition during the rest of the regular season. Over in the Eastern Conference, the rich are likely to get richer as the current division leaders, Washington, New Jersey, and Buffalo, all face relatively easy remaining schedules.
continued with a schedule breakdown…
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
There are a couple of perfectly logical reasons why NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is feverishly brokering a deal to sell the Tampa Bay Lightning to Boston-based hedge fund manager Jeffrey Vinik.
First and foremost, it’s his job to do everything he can to have stable and well-heeled owners for all 30 NHL teams.
But there’s another far more personal reason: His integrity is on the line. After all, it’s Bettman’s regime that is, in large part, responsible for this mess in the first place.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
The trade that last night seemed imminent in which the Rangers would have received Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust from the Flames in exchange for Ales Kotalik and Chris Higgins remains on hold because Kotalik has yet to waive his limited no-trade clause that includes Calgary, a well connected source has told The Post.
Kotalik, who somehow was able to wrangle a three-team no-trade clause in the three-year, $9M free agent contract he signed this summer, has told GM Glen Sather he needs time to ponder his options.
And he’s taking all of it.
continued and Bob McKenzie was just on Leafs Lunch on 640am in Toronto and he said the stumbling block seems to be on the Calgary side.
NEW YORK (February 1, 2010)—Phoenix Coyotes right wing Shane Doan, Ottawa Senators goaltender Brian Elliott and Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom have been named the NHL ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending Jan. 31.
from Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette,
First, a belated goodonya this morning to Pierre McGuire, who called out Scott Gomez for conspicuous failure to back-check. Maybe the problem is that every time the Habs coaches holler “back check!” what Gomez hears is “big cheque!”
Funny, when a Russian plays like Gomez has played this year, or like Shawn Horcoff (think Alexei Yashin or Alex Kovalev) he’s a floater. But when it’s an American (Gomez) or a good Canadian boy (Shawn Horcoff, who made Stu Cowan’s rich underachievers list yesterday) he’s just struggling through a tough season, don’t ya know. But floating is floating, whether you were born in Alaska, Trail or Irkutsk.
There’s a reason guys like Gomez and Vincent Lecavalier don’t score goals anymore: they avoid the heavy traffic where the genuine superstars (Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin) get most of theirs.
continue for more hockey talk…
“The number 10 is pretty tough to get to, and I told the guys, “You might go your whole career without getting it again, so enjoy it.”
Washington Coach Bruce Boudreau after the Caps tenth consecutive win. More on the Capitals from Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post.
from Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press,
Both made splendid moves to score on Howard. Crosby went top shelf off his backhand, and Malkin patiently waited for Howard to commit before calmly tucking the puck behind the fallen goalie’s skate.
Pittsburgh got the point, but the NHL is missing the point.
Maybe I’ve simply grown tired of the shoot-out, because it seems to happen so frequently that there’s no longer anything fresh about it. Perhaps the NHL should acknowledge it made a mistake in cheapening the value of victory for the sake of creating easy highlights for “SportsCenter” (That is, on those rare occasions when “SportsCenter” shows hockey highlights).
from Ron Cooke of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
How would you describe Cooke?
I took a shot at it and used the term “agitator” Sunday after the Penguins’ 2-1 shootout win against the Detroit Red Wings at Mellon Arena. Cooke smiled politely. But he clearly didn’t like it.
“I’ve always kind of been in that stereotype and I’ve always tried to get out of it,” he said. “An agitator, to me, is someone who gets 10 points a year and does his job. I like to think I contribute more to the team than that. I can get you 30-40 points a year and 10-15 goals.”
You know what? Cooke is absolutely right. Calling him an agitator just won’t do. Forget his 11 goals and 22 points so far this season. The term doesn’t fairly describe his defensive work, especially as a penalty-killer.
from Dave Krieger of the Denver Post,
With the Avs now sitting sixth in the Western Conference, just four points from ninth, it seems a good time to ask a few questions:
1. Do Paul Stastny’s 11 goals and 48 points justify his $6.6 million salary?
Like it or not, Stastny is the Avs’ headliner for now, at least until Matt Duchene, 19, is ready to take the mantle from him. Yet Stastny plays more like a complementary player….
2. Is the all-rookie second line wearing down?
In his two seasons playing for Brampton of the Ontario Hockey League, Duchene’s high for games played was 64. Sunday, he played his 54th of the current NHL season, and the stretch run is just getting started.
The Flames and Rangers are working out a deal that would send centre Olli Jokinen and left winger Brandon Prust to New York in exchange for centre Chris Higgins and right-winger Ales Kotalik. Sources told Sportsnet the deal is pending approval from Kotalik who has a limited no-trade clause in his contract.
Kotalik’s limited no-trade clause lists three teams he can not be traded to without his permission and Calgary is one of them.
The deal is not expected to be completed until late Monday morning at the earliest.
added 8:59am, via Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun,
One of the Flames players involved said he hadn’t heard anything other than the TSN broadcast.
A team spokesman said he hadn’t heard anything official, either.
Another source suggested it hasn’t officially gone through but could be completed this morning if Sutter didn’t have a change of heart.
added 10:46am, from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
It is expected that Olli Jokinen will be in the Calgary Flames’ lineup when they play tonight in Calgary against the Philadelphia Flyers. Brandon Prust may also be in the lineup but it could be Brian McGrattan instead.
In any case, it is clear that the deal that looked on Sunday night as though it was agreed to - Jokinen and Prust to the New York Rangers in exchange for Chris Higgins and Alex Kotalik - is not going to happen over the course of today.
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