Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger,
1. Book them on commercial flights to and from Ottawa next week. Private team jet? How about traveling like the rest of us and going through Customs at the Canadian border? And let them get their own transportation to and from the airport. It’s truly fun.
2. An appearance from Lou Lamoriello in the dressing room. That might scare some people, especially this late in the season. Their eyes would immediately zoom in to see if the GM had his skates on. Lamoriello is good at frightening his employees, whether they are office personnel or players.
Update 3:02pm ET: From Stu Hackel at the New York Times’ Slapshot—
In fact, the Devils are having a devil of a time (sorry) on offense. In their current slide, which has now reached five games (!!!), they have only six goals. They’ve lost six of seven, a slump that began after Brodeur broke Patrick Roy’s record for career victories and, when you read Coach Brent Sutter’s post-game statements on their lack of urgency, you have to wonder if the club emotionally peaked to help Marty go on that great run when he returned from injury.
from Woody Paige of the Denver Post,
Revenir au pouvoir, Pierre, Patrick, Bob, Eric and Joe.
Come back, Avs, come back.
Stan Kroenke — who owns the Avalanche, the Nuggets, the Rapids and the Mammoth, the arena, the soccer stadium and the Paramount Theatre (and, for all I know, my house) — has just forked over about $60 million to purchase another 5,000 shares of Arsenal and now owns 20.5 percent of the English Premier League football (soccer) club — and could be negotiating to buy out Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith.
As an aside, because of the tumultuous economy, Kroenke Sports Enterprises has laid off an unspecified number of personnel who did not make nearly $70 million altogether.
Hey, Stan The Man, can you spare some change for the Avalanche?
Aren’t the Avs as important as the Ars?
from Damien Cox of The Spin,
But once more, we see a system in which the top 10 teams in the league are basically just spinning their wheels, biding time until post-season play commences with little to be gained by finishing much higher in the standings.
So what if San Jose finishes ahead of Detroit? The Sharks get nothing for it. Does it really matter a whole bunch if Philly finishes fourth or Carolina does?
Until the league starts rewarding teams more for winning their divisions and accumulating more points than is the case now, you’re going to get this sense of inertia in cities when the good teams are just waiting for the season to be over.
At the other end of the spectrum are the teams that won’t be making the playoffs, a group of nine teams or maybe 10 if you believe the Wild are done.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Six points separate sixth-place Columbus from 11th-place Minnesota with Nashville, St. Louis, Edmonton and Anaheim sandwiched in between. Five of those six clubs play Tuesday night as the dance continues.
Every game matters, every single point is crucial. We know we’ve been talking about parity for a few years, but seriously, have you ever seen anything like this?
“No, I have not,” Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock told ESPN.com. “And teams have been in this playoff mode for a long time. There’s about eight of us that have been in this mode for a long time. We’re just used to playing this way.
“We’ve been saying around here, ‘You play 82 playoff games just to get into the playoffs.’ And that’s exactly what it is.”
from JoAnne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal, “
We have to win tonight. That’s where we start,” said captain Ethan Moreau.
“The burden has to be shared by everybody,” coach Craig MacTavish said. “Everybody has to step up. A lot of times you go to great degrees trying to complicate it or explain it or rationalize it, but it’s very simple. We need everybody in here to play the game hard, play with intensity, and execute. Everybody has to add something.
“The canvas will be finished over these next six games. How is it going to frame us? We still have an opportunity to turn it around.”
more and watch the video as the Oilers ask for fan support…
I receive around 500 emails a week and most of them are from hockey fans who want to express their feelings on our great game.
Here is a sampling of those emails and I will be pointing to this blog post in my NHL.com article today, so feel free to add your comments & questions too.
from Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun,
Starting as friendly banter between Joe Thornton and Brian Boucher, the joking morphed into a full-fledged competition.
“We were rating guys bodies. I think I gave him a six or something like that,” Boucher said after yesterday’s morning skate at the Saddledome.
“He was devastated.
“It turned into, ‘Let’s see who’s the better athlete.’ “
It’s Boucher who’s a little devastated right now, trailing the 10-event contest with a record of 0-2-1, losing in ping-pong, golf and settling for a controversial tie in timed push-ups.
“I’m in desperate need of a win,” Boucher said.
The team isn’t.
from Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun,
“I’m happy I’m still playing,” Selanne said after a recent shootout victory over the Phoenix Coyotes. “Everything starts (with passion), if you don’t have it, you shouldn’t be playing.”
The former Winnipeg Jets sniper was happy to reflect on his early days in the NHL.
One of the obvious highlights came when Selanne smashed Mike Bossy’s rookie record for goals with 76 back in 1992-93.
“It took a long time to realize what I did in my first year because it was such a roller-coaster,” said Selanne, who had 132 points in 84 games during that memorable season. “Every day was a great day and I was so hungry to have success and score more and more. Everything was new and I was so excited. Right now, I think about 76 goals and it’s incredible. It was just very special.
“The whole game has changed. I miss the old times.”...
While he has another year remaining on the two-year deal he signed last summer, Selanne isn’t sure if he’ll be back for another season.
from Herb Zurkowsky of the Montreal Gazette,
“He’s beginning to look more like the player we’ve seen for the first 50 games and not the last 20,” general manager and head coach Bob Gainey said. “I see his body language in goal now and he doesn’t resemble someone who’s always guilty.
“Now he’s part of our team who must play well for us, but not more than the others. Everyone has the same responsibility as the goalie. He’s still 21 and is experiencing things he hasn’t experienced before.”
Price has worked hard with goaltending coach Roland Melanson over the last few weeks. They’ve worked on Price’s leg work and improving the way he tracks the puck, the mandate of playing the position.
“I was starting to lean and guess instead of reacting,” Price explained. “It’s a gift being able to pick up the puck and reading the angle off the stick.”
“It must be something about the way Sean looks out there in his helmet, because people want to kill him but Sean was as disciplined and as focused as ever.
“I don’t want to sound corny about it, but I think we’re all proud of him.”
-Chris Drury on Sean Avery. More on the Rangers win over the Devils from Larry Brooks of the NY Post.
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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