Kukla's Korner Hockey
from George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press,
Detroit Red Wings forwards Valtteri Filppula, Niklas Kronwall and Johan Franzen all skated today at Joe Louis Arena, but Darren Helm did not.
Filppula, who is the closest of the injured Wings to returning to action, skated with the team during practice drills and attempted some wrist shots. Filppula has been out since Oct. 29 with a broken right wrist.
“It was fun, a lot of fun,” Filppula said of skating with the rest of the team. “Been missing doing that.”
“Now I can start practicing with the guys. I’m still a couple weeks away, probably, from playing, but I felt pretty good.”
added 1:58pm, from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson can’t quite straighten out his left leg and can’t quite bend it, either, but given that he has no ligament damage to his knee, he is, more than anything, upbeat.
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
Does anyone really believe that the Bruins are on the road to Stanleyville after losses to the Islanders in overtime – who then got utterly waxed by the lowly Florida Panthers two days later – and a wilt job in the third period against an underachieving Flyers bunch?
The suspicion is that a future trade over the next two months for a scoring force will answer that question for everyone.
With that in mind, there are several names popping up on Boston’s radar, and the possibility that the problem-solving move will come sooner rather than later. Here are the favorites for new facein the Black and Gold clubhouse should Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli makes his move:
The Russian-born Thrashers scoring machine is the Gold Standard, and represents the elite scorer that would immediately vault the Bruins into a role as Stanley Cup favorite. Kovalchuk has nearly twice as many goals as any player on the Bruins roster, and missed six games with a broken left foot.
from Lyle Richardson of Spector’s Hockey,
• Panthers trying to move Nathan Horton. This first appeared months ago and seemingly refuses to die despite the denials of Panthers management. Here’s why Horton won’t be shopped: He’s leading the team in scoring (32 points in 34 games) and is one of the reasons the Panthers are in the thick of the playoff race in the East.
• Jack Johnson to the Penguins. Why? The Kings are currently first overall in the Western Conference so there’s no need at this time to shake things up, and I doubt the Penguins have the assets they’re willing to give up to land him.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
More to the point, we’d like to look at their third and fourth lines and that can be tricky because there are nights you need the Hubble telescope to find them.
“We need more from those lines,” was Alain Vigneault’s generous assessment before last night’s tilt with the Los Angeles Kings.
“Secondary scoring from the third and fourth lines and from the defence is one thing we need more consistently. If we get that, it will let us win on a more consistent basis.
“Those are two lines that are supposed to bring a physical aspect but they have to find a way to contribute not just physically but on the scoresheet.”
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
For the Flames, the rest of December will be a working staycation….
After a road-heavy schedule since the start of November, the Flames finally have an extended spell at home.
They’ll play seven of their next eight games at the Saddledome.
It’s a golden chance to pull out of their losing skid—one win in five outings—provided they remember the task at hand.
“We have to have our focus where it needs to be,” Sutter said.
“We can’t have distractions. We need points, first and foremost, ahead of anything else going on outside. It’s a tough time of year with Christmas and you can get distracted, especially when we’re at home.
“It’s important with a lot of home games, and that’s the responsibility of the individuals to making sure we are focused and playing up to our standards.”
from Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post,
What hockey really needs is a great villain. Enter the Caveman.
“They call me Caveman because I don’t care what others think of me,” said Ovechkin, as quoted by Sovetsky Sport. “I couldn’t care less about anyone or anything.”
Ovechkin is exactly what has been missing in hockey, whose appeal has long been built on a case of Kokanee beer, head-bangin’ guitar riffs and the Gordie Howe hat trick.
You can have Sid the Kid Crosby as hockey’s savior, all you plain vanilla ice cream lovers.
Ovechkin is as subtle as a shot of vodka. He blows across the blue line faster than a bone-chilling breeze from Siberia. His passes, like the one that set up Washington’s second goal against the Avalanche, cut through a defenseman’s ego like a stiletto.
“The solution is simple. Win. If we had consistently won, the situation would be different.
“It can work there. Without a doubt. I’ve said it over and over again. I mean, previous to the last couple of years we were averaging 14,000 per game, even more.
“But we haven’t been to the playoffs in seven years. This franchise hasn’t even been out of the first round for something like more than two decades. Even in Canada, if you had struggled that long with droughts like that, your team would struggle for support too.”
-Shane Doan of the Phoenix Coyotes talking about the situation in Phoenix. More from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronton Sun.
from Norm Sanders of the News-Democrat,
Perhaps it was only fitting that on a night when former St. Louis Blues star Brett Hull was honored, ex-Blues coach Mike Keenan found a way into the ceremony.
During a pause in Hull’s speech with the arena quiet, a fan in the lower bowl screamed “I hate Mike Keenan!”
That not only brought a smile to Hull’s face, it sparked an impromptu ovation from fans who remembered Keenan trading away fan favorites Brendan Shanahan and Curtis Joseph and feuding constantly with the Golden Brett.
“I saw Mike this summer and we have made amends,” Hull said. “I’m way too old, I’m too old to hold grudges. We had a great talk.
“I always said this—I hated him as a coach but he’s a really good human being. We had a great talk.”
continued and Brendan Shanahan comments on Keenan too…
from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,
The game was marred by a major boarding penalty by Avs enforcer David Koci to star Washington defenseman Mike Green in the second period, a hit from behind that left Green down for a few minutes, bleeding from the head. Koci almost surely will face a suspension from the NHL over the hit, and Washington coach Bruce Boudreau was livid over it.
“Please, the guy’s got one goal in six years. He couldn’t play in the American League,” Boudreau said. “I’ve faced David Koci an awful lot, he might be a nice guy, I have no idea. I’m glad he’s making a living, but if this is any game, he gets on the ice for the first three minutes, he gets into his fight with the guy and then he sits at the end of the bench, so what good is he?
from Gary Peterson of the Contra Costa Times,
Less than two weeks ago, the skies were clear in San Jose, the weather was mild and the view was spectacular. Especially from where the Sharks sat. With a 19-6-4 record, they had the most points and best winning percentage in the NHL.
Thirteen days later, welcome to April in December.
The Sharks have lost five games in a row, the longest stretch of futility in the short tenure of coach Todd McLellan. But before we crank the air raid sirens, we’d like to concede it can be spun any number of ways.
One, it’s only December, four months removed from the adrenal rush and slushy ice of games that really matter.
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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