Kukla's Korner Hockey
Ethan Moreau when asked who is the smartest player in the NHL…
I’d have to say Chris Pronger. He’s probably the best player and the smartest player I’ve ever played with. I didn’t learn too much from him on the ice because he plays a different position. But, he has a real professional approach to the game, he’s always prepared to play and he takes a lot of pride in the way he plays. So those are probably things I took from him.
more of the interview with Moreau with David Staples of The Cult Of Hockey…
from Ryan Dixon of The Hockey News,
To some degree, points have stopped being the point of reference when evaluating the play of Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
A player’s contribution to the scoresheet is always going to be a factor when evaluating his play, but the twins have passed the threshold where their worth is constantly assessed by clicking on their stats.
That said, these guys are tearing it up right now.
Henrik, in particular, is having a heroic season. He’s on pace for 34 goals and 104 points, totals that would obliterate his previous career highs of 22 and 82.
from John Shannon of Sportsnet,
It’s a good thing for the NHL that there are a great many positive distractions at this time of year. The Olympics announcements, the Winter Classic and the Olympics have fans drooling for more big events for the league and the game. However, it all comes with a cost.
Multi-purpose arenas, a contracted schedule and poor travel schedules are causing a great deal of stress in the locker rooms, the boardrooms and on the ice. Too many teams and too many players are playing the game at the highest level, at well below 100 per cent health, and that leads to injuries and less than entertaining hockey.
The new stat du jour is “man games lost to injury.” Throughout the NHL, teams have inserted this stat to their daily news releases. Teams like Edmonton, Detroit and Washington are zeroing in on 200 games lost by their injured players. And we aren’t talking about H1N1, or Selanne’s broken wrist, or Khabibulin’s back. This is about guys playing at full speed from game one to 82, playing hurt, playing tired and causing more injuries because of the really wacky schedule that has been foisted on the game.
from Bill Tiller of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
See, if we go back to last September, we find this article posted by Jeff Schultz just before the season began. When asked about Kovy’s contract situation, general manager Don Waddell offered up the following response…“I don’t think we’ll be talking about this at Christmas time”.
Hmmmm… well, given that the weather has turned a bit colder… I still have trips to make to Costco, Macy’s, Walmart and Borders Book Store in the coming nine days…and that the program interrupted a few weeks back by President Obama was “A Charlie Brown Christmas”…it seems as though Christmas is indeed upon us
And we are still “talking about this”....
Now, I have long held the belief that the Thrashers have been looking to sign their Russian phenom at around the rate of about $10 million per season…a figure I come up with by adding Kovalchuk’s current salary with that of fellow countryman Slava Kozlov. I contend that the organization will opt not to re-sign Kozlov…who will be 38-tears of age in May…and simply transfer that $3.667 mil or so from his ledger to Kovy’s.
If so…then the two parties are about a million per and a half per year apart.
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.
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 email@example.com