Kukla's Korner Hockey
Today’s guest on the NHL’s conference call was Boston Bruins right wing Phil Kessel, who answered questions from numerous members of the hockey media.
Earlier today Phil was named NHL ‘First Star’ for the week that ended yesterday after leading the National Hockey League in scoring with three goals and five assists for eight points. The Bruins won three of four games for the week. Phil has the NHL’s longest active point streak, which is currently at 15 games, and the longest streak for a Bruin since Adam Oates had a 20-game streak in January and February of 1997. The Madison, Wisconsin native ranks second on the Bruins in scoring with 31 points and his 19 goals are third in the League behind Thomas Vanek of Buffalo, who has 24, and Jeff Carter of Philadelphia with 21.
Q & A
Q. Are you still playing mostly with Marc Savard at center and Milan Lucic on the left wing?
PHIL KESSEL: Yeah, that’s who I’m playing with right now. I enjoy playing with both those guys. They’re both great hockey players.
via Bruce Brothers of the Pioneer Press,
All signs point to Marian Gaborik returning to the ice for the Wild on Wednesday night.
“It looks pretty good,” he said of the possibility he would be ready to play against the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night at the Xcel Energy Center, adding that his status remains “day by day.
“Today was a good day. Hopefully, it’ll be another good day tomorrow, and if everything goes good, hopefully jump into the game Wednesday.”
Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said Gaborik “looks very good” and added, “I just want him back.”
But, Lemaire cautioned, “It’ll be up to him.”
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
Unless someone pulls a rabbit out of the hat at the last minute, Mats Sundin will be, by the end of this week, either a Vancouver Canuck or a New York Ranger.
Sundin met with Rangers’ GM Glen Sather on the weekend, but sources say the Rangers have yet to formally indicate exactly how much they are prepared, or able (because of the salary cap), to pay Sundin. Once Sundin’s agent J.P. Barry gets that information, perhaps in the next 24 to 48 hours, Sundin is expected to make a final decision on where he will play….
In the meantime, Sundin is heading home to Sweden. He has completed his training in North America and plans to keep skating while in Sweden, spending Christmas there before joining his new NHL team immediately after that.
added 4:12pm, Bob McCown of Fan590 just reported he has been told Sundin has made his decision and he has chosen the New York Rangers. It will be announced later this week.
added 5:06pm, Link to Fan590 quoting Bob…
Update 6:12pm ET: (Alanah) TSN added to their story with this—
There had been speculation that Sundin had already made his decision and that he was about to sign with the Rangers, however Barry dismissed the rumours.
“No decision has been made,” Barry told TSN. “(It is) inaccurate speculation.”
from Craig Simpson of Hockey and Blogs at CBC,
First of all, I want to start this with saying I don’t want to join the debate that has been brewing between fired head coach Barry Melrose and the Tampa Bay Lightning organization about whether or not first-overall pick Steve Stamkos belongs in the NHL or not….
I have to wonder why the team didn’t push to give Steve Stamkos an opportunity to play for his country again at the world junior tournament. With the Lightning struggling and sitting in last place, how can it hurt?
Stamkos would only benefit from having another great international experience and a chance at building his confidence and leadership abilities. Returning for another world junior championship would put him in a starring role and give him a chance to be a veteran on the team.
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
Buffalo Sabres defenseman Craig Rivet revealed today that he’s dealing with an injured shoulder and the team’s captain is going to be out least two weeks while he tries to rehab the shoulder.
“It’s something that I tried to play with and it was really limiting what I could do on the ice,” Rivet said after taking part in practice in a limited role at HSBC Arena. “It’s really affecting my game so we took a different game plan. The pain issue, you can get through. But when it starts making it that much more difficult on the ice, you have to take a step back. We’re going to try to rehabilitate it.”
NEW YORK (Dec. 15, 2008)—Boston Bruins right wing Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Petr Sykora and Buffalo Sabres left wing Thomas Vanek have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending Sunday, Dec 14.
from Lyle Richardson at the Hockey News,
Since the imposition of the salary cap in 2005, only four notable players – Joe Thornton, Sergei Fedorov, Doug Weight and Andy McDonald – were dealt in early-season trades. The rest were lesser talented players carrying more affordable salaries, which made them easier to move.
So if you’re hoping to see a blockbuster trade by Friday involving players who have been frequently mentioned in trade rumors this season - like Florida’s Jay Bouwmeester, Minnesota’s Marian Gaborik or Chicago’s Martin Havlat – your hopes will most likely be dashed.
Sorry for playing the Grinch, but that’s the reality in today’s salary cap world.
read on for some rumor talk…
from Lightning Strikes,
The two stats from this morning’s story I thought were most interesting: the Lightning so far has used 36 players, a league high. It also has made 29 transactions since the start of the regular season. Compare that to the 2003-04 season in which it made only 14. I know, the two seasons aren’t really comparable, but thought it illustrated well where this team is at.
We also found out from GM Brian Lawton where the team is going. In short, expect more callups from AHL Norfolk. Players such as Brandon Segal, Andy Rogers, Vladimir Mihalik and even goaltender Karri Ramo will be coming up at some point to get a better look.
from Damien Cox of the Spin, his blog at the Toronto Star,
Mats Sundin, it would appear, has three choices.
Two make sense. One is a terrible risk.
The risky choice is to succumb to the pull of the hockey world and announce a return to the NHL sometime before Christmas.
This, it appears, is what most believe is going to happen. And that’s too bad.
See, the smarter choices for Sundin would be to either retire - which I’ve come to believe is what he really wants to do - or take the season off entirely and then join a new team next summer.
Jumping into the fray now is a recipe for trouble.
from Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette,
If you can figure out what is ailing Kovalev, please let me know. Better still, pass it on to Guy Carbonneau. Here the Canadiens are nearing the 30-game mark and Kovalev has a respectable 22 points, but only five goals. In four games, Matt D’Agostini scored one fewer goal than Kovalev has this entire season.
The strangest part is that Kovalev is in a contract year. Guys like him are supposed to wake up just in time for free agency, get the multi-year deal tucked away, then go back to sleep-walking.
Instead, Kovalev has to go into a funk at the worst possible time for himself and the Canadiens. He did hit a post Saturday night, but somehow his game simply lacks the fire and drive he displayed almost from wire to wire last season.
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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