Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michale Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
Last night, they took a step.
Hitchcock is 483-328-120 with six division titles and one Stanley Cup in 931 games with the Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers and Jackets.
Here he is, at the start of his third year in Columbus, where he has fashioned a 77-79-20 record and had a hand in a major overhaul.
“I don’t get the joy out of winning,” he said. “I get the joy out of watching guys come together and act as one. To me, it has always been about the feeling, never about the result.”
Hitchcock described a brick-by-brick building process. He said a lot of pieces are now in place. He said the Jackets are knocking on the door. He said, “Now, we have to break that thing down.”
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Mats Sundin is waiting for the Rangers to clear enough cap space to present him with a full-season $6 million contract offer before he commits to joining the Blueshirts New York Rangers , The Post has learned.
Thus, with the NHL holiday roster freeze going into effect Friday night at midnight and lasting through midnight Dec. 27, Sundin - who has a $10M offer on the table from the Canucks that he obviously is in no hurry to accept - is likely to remain unsigned until late in the month.
added 10:21am, AM640 Toronto is reporting…
There will not be an annoucement from Mats Sundin, or his representatives today. Sundin’s Swedish agent, Claus Elefalk, says Sundin will indeed decide before Christmas, but there is no Friday deadline, and a decision may not come until next week.
from The Good, The Bad And The Duthie,
The teams selling W’s right now include Boston, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Washington, Detroit, Chicago, San Jose (by the bushel), Anaheim, Calgary, and Vancouver. Nashville, Carolina, and Minnesota are also in the W Club right now, but barely.
Buffalo could also be squeezed into that group, but I’ll stick them in with the Hopeful, only because a Sabre-obsessed buddy of mine told me even he believes they are still a year or two away from serious Cup contention. Others selling hope include Columbus, Phoenix, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Edmonton (though they were hyping W’s before the season), Florida, and yes, Toronto (Brian Burke Luke Schenn, and a lot of cap room, are enough to gain admission into the Hopeful).
And then there’s the third category: The Others.
The Others don’t have the wins, or the hope. And that miserable place, my friends, is where we currently find your Ottawa Senators.
Oh, they have some company. Tampa is a mess. Atlanta and the Islanders have a few good prospects, but not enough. Colorado has been a disappointment, and underachieving Dallas is Ottawa, Southwest Edition.
from the Bob Sturm Blog at DallasStars.com, .
..don’t look now but Marty Turco is playing like Marty Turco. After back to back starts where he held Detroit and Phoenix to 2 goals (total) on 61 shots, he looks like he owns his crease, and if it were not for that meltdown goal where Trevor Daley mishandled a Turco pass last time Phoenix came through town, the Stars may really be rolling right now.
Since he was pretty much the most vocal Dallas Stars player regarding the Sean Avery soap opera, I was very curious if the exit of Avery would have any impact on Turco’s play. If people suggest that the play of Turco was negatively affected by the circus, wouldn’t it be positively affected after that?
from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,
How good are the Hawks?
OK, it’s still somewhat early, but in my book they are the third best team in the Western Conference behind San Jose and Detroit, in whatever order you want to put them.
The Hawks have a terrific offense, terrific goaltending, a mobile and deep defense and a good coach.
Do the Hawks have weaknesses? Of course. They are somewhat small and don’t play overly physical, but those are things to worry about more come playoff time when it all tightens up. But for right now, with the rules as they are in today’s NHL, a fast, quick, high scoring team such as the Hawks, with their great goaltending, can be dominant.
Bill Eichenberger of the Sporting News Today chats with the Capitals Mike Green,
Q: How is this team different than it has been over the last few years?
A: We have a lot more structure. I think the guys are following what the coaching staff is telling us. With (coach) Bruce (Boudreau) here, he’s been the biggest difference.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
So how is it that the Kings can play up to the level of the NHL’s top teams but still hover around .500?
That they can commit thoughtless mistakes—one of which led to a successful penalty shot Wednesday by the New York Rangers—but still take the second-best team in the East to overtime and then have every reason to feel dissatisfied after a 3-2 loss?
The conclusion is inescapable: They will go nowhere, and might soon regress, if they don’t upgrade their goaltending.
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
...Either way, now would not be a bad time to consider the regular fate of Panthers fans or Coyotes fans or Canucks fans. ... or Oilers fans.
It’s a tough world out there in pro sports, and the Stars have been protected for years by good management and a lot of money. The management, I believe, still is good. The money could be much tighter.
Because the bottom line is the cap is going down next year – and probably even more the next. And the Stars’ internal budget could go down even before that. So, you really may get a chance to see what it feels like to be an Oilers fan.
But, if you’re looking for a little silver inside that cloud, check out the possible top six forwards for next season – Brenden Morrow, Mike Ribeiro, Brad Richards, James Neal, Fabian Brunnstrom and Loui Eriksson. That’s a group you can build around.
from John Grigg of the Hockey News,
After running down the top 10 NHL bargains last week, we’d be remiss if we neglected to make note of the league’s most overpaid players. So that’s the focus of this week’s THN Top 10…
2. Chris Drury, Center, Rangers – $7.05 million
Team captains are normally offensive catalysts. And that’s what the Rangers thought Drury would be when they signed him to a five-year, $35.25-million deal. But Drury failed to crack the 30-goal mark last season and is on pace for the worst points total of his NHL career.
1. Ed Jovanovski, Defense, Phoenix – $6.5 million
Two goals and 15 points through 31 games is not horrendous for a blueliner. But Jovo-Cop has lost his status as the desert’s best defenseman to Zbynek Michalek, who makes $5.25-million less. Jovanovski’s team-worst minus-12 rating is tied for 746th in the league, out of 759 players.
from Fran Spielman of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Last month, rooftop owner Tom Gramatis told the Chicago Sun-Times that demand for rooftop tickets to the Winter Classic was “the biggest thing ever — bigger than any Cubs game” when the event was announced last summer.
But Gramatis said “the buzz” died down when the economy went south and the stock market tanked. That forced him to cut his price in half— from $400 a head to $200, including food and drink.
“There were rooftops asking $750 a head [at one time]. Some are still at $500. They’re smoking a crack pipe. They’re not gonna get it. The economy sucks. It’s also Jan. 1 at noon — not an ideal time for somebody to wake up and go to a hockey game after New Year’s Eve,” Gramatis said.
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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