Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Curtis Zupke of Ducks Blog,
...here’s why the Ducks will make the playoffs:
1. They are typically a second-half club. The Ducks went 17-11-2 over their past 30 games last season and 20-8-2 in 2007-08. Granted, that first number was mostly because of their remarkable 10-3-1 season-ending finish, but a team with Scott Niedermayer, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Jean-Sebastien Giguere can’t stay in the cellar much longer, can it?
...here’s why the Ducks won’t make the playoffs:
1. Numbers are stubborn things. The Ducks made the postseason with 91 points last season. Using that as criteria, they would need to squeeze 63 points out of their final 52 games. That would be something on the order of a 28-17-7 finish over those 52 games. And 30 of those 52 games are on the road. Yikes.
from Chris McKosky of the Detroit News,
Survive the next eight games; that’s the immediate mission for the Red Wings.
“Hopefully we are getting all our bad luck out of the way early,” general manager Ken Holland said, after announcing Thursday that Danny Cleary will be lost for three to six weeks because of a separated shoulder. “We have eight games until Christmas. If we can survive this stretch and manage to grind out a few wins and stay attached to the pack, I think we’ll be OK. I think we’re going to get an extended Christmas present here in a couple of weeks.”
Here’s what he means by that:
• Valtteri Filppula, out because of a broken wrist, is expected back by Dec. 26.
• Niklas Kronwall, out because of a knee injury, is expected to return a week after that.
• And then Jason Williams, out because of a fractured leg, and Cleary could be back by the second week in January.
continued and one question- When did Dan Cleary become Danny Cleary?
Last night, Pens vs. Habs. No goal, the whistle had blown. Habs lose 3-2.
from Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull,
Sixteen scouts were at the Wachovia Center to watch Ottawa outlast the fading Flyers, 2-0, on Thursday night.
That’s a stunningly high number of scouts, and, with Flyers starting goalie Ray Emery sidelined for at least six weeks, speculation is running rampant that the club is interested in a goaltender.
But the fact is, Brian Boucher _ who had another strong performance Thursday _ is good enough to carry the load until Emery returns.
It says here the Flyers need to add a sniper or two, because right now, this offense just isn’t producing.
On Thursday, they were shut out for the third time in six games, and their power play was 0 for 7. It marked the second time since 1968 that they were blanked three times in six games or fewer….
Maybe Holmgren can turn the talks toward 22-year-old Anaheim right winger Bobby Ryan, the pride of Cherry Hill. Would you deal the soon-to-be-25-year-old Carter for Ryan and, say, a No. 1 pick?
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Sather is responsible for a roster filled with players under contracts that are unmovable. Tortorella is fingered here not because of his uneven work behind the bench, but because of his hand in personnel decisions that seemed to be guided exclusively by his preference for speed and skill players at the expense of size and strength.
The Blueshirts can’t make a meaningful trade because they can’t afford to move the few assets other teams actually want. To wit: The Post has learned Sather recently offered young Hartford defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti to the Coyotes in exchange for young, talented and underachieving center Peter Mueller.
But Phoenix general manager Don Maloney, who had a hand in drafting Sanguinetti 21st overall in 2006 when serving as Sather’s assistant, didn’t bite. Maloney, we’re told, instead countered with a request for either Brandon Dubinsky or Ryan Callahan.
Of course he did. Of course the Rangers could not agree to the request. Of course no one wants anyone (or will return value) for anyone Sather is looking to deal.
from Earl McRae of the Ottawa Sun,
If Kovalev was being paid to be a dipsy-doodle dandy putting on a show worthy of the Ice Escapades, he’d be worth all the gold in Fort Knox. Except he’s mostly being paid on a belief he can still score and score proficiently, but you can’t score if you don’t shoot at the net and that’s the real riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma of Alex Kovalev that’s causing Inspector Clouseau to scream in his sleep: “Alex. The NET. Shoot the (censored) puck. At the NET. Just SHOOT.”...
Alex Kovalev. Sometimes he shows up, most times he doesn’t. His heart needs to match his talent.
When he went back to Russia for a few days for the funeral of an in-law, the team didn’t miss him. One could be forgiven for suspecting he enjoyed the break. One could be forgiven for suspecting that if one of the questions on his site was, “Any more trips to Russia planned?” his answer would be, “Yes. Just found out an uncle has a head cold. I’m heading over for a month to be with him.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Which is why, in a roundabout way, the key to success in Atlanta may be the Max Factor, or more specifically, the Max Afinogenov Factor.
Think of it this way: Whatever Atlanta may accomplish this year can be quickly unraveled if Ilya Kovalchuk says bye-bye at year’s end. Kovalchuk is one of the NHL’s most dynamic players, a performer almost at Ovechkin’s level in terms of pure, raw scoring ability. But Kovalchuk has been with the Thrashers for eight not-so-great years and is starting to get itchy for success. A potential unrestricted free agent following the season, Kovalchuk is amendable to staying in Atlanta (where he has developed roots and a strong command of the English language), but only if he believes the Thrashers can mimic the Capitals’ success and evolve – sooner rather than later – into Stanley Cup contenders.
Understanding that the future of his team is now, general manager signed both Afinogenov and Nikolai Antropov as unrestricted free agents last summer, in much the same way that the Capitals once brought in Sergei Fedorov and Viktor Kozlov to make Ovechkin more comfortable.
more plus numerous NHL topics discussed…
from Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun,
Getting into the heads of 20,000 people is impossible.
So is the idea of people actually booing Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf on home ice.
He hears cat calls in opposition rinks, and should expect as much as one of the team’s highest-paid, high-profile and high-energy players.
But to think Flames fans would stoop so low as to target him at the Saddledome borders on ridiculous.
Jim Kelley at Sports Illustrated took some ‘heat’ from Caps fans last week about a story he wrote on Ovechkin. He addresses that today and I will leave you with the last part of his column today…
Letting players, even great ones like Ovechkin, cross over to the “reckless” side of the game simply enables the truly hopeless thugs like Carcillo to be even bolder while putting the greats at risk.
Hopefully, Alex Ovechkin, Ted Leonsis, the Capitals organization and their many fans will come to realize that’s a reasonable opinion.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
...Fletcher has sent a message to players and fans that he embraces the repairman function of his job.
Sure, every GM is trying to draft and plan for future success, but this is the salary cap era and there is no patience for five-year rebuilding plans. And there shouldn’t be, not when two-thirds of NHL teams are spending roughly the same amount of money for their rosters. You have to change up your roster on the fly. The mandate in the salary cap era is to rebuild and repair at the same time.
That’s why I like that Fletcher is showing aggressiveness in Minnesota. He succeeded Doug Risebrough, a true gentleman, highly respected around the league, but conservative in his approach to managing a team.
When Risebrough was in charge, it seemed as if the franchise never was able to escape the expansion team mentality. The Wild always seemed to be looking to be competitive up the road, instead of today.
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