Kukla's Korner Hockey
I have stopped trying to figure out the Canadiens. They should have had the Hurricanes for lunch without No. 1 goalie Cam Ward and their best forward, Eric Staal. This one should have been decided long before Kostitsyn’s goal.
They can take the two points and run, but it’s pretty clear that this team has to start scoring goals if they hope to make the playoffs. You don’t win a lot of games with only two goals in regulation, and how the Hurricanes managed to miss winning the shootout when one goal in the third, fourth and fifth rounds would have done the job is difficult to understand.
-Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette. More from Red…
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The NHL doesn’t hand out its awards until after the season but we here at ESPN.com like to dole out the hardware every quarter:
Hart Trophy (MVP)
Our candidates: Alex Ovechkin, Washington; Rick Nash, Columbus; Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles; Marian Gaborik, N.Y. Rangers; Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh; Chris Pronger, Philadelphia; Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit.
Norris Trophy (Top Defenseman)
Our candidates: Chris Pronger, Philadelphia; Duncan Keith, Chicago; Dan Boyle, San Jose; Tomas Kaberle, Toronto; Niklas Kronwall, Detroit; Mike Green, Washington; Jay Bouwmeester, Calgary; Drew Doughty, Los Angeles.
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
Hitchcock cannot escape criticism. Since the season began, Hitchock has kept Filatov on an impossibly short leash. For every mistake, there was instant rebuke and, at times, a public punishment. Why treat Filatov so? Is not the goal here to take this talent-rich player and mold him rather than emasculate him? Does not a smart coach find a way to teach him—for the good of the player, the team and the organization? Is not Filatov a prime asset?
Filatov is not devoid of culpability. Many Jackets have fresh memories of Zherdev’s enigmatic, and sometimes toxic, presence. Filatov, by comparison, is well-liked. Lately, however, Filatov has moped as his frustration has grown, and it was a source of worry within the tightly knit group of players. There is no room for added drama over a rigorous season. Jake Voracek and Derick Brassard continue to have their chains yanked, but they have responded to challenges where Filatov has not. Ultimately, Filatov used his Moscow escape hatch, which comes with a tax-free contract worth about $1 million.
The nut of it all is this: The general manager, the coach and the player reached the same conclusion, and that is that Filatov will best be served by returning to Russia for at least a year.
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
As we were waiting for Joe Sacco to make his remarks, there seemed to be some commotion from the Flames dressing room area, located right near the visitors area. A minute or so later, a couple Calgary media people said “Did you hear that, did you hear about the shouting match between Phaneuf and another player. Somebody was screaming at Phaneuf, calling him selfish.”
Back up in the press box, I put out a tweet saying as much. When media people in Canada talk about any kind of “controversy” involving their NHL team, you kind of assume it’s going to be all over the airwaves and in the papers soon.
But I regret putting out that tweet now, because the Flames weren’t too happy with me about it. And I shouldn’t pass along second-half stuff like that. I thought I’d made it clear that I was just passing along what I’d heard, but I don’t think I made that clear enough at all, and it came out too much like I’d heard it myself and that it was gospel.
Colton Orr vs Matt Carkner last night.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Yes, they played well enough to win in this heartbreaking 3-2 loss to the Senators.
But with just three wins in 19 games, moral victories aren’t worth a damn any more, especially when the script never seems to change.
And now, the difficult questions need to be asked.
First off, when was the last time a Maple Leafs goalie stole a game for this team the way the Sens’ Pascal Leclaire did last night, especially in the third period when he turned aside all 15 Toronto shots at a time when the ice seemed steeply tilted in favour of the visitors?
Answer: Maybe you have to go all the way back to (gasp) Andrew Raycroft. Who’d have ever thought that?
Secondly, can someone possibly help out Phil Kessel on the offensive end?
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Gary Bettman was in Phoenix the other day, spinning a few tales about the impending sale of the Coyotes.
Well, impending may be stretching things a tad, as the NHL commissioner is now saying he expects the sale to be completed by the end of the hockey season. And local fans shouldn’t worry about that Dec. 31 deadline the league established to give priority to buyers who will keep the team in its suburban Glendale arena. As Bettman told the Arizona Republic, “I’m not concerned about Dec. 31 or Jan. 1.”
Besides, the commish said, he has six potential buyers on the line. But as anyone selling real estate knows, a potential buyer is anyone who stops in front of your For Sale sign.
from Mark Medina of the Fabulous Forum,
Despite the Ducks having a week-long, winless, four-game trip, Coach Randy Carlyle held a noon practice Tuesday hoping that more time on the ice will change the team’s fortunes….
“We should try to and get on the ice as much as possible to try to improve our overall execution level,” he said after Tuesday’s practice at Honda Center. “That, first and foremost, was missing last night. It wasn’t where it needs to be in the last three games, four games. That’s been frustrating for everybody.”
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
Sources tell TSN the Hawks are in the process of finalizing long-term contract extensions for Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith.
Kane and Toews are believed to be getting five-year extensions, with each of them worth in excess of $6 million per year. An announcement on those two deals appears to be imminent.
Keith’s deal is said to be more complicated, perhaps as long as 13 years, and worth less than what the Hawks will pay their two star forwards, which is to suggest it will likely average less than $6 million per year. Because the NHL is so closely scrutinizing the ultra long-term contracts, it may take longer to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s on the Keith extension.
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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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