Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
A lot of money remains on the sidelines these days for the Bruins. Marco Sturm, on the books for $3.5 million a year, will have knee surgery this week, the timeline unknown for his return. Patrice Bergeron’s cap number is $4.75 million, and he is now two-plus weeks beyond another concussion, his second in 14 months.
As of today, no one knows whether either will be back in uniform for the second half of the season, or the postseason.
What is Peter Chiarelli to do? Is the time at hand for the third-year general manager, with what amounts to $8.25 million in shopping money, to dress up his roster by adding a veteran free agent for what appears to be a legitimate run at a Cup?
Truth is, it’s not that easy. Chiarelli said yesterday that if it were determined, say, this week or next that neither Sturm nor Bergeron could make it back before the playoffs, bringing in another high salary now could prevent him from making moves around the March 4 trade deadline.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
NHL Players Association executive director Paul Kelly said players are ready to discuss the possibility of allowing the league to schedule two showcase games on Christmas Day….
Having completed his fall tour with players, Kelly said he came away believing the majority of players are open to the idea of having one early game and one late game that could be featured on national television.
Kelly said he would envision having two close-proximity rivals play each other to cut down on the travel time for the visiting team.
“We certainly see the importance of this from a marketing standpoint,” Kelly said.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
“Playing against a team like San Jose will give us an idea of what our development has been since we last played them and what we have to do now to improve,” said head coach Mike Keenan, who believes that even though the Flames are now a top-six team in the league, they’re not where they want to be — yet.
“We’ve had a good stretch,” acknowledged centre Craig Conroy, who registered his 500th career NHL point on the weekend, “but we’ve got to start beating those top teams.”
Thus far, in six matches against the Sharks, Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings, the Flames have just two overtime losses to show for their efforts and no victories. So Tuesday represents a statement game of sorts: a chance to show they can compete with the conference’s elite teams.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Tonight there will be no homecoming for Chad Kilger, the hockey player who has mysteriously disappeared.
He played his last National Hockey League game on Feb. 25 in Ottawa. The Maple Leafs won 5-0 that night. The next day, knowing nothing of the future, the Leafs traded him to the Florida Panthers.
In the hockey world, that was the last anyone saw of Kilger.
With more than $1 million US still owing on his contract, and without warning, “playing the best hockey of his life” Kilger never reported to the Panthers.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Daniel Alfredsson is standing by his men.
The Senators captain said yesterday that GM Bryan Murray doesn’t need to make changes, despite the team being 12th in the NHL’s Eastern Conference….
“I think we’ve shown lately that we’re playing really hard. I feel (change) is not the way to go. It’s up to us to find a way to win games. We play pretty good, but then we find ways to lose instead of finding ways to win.
“It can be the power play one day, the penalty kill another or if we need a big save one day, it’s just not happening for us. Obviously, the easy thing is to make changes and hope for something that’s going to work. We tried that last year. It didn’t go much better. It’s up to us to make it work.”
I don’t know all my moves myself, maybe some come in a dream.”
For a shootout, it’s take the puck and see where the goalie is (and) decide what to do. You always have time to change. I have a couple moves, but depending on what the goalie does, I might have to do something different.”
“If you don’t score, no one will remember because they won’t show on TV,” Datsyuk said. “If you score, you have a chance to see yourself on TV, and that’s special to see how you played in that moment.”
Read more from Ansar Khan of Mlive.
from Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers,
Here’s what we know:
1. Permission has been granted from management to spend more money. This should be welcomed by Blue Jackets fans, and it now firmly shifts the pressure toward Howson.
2. Howson has spoken with numerous GMs around the league, letting them know what the Blue Jackets have to offer and what they want. Toronto, Ottawa, Atlanta, Pittsburgh and the New York Islanders have been contacted by Howson. It is likely that other teams have heard from him, as well.
The guess here is that the Blue Jackets will address their need for a center first. That’s the most immediate need.
from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,
If he had a magic wand, Francois Giguere would fix a lot of things, not just the state of his Avalanche team. Alas, there is no magic wand.
The situation for the Avalanche general manager is daunting. One of his top two centers is out several more weeks, the other even longer; his top veteran defenseman is out; and so is his heart-and-soul right winger.
If he were an NHL GM in the pre-lockout days, he could simply pick up the phone and swing a deal for the best, big-name player available, no matter the cost.
But this is not the pre-lockout NHL. Making a trade — something Avs fans are clamoring for at the moment — is not easy.
“What makes it tougher this year to make trades, I think, than previous years is that there are a lot of teams right near the cap already,” Giguere said Monday.
from Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News,
Lindy Ruff did not go to Yale. He never attended any college. But Ruff is one of the smartest and most intuitive coaches I’ve known, a man with a knack for pushing hockey players’ buttons and getting them to perform at a higher competitive level.
Ruff has been coaching the Sabres for 12 seasons. He is by far the longest-tenured coach in the NHL. He’s never been shy about speaking his mind. But the more secure he gets in his job, the more willing he is to single out players for soft or substandard performance.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a star. Slack off and Ruff will cut your minutes. He’ll bench you. He’ll call you out in public.
Somehow, it works.
Five minutes of the best goals, hits and saves in the NHL from the past week.
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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