Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
It was after the Red Wings got back from Sweden and before Chris Osgood came down with the flu that Jimmy Howard had a talk with his only close friend who follows hockey.
“I said, ‘All I need is one good game and I’m just going to take off,’ ” Howard recalled to NHL.com Friday. “I just needed that one game to realize that I belong up here and I can perform up here.”
It’s amazing how these stories turn out, isn’t it?
Montreal Canadiens forward Andrei Kostitsyn underwent left knee surgery on Friday and will miss six weeks of action.
Kostitsyn, who has missed three games with what was billed as a “lower body injury”, was hit by Keith Ballard during a game against the Florida Panthers on Dec. 31.
from William Houston of Truth & Rumours,
It’s hard to know how much to blame Wilson or the players for this mess. As (Bill) Watters has said, correctly, the team is woefully short on talent, as well as toughness. And this is where Burke will be held accountable.
The Kessel trade appears to have been a mistake. The free agents Burke signed over the summer haven’t panned out, although the goalie Jonas Gustavsson may develop. Burke tried to make the team tougher, but hasn’t.
When a caller pronounced Burke a failure on “every count, period,” Watters replied, “You said it well. Brian Burke’s record to date is nothing short of abysmal. I recommended this guy for the job, and I think there’s more good in him than there is bad. So far, we haven’t seen much good, but I think he deserves another kick at the can.”
Burke is a likeable, but blustery guy who can also be intimidating. It will be interesting to see who, if anybody in the Toronto print media, takes him on if the Leafs stay buried at third last in the NHL standing.
from Mike Brophy of Sportsnet,
The Flyers have been mostly a disaster on and off the ice this season, but they finally appear to be turning a corner. Their poor play cost John Stevens his job and his replacement, Peter Laviolette, did not have an immediate positive impact on the team.
Slowly but surely, however, the Flyers are looking like a team that could make some serious noise in the second half. And that’s when it really matters….
Also, the Flyers still take too many undisciplined penalties. They can’t continue to take dumb minor penalties – Scott Hartnell seems to pride himself on the fact he leads the league in minors – and hope to compete for a title.
Finally, I worry about this team’s depth. It is fine to have abrasive players such as Daniel Carcillo, Ian Laperriere and Arron Asham, but does the team need all three of them? Perhaps switching one of them for a player with a little more skill might go a long way in pushing the Flyers over the top.
Clearly the Flyers are a work in progress.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
It’s fair to say New York Rangers coach John Tortorella is as passionate a coach as you will find, perhaps, in any sport.
It’s also fair to say that Tortorella’s passion gets the better of him every now and again and manifests into an occasional rant with the odd profanity dropped in to emphasize his point.
Whether the salty language comes from Tortorella, another NHL coach, or team personnel, the National Hockey League has had enough and today issued the following memo, acquired by TSN, to remind teams and club representatives there may be consequences.
from Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,
Here’s the future I see every time I read a “Fire Hitchcock” post on the Internet:
Hitchcock is fired, and two weeks later he is hired by a struggling big-market team that can’t believe its good fortune. That teams surges, and a few months from now he has it in the playoffs, and winning. Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets are sitting at home and the angry Internet posts are about losing Hitchcock and general manager Scott Howson doing something with the flawed roster.
And what of Hitchcock’s successor? It’s hard to believe team owners are going to pay big bucks to another coach with Hitchcock’s credentials, or find one willing to come here, so the new coach would likely be an unproven guy who might be good and to whom some of the players might relate better. But six months or a year from now, would the Blue Jackets really be better off with him than they would have been with Hitchcock?
The unhappiness over the Jackets’ prolonged funk is understandable. But the big picture is more important than what happened in Vancouver on Tuesday or in Edmonton last night. At this point in this lost season, it’s not about where the team is next month, but where it is next year and beyond.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Chris Drury may have lived in the shadow of Fenway Park when he attended Boston University, but the Rangers’ captain and his teammates were denied permission to practice at the old ballyard this afternoon by Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna, The Post has learned.
The Blueshirts, who face the Bruins here tomorrow afternoon, had requested about a half-hour of outdoor ice time early this afternoon, prior to the Hockey East outdoor doubleheader at Fenway commencing at 4 with a women’s game between UNH and Northeastern before the 7:30 men’s nightcap between BU and BC.
from John Kreiser of NHL.com,
Here’s a look at some of the most interesting numbers from the first half of this season’s 1,230-game schedule:
0—Shorthanded goals by the Edmonton Oilers, the only team in the League that hasn’t scored while playing a man down. All 30 teams were scored on at least once while on the power play.
1—Games won by the Toronto Maple Leafs when the score was tied at the end of regulation. The Leafs were 1-9 in games decided after 60 minutes—including an 0-7 mark when the game was decided during the five-minute overtime period.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Theoretically, Kovalchuk could have an 11th-hour change of heart and sign with Atlanta before negotiations get past the point of no return, but if he doesn’t – and if the talks grind to a full stop – then the onus will be on general manager Don Waddell to maximize his return in a possible deal, in order to protect an organization that seems to be heading in the right direction.
So much of what the Thrashers have done in the past couple of years were steps taken to lure Kovalchuk into staying – making him captain, signing a couple of fellow Russians (Max Afinogenov, Nikolai Antropov) to play alongside him.
The fear in Atlanta is that Waddell will need to do with Kovalchuk what he did two years ago with Hossa, another player that Atlanta was obliged to deal at the deadline, once it became clear that he wasn’t going to sign an extension either.
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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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