Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
When you consider what the bodies of the Vancouver Canuck players have been through in the last four days, it was pretty surprising they were as close to winning as they were last night.
When you mention they’ve just played three games in four nights with a diagonal trip across the continent thrown in just to make it fun, it sounds like you’re making excuses for these guys.
But the fact is it doesn’t matter how much money you get paid, how well conditioned you might be or how well you’re supposed to perform, the human body is simply not going to function at the level required to win at this league.
Just why the NHL does this to the customers they so desperately need to please is a mystery. Really, at what point is the insatiable greed which begets this type of ridiculous scheduling counter-productive?
from Terry Jones of the Edmoton Sun,
The travelling crew that has produced the skills competition around the NHL for the last 18 years said they’d never seen a faster time produced than the 13.1 seconds it took Erik Cole to skate around Rexall Place yesterday.
But Cole was more impressed with the scene.
“They certainly don’t do this in Carolina. I don’t think anyone would show up,” the former Hurricane said.
“To see this building full with lots of excitement for this ... it’s amazing.”
What made it special was that the sellout crowd gave the players the kind of unconditional love they don’t otherwise get from crowds of critical customers in a city that specializes in tough love for its shinny stars.
from Ed Moran of the Philadelphia Daily News,
The latest news concerns goalie Antero Niittymaki. According to Holmgren, Niittymaki suffered a groin injury in the shootout loss in Los Angeles on Saturday night. The injury was not disclosed right away and he did not leave the game, playing injured in the overtime and shootout.
But he is doubtful for tomorrow night in Washington and the team will not say anything more before today at the earliest. Scott Munroe will be called up from the Phantoms to take Niittymaki’s place on the bench, but for how long no one knows.
“The fact that he stayed in the game, played the overtime and participated in the shootout should mean that it’s not that serious,” Holmgren said. “I just hope it’s not his hip.”
more on the Flyers injury situation…
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Here is a look at the good, the bad and the ugly of the opening half of the ‘08-09 campaign:...
BLUE LINE STUDS
Dan Boyle (Sharks): Showing he deserves to be on Canada’s Olympic blue line.
Shea Weber (Nashville): A leading Norris candidate.
Zdeno Chara (Boston): He’s healthy, he’s driven, he’s big.
Brian Campbell (Chicago): Skates like the wind in the Windy City.
Honourable Mention: Mark Streit (Islanders), Nicklas Lidstrom (Detroit), Dion Phaneuf (Calgary).
from Scott Burnside & Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
What can we expect from the NHL in 2009? Here are 10 picks to ponder:
• 2009 will see the end of Nicklas Lidstrom’s stranglehold on the Norris Trophy for the NHL’s best defenseman….
• In spite of wishful thinking by BlackBerry mogul Jim Balsillie and many Canadian media and fans that pine for days of NHL hockey in Quebec and Winnipeg, no NHL franchise will fold, declare bankruptcy or relocate in the coming year….
• Evgeni Nabokov of the San Jose Sharks will be the first Russian goaltender ever to win the Vezina Trophy….
from Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers,
Left winger Kristian Huselius and center Jiri Novotny will not play Tuesday in Detroit, The Dispatch has learned.
Huselius is a huge blow to the Blue Jackets, who are already low on top-six forwards. He sustained an apparent concussion on Saturday when he was cross-checked in the face by St. Louis Blues forward David Backes. He will not play Tuesday, but will be examined further later in the week.
Novotny might have a concussion, too. He was game-time decision in St. Louis, but was able to play. As the game wore on, he felt worse and worse. He’s the same as Huselius ... out for Tuesday, to be examined later in the week.
more on the Blue Jackets and if you missed the cross-check by Backes on Huselius, you can watch it below…
“I’ve never been through it, I’ve coached him (in juniors with the Red Deer Rebels), but I’ve never coached against him. To be honest, I don’t know how I’m going to feel and I’m not sure I’m going to like it that much.”
“The way I look at it, I’m excited for him, yhis is a dream of his and he’s living it and trying to fulfill it to the best of his capabilities. I happen to be his dad that’s going to be coaching against him. I don’t want him to worry about that at all. It’s just that his old man happens to be on the opposite side. He just needs to go out there and be a good player and play well to help his team and I’m going to do my job coaching to help ours.”
-Devils coach Brent Sutter on coaching against his son Brandon tomorrow when the Devils play the Hurricanes. More on the Devils from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice.
from Mike Knobler of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
(Bryan) Little’s contused ribs weren’t just painful to him. With Little able to play only 5:44, the Tampa Bay Lightning drubbed the Thrashers 4-1 and sent them into last place in the NHL’s Southeast Division.
Thrashers coach John Anderson said he didn’t know how long Little would be out but that rib injuries typically take weeks not days to heal. Anderson was more concerned about the rest of his team’s lack of effort. The Thrashers supposedly were trying for their first two-game winning streak since the first half of November. But their coach wasn’t sure they were trying.
“Our give-a-crap level was like at zero,” Anderson said. “After we have a big win [Friday] against Vancouver, against a real good hockey team, we throw that game. I’ve got to question whether anybody cares in that locker room. That’s a joke.”
added 9:51pm, from the Iceman BLOGGETH at the AJC,
That was the announced attendance at Sunday’s game. Yeah, that’s what they said…10,750.
Unless about 4,000 were all milling about in the concourse area all game…there is no way 10K-plus was in the building. The Spirit Clowns and Don Waddell should be nothing short of…embarrassed…at the sight of so many empty seats on a Sunday afternoon.
Both Mats Sundin and Vigneault have indicated that he will not play tonight and while Sundin will debut in a Canucks sweater tonight for jersey off our backs fan appreciation night, neither have a confirmed date for his debut in a Canucks sweater on skates.
“I haven’t even thought about dates to be honest with you,” said Sundin. “I’ll play it by day.”
Sundin continued skating in solo sessions while the team travelled to Nashville and Atlanta and participated in two game-day skates but has yet to join the team in a full practice since arriving at GM Place December 30.
“I think I need to skate with the team just once,” he said. “I haven’t had one practice yet with the whole group so I think getting a good practice, with two days, tomorrow and the next day, and then we can evaluate how everything feels.”
more on the Canucks…
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
No Bruins! Oh my God! What a travesty!
Puh-lease. Get a grip. Who cares?!
The All-Star Game is a joke, and any fan who gets hot and bothered over their players not getting voted in as starters should seriously consider getting a life….
By far, the biggest oversight in fan voting was Alex Ovechkin. The Washington Capitals sniper should obviously be starting up front for the East alongside Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
more hockey topics…
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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