Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Knobler of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Thrashers coach John Anderson routinely offered his oldest players the option of skipping a morning skate. Former Thrasher Mathieu Schneider, 39, frequently took him up on it. Kozlov didn’t.
His work didn’t start when the season did.
“I was here most of the summer, and he was in the gym every day,” Anderson said.
Kozlov learned those work habits when he broke into the league with the Detroit Red Wings. He was an 18-year-old Russian kid who could bench press 130 pounds twice.
“I was so skinny,” Kozlov said. “Detroit was patient with me.”
He watched his Russian and Canadian teammates. He learned from Steve Yzerman, who didn’t smoke, didn’t drink and always worked out.
“Fitness is No. 1,” Kozlov said. “If you’re not going to take care of your body, it’s going to be tough to play. When I was 18, 20, I didn’t go to the gym every day. Now, I do.”
“My point is that, six games from now, we’re going to play a team that’s been in the playoffs for a month and half. That team will have engaged physically every night for a while now. They’ve had their heart and soul in it. They’ve built momentum. We’ve been in a different scenario. We’ve had another good season; we’ve got 107 points right now, 49 wins, we’ve had good individual numbers. But the reality you and I both know is that they’re going to drop the puck and the team we’re playing is going to battle for every inch of ice.
“There’s no switch to prepare you for that, so we have six games to make a conscious decision that we want to win, and if you make that conscious decision, that means you’re all in.”
-Wings coach Mike Babcock. More on the Wings from Pierre LeBrun at ESPN.
via Rich Hammond of Inside the Kings,
Kyle Quincey is expected to have back surgery tomorrow, to repair his herniated disc, and (obviously) will miss the rest of the season.
from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
After a nice, long run as a line mate to Marty St. Louis, rookie Steven Stamkos likely will start tonight’s game with the Bruins on a line with Vinny Prospal and Brandon Bochensky. This isn’t just coach Rick Tocchet switching up lines looking for some jump, though after Sunday’s snoozer against the Senators, Tampa Bay could use it.
No, this is Tocchet sending a message to Stamkos to make sure he continues to compete at a high level. He has not done it the past few games, Tocchet said. The punishment is losing St. Louis as a line mate.
“When you play with Marty, that’s a privilege,” Tocchet said. “The message is, ‘If you’re going to play with Marty, you have to compete like he does.’ “
Almost six minutes of the best goals, saves and hit from the past week in the NHL.
from Charlie Teljeur of The Hockey News, ‘
Tis the time of year when everyone seems to be naming their all-star selections (no, not that All-Star Game thingy - that was done by three mischievous kids at MIT with a brilliant binary algorithm) so it seems high time for me to name my all-stars.
And by name I mean NAME all-stars. You know, the kid who might not be able to skate or pass and has hands reminiscent of medium-sized boulders, but he has 15 letters in his last name (three of them Xs) and it’s printed diagonally on his jersey. Or he’s from Upper Sloptovia and has a name that rhymes with rutabaga. Yeah, that’s my kind of player….
Goaltender – Antero Niittymaki (Philadelphia) – You know when you get really drunk and you start to sign your name and you write the first part fairly close to perfect, but then you lose concentration and the last part comes out as a big pile of jumbled letters and reads like inane gibberish? Yeah, Niittymaki.
Defense – Fedor Tyutin (Columbus) – The three best names for clowns I’ve ever heard are (1) Bozo the Clown, (2) Mr. Bubbles, and (3) Fedor Tyutin. Next time he skates by, grab his nose and see if it honks.
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
1. Ducks at Oilers: At game time, the Ducks and Oilers find themselves in the Western Conference’s not-so-coveted ninth and 10th spots, respectively. On home ice with just 36 wins (a key tiebreaker), the Oilers probably need this one a tad more than the Ducks….
2. Predators at Blue Jackets: Remember when the Central Division was the Red Wings and four other clubs? That’s no longer the case. Heading into Tuesday’s games, all five Central teams held down playoff spots. The injury-riddled Preds roll into Columbus off a come-from-behind win in Detroit. If they can beat the Jackets in regulation time, the teams will have identical records….
from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
When Ron Wilson stepped behind the bench of the Toronto Maple Leafs last summer, he knew he was taking over a team that was in the first year of a long-term rebuilding project. He knew that developing players - not qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs - was the immediate objective. And he knew that there would be “bumps and pratfalls and potholes in the road ahead.”
Of course, knowing the NHLseason would end this way does not make accepting it any easier.
“You want to play in the playoffs,” Wilson said. “That’s what I’m used to; going at least two rounds, if not farther for the last four years, so that will be a little tough to take.”
from Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger,
1. Book them on commercial flights to and from Ottawa next week. Private team jet? How about traveling like the rest of us and going through Customs at the Canadian border? And let them get their own transportation to and from the airport. It’s truly fun.
2. An appearance from Lou Lamoriello in the dressing room. That might scare some people, especially this late in the season. Their eyes would immediately zoom in to see if the GM had his skates on. Lamoriello is good at frightening his employees, whether they are office personnel or players.
Update 3:02pm ET: From Stu Hackel at the New York Times’ Slapshot—
In fact, the Devils are having a devil of a time (sorry) on offense. In their current slide, which has now reached five games (!!!), they have only six goals. They’ve lost six of seven, a slump that began after Brodeur broke Patrick Roy’s record for career victories and, when you read Coach Brent Sutter’s post-game statements on their lack of urgency, you have to wonder if the club emotionally peaked to help Marty go on that great run when he returned from injury.
from Woody Paige of the Denver Post,
Revenir au pouvoir, Pierre, Patrick, Bob, Eric and Joe.
Come back, Avs, come back.
Stan Kroenke — who owns the Avalanche, the Nuggets, the Rapids and the Mammoth, the arena, the soccer stadium and the Paramount Theatre (and, for all I know, my house) — has just forked over about $60 million to purchase another 5,000 shares of Arsenal and now owns 20.5 percent of the English Premier League football (soccer) club — and could be negotiating to buy out Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith.
As an aside, because of the tumultuous economy, Kroenke Sports Enterprises has laid off an unspecified number of personnel who did not make nearly $70 million altogether.
Hey, Stan The Man, can you spare some change for the Avalanche?
Aren’t the Avs as important as the Ars?
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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