Kukla's Korner Hockey
from John Shipley of the Pioneer Press,
The stars finally seem to have aligned for John Scott and the Wild. Opportunity, attitude and performance have come together just in time for the big defenseman to contribute as Minnesota battles desperately for a playoff spot.
Yet the timing isn’t perfect, because Scott will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
“I don’t know if that’s good or bad,” he said. “You’d have to ask my agent. He says it’s good.”
Though the collective bargaining agreement has allowed many young players to become unrestricted, Scott’s case is unusual. At 26, he already is playing through his third pro contract, though he has played only 16 NHL games — all since Jan. 1.
But he’s been good, good enough to play in 11 of 12 games since being recalled for a second time on March 8. Not bad for an undrafted free agent whose college career was notable mostly because he was considered Division I hockey’s tallest player.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
So, now that the Flames have succumbed to Vancouver, let’s watch this Jokinen fellow. He’s had his honeymoon, and now some hard times.
School is in on the big Finn. Let’s see if he is there to help lead the Flames out of this skid, or if Jokinen is willing to settle for the mediocrity that has thus far enveloped his National Hockey League career.
It seems impossible to think that a group of Top 6 forwards including Iginla, Jokinen, Langkow, Mike Cammalleri, Todd Bertuzzi and the speedy Curtis Glencross would go through as prolonged an offensive slump as the Flames are in.
The pieces are here. So why does the puzzle look so patchy?...
At times like these the leaders have to lead. That means you, Jarome.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
The National Hockey League has disciplined the Toronto Maple Leafs for their handling of defenceman Jonas Frogren’s contract last summer.
Sources say the Leafs have been fined $500,000 for paying Frogren a $755,000 signing bonus which violated the CBA. The Maple Leafs will also have to pay an additional penalty in the form of a draft pick.
It’s believed Frogren used a portion of the signing bonus, $400,000 to get out of the final year of his contract with Farjestad of the Swedish Elite League.
Every month USA TODAY lists their clutch skaters and goaltenders. The criteria used for the skaters include:
• First goal of the game: 75. Assist: 40. If first goal occurs after first period, then 100 and 60.
• Tying goal: 75: Assist: 40
• Two goals ahead (excluding empty netters): 50. Assist: 30
• Pull team within one: 25. Assist: 15
The top two players listed are Steve Sullivan and Sidney Crosby.
read on for much more
from Stu Hackel of Slap Shot at the NY Times,
When it comes to hockey’s greatest April Fool’s prankster, however, no one ever topped Paul Wieland, back when he was the director of communications for the Buffalo Sabres. “This was Paul’s favorite holiday,” says Gerry Helper, who is now the Predators’ senior vice president for communicaitons but who got into hockey when Weiland hired him as an assistant 30 years ago. “He told me I was going to write all the releases except one, and that was the April 1 release. He did that every year.
And they were great. The best might have been in the one he composed in the 1970s that was, as press releases were back in the olden days, mailed out in actual envelopes with stamps and delivered by the postal service. This one announced that the Sabres were exploring a new technology that would allow N.H.L. games to be played on plastic ice. This, Wieland wrote, was going to change the game. No more costly refrigeration operations, no more water usage, no more Zambonis.
from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,
Last year it was the Dallas Stars and Marty Turco who surprised fans with a run to the conference finals, perhaps motivated by those who questioned Turco’s ability to perform under pressure. The Red Wings won it all, proving they could still dominate during the salary cap era.
So which teams have the most to prove this spring? Here’s our top five:
1. San Jose Sharks: This is an easy one. San Jose has been an annual postseason underachiever, and—even considering the Sharks’ dominant regular season—there are people withholding judgment until they see real postseason success….
2.. Washington Capitals: Boston’s emergence made the Bruins the early favorite in the East. Before their recent losing streak, the Devils had been the bandwagon choice to win the conference, considering they’ll have a well-rested Martin Brodeur.
But the Capitals have spent most of the season at the top of the standings without taking a turn as the Eastern Conference team to beat. The lack of recognition—and lately the criticism—motivated Washington owner Ted Leonsis to get on his blog, TedsTake.com, and offer a defense. He points out that the Caps haven’t had a losing month this season for the first time in team history and that they have a chance to break franchise records for points and wins….
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
We might not see Joe Sakic this year after all.
The Avalanche captain and franchise icon met with the media this morning, and while saying it remains his goal to play before the season is over April 12, he isn’t sure it will happen. Citing a loss of strength in his left leg – aftereffects of back surgery to repair a herniated disc and sciatic nerve damage to the leg – Sakic said it may not be possible to fulfill his goal.
“I lost a lot of strength in my leg,” Sakic said. “I’m not too sure where we stand yet. I’m just trying to work as hard as I can to make it back. Next week is obviously going to decide a lot.”
From Scott Burnside at ESPN:
Leave it to the Anaheim Ducks, seemingly always on the vanguard of thinking outside the hockey box, to bring science and hockey together in an unlikely yet wholly fascinating marriage.
Thanks to a $2 million endowment from the Ducks, the Science of Hockey, the first permanent science exhibit devoted to the game of hockey and how it works, will open its doors to the public Thursday in a 3,000-square-foot space at the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, Calif.
“It’s trying to teach kids science using hockey, and it’s trying to teach hockey using science. You can look at it from both perspectives,” Ducks CEO Michael Schulman told ESPN.com. “We’re always thinking of ways to get hockey in the minds of our youth. This is just another way to help it.”
More on the story here. Video on the exhibit below:
NHL Network profiles one of the NHL’s signature voices, Montreal Canadiens play-by-play man Pierre Houde Thursday at 7:30pm ET.
NEW YORK—Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward, Vancouver Canucks center Henrik Sedin and Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Rick Nash have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the month of March.
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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