Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
There are miles and miles to go, and as the team lurches to the all-star break, clinging to the next-to-last mythical playoff spot, though barely past the halfway mark, boundless patience is a big ask.
“Our guys are battling,” said Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault. “[Columbus] scored four goals in a row, our guys could have folded. They didn’t. Mats is playing better, we all know Roberto can play better, and those are key components of our team.”
“I think Sundin’s starting to come, his first three steps are quicker now, and he’s getting into holes to shoot the puck that he wasn’t two weeks ago. Mats is going to be a really dangerous player for teams to defend against,” Hitchcock said, charitably….
And Luongo isn’t close to being the goalie of old, and knows it. Someone asked if he thought he could feel his form returning — after all, he made some fine saves, off Kristian Huselius and Nash and others — and Luongo did everything but laugh.
“I don’t think so. Not when I let in five goals [on the first 17 shots] in a game,” he said. “I tried to do my best out there, but it’s to be expected, I didn’t expect to come in and be where I left off. It’s going to be a process.
via Bolts Report,
Lightning forward Evgeny Artyukhin has been suspended for two games, starting with tonight’s game against Dallas. There has been no word from the league or the team, but Artyukhin said after he came off the ice that he spoke to the league on Sunday about his knee-on-knee hit with Florida’s Ville Peltonen during Saturday’s game.
TORONTO (Jan. 19, 2008) – Tampa Bay Lightning forward Evgeny Artyukhin has been suspended for two games, without pay, for a kneeing incident in NHL Game #667 against the Florida Panthers, the National Hockey League announced today.
Artyukhin was assessed a minor penalty for tripping Panthers’ forward Ville Peltonen at 19:33 of the second period.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Artyukhin will forfeit $10,215.06. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
SAN JOSE – San Jose Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the club has reassigned forwards Brad Staubitz and Tom Cavanagh to the Worcester Sharks, the team’s top development affiliate in the American Hockey League and recalled forward Claude Lemieux.
The team also placed defenseman Brad Lukowich on injured reserve, retroactive to Jan. 6.
Lemieux has played in 23 games with Worcester, posting 11 points (3-8=11), 24 penalty minutes and a +2 rating. He was originally signed by San Jose as a free agent on Dec. 29, 2007.
from Tripp Mickle of SportsBusiness Journal,
For the first time since the 2004-05 lockout, the NHL has increased both its attendance and ratings at the midpoint of a season.
Through 628 games this season, average reported attendance is up 1.5 percent from 2007-08. The increase came despite the fact that the 2009 Winter Classic in Chicago at Wrigley Field held 30,000 fewer fans than the 2008 outdoor game in Buffalo, a game that drew 71,000.
“We’re particularly pleased this year because the world around us is a lot different than it’s been in a long time,” said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. “Most businesses would have reasons to be concerned about a downturn, and so far we haven’t seen it.”
continued and thanks again goes out to SBJ for releasing the links to a normally paid subscription site.
Also from Tripp Mickle of SBJ,
The economy may dampen the party scene at this year’s Super Bowl, but it won’t dampen the celebration at the 2009 NHL All-Star Game.
At a time when other leagues are pulling back on travel and sponsors are curtailing activation at events, the NHL is poised for its biggest all-star celebration in years. The league has increased its budget for the event, which is taking place in hockey-mad Montreal this weekend, to more than $5 million, a 5 percent increase from Atlanta in 2008. NHL officials also claim that corporate partners will spend more than $10 million on activation in Montreal, a 50 percent increase from 2008.
Just a reminder, we have two early matchups today.
from David Climer of the Tennessean,
Even in the best of times, this team is not very easy on the eyes. Compared to much of the competition, it lacks star power. The Preds can’t roll a certain line onto the ice and be assured there will be repeated scoring chances. Case in point: The team’s leading scorer, Arnott, is tied for 51st in the league with 15 goals.
The Preds don’t score easily or often. Since the surprise defection of young scoring specialist Alexander Radulov in the offseason, they don’t try to outscore you. They try to out-tough you.
The two-goal showing against Atlanta is typical of a team that is averaging 2.4 goals per game, next-to-last in the NHL. Only twice in the past 11 games have the Preds scored more than two goals. They specialize in the 2-1 win and the 3-2 loss.
“When you’re down three goals, it plays in the back of your head,” Coach Barry Trotz said. “… Two seems to be a little bit of our limit right now.”
via Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
With all due respect to Ken Holland (Detroit Red Wings), Peter Chiarelli (Boston Bruins), Bob Gainey (Montreal Canadiens) and even Darryl Sutter, there can be no argument on the mid-season nod as the NHL’s GM of the year. It’s San Jose Sharks’ Doug Wilson. Acquisitions like Dan Boyle and Rob Blake have a had a massive impact on the league’s most dominant club, and Wilson’s savvy drafting over the years is paying off as late-round pick Joe Pavelski and first-rounder Devin Setoguchi have emerged as game-breakers. The decision to not give up on Patrick Marleau is also paying huge dividends. However, his best move of the year involved not only opting to fire Ron Wilson but to entrust his club to the young Todd McLellan, who is clearly the midseason choice as coach of the year.
Of all the aforementioned GMs who’ve done well to piece together contenders, Sutter is the one who will get the least attention, but he deserves plenty of credit for adding relatively cheap depth players Rene Bourque, Curtis Glencross, Todd Bertuzzi and Michael Cammalleri, all of whom have taken turns playing hero for the Flames this season.
from Bill Fleischman of PhiladelphiaFlyers.com,
Except for those who sit near him in the Wachovia Center, few Flyers fans know his real name. He’s best known as “Sign Man.” Known internationally, that is.
Since 1972, Dave Leonardi has been making Flyers fans smile with the signs he holds up during games. Occasionally, he produces smiles from opposing players. And on at least one occasion, he has annoyed NHL officials working a game.
Years ago, during a game at the Spectrum in which the Flyers thought they were getting short-changed by the officials, Leonardi displayed an eye chart for the officials. When linesman Matt Pavelich skated past Leonardi he said, “You’re a horsebleep artist, too.” Noted Leonardi: “He said horsebleep.”
from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,
Just when you think maybe Havlat could be moved, he wins a game like in St. Louis on the kind of play few forwards can make.
If the Hawks do move Havlat, they MUST get a top-six forward in return.
As for Khabibulin, this two-goalie system is the strength of the team and offers great security for the playoffs. Granted, Huet is playing well, but what if he were to get hurt after Khabibulin was traded? Then everything is shot.
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
While the memories of what was accomplished during his six seasons with the Lightning remain, little else is left of the organization he knew for so long. Ownership has changed, the coaching staff is gone, management is new and the roster looks nothing like the one he left last season. And only two players remain on the roster in which Richards won a Stanley Cup with - Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis.
Richards said playing against the Lightning won’t feel as strange as squaring off against Lecavalier for the first time in his life. Lecavalier and Richards have been playing together since their early years in high school, playing for Notre Dame Academy in Saskatchewan. Both played for Rimouski in junior hockey and were drafted by the Lightning.
“It’s definitely going to be bizarre,” Lecavalier said. “But I’m definitely looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to seeing him again. It will be fun to see him play again.”
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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