Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
• We all love Sid the Kid, but if you were voting for the top centre in the NHL today, wouldn’t it be Henrik Sedin or Jumbo Joe Thornton? Sedin has proven, to everybody, that he’s a stud. You can’t push him around. He’s a legitimate Hart Trophy candidate. He would be running away with the NHL scoring race if his brother, Daniel, hadn’t missed 18 games with that broken foot. How good is Henrik? Heading into Saturday’s game with the Calgary Flames, in the 52 games, Alex Burrows has been his linemate, he has 32 goals and 52 points.
• Can somebody tell me why the Chicago Blackhawks would screw up a good thing by bringing in Ilya Kovalchuk from the Atlanta Thrashers as a rental on the trade deadline day?...
• Rest assured, Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson will be trading Filatov, probably at the entry draft in June, because he’s not going to have a kid dictate who he plays or how many minutes he plays. He’ll have no trouble moving the forward, for the top four D-man he needs.
more hockey talk…
Brad Luckowich of the Canucks on the Flames Rene Bourque.
via Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
A quick Brian Burke report card. His team stinks.
His friend, the coach, can’t get the Maple Leafs to kill penalties or play anything resembling team defence. His big acquisition, Phil Kessel, has gone soft and sour. He won’t be drafting Taylor Hall in June or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins the year after. And his college free-agent signings are nowhere to be found while David McNab, who signed Andy McDonald and Dustin Penner for Anaheim, has come up with another good one for his former team in Dan Sexton.
Outside of goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who has had two heart procedures and a groin injury in his rookie season, little has gone right in Burke’s world and, knowing him, that has to driving him to absolute frustration.
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
When Dallas plays at Columbus at 6 p.m. today, it will be the first of six games out of the next eight on the road, where the Stars are 1-6-3 in their last 10.
The Stars will follow the Columbus contest with games in Philadelphia and Montreal, come home for games against Detroit and Minnesota, then go back out for games in Vancouver, Edmonton and Colorado. While they won’t secure a playoff spot by having great trips, they could put any playoff hopes in severe jeopardy if they have bad trips.
“Everybody is playing at a .600 clip now, so we have to play at that clip or better,” Stars coach Marc Crawford said, before adding that the only way to do that is to put the rest of the schedule in the distance and concentrate on the next game.
“You really have to have the focus of single game,” he said. “Our job is to put in our best effort and our best game plan for every game. For players to be successful, it’s a hard job, but you have to have a singular focus.”
from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,
He was told this morning he wasn’t playing but that he still had to skate warmups. James Sheppard did not have to skate warmups. Somebody asked me on Twitter during warmups if he was playing because he was warming up, and I replied, “No. They treat him like a rookie.”
Whether that was appropriate of me to say or not, I said it and I said it because I know the veteran of five Stanley Cup Finals and 900-plus regular season games was told that he had to skate warmups even though there was no intention of playing him.
Later in the game tonight, agent Allan Walsh retweeted my tweet. Then he tweeted, “No, the coach is treating Sykora with less respect than a rookie.” and “Sykora is a healthy scratch for the 2nd game in a row.”
I talked to Allan after the game because Twitter’s obviously public and I couldn’t ignore it, but he didn’t want to comment further publicly.
read on for talk on the Wild win over the Blackhawks last night…
from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,
You might have heard. Our beloved Los Tiburones are sending more players to the Canadian team than any other NHL franchise. The top Sharks forward line of Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau will be joined by defenseman Dan Boyle.
What does that mean? It means that Saturday night, Babcock was sending out his Detroit players to fight and battle against the Sharks players who could be Babcock’s most key offensive performers in Vancouver.
And that had to be awkward.
“I don’t think there’s anything awkward about it,” Babcock said. “I don’t really understand where you’re going.”
Actually, in my head, I am going where Babcock will be going in a few weeks. Anxiety or intensity doesn’t begin to describe the destination.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
• Here’s what we get to find out about Brian Burke as he runs the Maple Leafs: Can he succeed taking over as GM of a club that doesn’t have a brother of a pending Hall of Fame free agent defenseman on it?
• Rick DiPietro’s return is a personal success that should be applauded and respected. It speaks well to the young man’s dedication, desire and professionalism.
But it’s now up to the Islanders’ ownership, management and coaching staff to ensure that first-half MVP Dwayne Roloson isn’t shifted into the background in order to accommodate the “franchise” goaltender.
• There’s conflict in Calgary, we’re told by a fellow who has never steered us in the wrong direction, between Jarome Iginla and Brent Sutter, with the captain apparently believing the coach has brought too many junior hockey-type tactics back home with him.
more notes from Brooks…
from the CP at TSN,
Calgary coach Brent Sutter was crying foul at Canucks fans after the Flames beat Vancouver in a shootout Saturday night.
Sutter said someone in the sellout crowd of 18,810 at General Motors Place was directing a laser pointer at goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff throughout the game in an effort to distract him.
“It was going on all night,” said Sutter. “It was brought to the attention of the refs and security, and it’s hard to believe that can go on for 60 minutes in a hockey game and it’s not located and not found.”
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
Place your left hand on the Bible and raise your right hand before answering this question, understanding you could face charges of perjury: Did you think before the season began that the Buffalo Sabres would be sitting in second place in the Eastern Conference today, Jan. 10, 2010?
Well, um, not, gee, uh ...
Good heavens, no.
For what it’s worth, I picked them to finish eighth in the conference with the idea they were capable of finishing anywhere between sixth and 10th. Nobody of sound hockey mind would have predicted the Sabres charging to the top of the division and challenging for the NHL’s best record.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Holland met with Lidstrom during this road trip and Lidstrom told him he won’t make a decision on whether he’ll continue playing or retire until after the season.
Hudler called Holland a few days ago to wish him a happy New Year. He didn’t give any indication of whether he wants to return to Detroit next season, but he has an out clause in the two-year, $10 million deal he signed with Russia’s Moscow Dynamo in the summer.
“He told me he’s not sure what he’s doing next year,’’ Holland said.
If Hudler returns, he would honor the two-year deal he was awarded through arbitration last summer, which has a cap hit of $2.875 million.
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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