Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dan Ellis of the Nashville Predators at the Hockey News,
You would think after 10 years of hockey the city of Nashville would be crazy about the sport, but that’s not necessarily the case.
I think our ownership group has done a good job emphasizing a connection to the local community to get support. Now the team just needs to continue to have success and bring more and more fans out.
from Terry Frei at ESPN,
The elite ...
… or the men who get the most out of their rosters, regardless of how good (or otherwise) those rosters are.
Mike Babcock, Detroit
Any quarrel here? Other than the fact that the rich got richer, which isn’t his “fault”? His broad-based background, his Stanley Cup résumé, his adaptability all add up to this: He should be at the top, or near the top, of any list. Stock: Up.
Jacques Lemaire, Minnesota
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You’ve got to give the devil—or ex-Devils coach—his due.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The NHL’s rookie race looks nothing like what the preseason pundits predicted.
Steven Stamkos, Kyle Turris and Fabian Brunnstrom were far and away the leading September picks to challenge for the Calder Trophy this season.
Someone forgot to tell Derick Brassard, Kris Versteeg, Mikhail Grabovski, Jakub Voracek and Patrik Berglund—the top five scoring rookies through Wednesday night.
Fellow rookie forwards Blake Wheeler, Mikkel Boedker and Oscar Moller also have been impressive as the NHL season reaches its quarter pole, as have first-year blueliners Alex Goligoski, Drew Doughty and Luca Sbisa.
Still, let’s be honest here. For the first time since the lockout, the NHL has a wide-open rookie race without the big-name attraction.
from Stan Fischler at the Hockey Journal,
• The issue is how long Senators owner Eugene Melnyk will tolerate an underachieving team? Will Bryan Murray trade (not easy) Jason Spezza? (Edmonton is said to be a possibility.) Will Murray go the Tampa route and can Craig (Hardly Inspirational) Hartsburg? How safe is Murray? The Sens are home Thursday (Montreal) and Saturday (Rangers). By Sunday Melnyk will have had enough time to pick his route; especially if his club is in a rout!
• Has it dawned on any of the Ottawa genius fans who booed Wade Redden that his absence is one reason why their Senators are plumbing the NHL depths?
more hockey topics from Stan…
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
San Jose Sharks: A-plus
The current gold standard for Stanley Cup contenders. But, of course, we’ve heard that story before when it comes to San Jose, haven’t we? The Sharks have jelled surprisingly well under rookie coach Todd McLellan and, as of midweek, have yet to lose in regulation at home. Dan Boyle is doing what GM Doug Wilson thought he would on the back end and forward David Setoguchi is another homegrown gem. As always, the question is whether they can bring it come April when the pudding is on the table.
Detroit Red Wings: A
Stanley Cup hangover? What hangover?
read on for a report on every NHL team.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun, ...
while Leafs coach Ron Wilson said he did not expect Colaiacovo’s ailment to be an issue, watching the defenceman limping around suggested otherwise….
Acknowledging that Colaiacovo was en route to having X-rays taken, Wilson suggested that Colaiacovo’s injury-plagued history is related to less-than-ideal physical conditioning.
“The big thing with Carlo — and I tell him that every day — is that ‘You’re not in very good shape. It leads to all the other issues in the past’,” Wilson said, adding the organization is working with Colaiacovo to improve his preparation.
From Ben Marrison, Editor of the Columbus Dispatch:
The caller said she is “sick and tired” of our negative coverage of the team, and said we’re trying to drive them out of town. She was particularly irked by the large photo we ran of goalie Pascal Leclaire in Wednesday’s paper, who gave up 7 goals in a loss Tuesday. She said we had the worst coverage of an NHL team of any newspaper.
Worth a read, given that the matter of “negative” coverage is something that fans around the league often have strong feelings about. And the fact that the ownership company behind The Dispatch also happens to own a 10% stake in the Columbus Blue Jackets and their arena, is another interesting twist.
from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Boyes enjoyed a fast start, scoring five goals in his first six games, but he has scored just one goal since Oct. 25.
“I’m one of the guys who has to pick up my game offensively,” Boyes said. “I’ve got to put the puck in the net. I’ve got to get going again.”
Murray has been shuffling his lines for much of the season, due to injuries and the ineffectiveness of some combinations. The forwards have gotten used to working in different combinations.
Now he seems ready to reunite Boyes with Tkachuk (just one goal since Oct. 25) and Kariya (just back from the injured list) starting Friday night. In that scenario, Berglund would center Stempniak and David Perron on the No. 2 line.
from Jim Kelley at Sports Illustrated,
Melrose got fired because he didn’t know what he was doing.
He might think it was because his players didn’t like that he publically chastised them after the first two games of the season (in Europe no less) or that he resorted to his celebrated cold-shoulder approach when he walked out of the locker room and left them to practice on their own the day before a game just prior to his being dismissed, but that’s hardly the case.
He got fired because he didn’t do game-prep well, manage his players and bench effectively, and was regularly outcoached by opponents, many of whom knew what they were doing behind the bench and took advantage of the fact that Melrose did not have a clue.
from The Spin, the blog of Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
If Burke does sign on this weekend, it appears increasingly likely he won’t be coming alone. His visit to Vancouver this week will include a meeting with Dave Nonis, who worked with Burke in B.C. and was hired by Burke to work in Anaheim during the summer. Nonis had meetings with the Leafs last summer over their vacant executive position, but couldn’t come to an agreement, so clearly he’s already seriously considered re-locating east.
How that would affect the Leaf front office isn’t clear. Fletcher would likely stay on a consultant capacity at least until the end of the 19-month contract he signed last January, and Joe Nieuwendyk appears likely to be part of a Burke team. Burke didn’t immediately clean house when he took over in Vancouver or Anaheim, so he may be content with bringing Nonis in without dumping those already working in Toronto.
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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