Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Spectators loved the pace of Tuesday’s game. This is the fast-paced game Gary Bettman wants to see in the new NHL.
There was lots of skating, lots of tape-to-tape passes, lots of odd-man rushes and plenty of high-speed collisions. The game had a terrific flow and it featured sustained action, start to finish.
Unfortunately, the Blues can’t just let it fly right now. It’s not about marketing the sport in a tough economy, it’s about surviving the simultaneous loss of so many key players.
They must find ways to win games with a makeshift lineup. If they can remain viable, they could position themselves for a big second-half run after they key players return.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The NHL will not announce plans for next year’s season opener in Europe for another month or so, but at least three clubs have expressed interest in going, including one from Canada, the Calgary Flames.
And while the Toronto Maple Leafs are not a candidate for 2009, they would be a leading contender to open the season abroad in 2010, one NHL source said yesterday….
The other clubs in confirmed negotiations for the junket are the Detroit Red Wings and the St. Louis Blues, both of which have targeted Stockholm as their venue of choice. The Red Wings, the Stanley Cup champions, have a nucleus of Swedish-born players, including perennial James Norris Memorial Trophy candidate and team captain Nicklas Lidstrom, last year’s playoff most valuable player, Henrik Zetterberg and others - Johan Franzen, Nicklas Kronwall, Mikael Samuelsson and Andreas Lilja.
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
Hitchcock doesn’t see the Sharks as simply a collection of All-Stars with unfathomable statistics. He sees them as an example of where the Blue Jackets need to get.
“We want to move from the middle of the pack to the next level, and the next level isn’t technical,” Hitchcock said. “It’s having more people engaged for longer periods of time.
“That isn’t something you talk about, or wave a magic wand and it happens. It’s something that takes a lot of work, a lot of adversity. We’re moving that forward. It’s not just being willing to pay the price to win. It’s understanding what the price to pay is.”
from Dave Dye of the Detroit News,
But while the role of the agitator has diminished over the years, there still are a few who live to be irritants.
Kirk Maltby and Chris Chelios can fill that role for the Red Wings, although not necessarily to the degree they did earlier in their careers. And some of the top agitators in the game today include Ottawa’s Jarkko Ruutu, Nashville’s Jordin Tootoo and Dallas’ Steve Ott….
Television analyst Pierre McGuire, a former NHL coach, added: “An agitator is a guy that does whatever it takes to win. He’ll pursue the puck with a vengeance. He’ll finish his checks bordering on getting a penalty. He’ll dive face first in front of a shot and then laugh at people on the other bench who think he’s nuts. He’ll do virtually anything to win. Usually the best agitators are guys that hit, run and play tough in key situations.”
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
If the Rangers are informed that Sundin is following his heart to Broadway rather than his wallet to Vancouver, the Rangers would be able to place players on waivers up until 3 p.m. New York time on Friday.
Though they technically do not have to clear salary-cap space until they actually register Sundin’s contract (which won’t take place until a day or two before the center is deemed ready to play in a game), their failure to trim or reorganize the roster by Friday means the Rangers would be carrying two or three dead men skating throughout the freeze.
That’s obviously not ideal for club unity or morale. Neither will it be good for club unity or morale if Sundin, who is returning to Stockholm for Christmas, begins practicing with the Rangers the last week of December with the current roster intact….
This means the most likely options would involve deleting Petr Prucha and Dan Fritsche from the roster. Making both moves by Friday would add approximately $1.565 millionto the $1 million in cap space they’re currently holding.
from the Philadelphia Inquirer,
From: Gonzalez, John
To: Ford, Bob; Sheridan, Phil
Subject: Party animals
Well now. Just when you thought Sean Avery was the NHL’s lone bad boy, along come your Philadelphia Flyers. There’s a story on the Internet, along with a number of pictures, about the Flyers crashing a Temple University fraternity date party in Old City last week.
continued with a link to the pics.
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
Derek Roy has reached a point in his NHL career where big things are expected daily. He’s also reached a point where he can deliver.
Roy is a fixture on the Buffalo Sabres’ score sheet, but that’s nothing new. The center led the team in points last season, averaging a shade more than one per game. He’s back on a similar tear. It raises the question: Does Roy expect to be on the score sheet every night?
“Yeah,” he said Tuesday. “The coaching staff expects that of me, I expect that of myself, my teammates expect that from me. That’s what I’m here for.
“Everyone’s a piece of the puzzle, and my job is to make plays, score goals, play defense and log a lot of minutes — play well consistently game in and game out. That’s what I’m trying to do every night.”
from the Thrashers Blog,
Ottawa’s Chris Neil delivered one heck of a shoulder to Bryan Little 18 minutes into the second period of Tuesday night’s game. Little had his head down, and Thrashers coach John Anderson called it a clean hit, but his players clearly went out to defend their teammate.
Eric Boulton challenged Neil to a fight, and Neil declined, Anderson said. Boris Valabik wagged a finger and talked some smack from the bench.
from Bruce Garrioch at Off The Posts,
Senators coach Craig Hartsburg must send a message after a 4-1 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers.
If he doesn’t like to bench one player, then it’s time to send them for a skate today with the no pucks. The Senators didn’t work tonight, make them work in the morning. The club doesn’t play until Friday. The power play was awful. The penalty killing was worse. The supposed scorers disappeared.
“It was a step back. It was an awful step back,” said a seething Hartsburg. “We didn’t play with the desperation right from the start and we didn’t have it all night.”
added 9:09am, from the Universal Cynic,
Notice a glaring lack of posts lately? That’s because I won’t waste my digital motor skills covering what may, or may not be going on with this city’s team. I’ve said everything I could up until this point. The Ottawa Senators aren’t worth my time, let alone my money.
from Flames Insider,
Flames coach Mike Keenan received a boisterous round of boos Tuesday night when his image flashed up on the Jumbotron at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
Iron Mike served as coach and general manager of the Blues from 1994-96, and it appears some of the faithful are still bitter over his reign — especially over the departure of several key players including Wayne Gretzky, Brendan Shanahan, Al MacInnis, and Brett Hull.
“It’s kind of difficult when you’re getting marching orders to trade people,” Keenan said. “I’m not shy to tell the folks here that I was explicitly told to trade MacInnis, Hull and Shanahan to reduce the budget significantly. The team didn’t want to carry those finances.
“I told them at the time. I said, `there’s going to be a major backlash if this happens.’”
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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