Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Robin Brownlee at MetroNews,
Of all the questionable decisions the Edmonton Oilers have made with players this season, the handling of Gilbert Brule ranks up there in terms of head-scratchers.
Brule played his 152nd NHL game against St. Louis last night, meaning he is just eight games from having to clear waivers to move between Edmonton’s roster and the minors.
You’d think, seeing as Edmonton traded Raffi Torres to Columbus to get the talented speedster, there’d be some sense of urgency in wanting to assess Brule before that 160-game mark to see if he’s in the plans.
But there was Brule last night, stuck on the fourth line with Kyle Brodziak and Steve MacIntyre while Liam Reddox played alongside Dustin Penner and Shawn Horcoff.
from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
The Penguins (20-19-4, 44 points) probably need to earn at least 60 percent of their remaining available points to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
They’ve earned only 51 percent through 43 games.
“We need to pick it up,” defenseman Ryan Whitney said before losses last week at Nashville and Colorado. “We needed to pick it up a while ago.”
They haven’t, of course, hence their status as one of the NHL’s worst teams for going on about two months.
Some of their putrid statistics from their 8-15-1 stretch dating to Nov. 22:
• 15.5 percent on the power play (16-for-103).
• 76.4 percent on the penalty kill (81-of-106).
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
Reports out of Columbus have said Foote not only threatened to be a bad teammate and not have his heart in it if he stayed with the Blue Jackets, but he had a plane set up to take him to his reunion with the Avalanche, even before the deadline deal was consummated….
Those who made charges about Foote while insisting on anonymity are gutless. This isn’t “a State Department official,” with tacit approval from above, discussing Mideast policy with the media. Neither is this something as benign as “sources” disclosing that the Jackets are set to hire John Doe as an assistant coach; this is “sources” making reputation-damaging allegations.
Granted, hockey journalism often doesn’t set the bar high for “sourcing.” A “source” can be not just a league or team official, but also an assistant trainer’s brother-in-law’s barber . . . or a dart board. I’m not saying it’s that bad in the Foote imbroglio, but the use of unnamed sources, likely with axes grinding, for much of the material undercuts the credibility.
from Tom Blackwell of the National Post,
Hockey players had much higher levels of testosterone after a winning game on home ice than after a similarly victorious match-up away from home, according to a study published in the American Journal of Human Biology.
It is not clear what triggered the hormone boost. But “a rise in status (i. e. competitive victory) in front of friends and family members may be an especially potent stimulus for the endocrine system,” the paper said.
Justin Carre, the PhD pscyhology student at Brock University in St. Catharines, who spearheaded the work, said more recent research, yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, makes an even more intriguing finding. In that study, players only watched a videotape of a game they won on home ice, but experienced a similar spike in testosterone.
from William Houston of the Globe and Mail,
During his Hockey Night in Canada spot, he insisted he was against keeping a player in the lineup for the sole purpose of lumbering onto the ice and, with a wink and nod to his counterpart, starting a fight.
“I never believed in having a mad dog sit on the bench and have two or three shifts, and go out there and fight,” he said. “That’s not hockey.”
In the wake of the Don Sanderson tragedy, is Cherry softening his position?
Perhaps, but he made it clear that he feels fighting is permissible and necessary as long as the right guys, which is to say real players, are throwing the punches.
more and watch Don from Saturday’s Coaches Corner below…
from Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters,
Stop us if you’ve heard this before, but the Penguins could stand to acquire a scoring winger to play along side Sidney Crosby. But how does Ray Shero and company go about getting one?...
What about drafting and developing players? While selecting all-world talents like Alex Ovechkin or Ilya Kovalchuk first overall takes the brain power of a piece of toast or even Don Waddell, unearthing gems like Henrik Zetterberg (above) in the seventh round takes a sharp mind like Ken Holland’s.
In that regard, the Penguins have stunk dating back to the Craig Patrick regime….
How inept have the Penguins been in finding scoring wingers through the draft? They’re one of four teams which currently don’t have a winger who scored 20-goals in 2007-08 or are on a pace for 20 goals this season on the roster which was acquired through the draft. The others are the Hurricanes, Islanders and Lightning.
read on and check out the imformative chart…
from Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers,
Within the next few days, the Vancouver Canucks are expected to relieve their logjam at goaltender by trading Curtis Sanford. The Blue Jackets are a possible destination.
The Blue Jackets need depth at goaltending. That’s pretty clear. Behind Steve Mason, they have Pascal Leclaire (gimpy ankle) and Dan LaCosta, who has 34 minutes of NHL experience….
Also, pay no mind to the rumors out of Ottawa. The Blue Jackets have no interest in acquiring center Jason Spezza and his $8 million contract.
from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,
GM Bryan Murray—still on the job despite a flurry of rumours of imminent change—returned from scouting meetings last night and is expected to deal with the goaltending and coaching situations today.
It’s not out of the question Martin Gerber, a healthy scratch Saturday night as rookie Brian Elliott got the start, has played his last game as a Senator.
Speculation is that Gerber will be placed on waivers with an eye toward sending him to Binghamton to take Elliott’s spot, but no action is likely until Murray sits down and talks with Gerber, likely today.
It is also not clear if owner Eugene Melnyk will be willing to eat the approximately $1.8 million remaining on Gerber’s contract to have him toil in the minors, though it would take his salary off the books at the NHL level.
from Dave Joseph at FloridaPanthers.com,
There was the bed shaped like a pony in Edmonton.
Then there’s the moose that got hit on the way back from Sault Ste. Marie. The plane engine that caught fire. The accident in the parking lot of Tim Hortons. The hotel operator needing a snowmobile to get supplies in Winnipeg.
Welcome to life on the road in the NHL.
When the Panthers flight from Toronto to South Florida was delayed nearly 24 hours last week due to mechanical problems and then bad weather, it was an inconvenience. But Panther players and coaches have had their share of strange trips – some scary and others funny – when it comes to life on the road in minor and professional hockey.
from Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun,
Vancouver Canuck superstar goalie Roberto Luongo will partake in a full team practice on Monday and appears set to return to game action this week.
Luongo survived a rigourous 75-minute workout run by goalie coach Ian Clark today at GM Place.
Seven players took shots on Luongo in a variety of drills designed specifically to test his injured groin.
“I pounded it pretty hard and the groin is feeling fine,” said Luongo. “We pretty much explored everything today. There were some broken plays where you kind of had to react and kick your leg out and be in a bit of a vulnerable position and I didn’t have any problems. So that’s really encouraging. I’m really happy with the way things went.”
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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