Kukla's Korner Hockey
The Vancouver Canucks received some awful news on the injury front Monday when they learned that they would be without defenceman Kevin Bieksa for up to three months with severed tendons in his left ankle.
from Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail,
After getting hammered 6-2 by the Sabres on Dec. 3, the Canadiens lost 4-3 on Dec. 14, and 1-0 yesterday; as Jacques Martin likes to say, and repeat, and repeat, it’s important to show constant improvement.
The Habs survived their 17-game month ’o hell, going 9-7-1. That’s no screaming hell, but they’ve managed to stay with the playoff pack, and with Andrei Markov and Gionta back, this is looking a lot more like the hockey team Bob Gainey assembled in the summer.
“We’re starting to come around finally . . . since getting all our players back I think it does feel like a new season,” Price said.
All the top plays from Western Conference teams since the start of the 2009/10 season.
from Spector at Fox Sports,
The Blue Jackets entered 2009-10 coming off their first playoff appearance in franchise history, while the Oilers — having made changes behind the bench and in goal — were expecting to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
Instead of being in playoff contention both clubs enter the New Year mired in the bottom of the Western Conference standings and in danger of falling out of the postseason chase….
Goaltending has been a common issue. The Oilers brought in veteran Nikolai Khabibulin last summer to be their starter but he struggled with a bad back which eventually sidelined him in late November. Backup Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers has done his best but it’s clear in relief that he’s not yet ready to be a full-time starting goalie.
The Blue Jackets made the playoffs last season in large part to the goaltending of Steve Mason, who won the Calder trophy as rookie of the year with his 33-win, 2.29 GAA, 10-shutout performance. This season, however, Mason is mired in a sophomore slump, with only 11 victories in 32 games, a bloated 3.18 goals-against average and only two shutouts.
NEW YORK (January 4, 2010)—Vancouver Canucks center Henrik Sedin, Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov and Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane have been named the NHL ‘Three Stars’ for December.
via SportsBusiness Daily (paid sub.),
NBC earned a 2.6 overnight Nielsen rating for the Flyers-Bruins Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Friday, down 10.3% from a 2.9 for the Red Wings-Blackhawks matchup last year, and even with the inaugural Penguins-Sabres Winter Classic in ‘08.
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
• Miro Satan’s agent – Allan Walsh – took offence to my critique of his client’s work ethic this week. (The suggestion I should go back to “Hockey Scouting 101” was pretty funny.) It is true that he showed an excellent attitude as a cap casualty in Pittsburgh last season, having to go to the minors. Maybe he’s matured as an older player, but there’s no doubt he wasn’t an “every night guy” for much of his career.
• I rarely, if ever, get nervous anymore, but certainly was to interview Bobby Orr live for the first time ever. I called him “Mr. Orr.” He looked at me and said, “It’s Bobby.” We are coming up to the 40th anniversary of his famous 1970 Cup-winner. Geez, I’m getting old.
NEW YORK (January 4, 2010)—New Jersey Devils right wing Jamie Langenbrunner, Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Mike Smith and Dallas Stars left wing Loui Eriksson have been named the NHL ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending Jan. 3.
Jesse Rogers of the Chicago Blackhawks Blog at ESPN has a few questions for Pierre LeBrun,
Is there a prevailing thought outside of Chicago that Cristobal Huet can or can’t be the man come April, May, and June?
PL: I can’t speak for other media around the league, but the way I look at it is the way I saw Chris Osgood over the years in Detroit. The Wings when they were doing their thing didn’t need great goaltending, they just needed their goalie to be decent and not give up bad goals. They were so stacked on defense and up front and controlled the puck that having a Vezina-worthy goalie wasn’t necessary. I think if Huet just does his job and stays within himself next spring, the Hawks have a shot at the Cup. He doesn’t need to be as good as the top goalies in the league for the Hawks to win.
from Nate Rau of the Tennessean,
Metro lawyers and a designee of the Metro Sports Authority will meet as early as this week with Nashville Predators officials to hash out issues surrounding lead owner David Freeman’s federal tax troubles and whether the team is in default on its arena lease with the city.
The discussion is expected to center on the National Hockey League team’s financial condition and whether a default would occur if a $3.3 million federal tax lien against Freeman is not resolved.
Freeman has said he expects to have the issue with the IRS resolved this month, but provisions in the Sommet Center lease agreement designed to protect taxpayers say financial troubles of one of its owners could lead to a default.
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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