Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bill Clement of NBC Sports,
Detroit is the best team in the NHL. No other club is more talent-laden or has better depth with high-level players both up front and on the blue line. The Red Wings are loaded. Yet, they won’t win a second straight Stanley Cup.
I know that sounds like a contradiction but my feeling this way speaks directly to the extreme degree of difficulty in winning back-to-back championships in today’s NHL.
“He (Tampa co-owner Len Barrie) was more of a Sean Avery-type player when we were in junior. It was my first game in Victoria and my folks came down from central Vancouver Island to watch.
“[Barrie] was all over me, chirping and smacking me. Finally, about halfway through the second period, I had enough. I dropped my gloves and we went at it. Who would have thought 21 years later he would be my boss?”
-Lightning goalie Olaf Kolzig. More at the Globe and Mail…
It is not often you read about a team owner discussing some of the trade inquiries they receive. I wonder how the teams mentioned below feel about it?
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
(Oren) Koules has a ready response to any questions about Smith, the former Dallas backup who was 3-10 after arriving in Tampa last February.
“There was an erroneous report on the first day of free agency that we wanted to trade Mike Smith,” Koules said. “The first two calls we got were from [Stars GM] Les Jackson and [former Stars GM] Doug Armstrong (now VP of Player Personnel for the Blues). Then, we got one from [Vancouver Canucks GM] Mike Gillis, who used to be his agent.
“What’s that tell you about Smith?”
much more on the Lightning…
from Peter Scowan of the Globe and Mail,
In February, 1971, a slightly bewildered boy stood beside his father in the Montreal Forum as waves of applause tumbled over them.
The ovation lasted 10 minutes, an unbridled display of gratitude from Canadiens fans who had just seen the team’s legendary captain, Jean Béliveau, score his third goal of the night and the 500th of his career.
The cheering fans in the better seats were the picture of Montreal elegance. Women wore fancy hats and good dresses, and the men were in suits. Higher in the arena, the standing-room-only diehards wore Habs jerseys emblazoned with their favourite players’ numbers.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
For a while now, Brian Burke has been dancing with the devil, otherwise known as the NHL’s salary cap system.
Two years ago, Burke worked it beautifully and captured a Stanley Cup. Last year, his machinations went slightly askew and it cost his Anaheim Ducks the services of a very good veteran player, centre Andy McDonald.
This fall, the cap has pushed another quality veteran off the Anaheim roster in defenceman Mathieu Schneider, peddled to Atlanta yesterday in a deal that, as a pure hockey trade, was about as one-sided as you can get.
from the Sporting News Staff,
A Monday meeting will determine whether Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar misses six weeks or six months of the NHL scheduled.
Gonchar, top defenseman and power-play point man for the Penguins, is rehabbing a dislocated left shoulder. The question now is, will surgery be required?
Personally, I would feel more secure with this report if an actual name was used instead of ‘staff’.
via WIVB Buffalo,
Jeremy Jacobs tells Business First he “might” be interested in the Bills IF the team was for sale.
Jacobs says under the current NFL rules, he can’t own the Bills because he owns an NHL team in a market that has a pro football team.
Jacobs says the rule would have to be changed.
...or sell the Bruins…
from Kevin Allen of Mucking and Grinding,
The Atlanta Thrashers have acquired defenseman Mathieu Schneider from the Anaheim Ducks for defenseman Ken Klee, forward Brad Larson and a minor-league prospect.
And note, Kevin was the first to report this trade a few days ago.
added 6:57pm, via Ben Wright of Blueland Blog,
With the additions of Schneider and Hainsey during the off-season and the returns of Tobias Enstrom and Niclas Havelid the Thrashers now have a very respectable group of top-four defensemen that is arguably the strongest foursome in the Southeast Division. Schneider, whose brother lives in Atlanta, is in the final year of a contract that will pay him $5.75 million.
from Jim Gintonio of the Arizona Republic,
Now Shane Doan and Olli Jokinen, unexpectedly thrown together as linemates in a blockbuster deal this summer, hope to use their skills - and unleash years of pent-up frustration - to get the Coyotes into the playoffs for the first time since 2002. To accomplish that task, both will have to be offensive powerhouses.
A trip to the postseason also would do a lot to take the 800-pound hockey puck off their backs. Here are two of their numbers: Jokinen, 723 games played and no playoff appearances; Doan, 396 since his last blip on the playoff radar in 2002.
More than 1,000 games to look back on, a lot of “what-if” scenarios, but this newest and biggest version of the desert’s Dynamic Duo has its sights set on making this a season to remember.
From Damian Cristodero at Lightning Strikes:
About 100 or so fans were there to meet the bus. As the players got off, the Czech natives (Vinny Prospal, Radim Vrbata and David Koci) were swarmed by kids seeking autographs and television and newspaper cameras. Vinny Lecavalier was treated as royalty as well. As he walked from the bus to the rink, at least six men snapping pictures walked backwards in front of him, all while a crowd asked for autographs.
“It’s special,” Prospal said later in the locker room. “It’s my home country. It doesn’t happen every day like that. I’ll enjoy it for a couple of days. Now I know what Vinny has to do every day of his life.”
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org