Kukla's Korner Hockey
“Each team has five (to seven) players they rely on more than others. If our core can raise their game, we’ll be fine. The best players have to be the best players.”
“Right now, our character is being questioned and our job is to prove people wrong.”
-San Jose coach Todd McLellan. More on the Sharks at SanJoseSharks.com.
from Tom Reed of Puck-rakers,
Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash has one more season remaining on his current contract. Jackets management can begin negotiating with Nash starting on July 1. Here are some Nash comments from an interview today….
Q: So the businessman in you can make no guarantees regarding a possible re-signing?
A: “You can’t make a guarantee you will be back. It’s tough to say. I can’t say ‘I guarantee I’m going to be here.’ You don’t know what’s going to happen, you don’t know what direction they are going to want to go or what direction I want to go. We’ll wait and see. Initially, I want to be in Columbus, but there is a business side to hockey and I’ll have to weigh my options.”
from Dave Waddell of the Windsor Star,
Rest is the reward for the Detroit Red Wings after they became the first defending Stanley Cup champion to get out of the first round since 2002.
With a trip to either Anaheim or Vancouver awaiting them in the second round, it’ll be a welcome respite.
“It’s always good to get out of a series as fast as you can, there’s no negatives, it’s all positive,” Wings goalie Chris Osgood said.
“Get rested, get healthy, feeling good, staying sharp in practice. It’s a nice break.”
The Wings could be off until next Saturday depending on the demands of television.
from Rich Hammond of Inside the Kings,
What was worse?
a) Being a Kings fan this season, knowing all along that your team probably wouldn’t make the playoffs?
b) Being a Sharks fan this season, knowing that no matter how many points you accumulated, your team was probably still destined for another playoff choke?
It’s a serious question. Would you rather be Sharks Fan and enjoy the six months of success, regardless of how it ends?
read on for the 78 comments and counting…
from Luke DeCock of Talking Points at the News & Observer,
I had worked up a lather ripping NBC for choosing to broadcast Jeep World of Adventure and poker instead of the Canes-Devils game Sunday, if the Rangers-Capitals series ends tonight, but NBC is saying it’s not the network’s decision.
Network spokesman Brian Walker said the league is contractually obligated to provide games to Versus and TSN and there weren’t enough to go around Sunday.
I’ve asked around and it’s a little more complicated than that. Basically, the NHL wants a game on NBC on Sunday and NBC wants a hockey game on Sunday. If the Capitals win, then everything’s OK and it’ll be Game 6 of the Rangers-Capitals series.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
Saku Koivu said it would be “awesome” if he finished his National Hockey League career in Montreal, but there are no guarantees that’s going to happen….
Koivu said if his vision of the future meshed with that of the team, he expected to have a deal, ideally for two of three seasons, before he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He added that if there’s no deal before the deadline, he will probably be playing elsewhere next season.
When Koivu was asked if joining his younger brother, Mikko, in Minnesota was an option, he said: “It would be amazing in one way to play with him on the same team. But on the other hand, he’s at the point where he has his own career. He’s making a name for himself and in some ways, it’s easier for him and I’d like to keep it that way. But it’s tempting to think about playing on the same NHL team with him and having some success.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
So if the Sharks go out in one of the next three games, what does GM Wilson do next? Last year, he fired coach Ron Wilson.
This year, he is out of easy options. Presumably, he’ll have to move either Thornton or Marleau - and hope that someone’s prepared to take a chance on one or the other, even though they have had so little playoff success between them.
In a perfect world, if Wilson could swap out one or the other for a player with less skill, but more grit and leadership ability, maybe that’s the recipe to turn a team on the perpetual cusp of playoff success into a winner.
Because nothing that they’ve done with this core group of players suggests that they can win big when it matters most; and their window of opportunity is closing in a hurry if they don’t do something soon.
more plus many NHL topics including the Montreal mess….
added 2:44pm, from David Pollak of Working the Corners at the Mercury News,
I also asked for access to Evgeni Nabokov and Joe Thornton. Nabokov came out from the dressing area right away. And though I was surprised by some of his answers – when I asked if he was fighting the puck at all, he said, no, he actually felt good out there – he answered all questions.
Thornton, on the other hand, was not available. A media relations rep sheepishly and apologetically had to explain that while the press was meeting with McLellan, Thornton had dressed and gone – something we were told wouldn’t happen when the new system was implemented.
I won’t pretend to know why. Maybe there was something pressing he needed to deal with. But Thornton did not have a good game – and the minus-3 only tells part of the story – and it would have been nice to hear what he had to say.
from John McGourty of NHL.com,
“Is This The Year?”
That’s the NHL’s theme for the 2008-09 season and it’s an apt question when it comes to the nominees for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy as the League’s most gentlemanly player.
Is this the year that Tampa Bay Lightning right winger Martin St. Louis reverses the outcome of the Lady Byng voting the past two seasons and unseats Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk, who is seeking his fourth straight Lady Byng?
Both players are among the finalists this year, along with New Jersey Devils left winger Zach Parise.
With only one game tonight, it looks like those of us that have been watching all the playoff action can get to bed early tonight.
The question of the day is, will Washington extend the series tonight or will the Rangers move on?
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Bobby Ryan knows when to let things go—like his bitterness over starting the season in the minor leagues—and when to hold onto other things, like pucks.
Those lessons have made him a finalist for rookie of the year honors and sent him zooming toward stardom. On Thursday they launched the Ducks to the brink of a playoff upset over the top-ranked San Jose Sharks, whose skates seem to fill with lead when the Stanley Cup is about to be taken out of its case and polished for presentation.
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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