Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
John Tortorella wants the instigator rule removed from the book as it currently stands.
The Rangers’ head coach expressed that opinion after Matt Cooke elbowed Artem Anisimov in the head at 7:34 of the third period of last night’s 8-3 defeat to the Penguins and escaped all punishment other than—get this—a two-minute penalty for interference.
Anisimov, who lost his helmet and went to the ice hard after absorbing the blow on which Cooke appeared to leave his feet, remained on the bench for the duration of the game.
“The big thing this year is head shots and what the league is going to do about it, but to me it’s pretty simple,” Tortorella said. “There’s no fear at all [of] retribution.
“That’s why there’s more violence. Guys hide behind the rule book.”
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
...And this year, the winner easily could be a forward again, be it John Tavares (Islanders), former University of New Hampshire standout James van Riemsdyk (Flyers), or Ryan O’Reilly (Avalanche).
Overall, this is the best rookie class in recent memory, and unless one of the aforementioned forwards runs off with point production, a few defensemen (arguably a harder position to master) will make the voting very interesting.
The Rangers have Michael Del Zotto, who has been leading first-year defensemen in scoring from the start of the season. Jason Demers has been a seamless addition on the back line in San Jose, where most of the attention goes to star forwards Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Heatley.
And then there are two budding stars who one day could be Norris Trophy candidates: Tyler Myers in Buffalo and Victor Hedman in Tampa.
more and other hockey topics discussed…
Also not the above mentioned Jason Demers was sent to the minors yeaterday with Rob Blake ready to return to the Sharks lineup tonight.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal via Faceoff.com,
• Take this to the bank: The Chicago Blackhawks will move Cam Barker’s $3-million US salary this summer because fellow defenceman Bryan Campbell and his $7 million salary is staying put.
The Blackhawks also have hugely underrated Swede Niklas Hjalmarsson playing 20 minutes a game. Barker plays 14 minutes a night and teams are always looking for power-play pointmen.
• Todd Bertuzzi is lighter than ever—he’s on the ice for optional workouts 15 minutes before the other players in Detroit—but you have to wonder whether his hands are gone. That’s what happened to his old Vancouver Canucks teammate, Markus Naslund, who lost his mitts. Bertuzzi is not in the slot like he used to be; he’s on the perimeter. He has just one goal in the last 13 games.
more Western and Eastern Coference notes…
added 10:40am, And even more from Jim at Faceoff.com.
from Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,
The optimist in us always sees our favorite players increasing their production, especially when they’re still young enough to seem like one of the neighborhood kids.
So it was that the Blue Jackets, coming off their first playoff appearance with a maturing, stable roster that is the youngest in the NHL, figured to take another significant step up in the standings.
Their 5-1 start even seemed to confirm that, which is probably why a lot of people are befuddled that they lost their fifth straight game, 4-3 in a shootout, last night to the Calgary Flames.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Somehow, goaltender Steve Mason was going to be even better than he was as the NHL’s top rookie. Bigger, stronger Jake Voracek was going to be the second coming of Ales Hemsky, or Jaromir Jagr, or Marian Hossa or, well, somebody.
from Allen Panzeri of the Ottawa Sun,
It’s certainly not what any fan of the Ottawa Senators would have wished for Dany Heatley.
They would have liked to see any number of calamities strike the 28-year-old left-winger for the agony he put the city through last summer, when he suddenly demanded to be traded, refused a trade to the Edmonton Oilers and finally accepted one to the San Jose Sharks, a team that was on his list of preferred destinations.
Such gall deserved to be punished—and surely would, if all was right with the world.
Perhaps his scoring touch would disappear. Perhaps he’d forget how to skate. Perhaps it would start to snow in San Jose.
Alas, it’s time to give up on any dream of any divine retribution. In fact, this situation is as close to perfect as it could be for Heatley.
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
Colorado, which fell to 14-8-5 for the season and two points behind Calgary in the Northwest Division, got worse news about 45 minutes after the game ended, well after Avalanche coach Joe Sacco and the players had talked to the media and, in most cases, left the building.
Winger David Jones, injured when Minnesota’s Chuck Kobasew fell into him near the Colorado blue line with 5:09 remaining in regulation, was diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
The initial prognosis was that he would require surgery and be out for four to six months, and anything but the short end of that scale means he is out at least the remainder of the regular season.
more plus a look at the Avs loss to the Wild last night…
via Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,
It was a great road trip for the Blackhawks despite Saturday night’s 2-1 loss to the Kings in a shootout, which followed Friday’s 3-0 loss at Anaheim.
The Hawks took 9 out of a possible 12 points and come back home still in first place in the Central Division.
“I thought it was a real good road trip,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “You get 9 out of 12 points in six tough buildings. At the beginning of it you would have taken that.”
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
• Why not Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr?
Why not have the two greatest Canadian hockey players in history, representing our favourite sport, representing our country, lighting the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Olympic Games next February?...
• The Maple Leafs do lead the NHL in one category: Unnecessary pre-game ceremonies. The more they honour the insignificant, the less significant their ceremonies become.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
The Pittsburgh Penguins have put contract talks with Sergei Gonchar on hold with the sides at odds over the defenceman’s value. Gonchar, a looming unrestricted free agent, carries a $5-million cap hit this season, but could easily command $6 million on the open market. GM Ray Shero is in a tough spot: He faces cap issues over the next few seasons with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin accounting for an annual hit of $17.4 million — yet the Penguins struggled when Gonchar was hurt earlier this season.
more NHL talk…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
This, for some reason, reminds me of a summer conversation I had with a general manager in which I suggested that I didn’t see the distinction between Henrik Zetterberg’s heavily front-loaded long-term contract that received the NHL’s blessing and Marian Hossa’s, Chris Pronger’s and Roberto Luongo’s similar deals that are under league investigation.
“Ah, but there’s a significant difference and I’m surprised you don’t see it,” the GM said. “Zetterberg plays for the Red Wings.”
So then, knee injury to a Red Wing, five games; brain injury to a Ranger, three games.
more notes from Larry including why it is time to end the shootout…
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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