Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Elliotte Friedman of Blogs and Columns at CBC,
If Bob Gainey really wanted to trade Alex Kovalev right now, the Russian winger wouldn’t be “resting.” He’d be packing.
Sunday’s loss in Vancouver wasn’t necessarily No. 27’s final game in a Canadiens uniform. Unless he shows up on the upcoming off-day Friday dragging the Stanley Cup behind his car – a la George Costanza with the World Series Trophy in Seinfeld – Kovalev will play for this team again.
This is part of Gainey’s three-pronged attack to warn the roster that no one is secure, that spoiled behaviour and indifferent play will no longer be tolerated. Add Kovalev’s banishment to Sergei Kostitsyn’s demotion and the trade for Mathieu Schneider and what has Gainey done? He’s rattled everyone without permanently getting rid of anyone. And that’s critical to the point here.
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
Nationwide Arena is dark and quiet when Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock arrives each morning around 6, a newspaper in one hand and a coffee in the other. He doesn’t go straight to his office. That can wait. He heads for the arena’s empty lower bowl.
“I love the solitude of the rink in the early morning,” Hitchcock said. “I can think when it’s that quiet I sit there and soak it all up while I’m getting ready for the day to get rolling. You can feel the building and all the stories it has to tell, almost like it’s alive.
“To me, it’s a beautiful place to be, especially when they have the curtains pulled back from the upstairs windows and the sun comes shining in on the ice.”
Sportsnet.ca hockey columnist Mike Brophy breaks down every team in the Eastern Conference by looking at each club’s needs and trade bait and what they might do before the March 4th deadline.
Team needs: Somebody to play with Ilya Kovalchuk. Because if they don’t get somebody soon, it will be Kovalchuk insisting he be shipped out of town. His best years are slipping away and thus far, he has four playoff games to show for six years in the league. Beyond that, the Thrashers need to get some young scoring talent up front to go with Kovalchuk and Bryan Little as well as some veteran presence on the blueline.
Trade bait: The Thrashers have a team most of second- and third-liners that might be of interest to other teams including Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Todd White, Slava Kozlov ... oh, what they heck, anybody except Kovalchuk and Little.
now that you have the layout, go read about the rest of the East…
from John Buccigross of ESPN,
Every September, I begin another season of weekly hockey columns by attempting to predict the top eight teams in each conference. This season, I added a “vibe” for each team. Let’s look back and see what I wrote then, and I’ll update where each pick stands today. I’ll list the teams in the order of their projected finish.
15. Los Angeles Kings
The vibe: Hope. I know it sounds strange, but I like the Kings’ position. They have very good young players who also appear to have some character.
Now: The Kings still might finish 15th in the tight West, but that is unimportant. Hope is alive, and with another year of experience and a free agent or two, the Kings will be thinking playoffs next season.
As the trade deadline of 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 4 approaches, the National Hockey League has prepared the following:
How is a trade made?
After two clubs have come to an agreement on a trade, the clubs must advise the League office, either by telephone or by FAX, of the terms of the trade. The League office then schedules a conference call with the two teams to review the transaction and give final approval for the deal. Prior to the trade call, the League office will ensure that the team has the appropriate salary cap space to make the deal; if draft choices are involved, that the club has the available choices; and that the team has available space on its reserve list to add the player (s). It should be noted that the 23-man roster restriction is no longer in force from February 27 on.
from the CP via TSN,
Struggling veteran Alex Kovalev has been given some time off by the Montreal Canadiens.
General Manager Bob Gainey said Tuesday he met with Kovalev to tell him he won’t be on the team’s trip this week for games Wednesday night in Washington and Thursday night in Pittsburgh.
His status for a home game Saturday against Ottawa remains uncertain.
Gainey said Kovalev is not suspended and will still be paid. He said the right-winger appears to be tired and has not been playing well of late.
added 4:27pm, via Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail,
Gainey said he hasn’t spoken to any other teams about trading Kovalev, but when asked if he would be willing to move the vastly talented 36-year-old, he said “this is the trading season.”
MONTREAL – The Canadiens announced Tuesday that forward Gregory Stewart has been recalled from the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League. The team also announced that forward Sergei Kostitsyn has been assigned to the Hamilton Bulldogs. Stewart will join the club in Washington.
This season with the Canadiens, Sergei Kostitsyn, 21, scored 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) and served 64 penalty minutes in 52 contests.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
When the Flames’ coach was asked about matching up Robyn Regehr against the suddenly red-hot Mats Sundin, he turned the conversation around and suggested he was more concerned about the Canucks’ defensive match-up against Jarome Iginla.
Specifically, Keenan charged that defenceman Willie Mitchell used an illegal stick – too long – to defend against Iginla.
Keenan was coy about whether he’d ask for a measurement against Mitchell tonight (“I would never say”), but it was clear that he was trying to ramp up the rhetoric for the game, and maybe take some pressure off the slumping Iginla.
Mitchell, for his part, laughed off the charge.
COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have placed forward Fredrik Modin on injured reserve retroactive to February 14, club General Manager Scott Howson announced today. Modin, who suffered a lower body injury in last Saturday’s 5-1 win at Carolina, was evaluated by team physicians from OhioHealth upon the team’s return to Columbus and is expected to miss at least one week.
via the Denver Post,
Avalanche defenseman John-Michael Liles will not play in tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators and is out indefinitely with a hand injury he suffered against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.
Avs coach Tony Granato said he hopes to have Liles back by the end of the team’s six-game road trip, which begins Friday night at Washington.
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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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