Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Razor With An Edge,
Tuesday night the race in the Western Conference resumes.
And right now just about everybody has a nag in the race. Eleven teams (from 5th to 15th) are separated by eleven points.
Only eight make it to the post season, the other seven will exhaustedly saunter over to retire in the paddock, and a couple of their coaches will join John Paddock in unemployment. (To my knowledge none will see a glue factory – which is good.)
So here, with apologies to Norm Hitzges, is my handicapping sheet:
#9 Minnesota- Only Boston owns a better GAA…but the Bruins have scored 51 more goals. Gaborik would help this pop-gun offense.
from David Staples of The Cult of Hockey,
It was a six-year extension that would pay Legwand, 27, an average salary of $4.5 million a year until the end of the 2013/14 season, a salary fit for a medium-to-high-end NHL star.
The contract loudly announced a few things: that the Predators were locking up their franchise center, their American-born ace; and that the NHL was booming, the cap was rising, and Nashville was in the game….
Some teams, such as Nashville, Phoenix, Florida, Tampa and Atlanta, will likely have trouble just making the payments on these massive contracts, if you go by the poor revenue streams of these teams. For the wealthy teams, the Philadelphias and Edmontons of the world, it will be the cap implications that really hurt when it comes to massive pre-recession contracts like the one Daniel Briere signed, or Shawn Horcoff for that matter.
from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,
The return of Lemieux to the NHL, at age 43, certainly has had the hockey world abuzz. Tonight at the Pepsi Center against the Avalanche, he will play his second game for the San Jose Sharks since being called up from the team’s minor-league affiliate in Worcester, Mass., last Monday.
There will be no need to check his water bottle for an elixir from the Fountain of Youth, Lemieux says. Hard work and dedication are responsible for a comeback nearly everybody scoffed at.
“I proved to myself that you never say never,” said Lemieux, who retired from the Dallas Stars in 2003. “For the last few years, I’d wake up every morning saying to myself, ‘I know I could do this. I quit too soon. But I can make it back if I put my mind to it.’ And once I finally decided to really put my mind to it, I had no doubts I’d make it.”...
His weight swelled to 250 pounds. His once-chiseled cheekbones disappeared under the soft flesh that comes from one-too-many slices of pizza.
“I definitely got fat,” Lemieux said with the characteristic bluntness that made him one of the NHL’s most colorful and controversial players.
from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,
“Mike Babcock was without a doubt an obstacle in my career,” said Commodore of the coach who traded him from Anaheim to Calgary in 2003.
“I wanted to prove him wrong, I’m not going to lie. I used him as big-time motivation. I thought he put his best foot forward to bury me.”
Commodore’s perceived injustice—the kind that can be found in almost every NHL locker room—adds intrigue to the Blue Jackets-Red Wings rivalry. The outspoken defenseman now gets to face his former coach six times a season.
In one breath, Commodore says “it’s water under the bridge,” and in the next concedes, “I still get fired up talking about it.”...
“The only thing I ever questioned about Mike was his conditioning,” Babcock said. “In my mind, Mike always has been a quality guy. When he came up, I didn’t think he was in condition. That’s it.”
from Spector at Fox Sports,
Last fall in my Foxsports.com column I wrote about the NHL teams which could face potential salary cap problems if next season’s cap were to drop below the current level of $56.7 million.
As the recession deepens and concerns grow over its impact upon all professional sports leagues, I think it’s worth a quick revisit to determine which teams could find themselves strapped for cap space next season….
Boston Bruins: 14 players signed, $42,645,833.
Buffalo Sabres: 14 players signed, $41,188,690
Calgary Flames: 15 players signed, $42,649,167
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Last season, Marian Hossa was the crème de la crème of a group of players on the market leading up to the 2008 trade deadline. His acquisition by Pittsburgh helped propel the Penguins to their first Stanley Cup finals since 1992.
This season, the forward is ensconced in Detroit, where he signed as a free agent, something well-remembered by his friends in Pittsburgh. But for teams looking to add such a bauble before the March 4 deadline, well, the cupboard is looking pretty bare.
Here’s a list of the top players who could be in play between now and the trade deadline.
Jay Bouwmeester, Florida Panthers
Last season, Atlanta GM Don Waddell did his best to sign Hossa to a long-term deal, but could not. Because the Thrashers were a draft-lottery team, the decision to trade Hossa was an easy one. Not so for Florida GM Jacques Martin when it comes to the talented Bouwmeester.
Make sure to catch “Ice and Ivy” All Access: 2009 Winter Classic tonight on the NHL Network. followed by replays from both NBC & CBC of the Winter Classic. The shows will be broadcast in the US and Canada and the progamming begins at 9:00pm ET.
via John Feinstein of the Washington Post,
It is now time for the Caps, their fans and the local media to let go of this whole all-star thing and move on to far more important tasks: like trying to win the Stanley Cup.
It really doesn’t matter that Montreal’s fans stuffed the ballot boxes to get four of their players into the starting lineup or that Ovechkin, the best player in the league, wasn’t a starter, or that other all-star-worthy Caps got snubbed. Because there has been so little actual winning among the professional sports teams in this town during the last 20 years, there’s a tendency to make a big deal out of things that just aren’t that important.
from Dan Wood of the OC Register,
Rather than targeting draft picks, Murray would be more likely to seek established players in their early to mid-20s. Certainly, the commodities that might bring the most in return would be former Norris Trophy-winning defensemen Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger. Neither has been nearly as dominant as in seasons past, but might be very attractive to teams looking for the final piece to a potential Stanley Cup puzzle.
Niedermayer, the team captain who stands to become an unrestricted free agent, has given no commitment to playing beyond this season, but could remain extremely valuable as the Ducks attempt to break in a younger group of defensemen. Pronger has one year, at $6.25 million, remaining on his contract.
“I’m certainly aware of it,” Pronger said. “We have to start doing whatever it’s going to take to win hockey games. If we don’t, then we’re forcing their hand and they will be forced to move guys, obviously. They’re not going to just sit there and watch.”
more on the Ducks…
from Kevin Paul Dupont of Bruins Blog,
Coach Claude Julien said that goalie Manny Fernandez is experiencing some ‘‘general soreness’’ and is likely to miss a few games.
In keeping with the club’s secretive policy about injuries, Julien did not divulge any further information, or the specific nature of the ‘‘soreness’‘.
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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