Kukla's Korner Hockey
Pierre LeBrun of ESPN responded to a Wings fan email…
I agree to a degree with your analysis on the defensive game of the Wings. For starters, I don’t think one of the game’s great all-time blueliners, Nicklas Lidstrom, has been up to his usual standard this season. The injury to Niklas Kronwall severely hurts the cause, as well.
But overall, I have to agree with GM Ken Holland, who recently told me his biggest concern was the lack of offense. It’s no surprise the Wings would find it more difficult after losing Marian Hossa, Mikael Samuelsson, Jiri Hudler and Tomas Kopecky from last season and replacing them with Jason Williams, Todd Bertuzzi, Patrick Eaves, Brad May and Drew Miller. Not the same juice.
Now, let’s give you some historical backing. The Wings are 18th in goals per game right now at 2.76. I did a little digging just for you. In the last 10 NHL seasons beginning with 1999-2000, the Wings’ final regular-season goals per game average never dipped below 3.00 and the team ranked top five in the NHL in eight of those nine seasons
more plus numerous other questions and answers from Pierre…
ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues President John Davidson announced today the club has acquired forward Pascal Pelletier from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Brendan Bell and Tomas Kana.
Pelletier, 26, has played in 25 games this season with the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Syracuse Crunch, recording 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) and 23 penalty minutes. Last season, the 5-11, 197-pound left winger notched 55 points (29 goals, 26 assists) and 45 penalty minutes in 71 games with Rockford of the AHL. Pelletier led the team in goals and power play goals and was second on the club in points.
from the Globe and Mail,
Outspoken Octagon Sports agent Allan Walsh believes the National Hockey League has always failed to properly market its players, so he’s encouraging his clients to lead the NHL’s social-networking movement.
“What the NHL has never really understood and will never understand is what the fans want is to interact with the players,” said Mr. Walsh in James Mirtle’s Saturday story. “The league’s philosophy over the years has always been: Fans buy tickets to see the team, to cheer for their team and that they’re more concerned about the logo than the name and the number on the back on the sweater. But as many times as they say it, it’s not going to make it true.
“What really drives numbers, attendance, TV ratings, are the personalities.”
I do hope Mr. Walsh addresses deleting his ‘Halak’ tweets from a few weeks ago.
from Joe Ovies of WRAL,
Canes television play-by-play voice John Forslund told Adam Gold and Joe Ovies on 620 The Buzz that Brind’Amour was surprised by the news.
“We all know is role has been diminished, his ice time has been diminished, but [Brind’Amour] took it hard and his teammates took it hard,” said Forslund.
What is the organization’s ultimate end-game for Brind’Amour’s situation? Whatever it is, Forslund believes it should be addressed soon and not left hanging out there.
from Mark Whicker of the OC Register,
If you’re a Ducks fan and you’re not panicking, maybe you just haven’t been paying much attention.
The Ducks finish up a home stand tonight and then hit the road, and it’s not too early for them to be worried about playoff qualification.
So you think everybody in the NHL makes the playoffs? Not true. As of Monday, you could be 13-11-5, as Columbus is, and be 11th in the East. And the Ducks are below that level. They are 10-13-6 and dead last in the West, with the 28th best record in a 30 team league. They’re eight points out of the final playoff spot.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
They walk toward the cancer clinic at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and he reaches for her hand, an instinct no more conscious than the last breath he took. He opens the door for her, his hand gently in the small of her back, retracing steps traveled many times over the past three years.
It’s quiet here on a sunny Sunday morning, and the couple is greeted warmly like old friends by the staff at the clinic. Tim, one of the health care staff, who has been here for so many of these visits, tells Larry Pleau and his wife, Wendy, that he’s sorry they missed his homemade turtles the day before. They joke about the missed opportunity before Tim disappears and returns a short while later with a box of the candy for Wendy.
Jane, another staffer, works on the three-pronged catheter that has been embedded near the tip of Wendy’s aorta since June 15, 2007, drawing blood and then redoing the dressing around the device.
The device has made the regular blood transfusions and tests and administering of antibiotics easier, but it also has been a constant reminder of what has been taken from her.
Word is Gregory Campbell is OK, just a little dazed from the hit.
from Dan O’Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
The Blues are saddled with a 5-9-2 mark at home, a stat that is deceptively good. As mentioned, one of those “home” wins was a 5-3 victory over the Red Wings in Sweden. Moreover, the Blues’ stagnant offense has been even more impaired at home. The Blues have just 33 goals in those 16 “home” games, or 28 goals in 15 games at Scottrade, less than two goals a game.
“I don’t know, I don’t know why it is,” said forward T.J. Oshie. “Maybe guys get a little too comfortable at home ... I don’t know. But we have to do something about it. We have to turn it around.”
There was no time like the present on Monday, what with Dave Checketts in the house. The last time the chairman was in town, his hockey team lost at home to Nashville and Checketts responded by addressing the boys with a “not good enough” speech. The Monday Night Meltdown might have left him speechless.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
“Elite players have to start playing their best,” Melnyk said, without naming names.
Kovalev, who hasn’t scored since Oct. 29 — a 14-game drought (he missed three games to be with family in Russia following the death of his mother-in-law) — was in Montreal for a press conference yesterday to promote his charity DVD for off-ice training and was asked about Melnyk’s tongue-lashing.
“If those words are going to me, I’ll accept it. Not in a bad way, but the right way,” said Kovalev, a former Canadien who faces his old teammates tonight. “I know I have to step up to play better, there’s no question about it.”
But hockey is not an “individual sport,” Kovalev pointed out.
“People who know hockey have to understand I wish this could be an individual sport where you can prepare yourself and know you’ll have a good game or a bad game like in tennis,” said Kovalev. “In hockey, one person can make a difference, but I’m a new guy on the team.”
more on the Senators….
from Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull,
How bad are things in Flyerdom?
Well, the Flyers equaled a franchise record for fewest shots allowed in a road game (13) Monday _ and somehow lost.
Call them the Legion of Gloom.
The Flyers fell to the host Montreal Canadiens, 3-1, despite allowing just 13 shots.
The Flyers managed 15 shots _ and just two in the final period.
Stop the season, the Flyers want to get off.
They have lost five straight and eight of their last nine. Want some reasons?
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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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