Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
• On Saturday, the NHL’s holiday roster freeze goes in effect for eight days, meaning the last day for GMs to do their pre-Christmas player shopping is the 19th. In recent years, the Christmas deadline hasn’t elicited much action on the trade front, and with the Philadelphia Flyers signing goaltender John Grahame to a minor-league contract as insurance until Ray Emery gets back, it pretty much puts an end to speculation that they are in the market for netminding help.
• How can 14 of the 15 Western Conference teams go into today’s eight-game schedule with winning records – more points in the standings than games played? Obviously, the answer is three-point games – the bonus points awarded for shootout or overtime losses that distort the standings and create the illusion that no team is really struggling, even if they are.
added 8:28am, from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
You are Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi. You wake up yesterday to discover your team, one of the NHL’s sad sacks not so long ago, is tied for top spot in the Western Conference at 45 points with the suddenly free-falling San Jose Sharks, the club you ran before being replaced by Doug Wilson.
Life certainly is good in Mr. Lombardi’s world these days.
A huge key to the Kings’ meteoric rise up the standings can be attributed to their success in the shootout. Los Angeles has reeled off six consecutive shootout victories.
from James Cybulski of TSN,
The Coyotes saga had to be one of the most painful to follow in 2009 so there’s no point in trying to rehash the NHL versus Jim Balsillie saga, but the end result may yet have a happy ending. With Ice Edge Holdings signing their letter of intent with the league on Friday, it shows that there is reason to believe that hockey may yet live in the desert. No people, I’m not drinking while writing this.
Here’s why it has reason to work. Despite what others may say to the contrary, these new owners are legit.
Marian Hossa catches the puck, tosses it down and puts it in the net before it hits the ice.
Antero Niittymaki gets the puck with his stick before it completely crosses the goal line.
thanks to DayWalk3r (Twitter) for the pointer.
from David Biderman of the Wall Street Journal,
Many sports fans assume baseball is the game that’s most driven by owners’ pocketbooks. For proof, they could point to the 2009 playoffs, where the final four teams were all near the top of the league in payroll. But the sport where spending money most closely equates to winning games is played on ice, not grass and dirt.
From 2000 to 2008, NHL teams’ winning percentage has a 0.49 correlation to their payroll (where 1 represents a direct correlation and 0 represents no correlation at all). This number doesn’t suggest an airtight relationship, but it’s a stronger correlation than the three other major sports leagues. Major League Baseball has a 0.43 correlation, and the NFL is at a nearly meaningless 0.15, according to a new study by Dave Berri, a professor of economics at Southern Utah University.
via David Pollak of the Mercury News,
Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle will continue to be evaluated this week to determine the extent of an injury suffered at the end of Saturday night’s 2-1 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes, but a team spokesman said Sunday that it does not appear to be serious.
No details on the injury were released.
The Sharks don’t play again until Thursday, so it does give Boyle some time to heal.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
• Former Oilers goalie Ron Tugnutt, who is tutoring the Canadian junior team these days, figures Martin Brodeur will be the No. 1 on the Olympic squad and Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins should be No. 2 because he’s got a Cup ring from last spring.
Not Roberto Luongo?
“Luongo over his career really hasn’t won anything,” said Tugnutt.
• The New York Rangers would certainly be in the hunt for the struggling Vincent Lecavalier if he wants to waive his no-trade, no-move clause in Tampa Bay.
Why? Because the fiery John Tortorella was his Lightning coach and he’d look wonderful alongside Marian Gaborik.
But the Rangers would have to move about $10 million in salary to Tampa to make it work. Do the Lightning want centre Chris Drury and defenceman Michal Rozsival? I don’t think so.
The Los Angeles Kings might be the best suitor.
from Darren Pang at FoxSportsMidwest,
The next day it is what is called a “bag skate”. Skate real hard, no pucks, and the point is real clear.
This is where good teams bond. this is the type of negative situation that has to be turned into a positive for the players in the room. It is up to them, in my opinion. The players, at the end of the day, have to get it done. They play the game. The coaches job is to prepare the team. The Blues coaching staff does that every day.
In all my years of playing the game, and being in the broadcast booth handling Stanley Cup play-off assignments, Olympic competitions, I have NEVER seen win’s come easy. They don’t just arrive on your door step with a free Bud Light. They are all cherished, they are all earned.
The doubter’s are out there now. It was a “Meltdown on Market Street”. The fan’s are getting restless, witnessing far too many home losses, yet seeing the Blue’s win so strongly on the road.
This is why these player’s the game. They didn’t choose an individual sport like tennis, golf or bowling. These great athletes chose a team sport. When they get ready for the next game, and the one after that, they better be able to look across the room at their teammates and not let them down
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have assigned center Michael Nylander to the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League (AHL), vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today
added 9:47pm, via Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post,
Under the arrangement, Nylander, who has not suited up for the Capitals since the last season’s playoffs, will come off Washington’s 23-man roster and his $4.875 million cap hit no longer will count against the club’s salary cap figure.
Even with Nylander off the roster, the team still would be responsible for paying his $5.5 million annual salary this season. But the move gives Washington the salary-cap flexibility it needs to make an addition at the NHL’s trade deadline or call up touted prospect Karl Alzner.
“To get the fans back they have to play well and to me, I like to go and see some superstars. I’m not a big fan of golf but when I know Tiger Woods is playing I’m going to watch him. I like Dwayne Wade because it’s attractive to have a superstar because a superstar gives you something other people can’t.’‘
“I love the breakaways, penalty shots, the shootouts. That’s what they did in the World Cup and we should do in the playoffs, too, instead of playing until 3 a.m. Even if it’s 0-0, people get excited for the shootout.’‘
-Pavel Bure on the Panthers and the shootout. More from Harvey Fialkov at the Sun-Sentinel.
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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