Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,
Blue Jackets assistant coach Gord Murphy recalls the sinking feeling of watching former Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Paul Coffey gather the puck behind his net and with swift, powerful strides begin skating up ice.
Like a thunderstorm rolling across the Plains, Coffey would gain momentum as he blew past the first forechecker, head up, puck on his stick. Murphy, a 14-year NHL defenseman, had no neutral-zone trap in front of him or butterfly goaltender behind him.
It was 1990, a different era, a golden age for offensive defensemen.
“Guys like Coffey could scare you from 100 feet away,” Murphy said. “He would come flying down the wing and you would think, ‘Oh, no, here he comes, what’s he going to do?’ “
from Steve Zipay of Newsday,
Only San Jose and Detroit average more shots per game than the Rangers (32.5), but only Florida and Tampa Bay are averaging fewer goals per game. Defensive schemes are forcing the Rangers outside the prime shooting lanes, goaltenders are regularly turning away the first shot attempts and the Rangers are being beaten to the second and third opportunities.
“We’re not a really big team up front,” coach Tom Renney said yesterday. “We’ve got to be quick, we’ve got to pounce, work hard for body position if you’re not strong enough to get inside. We’re going to have to use quickness and second and third effort to get there. Everybody’s got to do everything they can to get to the front.”
from Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun,
Vancouver is a good team when goalie Roberto Luongo and his defencemen are healthy. But to win anything, they need more. And if it isn’t Sundin, it will have to be somebody else.
“The only problem is the idea that these things can be perfectly planned … that’s false,” Gillis said Monday from NHL meetings in Florida. “You can have theories about where you want to go and what you want to do, but things change daily. Something that isn’t available today might be available in January.
“Every team wants a big, dominant centre-ice man. Other than goalie, it’s probably the most coveted position in our league. In the event that Mats doesn’t end up here, we’ll be looking at other things.”
from John Shipley of the Pioneer Press,
The Wild sent center Krys Kolanos back to Houston on Monday, and it’s not because Owen Nolan is due back soon.
Could it be the harbinger of Marian Gaborik’s return?
Assistant general manager Tom Lynn would only say “it’s a possibility” that Gaborik will practice with the team this morning. The franchise’s career scoring leader has been skating on his own the past week or so “as he ramps up to full strength,” Lynn said.
Gaborik has missed 24 of 26 games with what the Wild are calling a lower body injury. If he practices today, he could make the team’s three-game road trip to Phoenix, Los Angeles and Anaheim, Calif.
added 4:33pm, via MinnesotaWild.com,
A bit of an early practice today (10:30 a.m.) because the Wild wives held a luncheon. The big news out of the skate is that Marian Gaborik practised with the team for the first time since suffering a lower body injury in mid-October. Gaborik wasn’t on a particular line, and was the only player with a light green sweater. Jacques Lemaire said that Gaborik was not scheduled to go on the trip out West.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Florida GM Jacques Martin hasn’t given up hope of signing Bouwmeester long-term and indicated he’ll hold contract talks next month when discussions are allowed to resume.
“I don’t think it has changed with (Bouwmeester),” said Martin, the former Senators coach and Rockland native.
Sources say Martin is taking one more stab at locking up Bouwmeester before sending him packing.
The Panthers hoped the hiring of coveted junior coach Peter DeBoer would send the message that the franchise is serious about getting back on track and into the playoffs.
more on Bouwmeester…
from Damien Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times,
Perhaps, coach Rick Tocchet said with heavy sarcasm, he should devise a system in which the Lightning just keeps icing the puck.
Maybe, he said, he will give the bulk of ice time to players who show they are prepared to play.
“The warnings have been given,” Tocchet said. “We’ll go to boot camp now.”...
“To me, it’s an embarrassment when you have more than three or four individuals not ready to play,” Tocchet said. “It’s embarrassing right now. It really is.”
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
There’s no hurry to move Kovalchuk, but this spring’s draft has a couple of sure-fire building blocks at the top of the class, and Kovalchuk, whenever he is moved, should offer a decent package of top-end prospects, top picks and at least one position player. Given the sorry state of the current team, there’s no reason to drag out the process. Might as well start building now as opposed to next summer or the summer of 2010.
As for alienating fans, it’s far too late to worry about that in Atlanta; the question is who should be pulling the trigger on what will be the franchise’s most important trade.
more on the Thrashers, plus Norris Trophy talk, Jeff Carter too, and yes, Sundin and Avery thrown in…
From Transworld News:
Attorney John Morgan of the Orlando-based law firm Morgan & Morgan was approached recently by a Tampa advertising executive about a potential deal to purchase the naming rights to the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida. Morgan & Morgan (ForThePeople.com) is one of the nation’s largest plaintiff’s law firms.
According to an article published on Tampa Bay Online, Morgan said, “I was asked if I have an interest in buying the name of the stadium, and I do ... Putting ‘Morgan & Morgan Forum’ on that building - that appeals to me.” Morgan said he was offered a price of $1.7 million per year by John McKay of McKay Advertising, an independent advertising firm in Tampa. This is almost a million dollars less than the St. Petersburg Times now pays for the naming rights to this arena, which is home to the NHL team Tampa Bay Lightning.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Sean Avery’s future with the Dallas Stars could be decided on Wednesday in Dallas, when owner Tom Hicks sits down with his lieutenants in Dallas.
“We’re going to look at all the alternatives, and some recommendations from Brett [Hull], Les [Jackson] and Jeff (Cogen, Stars president),” Hicks said on Monday as he arrived at the National Hockey League’s board of governors meeting at the swish Breaker Hotel on the Florida coast…
Has he played his last game as a Star?
“I’m not prepared to say that yet. I want to give our guys the respect they deserve to make the recommendations.,” Hicks said. “Certainly when [Dallas head coach] Dave Tippett comes out and stakes his claim, it’s pretty hard to overcome that.”
via the Stat Wizards at Elias Sports Bureau,
Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek has scored the highest percentage of his team’s goals this season of any NHL player (19/68, 27.9%). Three other players have scored at least 20% of their team’s goals: Philadelphia’s Jeff Carter (19/84, 22.6%), New Jersey’s Zach Parise (15/67, 22.4%) and Ottawa’s Dany Heatley (13/59, 22.0%).
Jeff Carter’s goal at 3:34 of overtime gave the Flyers a 2-1 victory over the Hurricanes on Saturday night. Carter did not register a point in overtime in any of his three previous seasons in the NHL but leads the League with three goals and five points in overtime this season. Carter’s five overtime points are a single-season record for a Flyers player and his three OT goals matches the club record set by defenseman Joni Pitkanen in 2005-06.
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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