Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News,
This season, back in the heartland, the Calgary Flames are going backwards – and fast – under the irascible coach. In fact, it’s no guarantee the Flames will even make the playoffs, let alone face the indignity of once again bowing out in seven games or less.
With top names such as Jarome Iginla, Olli Jokinen, Miikka Kiprusoff, Robyn Regehr, Phaneuf and Bouwmeester at his disposal (not to mention some nice secondary pieces in Rene Bourque and Curtis Glencross), it seems utterly bizarre Sutter would be unable to coax wins out of the talent he has in that dressing room.
But here we are.
Sutter has been vocally upset with his team’s performance in the local press, but the Flames still aren’t bringing it every night. Is it possible Sutter’s abrasive nose-always-on-the-grindstone coaching style only works in junior?
via Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider with some trade rumor advice,
I would urge you to follow legit reporters such as Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com, Elliotte Friedman and the Hockey Night in Canada crew, the TSN guys, Hockey News, etc., and to stay away from the fiction writing.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The Kings flirted with a playoff spot last season before crumbling down the stretch. They weren’t ready and they knew it. They learned from that, said Brown, the team’s impressive young captain.
“I think the one difference is that, last year, we hoped to win a game. This year, we’re going into a game knowing we’re going to win,” said Brown. “When you have that kind of confidence and belief system, not just from one or two guys but from 15 to 20 guys, that’s when you can see success.”
That’s the key, Smyth said, truly believing it.
“We believe in this locker room,” said Smyth. “When you believe something, it starts to trickle through your lineup. It gives us confidence to progress. Even though we are young, there’s some great experience on this team to help out, as well.”
much more on the Kings…
from Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe,
If I am Peter Chiarelli, this is what I do: I walk into the locker room and I tell the players, in no uncertain terms, that this season is entirely up to them. I tell them Claude Julien will be the coach here for years to come. I tell them that the management of the Bruins will continue to treat this team like a Stanley Cup contender, that help should be coming at some point in the next month.
And then I watch the next three weeks to see if my team has any pride at all.
from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,
The Wild is close to cutting all ties with Petr Sykora.
Sykora, 33, who’s been away from the team since being placed on waivers Jan. 19, was officially assigned to the Houston Aeros today.
However, Sykora has officially declined to report. The two sides have mutually agreed to terminate his contract, and once approved by the NHL in the next day or two, Sykora will immediately become an unrestricted free agent .
In essence, Sykora will be free to sign with any team before the March 3 trade deadline and the Wild will be free of the remaining $600,000 or so of Sykora’s contract and salary-cap hit.
from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Globe and Mail,
What started as a debate about Vancouver’s Alex Burrows’ integrity has now become a question of how to protect the integrity of broadcaster Ron MacLean, the CBC bingo caller who launched a one-sided takeout of the Canucks forward on the January 16 version of Hockey Night In Canada . Sources tell Usual Suspects that parties at both the Canucks and CBC now privately concede that MacLean was over the journalistic line for not allowing Burrows to defend himself on charges of diving and lying on his filibuster.
The question now is how does CBC placate the Canucks without publicly reprimanding its veteran host (something they are not offering to do at this moment)? Can it offer other concessions to satisfy the outrage in Vancouver?
I’d like to read your opinion on this topic. I would be a little biased if I commented on this, since I’ve let it be known by questioning if Burrows would have gone public if the Canucks would have won the game that seems so long ago…
I also have met Ron on a few occasions and think he is the best in the business.
from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,
The day I sat with him, Konopka had two black eyes, one from a stick and one from a fist. His nose has flattened out, having been broken 14 times - sticks, glass, pucks, punches.
“My face leads me wherever I go,” Konopka said. His lovable mug has had 400 stitches. Who needs to go over the Falls?
Somehow this fourth-line center who has just two goals and two assists, who’s lucky if he gets nine minutes of ice time a night, who until this season had played just 39 NHL games, has, yes, somehow become an important part of this team, and it’s more than fighting, having everyone’s back. Konopka is good at face-offs, he’s smart, funny, keeps everybody loose, card games, pranks, jokes, never any let up, not Zenon.
“I don’t want to call him a loose cannon, but he just does things, on the ice, obviously, but off the ice, too,” Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said. “Team building stuff. He’s always got something going on to create an atmosphere in the room that bonds people together.”
from Anthony J. SanFilippo of the Daily Times,
Considering the Flyers are frequently in the trade discussion mix, whether at the deadline, draft, or free agency, it’s no surprise that they have been linked to several proposed megadeals.
Some suggest they might go after Atlanta superstar Ilya Kovalchuk. Others have them in deep talks with Calgary for hard-hitting defenseman Dion Phaneuf. There are still others that suggest they might try and pry Vincent Lecavalier away from the Tampa Bay Lightning while the nostalgic have them bringing back Rod Brind’Amour as another veteran voice to a locker room that can never have too many of those.
It’s fun to play fantasy hockey and figure out how each of these high-priced and big name players can impact the Flyers, but the reality of the situation is none of them will be coming to town unless they are wearing a visiting uniform.
from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,
In other sports with sanctioned fighting, the goal is to win, to have your arm raised in triumph and watch your opponent hang his head in disappointment. Whether one “wins” a fight in the NHL is beside the point.
Sticking up for a teammate after he takes a big hit and showing you won’t be pushed around is often just as important for hockey teams. Not only are the star players “protected,” but an esprit de corps can develop. No matter how one fares in a hockey fight, teammates almost always tap their sticks on the ice as a show of respect.
That said, fighters always are trying to get better at their craft.
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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