Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
Instead of taking advantage of home ice by moving ahead of the very team they’re chasing, the Flames are now three points back with 13 games to go.
And while that gap is by no means insurmountable, its evident momentum and the schedule are now both conspiring to work very much against Calgary down the stretch.
Not only are nine of their final games against playoff clubs ahead of them in the standings, four are early afternoon road affairs, which the Flames have long struggled with.
Perhaps more importantly, none are against the two teams they’re chasing — Detroit and Nashville — meaning they’re also at the mercy of two teams that control their own fate.
from Jeff Schultz of the Altanta Journal-Constitution,
The Atlanta Spirit ownership group has been disputing reports that it is seeking to sell the Thrashers and that the NHL team might be on the move to another city. Now comes a report that the Hawks also might be on the market.
A New York Times story on sports ownership during the recession references both the Hawks and Thrashers as being among franchises that might be for sale. The paragraph in question reads:
read on and the NYT also mentions the Columbus Blue Jackets potentially could be sold…
St. Patrick’s Day is upon us, and the New Jersey Devils will celebrate in style as part of the NHL’s three-game schedule on Wednesday night.
The Devils will wear their retro red, white and green uniforms when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Prudential Center at 7 p.m. ET. The Devils had green as one of their colors from the franchise’s inception in 1982 until they switched to black in 1992.
from Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull,
The Flyers’ season may hinge on goalie Michael Leighton’s injured left ankle.
The goalie, a waiver-wire wonder this season, suffered a high ankle sprain early in Tuesday’s 4-3 shoot-out loss to Nashville. He will have an MRI Wednesday to determine the severity of the injury.
“I just went out to get the puck and it got away from me, and I kind of went back on my leg and felt my leg pop, my ankle,” Leighton said. “It’s just the way I fell backwards. I felt something pop and it didn’t feel good.”
Brian Boucher replaced Leighton and played admirably, allowing one goal the rest of the way and helping the Flyers salvage an important point.
“Once he has settled in, he has played really well,” coach Peter Laviolette said.
from Greatest Hockey Legends,
The Leafs were hosting “King Clancy Night.” Clancy was as big a star as Toronto has ever seen. They honored him with the night, the jersey, and a number of stereotypical gifts that would keep any Irish eyes smiling.
Several junior players stepped on to the ice through large potato props. Red Horner emerged from a boxing glove. New York Ranger’s star Bill Cook hid in a shamrock. All the while the Knights of Columbus Minstrel Band played Irish music.
But the highlight of the night was when Clancy was introduced to the sold out arena. There has never been anything quite like it in sports before or since.
Chicago Blackhawks yuck it up with Jay Leno.
I put it below so I would not spoil it for you if you planned to watch it on TV.
from Craig Simpson of CBC,
The Wings have loads of playoff experience, and are finally getting healthy enough to have their full roster in tact. Their core playoff performers in Lidstrom, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Rafalski, Franzen are all finally healthy and are highly motivated to make up for sub-par seasons.
In goal, Howard may be a question mark with his lack of experience, but he has played extremely well and would love to cap off a Calder Trophy nominee regular season with a strong playoff.
Most years it’s the Wings that have been the favourites, the team that every other franchise has been gunning for. This year they will play the less-pressured role of spoilers.
With the combination of talent, experience and extra motivation, I don’t think I would bet against them.
from Tom Musick of the Northwest Herald,
• Long slumps don’t happen: Every time the Hawks have slumped, they have recovered. Coach Joel Quenneville’s team has built a 44-18-6 record by avoiding long losing streaks. The worst skid was three losses from Jan. 30 to Feb. 5, and the Hawks responded then by winning the next four games and six of the next seven.
• Hawks have been through this before: Remember last year? The Hawks suffered a five-game winless streak from March 13 to March 20, and they limped to a 4-7-2 record from March 5 to March 31. Questions swirled about their toughness and their goaltending, but they came alive in the playoffs to reach the Western Conference Finals.
more including reasons to worry…
from the Red Deer Advacate,
Twenty-two years after being hired on as a rookie hockey coach, Mike Babcock returned to the Red Deer College fold on Tuesday morning.
In front of more than 800 people at the Capri Centre Exhibition Hall, Babcock — recent coach of the gold medal-winning men’s hockey team in the Winter Olympics and current coach of the Detroit Red Wings — was the featured speaker of the seventh annual Red Deer College Kings and Queens Scholarship Breakfast.
via the Washington Capitals PR department,
Statement from Alex Ovechkin
“I am very sorry that Brian was injured and I hope he is able to return to his team soon. NHL hockey is a physical game. We all play hard every time we are on the ice and have battles each shift in every game we play so we can do our jobs and win. As players we must accept responsibility for our actions and I am no different but I did not intend to injure Brian and that is why I was disappointed with the NHL’s decision yesterday. Every time I have the honor to play for my team, I will continue to do what I have done since I was taught to play. I will play hard, play with passion and play with respect for my teammates, opponents and fans. I look forward to returning to my team and doing everything I can to be the best player I can be.”
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org