Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Update from Monday’s practice: Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom and center Pavel Datsyuk both said they were disappointed in the NHL’s decision to force them to sit out Tuesday’s game in Columbus for withdrawing from the All-Star game due to injuries and not showing up in Montreal for the off-ice activities.
The Wings said, contrary to reports, there is no appeal process. It’s cut and dry. They will not play tonorrow. Technically, it’s not a suspension, as they will be paid.
NEW YORK (Jan. 26, 2009)—Los Angeles Kings left wing Dustin Brown, Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward and Edmonton Oilers right wing Ales Hemsky have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending Jan. 25.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Much was made of the fact that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will not permit either the Detroit Red Wings’ Pavel Datsyuk or Nicklas Lidstrom from playing in Tuesday’s first game after the break because they skipped Sunday’s All-Star Game, in order to permit minor injuries to heal.
What an unnecessary tempest in a teapot.
In the grand scheme of things, a couple of extra days off for their two veteran stars will help, not hurt, the Red Wings as they prepare to defend the Stanley Cup…
That’s not to fault Bettman for his decision either. Last February, at the semi-annual general managers’ meeting, he made it clear that All-Star Game matters and so the policy going forward was this: If a player opts out, there better be a good reason to do so – or at least an injury significant enough to keep him out of the game just before the break or the game after.
History shows that having a playoff position in January tends to be a big indicator of who ends up with a spot in April. In each of the last two seasons, 14 of the 16 teams that held playoff spots at the all-star break went on to make the postseason. In other words, teams on the outside looking in today will really have their work cut out for them.
But that doesn’t mean that that the jump can’t be made. In the Eastern Conference, Buffalo, Carolina, Florida and Pittsburgh are separated by just three points. Two of those teams will make the playoffs, and two won’t. In the West, only two points separate the five teams seeded six through 10, with the Oilers and Canucks both in the thick of the battle.
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post,
Many around the league believe the Flyers are one veteran defenseman away from being a serious playoff threat. With the NHL trading deadline March 4, Holmgren is expected to look closely at defensemen who will become unrestricted free agents after this season, and he could use the Flyers’ depth at forward to acquire one.
Atlanta’s Niclas Havelid, Colorado’s Brett Clark, Phoenix’s Derek Morris, Nashville’s Dan Hamhuis and the Islanders’ Brendan Witt are expected to be on the trade block in the next six weeks. With Scottie Upshall, Lupul and Knuble, the Flyers have the assets to land one of them. Holmgren optimistic
more on the Flyers…
from Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun,
One of the things being discussed is the future of Ottawa Senators netminder Martin Gerber. He’s been waived by the team and is expected to meet today with Sens GM Bryan Murray to figure out what happens next.
The Flames are rumoured to be considering bringing the veteran in as insurance in case workhorse Miikka Kiprusoff succumbs to a late-season injury.
According to a colleague in the nation’s capital, the belief is the Flames might be interested if the Sens are willing to pick up half of the $1.5 million left on Gerber’s salary.
via Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
We said it before the season started and we’ll say it again now: Enjoy Michael Cammalleri the rest of the season, because on July 1, he’ll be a Toronto Maple Leaf, making almost as much money as Jarome Iginla.
from J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News,
Ducks general manager Bob Murray will decide sometime over the next month whether to tear his team down for the future, or build it up for one more Stanley Cup run.
With time to reflect at the All-Star break, and just 31days remaining before the March 4 trade deadline, he’s not sure which direction to go. In a telephone interview Sunday from Chicago, Murray said he’s just as confused as anybody about why the team has made the decision so tough.
“Something’s not right in the dressing room,” he said. “Within that group of players, it doesn’t for some reason lend itself to the team coming and playing with enthusiasm. There’s no energy. That could be a chemistry issue.”
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
...But that party’s over.
There will still be glorious hockey celebrations – imagine Canada winning two gold medals at next year’s Vancouver Winter Games – but no more spectacular bashes that suggest the revenue streams are as endless as the water that flows here from the Great Lakes.
“We are having a good season,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told a news conference here on Saturday.
“It’s a wonder no one threw a shoe at him,” a francophone reporter muttered.
from Stan Fischler of Game On,
Despite the uncontestable—it’s all there in the arithmetic—the fact that this 2008-09 Blueshirts edition is NOTICEABLY better in points and stands twelve wins over .500, scores of Doubting Thomases—coach Tom Renney excluded—abound.
The Thomases and Nervous Nellies worry about scoring; they fret over the power play and the absence of a MONSTER (Chris Pronger) defenseman. They suffer migraines over Nik Zherdev, wondering if he’ll ever do a reasonable facsimile of Allie Ovechkin.
No problem. Concern is the norm in a playoff race featuring the challenging likes of Washington, Boston, Pittsburgh and New Jersey, to name a few that fail the Pushover Test.
from Daryl Reaugh of Razor With An Edge,
Let me get this straight, the league office endorses NHL teams hiding injuries from the media and fans or disclosing them as very vague “upper body” or “lower body” – but its not OK for a player to have one of these slight or near-phantom injuries keep him from attending the corporate elbow-rubbing autograph session known as All-Star Weekend.
Hmmmm. That’s curious.
Does the “H” in NHL stand for hypocrisy?
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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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