Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
You would think Afinogenov would have evolved into a leader by now, but that hasn’t happened. He makes you long for Pierre Turgeon. He’ll make $3.5 million and become an unrestricted free agent after next season for a team looking to get younger (see: cheaper). Gee, maybe they placed their bets on the wrong guy.
Why keep him? Well, he sells jerseys.
If the Sabres think he’s a source of entertainment, they’re kidding themselves and insulting the intelligence of their fans. The only people he entertains are youngsters who are enamored with his style and can’t see his flaws. Anyone with an ounce of hockey sense can see he needs a change in scenery.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Almost three years into their new deal, NHL players really have little to worry about. The game’s gross revenues, to which their wallets and paychecks are directly linked, have averaged approximately $2.2 billion per annum since the end of the lockout - levels consistent with where they stood in the year leading up to the 2004-05 shutdown.
During a recent league marketing meeting in Denver, optimism abounded that a short-term target of $3 billion is attainable.
continued plus other NHL bits…
from Randy Youngman of the OC Register,
Next up is Dallas, the team right behind the Ducks in the Pacific and a possible first-round playoff opponent.
“Now Sunday is huge,” Ducks winger Teemu Selanne said after Friday night’s disappointing loss. “We would pretty much clinch fourth place (in the West) by winning that game.”
But is it going to be difficult keeping their competitive edge now that the division title is out of reach?
“Maybe a little bit,” Selanne said. “We know how good a team we have here . . . so it kind of hard to motivate yourself for anything other than that (first place). But our biggest challenge now is to find momentum going into the playoffs.”
Coach Randy Carlyle said Friday night he doesn’t think there will be a letdown after watching their division title hopes evaporate.
from the AP via Sports Illustrated,
The 39-year old Taylor, who has missed the entire season after undergoing offseason hip surgery, has recently been practicing with team. Lightning coach John Tortorella had talked with Taylor about returning for one contest at home
“I’m not coming back” Taylor said during a question-and-answer session with fans before Saturday night’s game against Carolina. “I want to remember the good times. I want to remember playing hockey. I don’t want Torts to send me out to play two shifts and I’ll stand around.”
via Habs Inside/Out,
An update on the health of Canadiens captain Saku Koivu from The Gazette’s Pat Hickey:
Koivu is not playing tonight, having taken a shot off the foot last night in Buffalo. X-rays have not yet been taken, but are expected to be done tomorrow back in Montreal. Koivu says there’s a possibility he’s suffered a break, but he won’t know until tests are done.
Habs assistant coach Kirk Muller was on the HNIC pre-game show and mentioned Saku had gone back to Montreal today and did say they had no update on the injury.
P.J. Stock during the HNIC pre-game also mentioned the talk is Koivu does have a broken foot, but nothing official yet.
The NHL has been supplying the media with a daily breakdown of the playoff races for the last few weeks and insteading of posting it here, just go to Habs Inside/Out and check it out.
It basically tells you everything you want to know except which teams will win the games.
from Tom Gulitti of the Record,
It appears Brent Sutter will not become the Devils’ latest late-season coaching casualty.
At least not this season.
Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello told The Record on Friday that “without question” he has confidence that Sutter will get the team out of its slide and headed in the right direction entering the playoffs.
“I believe in what we have in that room,” Lamoriello said. “I believe in the people who are there behind the bench and I believe we’ll get done what has to get done.”
via the Columbus Dispatch,
Blue Jackets goaltending coach Clint Malarchuk was involved in an altercation this week in Nashville, Tenn., The Dispatch has learned.
No report was filed with the Nashville Police Department, and Malarchuk did not return phone calls seeking comment.
The incident occurred several hours after the Blue Jackets arrived in Nashville on Monday for a game Tuesday.
Malarchuk, whose face was badly bruised, did not fly back to Columbus late Tuesday with the team, instead returning to his ranch in Nevada.
General manager Scott Howson said the club would have no comment.
from Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News,
But after nearly six months of this exasperating team, could we just be done with it? Couldn’t they simply resign, like the governor? Maybe call off the final four games of the season and spare the fans further anguish and exasperation?
I mean, how much more can a hockey fan take? In a season of mind-boggling losses, Friday night’s might have been the most maddening of all. Leading, 3-1, and seemingly on their way to their fifth win in six games, the Sabres allowed two goals in the final 2:31 of regulation and another in overtime of a crushing 4-3 loss to the Canadiens.
They got a point. It had to be one of the most disappointing points in the history of the league. They didn’t need one point. They needed two, and two more after that. The Sabres might have needed to run the table to simply have a chance. They simply couldn’t afford to squander a victory. But they did it. Again.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
“It’s simply not acceptable,” said Peddie, indicating that the accountability for the Leafs’ shortcomings runs from himself to the board of directors all the way down the ladder.
“It’s very disappointing and very upsetting. We’re smart people, people who are very savvy in business. We thought we had a solid plan to move ahead but that’s not the case. In fact, we’re not set up that great for next year either.
“It’s very humbling to know we failed.”
Peddie said simply reaching the post-season is not the goal.
“It’s more than making the playoffs,” he said. “It’s about moving toward a championship. And, frankly, we made no progress toward that end.”
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 email@example.com