Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bruce Constantineau of the Vancouver Sun,
When the Vancouver Canucks clinched a coveted playoff spot this week, they assured themselves of at least two home playoff dates and a seven-figure boost to the team’s bottom line.
At a time when the global recession has forced some NHL teams to cut ticket prices and absorb millions of dollars of losses, the Canucks suddenly hear that joyful sound of money….
A 200-per-cent ticket-price increase would generate more than $3.4 million in revenues for each Stanley Cup final home game in Vancouver — a whopping $2.3-million boost over regular season games. Ka-Ching!
The profit numbers don’t even include other income sources that would kick in on a long playoff run — like corporate advertising and sponsorship deals and merchandise sales that will surely skyrocket in this NHL-championship-starved market.
from Dave Waddell of the Windsor Star,
The trio designated as the potential fourth line in the playoffs, Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper and Tomas Kopecky, have struggled to the point of being a liability of late.
Draper is pointless and minus-five in 11 games while Maltby is a minus-four and pointless in 16 games and Kopecky has two points and is minus-10 in 10 games. Kopecky won’t play Sunday against Minnesota because of a shoulder injury.
However, the Wings foot soldiers aren’t the only strugglers of late.
Henrik Zetterberg’s off form over the past five games has been been more glaring playing alongside the incandescent Pavel Datsyuk.
Zetterberg has one goal and is minus-three in a five-game stretch and will be replaced by Marian Hossa on Datsyuk’s line for Sunday’s game. Instead, Zetterberg will centre Johan Franzen and Dan Cleary.
from Scott Cullen of TSN,
As analyst Keith Jones has mentioned several times this season on TSN, the new NHL is driven by teams with a strong defence. Perhaps not surprisingly, then, the best teams tend to have a strong defence corps.
1. BOSTON BRUINS
Cumulative TSN.ca Rating: 322.01
Cumulative TSN.ca Rating: 222.77
read on to get the whole picture…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Lurking in the weeds as a possible playoff sleeper team is none other than the Anaheim Ducks, two seasons removed from a Stanley Cup championship and with a remade lineup that suddenly looks as if it’s developing chemistry at just the right time of year.
The Ducks swept a pair of games in Western Canada this past week to win five in a row on the road and nine of 11 overall. This moves them into seventh place in a Western Conference playoff race that – with 10 days to go – appears to be down to three teams competing for the final two spots.
Anaheim is by no means home and cooled, but if they get in – and if they happen to go in as a seventh seed where they are positioned right this minute – they could pose a real threat to the Detroit Red Wings, who look as if they will not catch the San Jose Sharks for top spot in the conference standings.
continued and many more NHL topics discussed…
Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN face this question today,
Counting down to the playoffs, what moves should we expect to see heading into April?
Burnside: Talk about a team that is likewise done like dinner (sorry, Oilers and Sabres fans). Buffalo lost to Atlanta on Wednesday night, the second time it failed to defeat the Thrashers in the past couple of weeks; even though the Sabres earned a point in both cases, the points left on the table will haunt them through the summer.
I don’t sense the same kind of unrest in Buffalo as there seems to be in Edmonton. The Sabres were without Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller for key parts of the season, but I still don’t think this team has found the leaders in the room to take them over the hump. You’ve mentioned it before: Craig Rivet comes over from San Jose and becomes the team’s captain? Rivet is a terrific guy, but it doesn’t say much for the group that has been in the Sabres’ locker room the past three or four years and hasn’t seen a leader step forward. What do you think, is it time for Ruff? Not to sound like Renney’s agent or anything, but the Sabres are another team that would, I think, thrive under Renney’s tutelage.
LeBrun: Peter Laviolette would be another great fit in Buffalo. But I don’t think Ruff is going anywhere; in my mind, he’s not to blame.
read on for much more…
from Bill Roose of DetroitRedWings.com,
“I just reacted to what happened,” Franzen said. “I made the move and I came in with good speed, so the D had to take a chance. I showed him that I was going in on the right side and I pulled the puck back and tried to go on the left side, but then he stuck his leg out. Before I knew it, I was airborne.”
Even while in the air, Franzen never lost sight of the puck and was able to produce enough energy to unleash a shot that found its way behind the legs of goalie Chris Mason.
“You usually keep focused on the puck even when you’re falling down,” Franzen said. “If you’re down on your knees, you’re still pretty much able to make a play. But I got a good shot away and the puck was laying perfect for me, so I could use the momentum from falling and put that into my shot.”
from Steve Zipay of Blue Notes at Newsday,
“The clouds are following us around, figuratively and literally” said Jim Schoenfeld before he stepped onto the RBC Center ice this morning for a 30-minute practice dominated by power-play drills on both ends of the ice and coach John http://weblogs.newsday.com/sports/hockey/rangers/blog/2009/04/torts_get_job_done_or_were_don.html later calling out his top players to gut it out in the third periods.
“If we don’t,” Tortorella said, “in a week we’re done. We’re done…”
“No one’s off the hook,” Tortorella said after a brief meeting with the team here before leaving for Boston.
Earlier today, a website called FINalternatives reported that “Tom Hicks’ sports team holding company has defaulted on more than $500 million in loans.”
Jim Boardman at Anfield Road provides more info:
The news has clearly come as a surprise to the press in Dallas, who are continuously updating their websites with any information they can get. In The Star Telegram’s report of the story they say Hicks has been in touch by email, denying that the two teams could be repossessed: “There is no possibility of banks owning the teams.”
Hicks said that both the NHL and MLB (the two leagues his Hockey and Baseball teams play in) are helping him to find alternative investment but that he will pay their bills himself in the meantime: “I am working closely with both leagues to find quality partners that share my long term vision of building these two great franchises. I will continue to fund the teams’ operations. I am the largest creditor to HSG and need 51 percent of the banks to agree with my plan.”
Full story here.
from Joe O’Conner of the National Post,
It was not his fault. Not entirely. He did not start it. He was just trying to defend himself from an angry mob of Boston Bruins. They were coming at him in waves: Terrible Teddy Green, Johnny (Pie) McKenzie, Johnny Bucyk and Gerry Cheevers. Everybody. The Boston bench was empty. Even the Bruins fans were coming at him, throwing punches and beers and God knows what else over the glass at the old Boston Garden.
It was hockey mayhem on April 2, 1969. It was the last NHL game Forbes Kennedy would ever play.
added 3:36pm, Thanks to a pointer left in the comments, I have added a video of the start of the incident below…
from Dan Wood of the Ducks Blog,
Ducks right wing Corey Perry laughed.
He said he hadn’t seen last month’s Yahoo! Sports interview with Evgeni Nabokov in which the San Jose Sharks goaltender called Perry a “crybaby.”
“I don’t even care,” Perry said when relayed the details Thursday night after he had scored the lone shootout goal in a 6-5 Ducks triumph over the Vancouver Canucks at GM Place. “I’m not even listening to that. He can say what he wants. It’s — whatever.”
Perry accused Nabokov of kicking him after play had stopped during a 1-0 Sharks victory March 15 at Honda Center. Nabokov denied it, and the NHL announced no supplementary discipline for either player. Perry had cross-checked the back of a prone Nabokov’s legs before the alleged kicking incident.
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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