Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
When the regular season ended Sunday, some 350 NHL players completed the final year of their contract, an average of just under 12 free-agents-to-be per team.
What does this portend for the days leading up to and including the June draft, as well as the start of free agency July 1?
Three general managers (two off the record) provided mixed opinions. Locally, Boston boss Peter Chiarelli noted that there was a lot of talk about trades prior to last June’s draft, but talk did not turn into much action.
many more NHL topics discussed…
Trouble is, Bob (Gainey), in Montreal, Carey Price has already been anointed the future of goaltending. Even if the glass slipper doesn’t fit, you’re going to force it onto his foot.
-Mick Kern of NHL Home Ice XM204. Read much more from Mick.
The Hotstove on HNIC last night touched on numerous subjects including John Tavares, the next Edmonton coach. the Minnesota Wild, Jim Nill & Steve Yzerman.
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
He is fighting shots and fumbling pucks. “Shaky” is the age-old hockey term. The thing is, the Wings seem to have the puck all the time, and when they don’t, their defensive bearing has been superb. The ice has tilted. The shots Osgood is facing are coming uphill.
Osgood faced eight shots in the last 40 minutes of Game 1. He faced 15 shots in the first 40 minutes of Game 2. His teammates have erected a force field in front of him. They have flipped the switch. Their keepaway game has given them a physical advantage against a bigger team. The Jackets might be finishing their checks, but the puck is usually gone by the time the hit is made.
from Steve Rosenbloom of RosenBlog at the Chicago Tribune,
Your best players have to be your best players.
Not only have the Blackhawks’ best players been their best players against Calgary, but they have been the best players in this first-round playoff series. Period.
Start with Nikolai Khabibulin and Martin Havlat in Game 1. Then it was Nik At Night again in Game 2 on Saturday, but this time he was joined by Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and the obviously recovered Patrick Sharp.
For a kid with exactly 60 minutes of Stanley Cup playoff experience before Game 2 – no wait, 60 minutes and 12 seconds – Toews certainly looked like he was familiar with meeting the moment. When his team desperately needed a power-play goal to break Calgary’s early domination for the second straight game, Toews delivered.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
• The more playoff hockey there is on television, the more replays we see, the more the game is being micro-managed by referees, media and the NHL. The endless debate on every call is getting annoying.
• Why save percentage is a flawed statistic: When Marc-Andre Fleury steals a goal from Jeff Carter with a quick leg kick, it just counts as another save. It doesn’t tell you that one stop changed a playoff series.
• Strange firing of Doug Risebrough in Minnesota: In a troubled economy and dollars growing ever tighter, don’t you retain a cheapo GM like Risebrough, who has short arms and deep pockets? But then, what would you expect from a clueless owner like Craig Leipold, who did what Gary Bettman told him and left all that Jim Balsillie money on the table in Nashville.
• Anybody who compares Washington’s Mike Green to Paul Coffey never watched Coffey in his prime. Green doesn’t even belong in the same sentence with Coffey.
more hockey topics mentioned…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
There’s no better example of the NHL’s intention to turn its referees into automatons programmed by VP of Officiating Stephen Walkom than the decision not to use Kerry Fraser in the playoffs. It’s sad, indeed, to see this signature referee treated with such disrespect by Gary Bettman and the league office.
Why didn’t they just slap him across the face at center ice then send it Toronto for video review?
It’s sadder, still, when people like Bill McCreary—who failed to see Scott Hartnell throw his stick at the puck when Petr Sykora was winding up to shoot in Game 2 of the Penguins-Flyers series—and Dave Jackson get the call to work the postseason instead of Fraser.
more plus some Leafs and Messier talk…
from Allison High of SanJoseSharks.com,
II’s not out of the ordinary for the rookie coach to bark at his players, but after seeing their slow start to practice, McLellan whistled his men back to the white board.
“It’s April,” said McLellan. “We wish that they could come out and be sharp right from minute one to minute 45, but sometimes they have to be woken up. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last time. I was happy with the pace of practice. The execution early wasn’t as good, but it got a lot better and we should be ready to play.”
This strategy is not uncommon for coaches at this time of the year. McLellan explained that the same thing happened in Detroit during his tenure. And by doing it on Saturday in San Jose, the Sharks responded. The twenty minutes spent on special teams’ drills was some of San Jose’s best.
“We were still asleep,” explained Sharks center Jeremy Roenick in response to his coach’s pep talk. “A little wakeup call is always nice.”
from Greg Logan of On the Islanders Beat at Newsday,
So, the hockey world knows of Burke’s interest in the No. 1 pick. What is Snow’s position?
Asked today about Burke’s offer, Snow said, “I’m not going to comment on the conversation I had with another manager. But I’m not inclined to move the pick.”
Never mind that Burke doesn’t have the assets to come close to swinging such a deal or that he would have to enlist other competing teams to help in his quest. When Snow said on Monday that he would listen to trade offers as a matter of due diligence, that was before he knew exactly where he was picking. Now that he controls the No. 1 spot and the right to choose between Ontario-born sniper John Tavares and Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman, there’s a big difference.
“We’re in the driver’s seat,” Snow said.
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