Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Len Ziehm of the Chicago Sun-Times,
With an 18-6-7 record, the Hawks aren’t just playoff contenders—they’re championship contenders. Defenseman James Wisniewski doesn’t think it’s too early to think that way.
‘‘We’re 31 games into the season now,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s not like we played eight games and started 6-1-1. You look at some of the games we lost. We lost five in shootouts; if we won those, we’d be five points better and right there with [defending Stanley Cup champion] Detroit.’‘
Just making the playoffs would be a big improvement, given that the Hawks haven’t experienced postseason play since the 2001-02 season, but winning the Stanley Cup remains their goal.
‘‘I don’t think it’s too big a goal,’’ Wisniewski said. ‘‘I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but if we bear down in a couple games and shut down San Jose and Detroit, we’re right up there at No. 1 in the [Western Conference].’‘
more on the Blackhawks…
from Russo’s Rants,
After tonight’s game, assistant GM Tom Lynn announced that the Wild will hold out Marian Gaborik Sunday vs. Chicago and Monday vs. Calgary.
“Marian’s going to take the Christmas break off and it looks like we’re not going to play him in the two games back-to-back. We’re doing this, not him,” Lynn said. “When he played back-to-back the other day, he got very sore. We were thinking of playing him in one game and not the other, but [GM] Doug [Risebrough] made the decision that he’s going to make [Gaborik] rest for four days and hold him out. Hopefully he’ll be back full-time after that.”
This does seem awfully suspicious.
First of all, the Wild is clinging to eighth in the West. To sit its best scorer in back-to-back games against two quality teams seems a little strange.
from Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star,
According to the coach, goalie Vesa Toskala played well, despite being yanked and booed off the ice after allowing his seventh goal midway through the second period.
“He didn’t have a chance on any of those goals,” Wilson said to a stunned media at his post-game briefing. “I don’t think it was fair that the fans got on him if that was their intention. Shot, rebound, shot, rebound and then someone puts it in the empty net. It certainly wasn’t Vesa’s fault, at all.”
Hmm. Wilson reiterated his feelings that the schedule-makers pretty much set the stage for his squad’s horrible contra-performance last night, as if nobody else had ever played back-to-back games within the same time zone in the history of the league. And yes, the goaltender had been sent home from Atlanta on Sunday to nurse his slightly pulled groin back to health – and rest up.
“It was more fatigue than anything,” Wilson argued. “We didn’t have our legs. We didn’t have our minds. Unfortunately it got ugly. It’s already behind me.”
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
You know what the Rangers are? They’re the team that has allowed six more goals than they’ve scored this season.
You know what the Rangers really are? They’re the team that lost a 5-4 overtime game at the Garden last night to the decimated Capitals despite holding a 4-0 lead by the five-minute mark of the second period.
This was and is the one. This was and is the one that doesn’t allow the Rangers - management, coaching staff and players alike - to ignore glaring deficiencies in size, toughness, presence and discipline.
from Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers,
Looking down from high above in the press box, I half expected to see Gerard Gallant standing behind the Blue Jackets bench. Last night’s 3-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings was circa 2003-04 or 2005-06….
‘ll spare you the details. Here are the thumbprints of the disaster:
The most angered people in Nationwide Arena were the fans. They chanted “Wake Up, Jackets!” instead of “Let’s Go, Jackets!” When the NHL “War Room” confirmed a `no’ goal late in the game, the chants went “Toronto Sucks!” Very clever, very funny. Made an ugly night at the rink somehow memorable. But, then, the fans have never been the problem here in Columbus.
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
Sakic, Svatos, Salei, now Stastny. Last year, it was Sakic, Smyth, Stastny, Svatos, Sauer and Skrastins.
All of the above Avs S-Men have suffered some serious injuries in the past 12 months, but tonight was a real killer.
Thanks to Brett Clark’s penalty with 1:33 left in regulation (and I’m not throwing Clarkie under the bus for causing Stastny’s injury here, just stating a fact), Stastny had to do penalty-killing duty with the Coyotes on a 6-on-4, and because of that, he was in the way of Olli Jokinen’s big slap shot that fractured his forearm.
The words of Rangers coach Tom Renney after blowing a 4-0 lead and eventually losing 5-4 to the Capitals in OT.
Watch his post game press conference below.
from Damien Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times,
Christin Kolzig was trying to hold a conversation when son Carson climbed into her lap and whispered in her ear. “Can we do it now?” he asked. “I can’t now,” Christin said. But Carson, who turns 8 on Jan. 1, was persistent in his quest for help setting up a favorite video game on his laptop. Christin laughed like she was being tickled and called husband, Olie, to get their son settled. “You learn to appreciate these moments,” Christin said. “You just realize what a miracle it is to have happy kids. In our world, you forget about that stuff.”
The Kolzigs’ world changed forever when Carson, at 15 months, was diagnosed with autism. It was devastating, said Olie, the Lightning’s backup goaltender. And it took time for the family, which now includes daughters Kendall, 6, and Ashlyn, 5, to realize what it faced.
CHICAGO, Dec. 23 /PRNewswire/—Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane will unveil and use personally-designed skates and sticks during the upcoming Bridgestone NHL 2009 Winter Classic at Wrigley Field in Chicago on New Year’s Day.
Kane, working with designers and developers at Bauer Hockey, designed the skates and stick this past summer for exclusive use during the outdoor game. Only 88 skates and 88 sticks were created for this special event and Kane will personally sign and auction off a portion of the limited edition product to raise money for breast Cancer research in Chicago and his home town of Buffalo.
“It’s something I’ve been interested in from the beginning - designing your own skates and stick is a pretty unique experience,” Kane said. “It’s really exciting to look at a skate and design it to exactly how you want it to be made. To be able to give back to the community makes the whole experience even more special.”
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
The NHL hasn’t taken over control of the Phoenix Coyotes, but it is taking an active role in trying to find new investors or ownership for the financially strapped franchise and is being kept apprised of any “significant” financial decisions the team makes, ESPN.com has learned from team and league sources.
The league also is trying to help broker changes to the existing lease with the city of Glendale in the hopes of making the situation more attractive new investors or owners.
Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes is in dire financial straights, with his outside business interests—most notably Swift Transportation, a large trucking firm—having been hammered by high gasoline costs, followed by the dramatic downturn in the economy.
added 11:08pm, from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
It appears the league is now the only benefactor to which the Coyotes can turn.
Financial documents obtained by The Globe and Mail show the team has pledged the franchise and all its assets, including all forms of revenue (with the possible exception of arena-naming rights), as collateral for loans from New York company SOF Investments LP.
SOF Investments is a subsidiary of the MSD Capital hedge fund, which is controlled by computer tycoon Michael Dell.
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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