Kukla's Korner Hockey
Sources tell TSN the Tampa Bay Lightning are close to signing head coach Rick Tocchet to a three-year contract extension.
Tabbed interim head coach since taking over for the fired Barry Melrose on November 14, this would mark Tocchet’s first full-time head coaching job.
from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice, one of the game’s best people, had an interesting take on the development of Lightning rookie Steven Stamkos. Maurice said Stamkos “is going to be a great, great player,” but not just because of his skill. In part, because of how he handled the pressure on the front end of his career.
Asked if the Lightning would have been better served not hyping expectations so much for the No. 1 draft pick, Maurice disagreed.
“I think that’s part of it,” Maurice said of the maturation process, “and maybe an important part of what he has to go through. You might be able to look back and say there was more pressure than was needed, but at the end of the day, this man is a high -pressure man. All of them go through it.”
Maurice said even now, Canes star Eric Staal, at 24, is still learning to deal with expectations, and even though the numbers have been there, Sidney Crosby is even struggling with pressure because it is constant.
from Darren Pang of Holy Jumpin! at PhoenixCoyotes.com,
When Olli Jokinen was traded to the Coyotes at the NHL Draft last year, the Coyotes felt they had that big, strong, offensive-minded centerman they had been craving.
It didn’t work, for whatever reason. There was chemistry that was missing. The big Finnish centerman was trying, but it just wasn’t working. He has another season at $5.5 million, so the assumption is trading him to Calgary was a salary dump….
he issue was chemistry. This is not Shane Doan’s fault, although he is such a stand-up guy, he will try to take the blame. Everyone was searching for the right combination on the ice. Wayne Gretzky tried every forward with him….
So, at the end of the day, watch the Coyotes play. Don’t just read someone’s written opinion and buy into the money and the selling of players. Evaluate their game and team speed and skill level.
All players, trainers and fans forge relationships with players and it is never easy seeing guys go. But make your own evaluation and then tell me this is a “sell-off.” You won’t see it that way.
from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider,
• Alex Ovechkin and Tom Poti each completed this morning’s practice, but only Ovechkin said definitively that he’ll suit up tomorrow against the Penguins. Poti said he’ll wait until tomorrow morning before making a decision.
• Michael Nylander suffered an upper body injury on Thursday and will miss tomorrow’s game, Coach Bruce Boudreau said.
• Two young women told me on the way into KCI that they plan on distributing 500 pacifiers to fellow Caps fans on the way into Verizon Center tomorrow. I didn’t ask why, but it’s I’m assuming that dummies are meant to mock Pens captain Sidney Crosby…
more on the Caps…
from Joe Haggerty of WEEI,
The 2003-04 Calgary Flames were a rags-to-riches hockey story if ever there was one.
The Flames captured the imagination of a hockey-crazed city when they dragged themselves from a last place divisional finish one season prior to a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals….
Not surprisingly, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli always admired Sutter’s handiwork and the way he crafted that particular Flames team with a mixture of big-hearted grinders and skilled skaters all willing to take an occasional walk on the hockey wild side.
“I certainly liked Daryl Sutter as a person, I liked him as a player and I like him as a GM,” said Chiarelli. “I watched him coach and build teams, and he likes players that are like him. I think those players that he liked and could play for him are also the kind of players that make good Boston Bruins players….”
from Sam McCaig of The Hockey News,
There’s inexperience, and then there’s the New York Islanders.
The franchise that won four consecutive Stanley Cups in the early 1980s - and has since endured a quarter-century of incompetence - looks more like an American League team than an NHL club these days….
Put it this way: How many Islanders players would crack Detroit’s lineup, or San Jose’s or Boston’s? Not very many.
A youth movement is one thing, but every team needs a few veterans to lead the way. What happened to the old guard on the Island?...
The silver lining to Long Island’s losing ways is the NHL entry draft in June. The Isles, seven points behind Atlanta and eight points worse than Tampa Bay, have the inside track on finishing last overall in the league standings.
from Bob Verdi of the Chicago Tribune,
Since 1998, the Hawks have earned only five playoff dates, all in April. They have played only six games in May since 1996. They haven’t lasted until June since 1995, and then they went deep into spring primarily because a lockout delayed the regular season’s start until January.
In other words, there are thousands of people currently flocking to the sold-out United Center who never have been immersed in the buzz of playoff hockey performed by a team that actually can challenge for a Stanley Cup. Playoff hockey is terrific anywhere, but when contested here, it is special, and you can look it up….
These Hawks aren’t a forlorn bunch as were many of the predecessors who were good at everything but their jobs. Those Hawks would have been a great golf team, or billiards team, but come April, all bags were packed. Now, hockey could consume the town next month. It wouldn’t be the first time, only the first time in too long a time.
Shopping done early this morning while dodging the rain drops that will be constant in the Detroit area today.
It should be a great day and night for hockey viewing.
from Mark Everson of the NY Post,
It’s only a slight exaggeration that Martin Brodeur’s comeback has been his career in a nutshell.
Hockey is watching, and everyone else around here should be, too. It’s just not that often we have the “greatest ever” (even if only arguably) on display, night after night, right where we live.
Babe Ruth? Not quite that old. Julius Erving? Hmm, maybe not. Wayne Gretzky? Not his heyday. Niatross? OK, horses don’t count.
It’s 15 seasons now, which means it mostly is behind us, and it’s time to appreciate it while he’s still at the top of his powers.
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
The litany of losses that make their fans want to gag are plenty - like Thursday’s 4-2 loss in Ottawa, getting shut out at home by Columbus or losing 8-3 to Detroit, 10-2 to Buffalo and 9-2 to Chicago.
“It seems like when we lose, we lose 5-1, 5-0 - everything goes wrong,” said Ales Hemsky.
“We stop playing. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain. We get down and we have no answer.”
Very rarely have the Oilers been able to reverse the flow of momentum. Even when they have 59 minutes and 48 seconds to do it, like in Ottawa.
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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