Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jeff Paterson of Straight.com,
For a league that has already hired a commissioner away from the National Basketball Association and placed franchises in cities far better suited for hoops than pucks, it’s time to borrow from basketball yet again. The NBA’s developmental league has come up with a novel twist on the playoffs that would be perfect for the National Hockey League: allowing teams to pick their postseason opponents.
Now, it’s not as radical as it sounds. The top finishers in each conference get to select from the lower-ranking qualifiers in the first round only. In the NHL’s case, let the three division winners in each conference pick from the teams that round out the playoff field.
from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,
We’re on the brink of a huge offseason. Co-owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie and, more to the point, first-time general manager Brian Lawton have to clean up this mess, some of which they didn’t make, some of which they did.
You might be wondering if this is the worst it’s ever been on Channelside Drive, you know, what with worst in the league last season, second worst in the league this season. I’m here to tell you it’s been worse.
Then why is there such a funk over there?
This team plays hard most night and it has some very good pieces, like Vinny Lecavalier (for now) and braveheart Marty St. Louis, and Ryan Malone, and super rookie Steven Stamkos, and a seemingly No. 1 goaltender in Mike Smith, and a seemingly good head coach in Rick Tocchet.
But the franchise doesn’t seem any more stable than it did last offseason.
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
Other than a ceremony honoring winger Brad May for playing his 1,000th game, the evening had less electricity than an Amish barn. Toronto fans long ago became accustomed to watching their team lose, so it wasn’t as if the Sabres’ two quick goals in the third period in a 3-1 victory was a jolt to anyone in the Air Canada Centre.
Buffalo won the game and is still alive. That’s all that matters. So why does this feel like another tease?
There was a stronger sense that the Sabres were merely prolonging the agony, that fans would spend today generating whatever optimism they could muster only to have Flyers center Daniel Briere cough up the puck to Chris Drury tonight for the Rangers’ game-winner.
Yeah, I know, don’t go there. But it would be another reminder of how far the NHL’s one-time darlings have fallen in less than two years. May made you remember when the Sabres missed the playoffs with dignity, when they went down swinging. This group reminded you of the Sabres at their worst, underachievers who often looked uninterested in a big game against a 12th-place team.
from Dan Barnes of the Edmonton Journal,
“Some guys came in here this year thinking this is an easy game,” said defenceman Sheldon Souray, who shot straighter after practice on Wednesday than he has in the last 10 games.
” ‘The crowd loves me. I got points in junior, I got points in the minors, I got points here last year, I’m going to be great this year.’ Well, any professional will tell you, when people know about you, now there is expectation. Opponents know you and pay attention to you. The organization puts more expectation on you.
“Look, last year was a totally different situation. You hope that some of this experience lends itself to making you better next year.” If the sharpest of those accusations sound like a shot across the bow of the sophomore set, Souray said his focus was not that narrow. Young and old have to take responsibility for this debacle, he stressed, and he made it clear by missing only goalie Dwayne Roloson with the broad brush of blame.
from Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers at the Columbus Dispatch,
Blue Jackets fans, you’ve waited a long, long time for this. You’ve invested lots of time and lots of emotion to get to this point. You’ve thrown lots of pillows at the TV and stalked out of Nationwide Arena lots of times, either because of blowout losses or late-game collapses.
This night was for you. Now eight seasons in the league, the Blue Jackets have earned the right to compete for the NHL’s ultimate trophy. This night was for you, and it was for the biggest fan of them all—the man who plunked down the $80 million check to finance an expansion franchise, late owner John H. McConnell.
added 10:11am, from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
Enjoy the playoffs, Blue Jackets fans. Your team is going to be a pain in the butt for someone.
from Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa of the Boston Herald,
Don’t breathe a word of this. Because nobody’s supposed to know. But the Boston Bruins [team stats] will host the NHL’s Winter Classic outdoor hockey game against an unnamed opponent Jan. 1 at Fenway Park!
Our spies on Lansdowne Street say the League has given its blessing to a 2010 New Year’s Day game in the Hub of Hockey, choosing Boston over New York and Philadelphia.
from TSN, Every week, the NHL on TSN panel voices its opinions on the hot topics of the day in the Wednesday Night Hockey Quiz.
Among the big late season acquisitions, who has been the biggest disappointment Mats Sundin or Olli Jokinen?
Bob McKenzie: I’ll go with Mats Sundin, only because his body of work with the Vancouver Canucks is larger than that of Olli Jokinen with the Calgary Flames. Having said that, I believe that the prospect of Mats Sundin reversing what has happened in the regular season and making noise in the playoffs is far greater than Jokinen with the Flames.
Keith Jones: For me it is Olli Jokinen and for this reason: he shoots the puck a lot; therefore Mike Cammalleri has stopped scoring goals. Since the trade deadline just three goals for Cammalleri due to the negative effect of Olli Jokinen.
more questions answered…
from Drew Remenda of the Seagate Broadcaster Blog,
You know what puzzles me? All this “whoa you don’t want to play St. Louis (or Calgary or Anaheim or insert whatever team) in the first round” talk. What about… You don’t want to play the First place since the start of the year, 53 wins and counting NHL Leading San Jose friggin Sharks. I hope there are teams out there that are thinking yeah we really want to play them. We really want to play a team that has a Superstar centre that can dominate games. A Captain having a career year. A puck moving cool as ice smooth skating D-Man. 4 defenceman with 30+ assists. A goalie that is one of the best in the game a team that has the best second line in hockey-a kick ass powerplay and a stingy penalty kill. Doesn’t that sound like fun?
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
The Anschutz Co.
555 17th St., Ste. 2400
Denver, CO 80202
The NHL regular season ends Sunday, so I figured this would be a good time to ask for your thoughts on the Kings.
You remember the Kings, don’t you?
Not the tall guys who play in Sacramento. The Maloof family owns them. You own so many teams and arenas it would be easy for you to be confused.
I’m referring to your hockey team. The one you won’t allow to publish your photo in its media guide.
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
In Sunrise, fans are allowed to urinate on the Panthers logo. Actually, many don’t have much of a choice.
Inside the urinals in the men’s rooms on the lower level of the BankAtlantic Center are advertisements for a local urologist. Weak stream? I thought it was an ad for an internet company. But whatever….
The logo may be small, but that only makes for an interesting target. I’m sure opposing fans get a kick out of going to the restroom and relieving themselves on the Florida mascot.
Say what you want about all the ads inside the Billboard, but in this market, those ads help cover up all those empty seats. I don’t like it, but it is helping the hockey team remain viable in the National Hockey League.
I think the Panther logo was put on these decals innocently; the doc probably puts that logo on all of his ads. But someone inside the organization made a mistake by allowing them to go into the urinals.
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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