Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Cassie Campbell of CBC Sports,
Now that the Mats Sundin saga is over and done with, here’s a look at what the NHL’s Canadian teams need to do in order to get to the next level.
With it so difficult to operate under the salary cap system, moves will be easier said than done.
Calgary Flames - The Flames are top contenders in the Western Conference, but consistent losses to Detroit and San Jose have to make GM Darryl Sutter want to tinker with his team. A priority for the Flames has to be a top six forward who provides much needed size down the middle.
Edmonton Oilers - A frustrating year so far for the Oilers with a lack of team consistency, it looks as if a trade can wake up for a squad that has played below its capabilities. With three quality goaltenders in the lineup, one would be used as bait for a team who encounters an injury situation in that position. To me, a top priority for the Oilers is to find themselves a top six forward and preferably a quality and established centre.
NEW YORK (Dec. 22, 2008)—Dallas Stars left wing Loui Eriksson, Philadelphia Flyers center Jeff Carter and New Jersey Devils left wing Patrik Elias have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending Dec. 21.
(Patrick) Kane the first overall selection of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, was asked by NHL.com which players, not affiliated with the Chicago Blackhawks, he would choose to represent the West.
“I think Ryan Getzlaf (Ducks), Jarome Iginla (Flames) and Marian Hossa (Red Wings) would probably be my choices at forward,” Kane said….
“On defense, I’d probably go with Dion Phaneuf (Flames) and Nicklas Lidstrom (Red Wings),” Kane said….
Kane would then pencil in San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov between the pipes.
A look at this years NHL’s Winter Classic Event between the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks from Wrigley Field on January 1st.
from Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal,
‘Twas the last practice before the preChristmas game when out on the rink there arose such a clatter.
It had to be head coach Craig MacTavish, who whistled and shouted and called his players by name; right up until the Edmonton Oilers zeroed in on the drills.
MacTavish wanted more shots on net, more battle during the drills, more of everything. By the time the players plunged into a series of
one-on-one drills in a confined space, everyone was relentless….
“You get around the holiday season and everybody has family in and it’s easy to get distracted,” said MacTavish. “You come in here and go through the motions, then you get back to your family to enjoy the festive holiday. But we need that game (tonight); then we can have a couple of days.
“The bottom line for me is that they’re not giving goals away at this level. You have to work for them, you have to practice, you have to train,” MacTavish continued.
from Mike Brophy of Sportsnet,
It’s time to look under the Christmas tree to see what St. Nick Kypreos, er, Santa Claus has brought this year. Yeah, that’s more like it.
To Alexander Semin: A filter for your mouth. Sid the Kid doesn’t need extra motivation from loose-lipped Russians.
To Vinny Lecavalier: The same motivation that got you your seven-year contract.
To Marty Turco: Your last two seasons of playoff games on a special How-To DVD.
To Dion Phaneuf: A kick-start to a season that is rapidly getting away from you.
via Brian Hunter of NHL.com,
(Blake) Wheeler had already scored a goal early in the first to give the Bruins the lead when he broke in with teammate Dave Krejci on Blues goaltender Manny Legace—or at least he thought. The University of Minnesota product ending up putting on a spin-o-rama move to notch his 11th of the season.
“I initially was looking to make a pass back to Krejci,” Wheeler said. “He kind of abandoned me. He went off for a change and the only thing I could do was react. There was a guy coming at me and I just kind of reacted. I got lucky.”
from Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
This is rare air for the Blackhawks - a seven-game winning streak, the team’s longest in 27 years, and an 18-6-7 record that has them sitting with the NHL’s elite approaching Christmas.
“That team right now is the best team in the NHL,” said Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault following Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the Hawks at GM Place. “They’ve been perfect in December (8-0-1). Their game is real good.”
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,
It has taken a self-inflicted wound to keep Teemu Selanne from inflicting more pain on the Vancouver Canucks tonight at GM Place. It has also reopened debate within the NHL Players Association whether players are properly protected from razor-sharp blades penetrating ultra-thin uniforms….
“You think about the socks and how much that plays a role in it and how thin they are these days,” Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa said Sunday. “I know I’ve spoken about it to a few people on the NHLPA and hopefully it’s something they address.”
from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,
Now that he’s a Vancouver Canuck, all bets are off on whether Mats Sundin will play again and where.
But that doesn’t mean wagering and Sundin can’t be used in the same sentence. Aside from the daily (hourly?) updates regarding Sundin until the merciful conclusion last week, the Big Swede had been most visible as a so-called “celebrity supporter” of Pokerstars.net.
While not associated with sports wagering, the free poker website is affiliated with a play-for-cash one based in the Isle of Man, a haven for internet gaming. Sundin’s link to the wildly popular poker site hasn’t raised red flags with NHL brass officially, but the league is at least investigating the association.
“We need to understand the nature of the relationship and the entity it’s with before we have an official position,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told Sun Media via e-mail yesterday.
“But I don’t anticipate that it is inconsistent with any of our policies. Pokerstars does not accept wagers.”
continued plus more hockey notes…
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