Kukla's Korner

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Category: NHL-Teams

Talking Rangers And Kings

from Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside of ESPN,

LeBrun The Rangers are an intriguing tale. Under the excellent tutelage of coach John Tortorella, they’ve scratched and clawed their way to maintaining a playoff spot all season. Imagine if Gaborik was along for the ride? To be fair, he doesn’t have a bona-fide No. 1 center to play with. But let’s be honest, where has the speed and explosion gone? Remember Gaborik in Minnesota? He was the fastest player in the league. I spoke with someone this week who figured Gaborik has never been the same player since his hip surgery; or maybe it’s just going to take longer to get it all back? The Rangers better hope he does; there’s three more years left on his deal at $7.5 million per year.

Burnside: The offseason darlings of most prognosticators, the Kings have won just twice in their past 11 games. They dropped a 2-1 decision to St. Louis on Tuesday night, their second straight 2-1 loss. They woke up Wednesday morning in 12th place in the Western Conference, five points out of eighth. All is not lost, of course, but how long is coach Terry Murray’s leash? I think ownership will not be pleased if this promising young team falls short of the playoffs this season.

more on each team…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Nasty, Gutsy, Scary = Sabres Win

That was a gutsy Buffalo win last night (2-1 in overtime) over division rival Montreal.  There was a whole lot of hitting, yapping, pushing and shoving going on.  Why we don’t see more of this nasty attitude from the Sabres is the subject of another conversation. 

Having a threat like Mike Cammalleri off the ice for most of the game certainly made the task less formidable, but beggars can’t be choosers.  And let’s not forget that Buffalo was missing its most potent point getter (Derek Roy, 35 points in 35 games) and goal scorer (Drew Stafford, 15 goals in 30 games).  Stafford suffered a groin injury early, and it looks like he’s going to miss some time.

Great move by coach Lindy Ruff breaking up the Tyler Myers-Andrej Sekera pairing on the blue line.  The 20-year old Calder Trophy winner seems better off with a stay at home veteran as his defense partner.  Ruff felt that way during training camp when he originally played Shaone Morrisonn with Myers, but a poor start by the free agent acquisition put a damper in those plans.  Let’s see if it sticks this time.

Big sigh of relief that Max Pacioretty is going to be OK after a scary moment when he took a slap shot to the chest.  Forgive me if my heart rate shooting up from being terrified upon first seeing it was an overreaction, but it’s partly the fault of having a selective memory.  Clint Malarchuk and Richard Zednik can attest to the fact that Buffalo can be a pretty risky place to play sometimes.

Things probably won’t be much more pleasant for the Sabres on Thursday when they play in Boston.  Whatever they put in their pasta yesterday should be bottled up and brought with them on the trip.

Twitter: @DaveDavisHockey

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andrej+sekera, buffalo+sabres, chest+struck+by+hockey+puck, max+pacioretty, max+pacioretty, mike+cammalleri, montreal+canadiens, shaone+morrisonn, tyler+myers

Washington Fans Attend A Game In Philly

from pucksandbooks of On Frozen Blog,

The few (very), the proud, the *very* brave — Caps’ fans attending a game in Philadelphia against the Flyers . . . while wearing their heroes’ colors.

Yes, they exist. Tuesday night I saw them, spoke with them, and most especially, asked them if they had escorted passage back to their cars at game’s end.

We do have OFB readers at the Pentagon; our nation’s defense leadership may want to recruit these valiant souls for service.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Six Hours Of Hockey On NBC For Hockey Day In America

added 10:30am, The NBC release has been added below…

NEW YORK (JANUARY 19, 2011) ─ The National Hockey League® (NHL) today announced that McDonald’s USA has renewed as League partner in the United States.  As part of this agreement, McDonald’s has secured the position of title sponsor for Hockey Day In America – a six-hour celebration of the sport of hockey on NBC, and will serve as sponsor of the 2011 NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh, NC amongst other unique brand extensions

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mcdonald's, nbc

Here Comes The Flames

from George Johnson of the Calgary Herald,

Caution yourselves against all premature, overt displays of self-deluding optimism. Temper any inclination towards wild fist-pumping. And please hold off on those intensely annoying, fluttering car flags for the time being.

The condition of the patient has been upgraded, slightly, from virtually impossible to wildly improbable. What everyone waits to see now is if it can improve in the next while from wildly improbable to highly unlikely. And take it from there.

Oh, they’re still in hospital.

But that’s better than the morgue.

What the Calgary Flames have managed to do in the past two and a half weeks is transform outright snorts of derision into mildly quizzical stares, dismissive hand waves into soft, imperceptible I’ll-Be-Damned head-shakes.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Sabres Need To Increase Their Winning Pace

from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,

Let’s start with the good news. The Sabres moved within eight points of Atlanta for the final playoff spot. They beat a Montreal team that has been battling with Boston for first place in the division. They came up with an inspiring effort in the third period. Ryan Miller was terrific in net. They deserved the win.

Nathan Gerbe played one of his best games all year. He was a general nuisance in the third period while tussling with Brian Gionta in a battle of featherweights. He irritated Scott Gomez enough to draw a high-sticking penalty that led to Jason Pominville’s winner in overtime.

All were good signs, but let’s also face reality. The Sabres have won six of nine games over the past three weeks yet have made up only two points in the standings. They have 45 points in 45 games. If they win five of nine over the final 37 games this season, which is a tall order for a .500 team, it’s not likely to be enough to reach the postseason.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Along With High Praise, Holmgren Gets His Contract Extended

from Anthony J. SanFilippo of the DelcoTimes,

“Paul has done an outstanding job,” team president Peter Luukko said Tuesday in announcing Holmgren’s new contract extension. “He came out of the lockout with the style of play changing a bit and he built a team with skill and speed. He’s had the success, but at the same time we haven’t lost our Flyer identity and I think that is very important because our fans, players, and coaches alike expect us to be a tough team to play against, a gritty team and a hard team.

“But as the game has changed a bit, Paul has done a heck of a job adjusting to that and his record speaks for itself.”

The Flyers announced the three-year extension prior to the club’s 3-2 overtime win against the Washington Capitals. As first reported by the Daily Times, Holmgren’s contract takes him through 2015. Salary terms were not disclosed, but a source put the total figure in the neighborhood of $4.5 million.

“He’s obviously very deserving,” Clarke said in a phone interview after the contract was announced. “He’s just done a terrific job putting this team together. He was directly involved with every player on this roster being here.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: paul+holmgren

Hemsky Latest Player With Concussion

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,

One day after Edmonton Oilers defenceman Ryan Whitney had ankle surgery in North Carolina, veteran winger Ales Hemsky left Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Wild after one shift in the second period due to a concussion.

It doesn’t appear to be any particular hit that KO’d him, more an accumulation of blows over the last half-dozen games.

“He took a puck in the head in Vancouver, an elbow to the head and a stick to the cheek in games on the road trip we just finished and he was a little out of sorts tonight, so we pulled him,” said Oilers head coach Tom Renney.

“He’s had some symptoms before this game and the doctor looked at him and I don’t know what conclusion they’ve drawn.”

Hemsky, who had one bolt down the right wing and almost scored in the first period, wasn’t available after the game. But the general NHL protocol is you have to stay out of the lineup at least a week if medical people deem you’ve had a concussion. Obviously, if he’s out longer than that, Hemsky’s first appearance in an NHL all-star game is in jeopardy. The game is in Raleigh, N.C., on Jan. 30.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ales+hemsky

Nichol Discusses The Suspension And Hit

from David Pollak of Working the Corners,

I just got off the phone with Scott Nichol. And while the keyboard is crying out for mercy, I’m pounding away once again.

Nichol said he was caught off guard by the fact he was suspended for that many games. Four games for a play that the ref was looking at and chose not to penalize? Didn’t see it coming.

“The ref was directly across from the hit. I hit him (Schlemko), we got up and we both skated to the bench,” Nichol said. “There was no call and I didn’t think anything of it until I talked to Doug.”

It was Doug Wilson who let Nichol know there would be a hearing…

As far as the play, Nichol has reviewed the video, just like everybody else involved, and acknowledges that his gloved hand — but not his elbow — made contact with Coyote defenseman David Schlemko’s head. Despite the initial coverage of the suspension, which referred to an “elbow to the head,” the official NHL release calls it a “blow to the head,” so that discrepancy doesn’t appear to be much of an issue at this point.

For anyone who thinks four games is too long for that hit, it may be tempting to say it was a reputation call because Nichol had been suspended five times previously.

more and watch the hit in question…

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: scott+nichol

Player Agents Speak Out On The Head Shot Controversy

from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

J.P. Barry of CAA Sports, who represents the Sedin twins, Daniel Alfredsson and others, firmly believes that the NHL needs to go one step further and ban all blows to the head.

“I am supportive of a football-type rule,” said Barry, who noted that it shouldn’t be up to hockey operations to decide if a hit was intentional or not because “it’s impossible to get it right. The football rule eliminates any uncertainty. It sends a message to the players – that you just can’t hit anybody in the head anymore.”

Other prominent agents, such as Don Meehan, Don Baizley and Kurt Overhardt, also said it is time to push for a change. Meehan and Overhardt said any lobbying by the agents is best done through the NHL Players’ Association and its new executive director, Don Fehr.

“Protecting players’ ability to play is as important as any [bargaining] issue,” Overhardt said.

There is a sense of unhappiness around the players’ union with the way the NHL hands out supplementary discipline such as suspensions for head shots. Those close to the union feel this could become part of the negotiations for a new collective agreement next year.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com

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