Kukla's Korner Hockey
frrom Jeremy Sandler of the National Post,
One day in the not too distant future, Tampa Bay Lightning Steve Downie will be a cover story for all the right reasons.
Yes, the same Steve Downie who sparked a national furor when he knocked out three of teammate Akim Aliu’s teeth during a practice confrontation in 2005.
The same Steve Downie who received the fifth-longest suspension in NHL history—20 games—for leaving his feet to knock Ottawa’s Dean McAmmond into the boards during a pre-season game in 2007….
“He’s been one of our nicest surprises, not so much surprises from my end, I think maybe for the league,” Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said yesterday as the Lightning prepared for tonight’s game at the Air Canada Centre against the Maple Leafs. “He’s always had the tools. To me he’s upped his professionalism, his work habits. Guys love him in the locker room and he’s been a big part of our team this year for most of the year.”
Check out your favorite team odds here.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
For the last three days at the GM meetings in Boca Raton, Fla., Chiarelli lobbied Campbell to discipline Cooke. Chiarelli said that Cooke, who has a pair of two-game suspensions on his résumé (questionable hits to Artem Anisimov and Scott Walker), qualified as a repeat offender.
Chiarelli’s efforts were for naught.
“What I tried to convince the hockey ops staff was to take it outside of the current rule,’’ Chiarelli said. “Use the repeat offender criteria and implement an infraction on an intent to injure. That infraction and the repeat offender should distinguish it from the Richards hit. They didn’t want to.’’
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Chris Neil woke up with a headache Wednesday….
While Neil was on the ice for the club’s 30-minute practice Wednesday at the Saddledome, he wasn’t happy the refereees only gave Whitney a two-minute minor.
Not only did Whitney drill Neil in the head, he also caught him in the shoulder.
“That was a headshot, for sure,” said Neil. “You want to get that kind of stuff out of the game. I didn’t even see him coming. I know he’s behind me, but my back is to him. I wasn’t even facing him. That’s the kind of player he is, he’s kind of a backstabber.
“I didn’t really know what happened off the get-go. I’ve seen that play before and guys have gotten a (five-minute major) and kicked out of the game. I know the referees saw the first one (to the shoulder), but they didn’t see the second, obviously.”
read on and watch a video of the play below…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
For his next trick, Rangers’ head coach and travel director John Tortorella will have his players take rickshaws to Atlanta for tomorrow night’s match with the Thrashers.
It’s always about something else with Tortorella, always about establishing turf and about those meaningless catch phrases the coach likes to toss out there to distract attention from the issue at large, which happens to be that his team is largely unresponsive to him and his methods.
The particular catch phrase for yesterday was, “Limos flying in all over the place,” because Tortorella had taken it upon himself to become offended that prior regimes had permitted Rangers players to travel by car service to games in New Jersey.
As such, the Rangers were not permitted to travel across the Hudson on their own for last night’s match against the Devils. Instead, the Rangers took a team bus on Tuesday evening and spent the night in a Newark hotel.
from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,
The league, though, is apparently unwilling to settle for its Pyrrhic victory and let bygones be bygones. It is now suing Moyes for allegedly breaking side deals in which he pledged not to take the team into bankruptcy, and not to relocate it or sell it to anyone who would.
Whether or not the NHL has a case is pretty much beside the point (though it’s at least interesting to consider whether the owner of a business can ever really surrender the right to take it into bankruptcy, or whether a handshake agreement could indeed supersede the NHL’s own bylaws on franchise relocation). The lawsuit will go on, probably with a Moyes countersuit added to the mix. Eventually, someone will tire of paying the lawyers, and a settlement will be reached.
Probably the league will get back a tiny fraction of the dough it has frittered away buying the team out of bankruptcy and operating it at a considerable loss this season. Perhaps the NHL will even pass on a little of that windfall to former Coyotes minority owner/head coach Wayne Gretzky – though you’d think that it might have simply found a way to discreetly take care of its most famous son before his estrangement from the NHL hierarchy became so obvious.
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
Three teams were pursuing Mike Modano at the trade deadline, but Modano said he did not want to waive his no-trade clause and leave the only team he has been a part of.
Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk, who flew in from the NHL GM meetings in Florida for the Buffalo game, confirmed when asked about the situation that he asked Modano the day before the trade deadline if he wanted to pursue a move. Nieuwendyk said he did not get to a place where he was negotiating deals, because he first had to establish if Modano was open to leaving. Nieuwendyk said he did not want to reveal the teams, but Modano said one was Washington.
“We talked about this a couple of months ago, and we agreed at the time that if there were teams interested, I would bring the information to Mike,’’ Nieuwendyk said. “I did that, and he decided he wanted to stay.”
from Tim Wharnsby of CBC,
Mike Babcock was dripping in sweat. He had just returned from his daily run along the riverfront outside Joe Louis Arena. The sparkle from coaching the Canadian men’s Olympic team to gold in Vancouver only 11 days previous was not evident because of Babcock’s current predicament with the Detroit Red Wings.
He was less than 24 hours removed from a devastating 4-2 home loss to the Calgary Flames. Local reporters were waiting for him to explain what buttons he was going to push to get the Red Wings into the playoffs.
There is concern around Motown. The Red Wings are in ninth spot with 16 regular-season games remaining. Detroit hasn’t missed the post-season since 1989-90.
“You have to do it right,” Babcock said after he finished his briefing session with reporters. “There will time in the summer to reflect on the Olympics when I’m in my boat at the lake.”
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Here’s hoping the competition committee—which will assess the proposal at its next meeting in June and decide whether to send it to the board of governors for approval for next season—takes this proposal and puts some teeth into it. For example: If you are subject to supplementary discipline for violating this rule, the suspensions start at five games and go up for each transgression. Or 10 games. Or whatever the level of deterrent is that’s needed to stop people such as Matt Cooke or Mike Richards from leaving the trail of carnage they have left in just this season alone.
It’s not that we don’t trust Campbell, the league’s top disciplinarian, to do the right thing. He could start handing out suspensions that will give this new rule some meaning and make it an agent of change in eliminating the kinds of sickening hits like Cooke’s, which may have cost Marc Savard of the Boston Bruins the rest of the NHL regular season.
“He’s got no respect for the players, he’s been doing that for a long time.”
“He knew exactly what he was doing when he came with his shoulder. He knew exactly that he was going to hit his head and that’s how guys get hurt.”
-Vinny Lecavalier on Matt Cooke.
“There are certain players in this league, that you tend to see on the highlights with hits like that. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it was given by Matt Cooke. He’s a hard working player, I don’t want to take anything away from the way he plays the game but I think that there are times when guys are vulnerable and he still follows through. If that hit is not a suspension, I don’t know what is.”
-Martin St. Louis also on Matt Cooke. More at TSN.
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.
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