Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
• Montreal GM Bob Gainey is determined to make a big splash before the NHL trade deadline. League sources confirm he has held talks with the Blackhawks about RW Martin Havlat, who can become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Not only do the Habs want to add a scoring forward, they’d also like to upgrade their weak power play.
• Talk will not go away that the Senators are going to deal C Jason Spezza before the March 4 deadline. If Ottawa continues to lose, Spezza’s name will be tied to more and more potential deals. The word is the eight-game road trip Ottawa is on will go a long way in determining Spezza’s future with the team because he has a no-movement clause that kicks in on July 1.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
It’s clear that there’s one team and one team only for which Avery can play; one city and one city only big enough for him to live; one coach and one coach only - the one behind the Rangers bench - for whom Avery can play.
The mechanics of making it happen are hazy. But those are mere details. The Rangers need an infusion of energy. The Rangers need someone who actually will be tough to play against. The Rangers need Avery almost as badly as he needs them, and if anybody doesn’t like it, he should be playing better.
Because this is pretty much it was before Avery became a Ranger . . . the first time.
ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues President John Davidson announced today that forward Paul Kariya’s left hip will require surgery and he will be sidelined indefinitely.
from Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune,
Preparations for the final touches of the Winter Classic hockey rink were put on hold Saturday because of heavy rain, high wind and a tornado watch in Cook County.
In a matter of a few days, Wrigley Field went from sub-zero to semi-tropical, relatively speaking, forcing a brief delay in the painting of the ice surface. But an NHL spokesman said the ice should be painted Sunday, when the temperature is expected to drop from the upper 50s to the low 30s, and the rain is expected to subside.
“We’ll go out there with the Zamboni and give it a nice little shave, be ready to paint it white [Sunday] morning,” said Dan Craig, the NHL’s facilities/operations manager. “Everything is on schedule from our side, and we’re ready to go.”
from Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Tribune,
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything like the buildup for the Winter Classic, the outdoor game between the Hawks and the Red Wings to be played on New Year’s Day. I understand the goose-bump factor here: It’s very cool for an NHL game to be played in the elements and even cooler for it to be played in one of the cathedrals of baseball.
But, my goodness. You would think the pope were coming to Wrigley to announce his conversion to Scientology.
The Vancouver Canucks will be without the services of Taylor Pyatt for an indefinite period of time after the winger suffered a broken right foot in Friday’s loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
The injury looked to happen late in the second period when Pyatt’s right skate caught a Willie Mitchell slap shot from in front of the Canucks net.
from Larry Wigge of NHL.com,
New toys. Gifts under the tree. For an old grump like me, the best present is doing what I do every day: Watch and enjoy hockey.
I love new toys in the form of so many energetic youngsters showing their skills and making a great game even better with their hunger to show us all how great they can be.
“We haven’t seen such a great group of young players come into the NHL each year for a long time,” Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky told me. “It’s exciting to see all the skill, the speed, the energy they bring.
“As a coach now, it keeps me young to see how excited they are to be in the NHL.”
from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,
After an offseason roster overhaul, the Jackets find themselves next to last in the Western Conference, four points behind their pace from a season ago with a six-game road swing looming.
The second-year general manager said fan disappointment is understandable but that he supports the coaching staff and the team. He believes the Jackets can qualify for the playoffs as currently constructed, yet is working to improve the lineup after the loss of rookie center Derick Brassard to season-ending shoulder surgery.
The Dispatch has learned the Jackets have been in trade talks with six or seven teams. Howson would not confirm a total. The NHL’s holiday roster freeze ends tonight at 11:59.
“I still think we can make the playoffs with the team we have now,” he said. “But we are trying to tweak the roster for sure. We’ve had conversations (with other general managers) over the past week.”
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
As his team readies to face the slumping Senators, Phaneuf is a study of the glass being both half-full and half-empty.
On one hand, he has just three tallies—not exactly on pace with previous seasons. He scored 20 goals in his rookie year and 17 in the last two campaigns.
On the other hand, the blueliner has 23 points, which is close to being on target for his career-high.
On one hand, he’s a minus-11, which puts him near the bottom of the league.
On the other hand, he’s tops in the NHL with an average of nearly 28 minutes of ice-time per game.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
The NHL’s holiday trade freeze ends at midnight local time tonight, but General Manager Dean Lombardi said Friday he’s not planning to look for a goaltender—for now.
About a month ago the Kings were discussing a multi-team deal that would have brought Nikolai Khabibulin from Chicago, but the trade fell apart when one team tried to switch a player in the mix.
There isn’t much out there, anyway, Lombardi said. “You hear of any goalies available that I’m not hearing of?” he asked, joking.
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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