Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damian Cristodero & Joe Smith of the St. Petersburg Times,
The Lightning announced a crowd of 17,249 for Saturday’s game with the Capitals at the St. Pete Times Forum.
But if a recent pattern is an indication, tickets sold likely were significantly fewer.
Numbers provided by Hillsborough County, which owns the 13-year-old facility, show that through December (the latest data available) the team sold an average of 14,119 tickets for 16 dates. Announced crowds, however, averaged 16,698.
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
I’m not officially on the beat this weekend, but I can pretty much guarantee there will be at least one trade by the Avs in the next few days. The moves will start to happen, folks.
I’ve seen the rumors about Ryan Smyth being on the block, and I don’t think he’s going anywhere. Not in this economic climate, and not with the money and term left on his deal….
But I do think Jordan Leopold will be traded, and maybe Brett Clark and/or Ruslan Salei too. Remember those Jaro Halak rumors I wrote about a couple months ago, too? Don’t be shocked if he still ends up in Denver after all.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
This was a throwback to the pre-lockout days when the Rangers were a miserable collection of underachievers and the Garden crowd amused itself by chanting for the dismissal of the GM and the coach.
That was this afternoon, when the reeling Rangers were humiliated 5-2 by the Flyers after falling behind 5-0 midway through the second and the crowd intermittently chanted “Fire [Glen] Sather” and “Fire [Tom] Renney.”
How low can they go? Who knows?
from David Pollak of Working the Corners,
Because the March 4 trade deadline is just a little more than two weeks away and that’s what hockey writers are supposed to do at this point. I know that because we exchange emails a lot and I’m starting to get a few of them asking what I think the Sharks might be up to.
The limited salary cap space is an obvious limiting factor. Beyond that? I’m not in the room when these matters are discussed and Doug Wilson has earned a reputation around the NHL as a non-gabber on such matters.
But if I had to (educated) guess, I’d say he might be in the market for a depth defenseman, not because the team has soured on Alexei Semenov or Derek Joslin — it hasn’t — but because another veteran with more playoff experience couldn’t hurt if any one of the Top Six end up injured.
from Steve Hummer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
This, the Thrashers’ ninth season, has represented a significant backslide, and the fans are restless. The first customer wearing a paper bag over his head was spotted in the stands a week ago. One anonymous grump has begun an e-mail campaign to protest what he called the Spirit group’s “running this franchise into the ground” with more paper bags and banners during a game with Montreal next month.
One of the most reliable clichés in sports states that winning cures all ills. That has never been truer than with this town and this team.
“Put a couple of winning seasons together, have a nice playoff run, then you build a following,” Thrashers defenseman Garnet Exelby suggested.
Nearly a decade after the NHL’s return to Atlanta, though, how much longer must fans wait for that promise to bloom? Or, more to the point of hockey’s future in Atlanta, how much longer will they wait?
Puck drops at 12:30pm ET today when the Flyers take on the Rangers on NBC and the final horn will end around 12:30am Monday after the Montreal/Vancouver game
Watch a preview for the NBC Game of the Week and the full NHL schedule for today is below….
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The clock is ticking toward the March 4 trade deadline and the star defenseman, slated for unrestricted free agency, remains unsigned despite Florida’s best efforts. In fact, we are told the Panthers’ last offer was in the ball park of $6.5 million a season on a multiyear deal, but that still didn’t cut it. Hey, it’s his right to go to July 1 and see what’s out there; we’ve got no problem with that….
The Panthers will only trade him if they get a good enough package. They’ll keep him for the playoff drive if they don’t get what they’re looking for….
The Coyotes are taking phone calls on No. 1 center Olli Jokinen (he has one more year on his deal at $5.5 million), but insist they’re not shopping him….
read on and basically a recap of the Hot Stove talk on HNIC from last night…
Spector has more trade talk too
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
In an unprecedented meltdown that had coach Jacques Lemaire screaming mad in the postgame news conference, the Wild lost at home after leading by three goals for the first time in history as the Ottawa Senators stormed back for a 5-3 victory….
“We get up three goals in the first period and basically just disrespected the other team,” said veteran Owen Nolan, who scored two goals and an assist early in what looked like a destined Wild rout. “We thought the game was in hand, and they came out ready to work the next two periods and they gave it to us.
“There’s no reason for the outcome.”
Not only did the Wild slip to 10th in the West, it doesn’t play again until Thursday, meaning the top eight will surely distance itself. And when the Wild returns to action, it plays third-place Calgary, second-place Detroit and fourth-place Chicago.
more & watch Lemaire’s post-game press conference below…
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post,
When the Flyers and Rangers make their season debut today on the NHL on NBC, don’t expect analyst Mike Milbury to give Philadelphia goaltender Marty Biron a lot of love….
“(Biron) is an OK goaltender, but he’s not an A-1. The team in front of him is a pretty good team, but it’s not Detroit either. They are going to need better goaltending to take them to the Promised Land.”
Putting too much credence in Milbury’s opinions is a dangerous thing.
This is a guy who as a defenseman with the Boston Bruins once climbed into the stands at Madison Square Garden, pulled the shoe off a fan and hit him over the head with it.
This is a guy who as coach of the Wales Conference All-Stars, forced the NHL to change its selection rules after he chose enforcer Chris Nilan over the legendary Guy Lafleur.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
The odds that the hockey world would ever go back to wood sticks are probably on a par with goalies everywhere going back to pads stuffed with horsehair.
But it sure gets frustrating, night after night, to see NHL ice surfaces littered with shattered pricy carbon shafts, which seem to have a way of vaporizing just as a point man puts the hammer down on a 40-foot slapper. Imagine the pain felt by parents who shell out $100, $200, or more for a stick, only to take home two halves to stake tomato plants in summer gardens.
“It’s a big point of contention among GMs throughout the league, I’ll tell you that,” said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli. “The stick budget for every team keeps going up.”
According to Chiarelli, the Bruins spend some $400,000 per annum on the lightweight sticks.
more plus other hockey notes including who the Bruins may be targeting at the trade deadline…
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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