Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mick Kern at the XM204 Home Ice Blog,
In the name of restoring some sanity to the choices for the 2008-09 NHL All-Star Game, I’ve cut through all the hype and hysteria, and come up with the six goaltenders who’ll be making the trip to Montreal. No need to thank me. Now you can go back to using the internet for what it was initially intended for, watching people make total fools of themselves on YouTube….
These three gentlemen are obvious choices; there’s no way anyone can construct a rational argument against them.
- Roberto Luongo - Vancouver Canucks
- Niklas Backstrom - Minnesota Wild
- Marty Turco - Dallas Stars
I know what you’re saying, what the heck is Turco doing on this list? Have you seen this guy play recently? Yes, indeed I have. Turco has been a top notch goaltender over the past few seasons, and his fall-from-grace this fall has been stunning. If anything, he’d be perfect for the All-Star Game, since everyone wants to see goals, goals, and more goals.
from Lightning Strkes,
The final score sheet from Sunday’s game had one very interesting stat. It claimed the Lightning outhit the Devils 23-18 during a 7-3 loss. It’s a mystery to me what they were looking at to find 41 total hits, but it is even more perplexing to believe Tampa Bay had more hits.
A couple of smacks here and there by Evgeny Artyukhin and Ryan Malone were so startling, the fans gave them more of a cheer than they probably deserved. But that’s what happens when things like that become rare. Let’s face it, this team just is not built for any kind of physical game, and it’s a shame because more often than not, when a hit is made, a turnover is the result.
It’s frustrating for me, not as a fan of the team but a fan of physical hockey to watch games without much hitting. I can only imagine what it is like for Lightning fans to watch, not only opponents not be challenged but puck battles constantly being lost.
from Dave Joseph of FloridaPanthers.com,
The message has been sent.
“I think everyone here should be on notice,” said Panthers’ coach Peter DeBoer early Sunday afternoon. “The status quo isn’t good enough… It’s not good enough where we’re sitting and there’s going to be consequences throughout the lineup because of that.”
It’s no secret that something has to be done and soon. The Panthers have the worst record in the NHL and have scored the fewest goals. And DeBoer and GM Jacques Martin said Sunday they will do whatever they need to “get this team to the level we think they should be competing at,” DeBoer said.
from The Falconer of Do The Thrashers Have Large Talons,
lya Kovalchuk has the talent to be a superstar. He has the speed, he still has that ungodly release. He will certainly expect to be paid like a superstar when he negotiates his next contract. But if he wants to be treated like a superstar, he should play like one.
It is time for him to show up. The season started 19 games ago. I don’t want to hear any baloney about Kovalchuk not having quality linemates. Last season, Kovalchuk was centered much of the year by Todd White (who has never even been considered All-Star Game material), and a 40-year-old right winger who was dropped to waivers by his previous club (Mark Recchi).
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
• Yes, scoring is up, and it’s most likely the result of the pared-down goalie equipment - even if there is no way to prove it. Through games of early last week, clubs were combining for 5.9 goals per game, up from 5.6 over the same number of games in 2007-08. In 2003-04, the number stood at 5.1 over the same period. Me, I’m good with 5.1, as long as there is plenty of action and at least a little bit of hate.
• Brian Burke’s stepping down as general manager in Anaheim was abrupt but not unexpected. Look for the ex-Boston agent to get into serious talks in Toronto this week about taking over the Leafs. If there is a hiccup (read: money too light), watch for either the Blackhawks or Senators to get after him. Total dark horse: Habs.
I would think another reason scoring is up is the face-off always taking place in the defensive zone when a penalty is issued and the no TV timeout when an icing takes place. Your thoughts?
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post,
Goaltenders have an unusual relationship with their equipment. Some pieces—like Biron’s skates and pants—are preserved and protected like a favorite childhood blanket. Others are changed as often as a car’s oil.
In the case of Biron, he’ll typically go through three sets of leg pads, four catching gloves, four blockers, two chest pads and two sets of arm pads in a season.
Right now, Biron is breaking in a new catching glove in practice, while in games he still uses the one that worked so well for him in the playoffs last season.
“Probably in another week or so I’ll start using it in games,” Biron said.
“In practice I love it. In a game situation, you don’t have time to think.”
The same goes for Biron’s blocker.
“My new one feels really good in practice, but if you use it in a game and misplay the puck, it’s in the net,” he said. “You need to make sure you’re really into it.”
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
• There’s a lot of action in the Sunshine State. Florida GM Jacques Martin is scouring the NHL, looking for a centre, but the asking price is usually D Jay Bouwmeester and the Panthers haven’t given up hope they can re-sign him.
• The talk is the Blackhawks will have a revolt in their room if they decide to move G Nikolai Khabibulin. But they’ve been discussing that possibility because the club wants to clear off his $6.75-million salary to bring in Capitals C Michael Nylander. There were whispers the ‘Hawks had a deal done to send Khabibulin to the Devils, but decided to hold off because G Cristobal Huet has been less than spectacular.
read on for more hockey trade and signing talk…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
• Take it for what it’s worth, but you might want to know that Len Barrie, pres ident of the Lightning, has been telling people in the industry that Mats Sundin will be playing for Tampa Bay when and if No. 13 resumes his career.
Yeah, right. As if.
• Wonder how the NHL’s general managers feel about Brian Burke announcing his candidacy for one of their jobs - and by Thanksgiving, no less! - after being granted accelerated free agency two weeks ago by Sixth Avenue?
If the Ducks’ ownership wished to release Burke from his contract that originally ran through the season, that was mighty magnanimous of them, but it doesn’t mean Gary Bettman or the NHL was obligated to allow Burke to seek employment at this time.
more hockey talk…
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
Total cheap shot by (John) Zeiler. (Adam) Foote is going to play a puck with Zeiler chasing, and Zeiler throws his right arm and shoves Foote’s head into the boards from behind.
Lappy just challenged Zeiler to drop them and fight, and Zeiler wants no part of it!
(After a few minutes)…They’ve tossed Zeiler from the game, giving him 5 for boarding and a game-misconduct. Probably a smart thing by the referees, although it’s not going to make Lappy happy wanting his pound of flesh in revenge.
Zeiler can definitely count on a suspension by the NHL for this - probably something very severe I bet. The NHL has been taking a lot of heat for the amount of head shots and hits from behind - and now Zeiler lays one of the dirtier hits of this or any other season on Foote.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
Georges Laraque, itching to shed his gloves and teach the 20-year-old a lesson, was tapped to trail Lucic and goad him into a fight. On their first shift together, Laraque tapped Lucic on the leg with his stick, then got in his face, asking the Bruin to drop his gloves. Lucic didn’t bite. For the rest of the period, Laraque was talking to Lucic, no doubt questioning his courage in the most explicit of ways.
Lucic continued to decline, prompting the Montreal fans to boo the forward and chant his name. But Lucic had someone more important to answer to than Laraque.
“There was no way it was going to happen,” said coach Claude Julien, who had, before the game, forbidden Lucic from fighting Laraque. “[Shawn] Thornton was there, ready for Georges. Nothing happened. My tough guy was ready for their tough guy. Simple as that. I told him not to fight. It was me.”
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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