Kukla's Korner Hockey
“The politically correct thing that most coaches would say is that it’s just like any other game. But it’s absolutely not. It’s absolutely personal. You get fired, you want to see that team lose every game for the next ten years.”
from Jean Jacques-Taylor of the Dallas Morning News,
You can’t win in professional sports when your highest-paid players don’t play to their contracts.
No exceptions. No excuses.
You want to know why the Stars have struggled all season, just follow the money.
Brad Richards earns $7.8 million. Marty Turco earns $5.7 million. Mike Ribeiro earns $5 million.
None of them has played to his immense ability this season.
Look at the numbers. They don’t lie.
from Elliotte Friedman of Blogs and Colums at CBC,
Ask yourself the following questions:
1) How many teams in the NHL can actually afford Lecavalier’s 11-year, $85 million contract?
2) How many of those teams historically would be willing to have anyone on their roster making anywhere near that kind of cash?
3) How many of those teams have the kind of cap flexibility to add him?
The last question is crucial, because this is not a situation where the Lightning want to take another team’s big contract in return. So, if, for argument’s sake, the Flyers were interested, it’s impossible to believe that Tampa would take Daniel Briere in exchange, because both deals are similarly front-loaded. (Please understand: I have no reason to believe this has been discussed. It’s just an example.)
So, how many teams are really in this race?
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
The Islanders have agreed in principle with the Los Angeles Kings to play an exhibition game in Kansas City in September.
This may not seem like that big of a deal in light of the fact other NHL teams have used Kansas City in recent years as a neutral cite for preseason games.
However, according to league sources this game could be perceived as a veiled threat of potential relocation if plans for a new arena on Long Island aren’t soon finalized.
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,
Demitra scored once, fired three shots and finished with a plus-1 effort in the 5-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. He did it with a bruised ego and an effort that has often gone missing with just three goals and six points in his last 14 outings. That’s not what the Canucks coughed up $8 million US for in a two-year deal for the unrestricted free agent. Thats why he started on the fourth line with Darcy Hordichuk and Ryan Johnson against the Devils. And maybe that was the big wake-up call Demitra has needed—even though he was peeved at the process.
“Obviously, I wasn’t happy about it,” said Demitra. “But you have to get focus, get mad and be ready to play. Mats was the reason I came here, because of the rumours during the summer that he was going to be here. All my life, I was playing with one guy all year, and Mats is going to make hockey so easy.
“He has shown for many years that he’s a top player in the league because he’s got that big body and he’s tough to get a puck from. He has great vision and can find you—so it’s going to be nice to play with a guy like that. And you just need to get chemistry going….”
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Florida GM Jacques Martin was on hand for Wednesday’s game between the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
His presence was notable in that there was a prospects all-star game in Canada on Wednesday night, which suggests he wanted to get a firsthand look at someone taking part in the game in snowy Pittsburgh….
Martin, of course, has to decide what to do with blue-chip defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer. He’d like to re-sign him, but that looks to be a tough sell, so Martin might be more inclined to move Bouwmeester before the March 4 trade deadline.
There are a couple of possibilities.
The Capitals, already blessed with fleet-footed defenseman Mike Green, would look pretty formidable with Bouwmeester along the blue line. It likely would cost them sniper Alexander Semin, but given the Caps’ offensive depth, it would be doable.
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
“There are two ways players can be better interviews,” Roenick said. “No. 1: speak your mind. If you feel passionately about something, then grow a pair, grow a thick skin, and say so. Don’t be afraid that you’re going to say the wrong thing. If it comes from your heart, if you know that you’re right, step up and let people hear what you have to say.
“And No. 2: for christ’s sake – for christ’s sake – show some (expletive) enthusiasm during interviews,” Roenick said. “I see too many interviews where young guys say the same thing night after night after night. It’s (expletive).
“You know what, guys? Don’t just give us the usual clichés. Don’t do interviews where your eyes are just staring off into space when they should be looking into the camera. Say something funny once in a while! And if somebody scores a sick goal, it’s OK to say ‘damn, my teammate scored a sick goal!’ ”
from Craig Custance of Sporting News Today,
Q. Things seem to be clicking between you and Sam Gagner. What’s been the difference lately?
A. Coach Cragi MacTavish seems to be showing more confidence in myself and Sammy….
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,
After Buffalo’s Drew Stafford leveled defenseman Duncan Keith in the Sabres’ zone and appeared to get his elbow up in the process, Ben Eager drew penalties while retaliating. The Hawks controlled the Sabres’ power play, limiting Buffalo to just one shot.
Keith was wobbly after the hit and didn’t return to the game after making his way to the bench. But afterward, Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said he was OK.
The Hawks killed off all seven of the Sabres’ power plays, but it was Stafford’s hit that had the most impact.
“I thought it was a completely dirty hit,” Eager said. “That team has been through it. They have seen their fair share of head shots, and that guy doesn’t have many hits all year. He’s a skilled guy, so I’m sure [the league] won’t do anything to him. I’m sure if I was the one who hit him I probably would be sitting out for a while.”
more on the game last night and watch the Stafford hit on Keith below…
added 12:55pm, via Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,
Watch the replay of Drew Stafford’s hit on Duncan Keith and it’s clear his elbow caught the Hawks’ defenseman in the head at the last minute.
Referees Paul Devorski and Brian Pochmara blew it by not penalizing Stafford, who said after the game Keith should have had his head up.
Shots to the head continue to be ignored by the NHL. A head shot should be an automatic penalty, whether it’s intentional or not.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Before last night’s slate of games, the Rangers were 27th in power-play efficiency - and last in the East - at 14.3 percent. They and the Blue Jackets are the only two teams in the NHL not to have a 10-point power-play scorer. Michal Rozsival, who leads the Blueshirts with nine power play points (3-6), was tied with many players for 120th in the league.
Scott Gomez, who leads the team with 3:54 of power-play ice per game, has not scored a power play goal. He scored nine for the Devils in 2005-06, his 33-goal season. Wade Redden, who leads Rangers’ point men with 3:44 of ice per game, has one goal and four assists with the man advantage.
The power play operation has been dysfunctional from the start. It lacks the booming shot. It lacks decisive puck movement. It lacks strength in front and at the half-wall. It lacks the ability to pound pucks on net. In short, it lacks a weapon.
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.
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