Kukla's Korner Hockey
via John Glennon of the Tennessean,
Predators Coach Barry Trotz is looking for a little more commitment on both ends of the rink from veteran forward J.P. Dumont.
That message was delivered Thursday, when Dumont saw just 8:45 ice time on the fourth line, and elaborated upon Friday.
“He’s got great hockey sense and he’s got that great ability to see the ice,’’ Trotz said of Dumont. “But you have to play on both sides of the puck and you have to play the hard areas. I’m asking him to change a little bit.
“It’s hard to score now. Teams are tracking back. You’re not going to get those easy-rush goals. You’re going to have to go after it a little bit more.’‘
And Dumont’s response?
“It really doesn’t matter how he takes it,’’ Trotz said. “I really don’t care how he takes it. It’s more you’re going to play a certain way to be successful or … Ice time is the only thing a coach has, so that’s where it starts.’‘
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
After another loss on Friday night, words like brutal, frustrating and embarrassing were words spoken in the Panthers locker room.
“That pretty much sums it up,’’ coach Pete DeBoer said grimly.
The Panthers put up just 13 shots in Friday’s 2-1 loss to Calgary at BankAtlantic Center – including a grand total of six in the final 40 minutes….
Afterward, DeBoer said “we just got manhandled.’’ When asked how to change that, he was succinct and candid.
With just one goal on Friday against the travel weary Flames (they flew in from Calgary on Thursday), the Panthers have scored 10 goals in the past nine games.
“You would think when you have some forwards who haven’t scored in 14, 15, 16 games, they might want to get their noses dirty to try and get one,’’ said DeBoer.
“We weren’t interested in that tonight. .-.-. We have lines of guys who haven’t scored in 15 games. It’s tough. The only way to fix that is through free agency in the summer.’‘
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
Last Sunday, Lorelei O’Byrne succumbed to cancer at age 56, her spirit strong, but body no longer able to resist her disease. At her bedside in Victoria was her husband, Dave, and her daughter, Krystal….
“My dad called the rink to leave a message. ‘Call home,’ it said,” O’Byrne recalled yesterday, speaking quietly after Canadiens practice.
“It’s the phone call you’re expecting, but it’s one you dread. It was a sad day. It had been a long battle for my mom, a long fight.” He cleared his throat once, then again. It had been only five days since his mother had died, but O’Byrne was ready to share these memories.
“I knew she was going to pass away, but it always comes sooner than you hope,” he said. “She put up a long, hard battle. She was a strong woman.” O’Byrne had gone home to Victoria last month, his 10-day leave from the Canadiens described then as “family reasons.” His plan had been to spend four or five days with his mother, who by then was in the final stages of her illness.
But his general manager suggested otherwise.
“Bob Gainey told me to take a step back and take more time with my family,” O’Byrne said. “He encouraged me to take as much time as I needed.
via a tweet from Damien Cox,
Oh my goodness, what awful news. Brian Burke’s son, Brendan, was killed in a car accident today in Indiana. Huge prayers to the family.
Prayers go out to his family.
added 10:05pm, from the Palladium-Item,
Heavy accumulations of snowfall on Friday rendered area roads treacherous and claimed the lives of two people, injuring others and sparking a string of slideoffs and fender benders.
Brendan Burke, 21, Canton, Mass., and Mark A. Reedy, 18, Bloomfield Hills, Mich., died at the scene of a two-vehicle accident at U.S. 35 north of Economy. The accident was reported at 2:50 p.m.
Investigators said Burke was driving eastbound on U.S. 35 in a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee when, according to witnesses, the vehicle slid sideways into an oncoming 1997 Ford Truck driven by 24-year-old Michael Moreland of Lynn. Moreland was not hurt.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Defenseman Niklas Kronwall (knee) did not skate and will not play Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings (4 p.m., Fox Sports Net Detroit). Kronwall, injured during the first period of Tuesday’s 4-2 win in San Jose when he was slew-footed by Jed Ortmeyer, said he wants to give the knee a rest. He expects to skate Monday and be ready for Tuesday’s game in St. Louis.
“It feels better than it did right after the San Jose game,’’ Kronwall said. “Take it day by day, hopefully two more days can make it even better. I think this will do me good in the long run.’’
As for the play by Ortmeyer, Kronwall said, “I think stuff like that happens pretty much every game. I don’t think he meant to do it on purpose whatsoever. I just happened to be here. I got all my body weight on the left side and he kind of came in underneath me.’’
from Dmitry Chesnokov at PuckDaddy,
Kovalchuk flew to New Jersey from Washington late last night to join his new team. After a busy morning, I caught up with him to chat about the trade and his future, for at least a few months, with the Devils….
Don Waddell said you weren’t concerned about the future of the franchise in your decision: “I don’t think so. If we would have paid him the max amount, he would have signed the contract.”
[With a sigh] Everyone has their own opinion. I can only say that I always thought of fans. That’s why I was trying my best, I was giving my best at every practice, every game, every shift. It’s silly to talk about it.
A lot of fans talk about your interviews in the past when you stated your desire to stay with Atlanta. Maybe there is something you want to tell them?
What can I say other than to thank them? I want to thank them for treating me really well. I tried to repay by showing my best hockey in every game. I really did give that 100 percent, 110 percent. That’s why I can honestly look them in their eyes. I think they should also realize that life doesn’t stand still, that the Thrashers have a lot of good, talented guys, who, God willing, will take the team to the playoffs and will compete for the Stanley Cup.
from James O’Brien of Cycle Like The Sedins,
I think Hitchcock was the easy scapegoat as is often the case in the NHL. Horrible GMs such as Glen Sather and Don Waddell keep polluting the on-ice product while competent coaches get canned. However I feel about the decision, the plain truth is that both Hitch and I have one thing in common at the moment: unemployment.
With that in mind, these are the teams that I believe would benefit greatly (and could realistically make a move) to add Hitchcock.
The Oilers are another team that is an absolute mess. Still, there are traces of talent here and there; players like Ales Hemsky, Lubomir Visnovsky and (who would have thought?) Dustin Penner can play.
Edmonton might bring in Hitch, however, to do an about-face. Bland, defense-first hockey might not leave people engaged but it is the best way to win in small markets.
Some might say that the Oilers lack the appropriate roster to maximize Hitch’s coaching abilities, but let’s face it: bad teams tend to lack the appropriate talent for anyone. That’s why they dwell in cellars.
Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN discuss a few players who are likely to moved before the trade deadline…
Burnside: I wonder whether teams like Los Angeles or maybe even Colorado will be looking at Torres, given his playoff experience. I spoke with Colorado GM Greg Sherman this week, and the Avs will be pretty cautious about moving their young assets. Still, Torres might be a nice fit with a gritty, young Avs team that remains in the hunt for the Northwest Division title and home-ice advantage through the first round of the playoffs….
LeBrun: I think ownership will put some level of pressure on Lombardi to do something because it will have known he was on the final short list to land Kovalchuk. Whitney, at age 37, can’t expect a three-year extension, not with the 35-and-older rule that says a player’s average salary counts against a team’s cap each year of the contract, even if he retires. The Kings would be willing to do a one-year extension; I have to think cooler heads will prevail there. But we’ll see. The Penguins, I’m sure, are hoping the Kings miss out on him. From what I was told Thursday, the Penguins haven’t called Carolina yet because they simply can’t afford him right now.
from Jim Jamieson of the Vancouver Province,
Cody Hodgson is back to playing hockey again, but he won’t be working with Vancouver Canucks director of player development Dave Gagner.
In a conference call, Hodgson — who assisted on two goals in his Brampton Battalion junior club’s 4-2 win over Erie on Thursday — said he felt great to be back after an emotional four months away from the game while he rehabbed an injured back.
But Hodgson, in his first public statements since the highly touted Canucks prospect was returned to junior on Sept. 28, said the Vancouver organization has had no input into the treatment of his ailing back since he was sent down. He added that he won’t be working further with Gagner, in whose training facility in London, Ont., Hodgson originally hurt his back last July.
While Hodgson said he didn’t want to dwell on the past, it confirms what many have suspected — that Hodgson and his camp were not happy with the Canucks and Gagner after the injury occurred.
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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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