Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bill Clement at NBC Sports,
Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. The two best players in the NHL and in a real treat for hockey fans they’re both part of this year’s playoffs. Their careers are in their infancy and will forever be the subject of comparison and debate. The test of time may or may not definitely answer which one was greater.
As for the present, it’s fun asking which would be the choice if one were starting a team from scratch?
If in reality such a decision had to made, it would be the greatest can’t-lose proposition in the history of hockey. The possibility of being wrong would not exist.
From the Edmonton Oilers,
The Edmonton Oilers have signed Tom Gilbert to a six-year contract that will keep the 25-year-old defenceman with the team through the 2013-14 season.
The 6’3”, 210-pound native of Bloomington, Minnesota enjoyed an outstanding rookie season with the Oilers in 2007-08. One of five Oilers to appear in all 82 games, Gilbert finished eighth on the Edmonton scoring list and first among defencemen with 13 goals and 20 assists for 33 points.
And from TSN: “It is a 6-year deal at approximately $4-million per season.”
Update 8:10pm ET: And more added by TSN, Robert Nilsson was also signed. Here is the breakdown:
Gilbert’s new pact will pay him $24 million over six years, while Nilsson signed a three-year, $5.5 million contract.
Gilbert will earn $3.5 million next season with a $1.5 million signing bonus, $3.5 million in 2009-2010, $5.5 million with a $1.5 million signing bonus in 2010-2011, $5 million in 2011-2012, $3.5 million in 2012-2013, and $3 million in 2013-2014 for a salary cap average of $4 million a season.
Nilsson will earn $1.5 million next season and $2 million in each remaining season.
*hat-tip to rinkrat for noting the deal in the KK Forum
From James Mirtle’s blog, an interview from April 2007 with Ted Leonsis,
And on this Saturday afternoon last April, they were awful.
I knew they were awful. Leonsis knew they were awful. And the fans in the building, at least those wearing Capitals colours, knew it, too.
It was with that uncomfortable knowledge that we all watched the third period together.
I’ve only met Leonsis the once, but there were two things I realized right away: (a) this is one competitive guy and (b) I’ve just met the biggest Capitals fan in the world.
more… on what a difference a year makes
from Randy Youngman of the OC Register,
The inspirational message on the chalkboard in the Ducks’ locker room before their 2008 Stanley Cup playoff opener Thursday was this quote from author Robert Louis Stevenson: “To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end in life.”
After watching the Ducks’ lopsided 4-0 loss to the Dallas Stars, a weak first attempt to defend their 2007 Stanley Cup championship, I suggest unveiling a more appropriate quotation before Game 2 on Saturday night at Honda Center.
This one, from noted puckhead Willie Shakespeare, would fit: “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”
And speaking of the heads that were crowned in June, why did some of the guys in the home black forget to use them Thursday night?
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
“I think the players decided that they didn’t want to get outhit,” said Carbonneau, whose players delivered a dozen more hits at 37-25. “That wasn’t something I talked to them about.”...
The physical play from Canadiens such as Andrei Kostitsyn and Alex Kovalev filtered down the lineup. “When you see your star players on your team getting physical, it sets the tone,” Kostopoulos said.
“The knock on us has been that we’re a soft team,” Canadiens forward Christopher Higgins added. “But I just don’t see that. We have proven and proved again in this game that we can hit.”
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC at From the Pressbox,
I’m not covering Ottawa-Pittsburgh, but had an interesting conversation with an NHL coach yesterday about the Senators.
“Every rumour I’ve heard about the Senators this season…Well, now I believe them,” he said.
“The playoffs are about playing for each other. Teammates are supposed to be motivated by watching each other block shots, watching each other making sacrifices, watching each other play with pain.
The whole idea is to feel that you can’t let down the other 19 guys, so you do something extra, too.
From Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet.ca,
It’s easy to sometimes forget that Crosby is only 20-years-old. We’ve already read and heard so much about him for half a decade that it’s scary to think he’s going to be front and centre for another 15-18 years.
But already I see a noticeable change in his maturity. I vividly remember coming to Pittsburgh for the team’s rookie camp in August 2005 and a shy, 18-year-old prodigy from Cole Harbour, N.S., coming down the escalator at the airport and looking down nervously at a throng of media awaiting his arrival. He patiently answered all the questions, like he always has, but his answers were naturally limited by the inexperience of youth.
Now in his third NHL season, his answers to the media are deep and analytical.
more… including the tale of CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, and some confusion about who the heck is Sidney Crosby.
From Steve Rosenbloom at RosenBlog (Chicago Tribune):
Jonathan Toews will be the Hawks’ next captain, and I’ll be surprised if Jonny T. Good doesn’t get the “C” by noon today.
And also from Tim Sassone at the Daily Herald:
They didn’t do it this season because the Blackhawks wanted Jonathan Toews to focus on being a rookie in the NHL. But by opening night next season, it’s more likely than not that Toews, at age 20, will be wearing the “C” as captain of the Hawks.
from Alan Ryder of the Globe and Mail,
One of the silver bullets of sports analytics is the successful forecasting of playoff outcomes. The answer, in hockey, is quite simple. Regression analysis over the recent history of the NHL has indicated that the best predictor of success in the playoffs is simply regular (full) season success.
Below is a chart showing the winning percentage of playoff teams, grouped by their exit round, since the big-bang expansion of the late 1960s. It shows that the average winning percentage is dramatically higher for teams that persist deeper into the playoffs.
from Ed Moran of the Philadelphia News,
“The key is always more emphasis on the goaltender. If we believe it or not, it’s always going to be that way and goalies are always going to be at the forefront of the playoffs because it’s an important position.”
Good thing Biron knows that, because the Flyers’ playoff hopes rest on his shoulders, particularly against Washington. The best-of-seven series will open tonight at the Verizon Center.
Stacked together, the Flyers and the Capitals match up very well. Each has a crop of scoring forwards, though Washington does have Ovechkin, a player who can take over a game by himself.
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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