Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Wagner of the Columbus Dispatch,
The brown-eyed, blond-haired eighth-grade cheerleader held up the hockey puck when her family walked into the hospital room.
“Papaw, look,” she said to her grandfather, “I got a souvenir.”
Brittanie Cecil lifted the puck, the one that had struck her in the head as she attended her first National Hockey League game.
The puck flew into the stands at Nationwide Arena when Blue Jackets center Espen Knutsen struck a routine slap shot against the Calgary Flames on March 16, 2002. The puck ricocheted off an opposing player’s stick and struck 13-year-old Brittanie.
Two days later, Brittanie was dead. Knutsen was left sobbing in the Blue Jackets’ locker room, his career beginning to unravel from the emotional fallout.
“You can talk the talk; ultimately, though, it comes down to how you walk. And they walked with a pretty good swagger and a pretty good pace tonight. We played like it was just another game.”
-Flyers Coach Peter Laviolette after losing to Atlanta yesterday. More from Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull.
Henrik Zetterberg of the Detroit Red Wings with a last second goal in OT.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
• One of Europe’s flashier free-agents, pygmy centre Mats Zuccarello-Aasen, who led the Swedish League in points and starred for Norway in the Olympics, wants to play in the NHL next year; his agent’s eyeing the Red Wings. The 22-year-old, who played for MoDo (Peter Forsberg and Markus Naslund’s team), is only five-foot-seven and 154 pounds, however….
• Is it just me, or is Dwayne Roloson getting better the older he gets? He’s responsible for 50 of the 67 points the Isles have accumulated this year, and has a very respectable .909 save percentage at 40 years old.
• Tampa Bay’s Steve Stamkos has stopped scoring, but mainly because he has a very painful bone bruise in his back. He got the A on his jersey when Ohlund went out, however, proof positive that he’ll one day be captain. He’s a star.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
There is a perception around the NHL that the sun is finally setting on the Detroit Red Wings empire; that the game’s most influential team, the franchise which played a huge role in dragging hockey out of the dead-puck era, has finally succumbed to that most relentless of foes, time.
Now, you’d have a hard time proving it by their record since their lineup has been restored, and there isn’t a team in the Western Conference which wants to meet the Wings in the first round of the playoffs.
But there’s also a cold, hard reality to their current circumstances. As great as the Wings have been—we’ll get into a more detailed discussion on that later—they’re also older, more fragile and, hence, more vulnerable than they’ve been at any time since they made their first leap forward in 1991-92.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
...The guiltiest people here are the players themselves, a small but growing number of athletes, Cooke the prime example, who show little or no regard for the pain they inflict, the careers they interrupt or spoil, the quality of life they potentially impair.
This is a game that, for many reasons — including the rule book, the equipment, the coaching, and the overall conditioning and mind-set of the players — is fast becoming a mutant and dangerous form of the sport.
Hockey, the NHL in particular, has always had its warts, mostly attributable to its permissive stand on fighting, a vast amount of it cleaned up via the rule book over the last 20 years. The warts now are worse, far more dangerous. The players clearly need help to understand that and find ways to dial down the volume on an ever-more-violent game, one infinitely more dangerous and less entertaining, less artful, than even the bucket-of-blood days of the Original Six.
more and additional hocke notes…
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Let’s assume, for a moment, that with eight of their final 11 games on the road, the New York Rangers will not make the playoffs.
That would mean that a Glen Sather team would have missed the post-season for the ninth time in 19 season since winning his last Stanley Cup in Edmonton.
It would also mean that a Sather-built team will have more losses than wins for the 15th time in 19 seasons.
The Hall of Fame induction of 1997 seems a long time ago now: It’s well past best-before date for Sather and it’s time to say goodbye and hello to Mark Messier and Adam Graves.
It’s time to pass the torch.
read on for more hockey talk…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Seriously, even one of the best advertisements the NHL has had going for it since the lockout—the Sidney Crosby-Alex Ovechkin rivalry—has been tainted by the introduction of jingoism into the mix by outside forces who have sought to superimpose a Cold War environment into the equation, as if this were 1972 with cheers greeting Bobby Clarke for slashing Valeri Kharlamov across the ankle.
The Blackhawks and Sharks seem to have peaked months ago. The Coyotes are an interesting little success story as wards of the state. The Lightning were sold again. Pierre McGuire still is talking, and there are five teams in the East—count them, five out of 15—who have scored more goals than they have allowed.
It’s parity as parody, and everyone most certainly does not have a chance to win despite the Sixth Avenue politicians’ promises coming out of the lockout of two chickens in every pot. In the last four years before the imposition of the imposition of the hard cap, 14 different teams played in the conference finals. In the four years since the lockout, 10 different teams made it that far.
more plus the NHLPA may be getting closer to Donald Fehr as executive director…
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
There was a series of meetings this past Tuesday in Phoenix regarding the future of the Coyotes’ ownership, with both NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly on hand.
While nobody connected with the NHL would talk about it Saturday, one source connected to the situation told ESPN.com the Ice Edge group, which had signed a letter of intent earlier this season to buy the Coyotes, was no longer the front-runner to purchase the team. The source said Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf was back in the picture. Still, Ice Edge remains in the mix and hopes to try to complete the purchase.
If there is no local owner lined up by May, relocation could possibly enter the picture. The city of Glendale is working hard right now to try to avoid that.
more hockey topics…
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.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com