Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
So how is it that the Kings can play up to the level of the NHL’s top teams but still hover around .500?
That they can commit thoughtless mistakes—one of which led to a successful penalty shot Wednesday by the New York Rangers—but still take the second-best team in the East to overtime and then have every reason to feel dissatisfied after a 3-2 loss?
The conclusion is inescapable: They will go nowhere, and might soon regress, if they don’t upgrade their goaltending.
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
...Either way, now would not be a bad time to consider the regular fate of Panthers fans or Coyotes fans or Canucks fans. ... or Oilers fans.
It’s a tough world out there in pro sports, and the Stars have been protected for years by good management and a lot of money. The management, I believe, still is good. The money could be much tighter.
Because the bottom line is the cap is going down next year – and probably even more the next. And the Stars’ internal budget could go down even before that. So, you really may get a chance to see what it feels like to be an Oilers fan.
But, if you’re looking for a little silver inside that cloud, check out the possible top six forwards for next season – Brenden Morrow, Mike Ribeiro, Brad Richards, James Neal, Fabian Brunnstrom and Loui Eriksson. That’s a group you can build around.
from John Grigg of the Hockey News,
After running down the top 10 NHL bargains last week, we’d be remiss if we neglected to make note of the league’s most overpaid players. So that’s the focus of this week’s THN Top 10…
2. Chris Drury, Center, Rangers – $7.05 million
Team captains are normally offensive catalysts. And that’s what the Rangers thought Drury would be when they signed him to a five-year, $35.25-million deal. But Drury failed to crack the 30-goal mark last season and is on pace for the worst points total of his NHL career.
1. Ed Jovanovski, Defense, Phoenix – $6.5 million
Two goals and 15 points through 31 games is not horrendous for a blueliner. But Jovo-Cop has lost his status as the desert’s best defenseman to Zbynek Michalek, who makes $5.25-million less. Jovanovski’s team-worst minus-12 rating is tied for 746th in the league, out of 759 players.
from Fran Spielman of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Last month, rooftop owner Tom Gramatis told the Chicago Sun-Times that demand for rooftop tickets to the Winter Classic was “the biggest thing ever — bigger than any Cubs game” when the event was announced last summer.
But Gramatis said “the buzz” died down when the economy went south and the stock market tanked. That forced him to cut his price in half— from $400 a head to $200, including food and drink.
“There were rooftops asking $750 a head [at one time]. Some are still at $500. They’re smoking a crack pipe. They’re not gonna get it. The economy sucks. It’s also Jan. 1 at noon — not an ideal time for somebody to wake up and go to a hockey game after New Year’s Eve,” Gramatis said.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
From the moment Gretzky decided he wanted to be a head coach coming out of the lockout, an element of curiosity has always followed his efforts. He had been many things to the game, including its best player ever and arguably the finest ambassador it has had. But coaching? That was something else entirely.
More than a few quizzical eyes were cast toward Gretzky’s newfound profession, a sense that this was an experiment, kind of like when Michael Jordan decided he wanted to be a baseball player, something that surely would run its course.
“I think I’ve put in my hours now and my time,” Gretzky said. “I think the first year, or maybe even the second year, people might have thought, ‘Well, it’s going to end.’ But I truly enjoy it. I have as much fun coaching as I did playing.”
It is a shocking admission, really.
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Update from Wednesday’s practice: Wings goalie Chris Osgood did not practice due to a sore groin, coach Mike Babcock said. Babcock wasn’t sure about the extent of the injury, but it appears he might not even be able to serve as Ty Conklin’s back-up for Thursday’s game against San Jose.
Still waiting to hear what roster moves the team will make, whether it will be Jimmy Howard or Daniel Larsson recalled from Grand Rapids and whether they will waive a player to make room.
ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues President John Davidson announced today that defenseman Jay McKee has a fractured left ring finger and will be sidelined indefinitely. McKee was injured in the third period on Tuesday, Dec. 16 vs. Calgary. The club has recalled defenseman Jonas Junland from the Blues’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Peoria Rivermen.
New York (December 17, 2008) – Chicago’s rekindled love affair with the Blackhawks, already manifested by soaring United Center attendance and insatiable interest in NHL Winter Classic 2009, now is being reflected in the fan balloting for the 2009 NHL All-Star Game.
As of 7 a.m. ET today, Blackhawks’ winger Patrick Kane had taken over the top spot among Western Conference forwards in the XM NHL® All-Star Fan Balloting presented by 2K Sports that will select the starting lineups for the 2009 NHL All-Star Game in Montreal Jan. 25. In the last week, Kane vaulted four players to take a 26,828-vote lead over the previous pace-setter, Detroit’s Marian Hossa. Anaheim center Ryan Getzlaf also slipped past Calgary’s Jarome Iginla for the third starting nod.
from Ryan Dixon of the Hockey News,
Everybody deserves something from Santa’s sack of goodies this season. Here’s what I think the Sleigh Man has in mind for each NHL club:
Boston Bruins – The address of every pundit who picked the Bruins to be an also-ran this year, just so Milan Lucic can go door to door, asking a few friendly questions.
Detroit Red Wings – Just a little note reminding them they’re still the defending champs and that, deep down inside, every NHL team still fears them the most.
San Jose Sharks – Twenty-three factory-defect calendars, so when April rolls around, all the players think it’s October.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
So, Peter Forsberg looks like he’s going to take another kick at the proverbial hockey can after playing just nine regular-season games since the start of the 2007-08 season. Although he played well when he returned late last season for Colorado, he missed enough action that his health and availability became a permanent sideshow for the Avs.
It’s hard to imagine it won’t be more of the same if he does return.
Here’s a look at some notable comebacks.
1. Guy Lafleur, New York Rangers/Quebec Nordiques: After being in retirement for three seasons, the Montreal Canadiens great returned for one season in New York with the Rangers and two in Quebec with the Habs’ arch-enemy Nordiques.
How about Ted Lindsay who made a comeback with the Wings after taking 4 years off?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org