Kukla's Korner Hockey
Watch the Chicago press conference below which is scheduled to begin around 3:00pm ET.
Or catch the NHL Hour (3-4p ET) with Gary Bettman and guest Brendan Shanahan, also below.
added 3:04pm, from the Chicago Blackhawks,
The Chicago Blackhawks have agreed today to a five-year contract extension with captain Jonathan Toews, a 13-year contract extension with alternate captain Duncan Keith and a five-year contact extension with right wing Patrick Kane.
from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,
The Blackhawks will not need to make a roster move to clear salary cap space in order to sign Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to contract extensions.
The NHL wouldn’t have allowed the Hawks to announce the new deals for the trio if the club did not have the necessary “tagging room” for the 2010-11 season.
“This is our team right now. I like our team. We just have to work through it. We have to play better.”
We’re in the third month of the NHL season. The grace period is over. This is too good a team to be sitting out of playoff spot.”
“Right now, we’re at the point where talk is cheap. You’ve got to do what you’ve go to do when the game is on.”
-Flyers GM Paul Holmgren. More on the Flyers from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.
from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
The Blues are scoring just 2.4 goals per game, which is fifth-worst in the league. Given the talent mix this team has up front -– young and old, with both size and speed -– there is no excuse for that.
Injuries to puck-moving defensemen Carlo Colaiacovo and Eric Brewer haven’t helped matters. Due to its ever-changing lineup, this team hasn’t developed the necessary defensive zone cohesiveness….
“For sure we have the talent,” Boyes said. “That is not a question. It’s a matter of execution.
“When we get everyone going, everybody playing their roles, we’ll be all right.”
But when will that happen? The Blues can’t wait until the end of December, as they did last season. Their rivals won’t make way for them as they did in 2008-09.
Earning a playoff berth this season will be tougher than it was last season. The Blues will need to make a big push, soon, and sustain it for months.
We’ll know soon enough if they have it in them . . . or whether major changes must occur.
from JoAnne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal,
The Wings have managed to stay on the fringe, which spells trouble for the rest of the contenders. Not only are the Wings weaning their young players in this stretch, they are going to get some of the veterans back for the stretch run.
Fippula, who skated on Wednesday, will be out of his second cast in a week and could be practising soon after that. Franzen, who is determined to play in the Olympics, wants to be back on the ice by Christmas.
“Obviously, we’re not happy with where we are. We definitely want to be more consistent and do a lot of things better, in paricular our penalty kill, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing to fly under the radar, either,” Maltby said.
“We’re a work in progress,” said Babcock. “Our kids have done a real good job, we’ve had real good goaltending the last couple of games ...We’ve found ways to win.
“We’re hanging on.”
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Jonas Gustavsson will be lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs for at least a week because he requires a second surgical procedure in an attempt to fix a heart problem.
The rookie goaltender will undergo the procedure on Friday after experiencing a second episode of an elevated heart rate while playing hockey. Gustavsson, 25, had to leave Tuesday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens after the first period when his heart started racing.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
You’ve got to do something pretty special to get on the Canadian Olympic radar if you weren’t invited to its summer camp.
Brad Richards is doing just that through the opening two months of the NHL season. The 29-year-old Dallas Stars center is among the league leaders with 32 points (7-25) in 25 games, on pace at this juncture to eclipse the 100-point plateau for the first time in his career. He entered this season as motivated as ever.
“The last couple of years of my career haven’t been where I wanted it, for various reasons,” Richards told ESPN.com this week. “I think last year I just wasn’t good, and the injuries compounded all that. Going into the offseason, I had no idea about the Olympic camp and that stuff. I was just focused on bearing down and getting a good summer of work in, getting healthy and getting really focused on my game again.”
“Certainly, Chicago—they have some difficult decisions, but you know what? They have an awesome hockey team this year.”
-Red Wings GM Ken Holland talking about the Chicago salary situation. More on this topic from Craig Custance of the Sporting News.
from David Staples of The Cult of Hockey,
NHL championship teams win almost always on the strength of their homegrown superstars, players drafted and developed by the team.
But it’s difficult to see the Oilers current crop of prospects having the talent to one day rise up and become a Stanley Cup contender, let alone champion.
As good as some of the young talent on the team is—namely Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, Jordan Eberle, Riley Nash, Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Ladislav Smid and Theo Peckham—the group needs one or two more big name scorers or defenders to bring this bunch to full potential.
This year—which has gone so wrong for the Oilers due to injury, illness and poor planning—has a chance to go right if the Oilers hockey bosses don’t engage in wishful thinking. They need to start preparing for coming seasons right now, and if they’re not willing to do it, they should step aside.
The best way to rebuild is to trade away 30-something players on expensive long-term contracts, even if those players are still productive.
from Chris Kerber of HockeyChats,
With the Olympics right around the corner, it’s a good time to remind all NHL’ers that diving is a summer Olympic event, not a winter event. Diving continues to be the one call the NHL does not call enough. A player that dives embarrasses the referee, other players, and most importantly the game. It’s not a smart move or a veteran play. Diving is embarrassing and should be handled that way. Embarrass the diver.
Before we go further, yes it is possible to have a penalty and a dive on the same play. Not always, but it can happen. A player can hook another player and the other player can embellish the act and therefore take a dive. This is where the rule must change. If a dive is handed out, it should automatically negate the other penalty. That’s an easy one and hard to understand why it doesn’t happen.
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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