Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
When the offseason arrives, personnel decisions will be based primarily on whether players fit into Tortorella’s vision for how he wants the Rangers to think and to play. The cap is a factor, and the Rangers may lose a player they would prefer to keep, but they are unlikely to sacrifice anyone Tortorella believes can be part of the core.
The number is $41.096M for the nine players under contract next season and there will be another $6.524M committed to Qualifying Offers for five more players. Combined, that’s a total of $47.62M. This will leave the Rangers with $7-10M to sign unrestricted free agents Antropov and Paul Mara and fill in the remainder of the club.
There will be tough calls to make, and it is all but certain that the Blueshirts will attempt at least one of the big-money contracts, but the change to Tortorella has provided management with the best prism through which to make their evaluations.
more Rangers talk…
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
They figured once Ottawa broke a 2-2 tie in the final period Tuesday, a loss was inevitable.
“We haven’t dealt well with some adversity in games. I think guys got scared,” Ruff said Wednesday while replaying the 4-2 defeat to Ottawa. “They saw a loss coming again, and we got on our heels, and it’s tough to pull out of that.”
It’s little surprise the Sabres folded in the third period of a tie game. They are among the NHL’s worst in that situation.
The Sabres have been tied entering the final period 14 times. They have earned points in just six, a percentage of .429. The only teams below them are Colorado (.412) and the New York Islanders (.400), who happen to be dead last in their respective conferences.
Gameshow-type segment on who knows Cal Clutterbuck of the Minnesota Wild better: former teammate Barry Brust (Houston Aeros goalie) or current teammate Derek Boogaard.
from Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,
Isn’t this playoff-race stuff great?
“This stuff really affects your sleep pattern,” Hitchcock said. “Because you’re sitting there watching games until midnight and you’re mad that a couple of games are in shootouts, or you want to choke a couple of guys with Colorado because they let a goal in with 1:46 left. You want to phone somebody you know there to blast them for allowing the goal.”
Hitchcock doesn’t stay up until every game is finished, but after he finally hits the sack, it’s the first thing on his mind when he wakes up.
“First thing I do is the Blackberry, 5:30 in the morning, scores,” he said. “You’re brushing your teeth and it’s (bleep!). Those three-point games, (darn) it. First place I go is on that TSN Web site and there’s that (darned) 2-1 score in Edmonton in a shootout, and you’re just cussing both teams. Every night you last as long as you can and then you’re up four or five hours later, watching again.”
from Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters,
Evgeni Malkin’s five-point night against the Thrashers Tuesday created a little bit of history. He reached the 100-point plateau for the second time in his career and it was the 29th different time a player for the franchise hit that mark. That nudged the Penguins ahead of the Oilers for the most individual 100-point campaigns by any one franchise:
read on for a chart mentioning every NHL team and their 100-point players.
from Jim Hughson of Blogs and Columns at CBC,
Here are four teams you might not want to face in the first round – that is, if they get in.
Okay, so it’s no revelation that a Stanley Cup finalist with two of the top three scorers in the league would be a tough match up for any team, but consider how bad the Penguins looked before the coaching change.///
Tomas Vokoun has one of the best save percentages in the league and is capable of winning games single handed. In front of him, the Panther defence is as good as any and better than most….
Columbus Blue Jackets
Hitchcock has a playoff-ready style, which means the Jackets don’t give their opponents many chances to score….
more on each team plus the Stars are mentioned too…
from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,
There is a good chance that for the first time, the Avalanche will receive revenue-sharing money from the NHL after this season.
Despite a well-heeled owner in Stan Kroenke and a reputation for years as one of the NHL’s “rich teams,” the Avs could qualify to receive revenue in this, their worst season ever.
There are plenty of complications and caveats as part of the NHL’s revenue-sharing system, and it won’t be decided until this summer, but the basics are that the league’s 10 lowest revenue-producing teams qualify to receive subsidies from the league’s financially better-performing clubs.
Every week, the NHL on TSN panel voices its opinions on the hot topics of the day in the Wednesday Night Hockey Quiz.
Question No. 3: Penguins fans are saying that Geno Malkin is the league MVP. Good evidence in the last game - he got five points, he hit the 100-point mark, he leads it by 10. Who’s your choice? It’s basically coming down to Alex Ovechkin or Malkin.
Pierre McGuire: Ovechkin. The big thing on Ovechkin is that he’s probably scored the best goal of this NHL season against the Montreal Canadiens. He does this virtually every single night. If he’s not part of the Washington Capitals, they’re probably not leading the Southeast division, they’re not pushing for home ice in the playoffs. He’s the most valuable player. Take him off the Capitals, they’re not anywhere near as good.
Keith Jones: For me, it’s Malkin. You think of Mike Green with the Capitals, you think of Sergei Gonchar with the Penguins. Gonchar playing now just 15 games, Malkin over the 100-point mark again. Without a great defenceman on the blueline for much of the season, Malkin has gotten the job done.
more and two other questions answered…
Instead of a full practice at HP Pavilion on Wednesday, the Sharks met for 90 minutes in the locker room. The extended session included the entire hockey department from Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson to the coaches, players and staff.
Following the meeting, a few players took to the ice for an optional skate. The Tuesday night 4-3 loss in Phoenix wasn’t the entire reason for the gathering, but it was likely the impetus for the session.
added 3/19/08 at 8:53am, More on the meeting from David Pollak of Working the Corners.
From Wes Goldstein at CBSSports:
Their gamble was keeping Jay Bouwmeester, their much-coveted young defenseman who could walk away for nothing this summer as a free agent and was arguably the most valuable potential asset at the deadline. Bouwmeester has rejected several contract extension offers from the Panthers over the last few years, leading to the widely held assumption around the league that he is just counting the days until he gets out of Florida.
He won’t deny that, but the Panthers still resisted the temptation to deal him because he is their best player in the midst of a strong season and they are real playoff contenders for the first time since the turn of the century. Getting there is critical to an organization struggling to attract fans, and keeping Bouwmeester, despite the risk of coming away empty-handed was supposed to send a vote of confidence to the players along with the message that the future is now.
But if the message was received, something apparently got lost in translation by a team that doesn’t seem to have any real leaders in the dressing room or even a captain.
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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