Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
The Buffalo Sabres reach the halfway mark of the NHL season tonight when they host the New York Rangers in HSBC Arena. So far, they’ve been utterly average, with 20 wins and 20 losses (adding regulation and overtime/shootout defeats)....
Chief among the team’s trouble is its record at home.
The Sabres are 11-9-2 in the arena and the only team in the league with more regulation home losses is Atlanta (12). Buffalo led the NHL in home scoring last season but is just 13th this year.
Things are even goofier on special teams when looking at numbers entering Thursday’s games. The power play is just 17th at home (17.8 percent) but third on the road (24.7). The penalty killers are 10th downtown (83.5) but second out of town (89.5).
Early in the year, coach Lindy Ruff was able to brush off the numbers — especially the special teams ones — as statistical anomalies. Not anymore.
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have partnered with AOL to create the first ever Capitals email domain along with a toolbar to keep fans up-to-date with the Capitals.
The AOL affinity email is free to sign up and the user can view their Capitals email from anywhere in the world. There are four different domains; CapsHockeyFan.com, MyCapitalsMail.com, CapsRed.com and CapsFanatic.com. The user can copy their address book and emails from another account, while sharing Capitals hockey with friends and family. Fans can find the email domain and toolbar at http://capitals.nhl.com/fanzone/caps_aol.htm.
A few weeks ago I wrote in my NHL.com weekly feature Bobby Ryan needed to start playing on a regular shift. Since that time, 6 goals, 5 helpers in 8 games. You see, the Ducks listened to me!
Ryan with the hat trick last night, and the 3rd goal was special.
The Staples Center in LA rocked a little last night. LA Kings broadcasting team of Jim Fox and Bob Miller talk about it.
from Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull,
With all due respect to Jeff Carter, Mike Richards has been the first-place Flyers’ best all-around player in the first half of the season and should have been selected to the Eastern Conference all-star team.
But Richards was snubbed. So were teammates Kimmo Timonen and Simon Gagne.
All because the fans made some very dumb selections when they chose the starters. That, coupled with the fact that each team has to be represented, left many deserving players off the team.
And, make no mistake, no one is more deserving than Richards, who has excelled on the power play, penalty kill and even-strength situations.
Mikhail Grabovski of the Leafs trys to get at Sergei Kostitsyn of the Canadiens. The video tells the rest of the story…
Here is the game recap from the CP via TSN.
from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,
...Because of a lease that makes it virtually impossible to move the team out of its publicly financed digs in Glendale, without entering Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and because the team seems doomed to lose huge amounts of money there in perpetuity, it is hard to imagine anyone buying the Coyotes while the team is tied to its current home. That means the league doesn’t have to worry about Jim Balsillie riding to the rescue and making things complicated, but it does have to wonder whether there’s anyone out there who is rich enough and irrational enough to buy the franchise and keep it in Arizona in the teeth of a deepening recession.
So there are no obvious Band-Aid solutions here. And the other NHL club owners, who are all dealing with their own challenges, can’t be thrilled at the prospect of throwing good money after bad (the Coyotes, or at least their lender, cashed a $15-million revenue-sharing cheque last year) to keep the team going beyond this season in what seems by definition a hopeless situation.
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
Stan Kroenke’s sports enterprises most certainly are not immune to the current economic meltdown.
Like everyone else, many KSE employees are VERY worried about their jobs right now. Talk of layoffs coming at Kroenke’s Altitude and Entertainment channel is making the rounds, and both the Nuggets and Avalanche could be laying off employees soon, I’m hearing. There is already a lot of nickle-and-diming going on with expenses for employees traveling on the road, with things like no more internet charges being picked up at hotels, etc.
When Todd McLellan created his coaching staff upon his arrival in Silicon Valley, he brought one constant with him from Detroit. He hired his old video coach Jay Woodcroft and made him an assistant coach.
Yet, he might be the assistant coach Sharks fans are the least familiar with as they never see him on the bench. At practices, Woodcroft is working with McLellan and Assistant Coaches Trent Yawney and Todd Richards to run drills and see that the foundation for games is in place.
However, during games at HP Pavilion or on the road, Woodcroft is settled into the coach’s offices watching the contests through state-of-the-art video monitors and replay equipment.
“During games,” Woodcroft said, “I watch the game in our offices as it happens.”
from Mike Ulmer at TorontoMapleLeafs.com,
For an idea just what Burke is facing, let’s take a look at the grid for opening night, 2011-2012, two and a half seasons from now.
The Leafs desperately need to get younger. To that end, I have limited the top two lines and top two defensive pairings to players 25 years or younger on opening night. Keep in mind, there will always be room for productive older players. Nik Hagman will be nearly 32, but it’s hard to think his game would not be welcome somewhere on the roster.
On defence: Luke Schenn. He’s a sure bet. A little below Schenn, put Jeff Finger in the depth chart. Anton Stralman has the talent to be a top four defenceman but it’s impossible to accurately predict whether he will make the jump. I like Jonas Frogren’s mean for the third pairing and based on his ever improving play, Ian White might be considered in the mix.
But for top four, we have one guy, Schenn.
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