Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
• To clear matters, Niedermayer sent ESPN.com this comment on Saturday prior to his game in Detroit: “I don’t want to be traded. I love it in Anaheim, and the only thing I’m focused on right now is helping our team get back on track and make the playoffs. That’s it.”
Via text message to ESPN.com, Murray also reiterated that he has no intention of trading Niedermayer, UFA July 1, and wants to see the future Hall of Fame retire a Duck….
• I don’t think it was ever in doubt, but I’m hearing that talks between the Chicago Blackhawks and star forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are going very well and that both sides are close to a deal. Both players are slated for restricted free agency July 1, and other GMs were salivating at the chance at plunking down offer sheets for them, but that’s not going to happen. I would expect an announcement sometime in the next two weeks.
more chatter and talk…
I see where the NHL has reinstated Henry Samueli as owner of the Anaheim Ducks after he was suspended indefinitely from any involvement with the team on June 24, 2008. Multiple sources tell me he’s now being measured for a Hockey Hall of Fame blazer.
-Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette. More hockey notes from Red via Faceoff.com.
from Katie Strang of Newsday,
...as much as Islanders fans may view him as a sudden miracle of goal-scoring, some apparition that magically materialized in the off-season to invigorate a goal-starved team, Moulson endured a lengthy, arduous, obstacle-riddled road to his current success as the team’s top-line left wing and leading goal-scorer.
His circuitous route to the NHL took its first detour more than ten years ago, when Moulson - criticized for his size [he’s now 6-1, 206] and skating - was cut at every single Triple-A and junior hockey team tryout he attended.
Moulson shrugged off the rejections.
from Steve Gorten of the Sun-Sentinel,
The only news out of practice this morning: Coach Pete DeBoer said winger David Booth (concussion) is “weeks away from playing.”
The Panthers have taken great caution to bring Booth along slowly since he suffered his first-ever concussion Oct. 24 in Philadelphia. He has started exercising lightly, but has yet to start skating.
I feel bad for Booth because the Panthers will play the Red Wings on Friday in his hometown of Detroit and once again Booth won’t be able to play because of injury. He missed the teams’ matchup in Motor City two years ago because he was hurt, though he did make the trip so he could at least be there.
DeBoer said there’s a chance he’ll go along with the Panthers this time, too. Personally, I think it’ll happen. Plus, it’d be good for his morale to be around his teammates a bit.
from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,
As half-full arenas become the norm on too many nights, hurting teams are getting aggressive in novel (and cheap) ways to get peole in the seats.
The bargains are enough to make ticket buyers in Toronto sick.
A tour around some of the more challenged teams revealed the following offers:
- In Tampa, try the Holiday Pack where $96 US gets you a pair of tickets for three games of your choice, an autographed Victor Hedman hat and a $10 food and beverage voucher.
- In Columbus, the Guys Night Out promotion gives you two tickets, two beers and two cheese coney dogs for a mere $60.
- In Anaheim, for select games fans can get two tickets, a pair of hot dogs and wash them down with two beers all for $41.
- Even in Detroit, the self-professed Hockey Town of the U.S., the Wings are all but giving away tickets again this season.
Inconclusive was the final ruling on the no-goal in last night’s Leafs/Blackhawks game.
from Tom Gulitti of the Record,
Despite a slew of injuries, Lemaire is off to as good a start in his second stint with the Devils as he had the first time around.
The Devils head into tonight’s game against Washington at Prudential Center in first place in the Atlantic Division with a 13-4 record. That’s the same record they had in their first 17 games under Lemaire in 1993-94.
“It’s been fun,” Lemaire said Friday. “Coaching is fun for me. Maybe after the first couple of games, I thought it would be a little different. But as soon as we started to win a few games, you’re back in the pack and now the team is going well. You know it’s always winning that takes care of the good part.”
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
Kaberle had modestly mentioned in the past his captaincy of the Czech national team and that he was one of Mats Sundin’s deputies for many years, but he won’t outright lobby for the job.
“I think a whole bunch of guys in here can step forward,” Kaberle said. “Whether you’re 19 or 35, you have something to say. When I feel I have to (be vocal) I am.”
Among the forwards it is slim pickings. Matt Stajan and Wilson aren’t seeing eye to eye, as the former’s demotion from the first line to the fourth will attest. John Mitchell only has one full year of NHL experience. Phil Kessel is a scorer, not a screamer. And the others either don’t have the ice time or off-ice presence.
“What good would it do,” asked one keen observer, “if a .146 hitter got up in the middle of a losing baseball team’s clubhouse and started making speeches?”
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Here are five pressing questions regarding the Red Wings:
1. Were the past two games a turning point in goaltender Jimmy Howard’s career?
For Howard, it’s a matter of confidence and consistency. His performance was a huge boost, not only for his own confidence but for the team’s confidence in him. After playing well in Columbus Wednesday, he stole Thursday’s game against Vancouver.
In his past seven periods, plus a 5-minute overtime, Howard has only allowed two goals, stopping 66-of-68 shots in 145 minutes (.971 save percentage)....
2. What are the chances the Red Wings acquire Anaheim goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere?
Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers describes the Rich Nash shootout winner…
Nash caught a rut, teetered (smoothly), stuck his left foot in the air as if searching for a fire hydrant and went roof.
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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.
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