Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Spellman of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
The trucks carrying all the equipment for the next Winter Classic are scheduled to arrive in Chicago this week. A crew of a couple dozen will unload and assemble the boards for a couple of days, clearing the way for Craig and Company to build 1 to 11/2 inches of ice before a short Christmas break. When they return, if everything goes according to plan, all that will be left to do is spruce things up and paint the ice. Even with a warmer-than-normal Christmas Day forecast, the refrigeration system can get the job done.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “You know that it’s coming and you try to prepare yourself for it, but then when everyone gets there, it’s an unbelievable feeling to see so many people enjoying such a great event.”
But Craig realizes there’s no celebrating until he gets that ice just right, which can be a tricky proposition.
“Natural ice freezes from the top down. Artificial ice freezes from the bottom up,” he said. “We want to make sure that you can’t have the top freeze before the bottom freezes.”
from Bud Barth of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette,
Defenseman Dennis Wideman, a relative graybeard by comparison at age 25, was talking about the explosive development this season of the Bruins’ Baby Bombers — Phil Kessel, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Matt Hunwick, Blake Wheeler and even Wideman himself.
“Those guys are all 100 times better than they were last year,” Wideman said, ignoring the fact that his improvement curve is just as steep. “If they keep going like this, and keep getting better and keep working, it’s scary what they could accomplish.”
It’s already frightening to see how far they’ve come just up till now. You can throw Patrice Bergeron into this bunch, too, considering he’s only 23 years old and is showing such remarkable progress in rebounding from that awful concussion of last year.
Without going up and down every roster, it’s clear that there’s not another NHL team that (a) has such a wide array of young talent, and (b) has seen such a drastic improvement in that many players in such a short period of time.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
To hell with Dave Keon and all his years of misdirected bitterness. If the Maple Leafs want to honour his jersey they should just go ahead and do it without him.
Really, these ceremonies are for the fans, not the players.
continued pluse more hockey bits…
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
• There are whispers that if they don’t start winning more consistently, Renney could be in trouble. If that’s the case, Pat Quinn, Team Canada’s coach at the world junior championship, might not be out of work long when the tournament ends Jan. 5. There was talk last year that Quinn could end up with the Rangers. “It might depend on what kind of job he does with Team Canada,” said one league executive.
• Two unrestricted free agents skating near their respective homes not getting nearly as much attention as Sundin: C Bryan Smolinski (Detroit) and C Yanic Perreault (Magog, Que.). Both have been effective NHL players with long careers, but neither can find a full-time job. Teams have asked Smolinski and Perreault to report to their minor-league affiliates, but understandably they believe anybody who wants to bring them in should know their capabilities.
more ‘whispered’ rumors…
“The easy way out is to bench a player, that’s the easy thing to do. Maybe it’s a fault. Maybe I should. But that’s not working with people, that’s pushing them aside. I’d rather challenge people to be better.”
-Senators coach Craig Hartsburg. More from Chris Stevenson at Off The Posts.
from Jeff Z. Klein & Stu Hackel of Slap Shot at the NYT,
According to Google, the Detroit Red Wings were the most searched team, followed by the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Buffalo Sabres, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Boston Bruins.
The list closely mirrors the countdown of teams that draw the most television viewers in the United States.
more plus a look at the ASG ballot-stuffing issue.
NEW YORK/TORONTO (December 13, 2008)—The National Hockey League Players’ Association and the National Hockey League announced today that Brian McGrattan of the Phoenix Coyotes has voluntarily entered Stage #1 of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program of the NHL and the NHLPA.
Under terms of the program, McGrattan will continue to receive his full salary and benefits and will have no penalty imposed as long as he complies with the prescribed treatment and follow-up care program.
The program’s doctors, Dr. Dave Lewis on behalf of the NHL and Dr. Brian Shaw on behalf of the NHLPA, are administering McGrattan’s care.
The Montreal Canadiens got some news on Saturday about their injured players, but the news wasn’t good.
Following Saturday’s morning skate, head coach Guy Carbonneau revealed that Carey Price is suffering from a lower body injury on top of a cold that he’s been fighting for a few days now.
Carbonneau said that Price sustained the injury during Wednesday’s practice and that the starting goaltender will remain off the ice for at least four more days.
Also on Saturday, Carbonneau made public the result of Saku Koivu’s MRI, stating that the captain will be out of the lineup for two weeks.
Carbonneau also confirmed on Saturday that Christopher Higgins will be out at least five more weeks, saying it’s the same injury that has kept defenceman Mike Komisarek out since mid-November.
from Phil Coffey of NHL.com .
Never overlook the value of experience when it comes to winning the Stanley Cup.
History has proven that point time and again, so it’s an important element in the construction of the San Jose Sharks, who have been nearly unbeatable this season.
General Manager Doug Wilson acquired three players who have won the Stanley Cup, adding that tried-and-tested experience to a talent-laden roster.
And the fact all three are defensemen doesn’t hurt either. Dan Boyle and Brad Lukowich were members of the 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning, and Rob Blake won the 2001 Cup in Colorado. That’s an awful lot of experience on the Sharks’ blue line.
continued plus more hockey topics…
Get the fireplace lit early today, sparks should be flying when Pittsburgh takes on Philadelphia at 1pm today.
More great games on today’s schedule, check below for your favorite matchup.
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.
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