Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Chris Nichols of Sportsnet, I
t’s not all doom and gloom for pending UFAs though, clearly. Some players have managed to take full advantage of their opportunities.
Maxim Afinogenov signed a one-year deal with Atlanta and he’s been money, soon-to-be literally, for this team with 40 points in 45 GP. He’s actually only eight points shy of matching his production from Buffalo over the past two years. Amazing what not being buried in the line-up can accomplish.
Calgary’s Rene Bourque is only four points shy of reaching a new career high and the undrafted winger is setting himself up for a nice raise on his current $1.35M cap hit. He has 37 points in 40 GP with a strong 53 PIM for his standard league owners too.
Vaclav Prospal was bought out of his contract with Tampa Bay and he turned that frown upside down by channelling his vengeance with the New York Rangers, where he has mostly played alongside Marian Gaborik. Prospal just came back from injury in last night’s double shutout tilt against the Devils and he has 32 points in 39 GP. All in all, he’s been a great value for both the Rangers and poolies.
Perhaps the biggest success story amongst the pending UFAs is Patrick Marleau…
EDMONTON - Edmonton Oilers’ General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin will undergo surgery Thursday in Los Angeles to repair a herniated disc in his back.
Khabibulin, 37, has appeared in 18 games for the Oilers this season with a 7-9-2 record, 3.03 GAA and .910 save percentage.
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
Two completely unrelated incidents. Two major migraines for the NHL.
In Vancouver, Alexandre Burrows alleges Stephane Auger influences the outcome of a game to get back at him. In Pittsburgh, the Penguins’ television producer hides a replay that would have given Philadelphia a goal.
Let’s do the Canucks story first:
Vancouver fans will hate to hear this, but the best thing Alex Burrows could do for himself and the organization is apologize
One question I have about the Burrows claims. I wonder if he would have said anything if the Canucks would have won the game?
from Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News,
Could we really be heading towards a post-season sans Wings? This is the 20th anniversary of the last time it happened, but certainly no one predicted it in 2009-10.
Injuries, of course, doomed Detroit in the first half of the campaign and continue to hurt, with Jonathan Ericsson, Niklas Kronwall, Tomas Holmstrom, Jason Williams and Johan Franzen still on the shelf. Henrik Zetterberg, Valtteri Filppula and Dan Cleary have also missed games.
Goaltending was also shaky early on, though with the exception of Tuesday night’s debacle, Jimmy Howard has taken the reins in net.
But you know who doesn’t care about those excuses? The cold, unfeeling standings box: The one that shows Detroit in ninth place in the Western Conference right now. With 37 games to go and an Olympic break that will see a cadre of Wings playing through it in Vancouver, there is no rest for the wicked.
from Michael of The Common Room,
David Backes is an American professional hockey player currently playing for the St. Louis Blues. On New Years, David had the privilege to be named to the USA Olympic Hockey Team.
Since then, he has shown what it means to be a true American hero.
The night after he was named to the Olympic Roster, Backes and the Blues took on the Chicago Blackhawks. During that game, David fought Canadian Olympian Jonathan Toews.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Just win, baby.
That’s the motto in the Western Conference, where the Nashville Predators have 59 points and are only seven points above ninth in the dog-pile for playoff position.
It’s nuts, said Predators’ all-world defenceman Shea Weber, who had the game’s first goal and an assist on the second by Marcel Goc. Nashville jumped to a 4-0 lead, took their foot off the gas, and coasted to a 5-3 finish for their 10th win in the last 13 games on the road.
All this after getting to their local hotel about 2 a.m. after a gutsy win over the Canucks in Vancouver on Monday night.
via Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Coming off an ugly 6-1 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers last night, the Senators will be on the ice in Central Park today for a one-hour skate at 11 a.m.
The Senators will scrap the sticks and pads. All they’ll wear is helmets, their practice jerseys and skates for what shapes up as a light workout. With the team mired in a five-game losing streak, the throwback-style workout might be just what’s needed to lighten the mood around the team these days.
Devils win 1-0 over the Rangers in a shootout.
In case you missed the game (Versus/Directv, you need to get this settled).
Game story by Dave Lozo of NHL.com.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Now is the time for Chiarelli to drop that cool-handed Harvard thing and make something happen. The game tonight is the first of 16 his club will play prior to the Olympic break. It’s a good bet that Bergeron will miss about half those games and Savard will miss upward of a dozen. Trouble.
Without those two top playmakers in uniform, this is a team virtually absent an attack, and that’s precisely what the coach means when he’s talking about the need to be perfect. All of which makes Julien, a defense-anchored coach, preach even more defense to a team that many nights looks too much like that bunch of Trappist Wonks Jacques Lemaire coached for years in St. Paul.
With Julien’s current lineup, it makes sense, but it doesn’t make much of a case for putting pucks in the net at the other end of the ice. Translation: Either the Bruins are going to win by allowing a goal or two, or they aren’t going to win.
Did Bradley do the right thing by interrupting the Alexander Ovechkin/Steve Downie fight?
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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