Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets face off tonight in a compelling matchup as both teams keep clawing away in their bid to make the playoffs.
You have to love these stretch-drive, playoff-type games—two teams that need the points so bad.
For Bill Guerin and Antoine Vermette, the meaningful games are a welcome change after spending most of the season on teams headed nowhere.
“You know what, it’s been a lot of fun so far,” Guerin, acquired by the Penguins last Wednesday, told ESPN.com yesterday. “I’ve been having a blast, I really have. The games have been so exciting. We’re right in the thick of things and, for me, it’s nice to have these big games of importance.”
from Jack Edwards of Bruins Blog at NESN,
Kristian Huselius dove on Tuesday night. He did it to try to help his team win. The two points went to Columbus, and the Blue Jackets were happy in their room. The points will disappear into the account in the NHL standings, pad the stack and may put Columbus into the playoffs for the first time when all is said and done.
I have no idea what Huselius’ teammates said to him after the game, but I know this: If you pulled that crap on the kids in my neighborhood, you wouldn’t even get picked the next game. Nobody would have wanted you on his team. You could sit and think about being such a dink.
Actions define character. No matter what Huselius does from here on out, this one’s stuck on him like that slimy smile on Mike Ribeiro’s face in the spring of ‘04.
My spleen is vented, but Huselius left an indelible impression. While his teammates earned a win, he won himself a tag: diver.
I wrote a few days ago at NHL.com that I was thankful the trade deadline was over and now we could focus on the game, the game that is played on the ice.
I don’t know about you, but enough fighting talk, headshots talk and Bettman taking on Laraque talk.
Enough salary cap questions for next year, enough Jagr and Radulov may return talk, enough of everything not related to the games being played on the ice.
All the other stuff can wait until a team captain raises the Stanley Cup over his head.
It is time to turn our focus on the game that is played on the ice. I have had enough of coaches battling with media, GM’s with their multiple opinions and all the other stories going on behind the glass.
Focus everyone, focus on the game- on the ice!
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
One reason veteran defenseman Adam Foote wanted out of Columbus was that he wanted to win, and in the NHL that means — at the very least — making the playoffs.
A little more than a year after he was traded back to the Avalanche from the Blue Jackets, Columbus is in the thick of a fight for its first postseason berth and Colorado is in last place in the Western Conference, destined to be done playing when the regular season ends April 12.
“It’s tough,” Foote said Wednesday. “I don’t think anyone likes it. We have to keep trying to be better.
“You have to deal with it, and there are two ways to do it. You can mope around or keep working hard.”
from Michael Russo of the Star Tibune,
Gaborik, out since Jan. 5 following hip surgery, headed to Vail on Wednesday night to be examined by surgeon Marc Philippon.
Lemaire said, “He asked me to skate with us [this] morning.”
However, when told Gaborik said to a reporter he didn’t know if he would skate tonight, Lemaire said: “See, that’s why we can’t make a comment because we don’t know what’s going on. I guess if he feels like skating [today], if he wakes up and he feels like he can go and skate with us, he will. And if he wakes up and doesn’t feel that skating will be part of his day, he won’t.”
read on for more on Pierre-Marc Bouchard
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Stars Blog at the Dallas Morning News,
What everyone expects to happen then is that many teams will spend below the cap next season, so when they are negotiating contracts this summer, they will be negotiating deals based on internal budgets and not on the cap (which could be at $56 million.
It will be very interesting to see what happens.
I believe players should get whatever they can, and that owners shouldn’t spend money they don’t have. I also believe that NHL players will be plenty happy with reduced salaries when those salaries are still in the millions of dollars.
The key to all of this is the NHL teams have to lower ticket prices to get fans back in the building. If they do that, then I honestly believe everything will work out fine for owners, players and fans.
from Dave Tomasino of the NY Post,
The Devils are knocking on the door of history. That door could open tonight versus the Coyotes, when the Devils seek to win their ninth straight home game for the first time in club history.
Should they do so with Martin Brodeur in goal, the goalie will pull to within one victory of Patrick Roy’s all-time record of 551 and have a chance to tie the mark Saturday in Montreal, which is Brodeur’s hometown and the city in which Roy built his legacy.
Brodeur also is closing in on Terry Sawchuk’s record of 103 career shutouts. Brodeur has 100, including two in six starts since returning from elbow surgery. The Devils have won five of those starts.
via Dickie Dunn at SanJoseSharks.com,
As for the breakdown between San Jose and Detroit, there is one difference in how they’ve reached their 96 points. The Sharks have reached the total in two more games. What does that mean? Let’s say San Jose finds three of four points in those two extra games and goes 10-5-0 the rest of the way. That would mean the boys from Hockeytown would have to win at a 12-3-0 pace to surpass the Sharks. In addition to the one point lead both have on Boston, Detroit has one game in hand and San Jose has three.
When looking at their respective schedules, it would appear San Jose could have the upper hand. In their 15 remaining contests, Detroit has nine games left against playoff squads and six against those currently on the outside looking in. San Jose’s 17 games contain only five against current playoff teams and 12 against teams who wouldn’t make it if the season ended today.
from David Staples at the Cult of Hockey,
As I’ve suggested, the news of Pocklington’s arrest will come as no surprise to people in Edmonton, as Pocklington’s reputation was, shall we say, not the best in these parts. He was known to be a hard man to get to pay his bills, and that’s putting it kindly.
If I’m being a bit careful here in my description of Pockington, well, Canada has strict libel laws and, to be fair, in regards to these new U.S. charges, he’s innocent until proven guilty.
But in regards to Pocklington’s destruction of the Edmonton Oilers, there’s no doubt in my mind, the man is guilty. He ruined the best hockey team in the world. He traded Wayne Gretzky away like a piece of meat, as Paul Coffey so aptly put it back then. Then he “traded” away Mark Messier (I’ve always wondered if Pocklington got money in that Messier deal, too. I wonder if we’ll ever find out. I don’t know).
from John Glennon of the Tennessean,
Agent Jay Grossman said Wednesday he doesn’t see it happening.
“There’s really nothing to report as far as a return at this point in time,’’ Grossman said. “I don’t think we’d be talking about it in days or weeks here.
“While we’ve talked to some guys (with the Predators) that clearly feel he could help them and what have you, it’s not in the cards for him to come back now.’’
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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