Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger,
They are the best team in the NHL right now. It appears the Devils raised the level of their play when Brodeur returned. They were already a very good team. Brodeur’s return was going to trigger one of two reactions: The Devils would rely on him too much and see a drop in their over all, or pull together to make sure the goalie’s return was successful. We know how it went.
more on the Devils…
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
- The Blue Jackets are ready to deal G Pascal Leclaire, but his season-ending ankle surgery in January and the two years remaining at an average of $3.8 million (all terms US) are going to scare teams off. Leclaire, 25, had a 4-6-1 record with a 3.83 GAA before being injured and has lost the No. 1 job to Steve Mason. The Senators would likely pass if the Jackets were to offer Leclaire for W Antoine Vermette.
- The Thrashers have held talks with several teams about G Kari Lehtonen, but the sense is he won’t be dealt and Atlanta will wait until the off-season. The talk is the Wings and Capitals have shown interest in the 24-year-old, which means the Senators would likely be at the bottom of the list.
more goalie talk and of course other rumors too…
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Whatever fate awaits Pronger, any trade that would send the former Hart Trophy winner to Boston is among the top deals we’d like to see completed.
If you really love the sport, wouldn’t you want to witness the spectacle of Pronger and Zdeno Chara playing together on defence?
Pronger is 6-foot-6. Chara is 6-foot-8. Put them together, and you have 158 inches of the most intimidating defensive pairing the NHL may ever have seen.
Not since Larry Robinson and Gilles Lupien manned the blue line for the Montreal Canadiens would there have been such a towering duo on defence.
Eastern Conference rivals Montreal and Washington play a more finesse game and would find it difficult to deal with the combined muscle provided by Chara and Pronger, especially in a playoff series.
more and other hockey notes…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
On Sunday, the sense was that the Pronger chatter had lessened from last week’s fever pitch; it doesn’t mean it can’t pick up again between now and Wednesday, as the Ducks try to lower their payroll.
Of the other big names on the block, there is a belief now that Jay Bouwmeester may survive the deadline after all, with the Florida Panthers unable to find a good-enough hockey deal to coax them into trading the potential unrestricted free agent. Bouwmeester had been linked most prominently to the Philadelphia Flyers in a trade scenario, but the Flyers’ Eastern Conference rivals, the New Jersey Devils, are currently the only contender with the cap room to make it work.
In the Western Conference, the Phoenix Coyotes’ descent since the all-star break, a 3-12 slide, means they will almost certainly move defenceman Derek Morris and centre Olli Jokinen, Morris in the next 72 hours for sure, Jokinen either now or at the NHL entry draft.
Even if the Montreal Canadiens appear to have turned the corner in the past week or so behind goaltender Jaroslav Halak’s play, Jokinen would appeal to them because he could replace Robert Lang’s scoring.
from Mick Kern of XM204 Blog,
Like it or not, Ovechkin does get away with some questionable physical play on the ice, and one of these games, he’s going to have to face the consequences, like all players do.
Do not get me wrong, and I’m concerned that a legion of Ovechkin apologists will rush to judgement, as they foam at the mouth at even a hint of criticism directed the way of Number Eight; Ovechkin is one of the few true superstars in the NHL, and is very good for business.
He should continue to celebrate goals in the manner which has made him famous, but he should also understand when someone decides to go all Dale Hunter on him. Oh sure, when a player does that, it’ll be wrong, and should be penalized, so I’m not suggesting someone should do it, I just think it’s a matter of time before someone will do it.
from Mike Knobler of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Niclas Havelid is an alternate captain and one of the most respected players on the team. He’s also 35, an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and good enough that plenty of potential trading partners will give up something valuable for the right to have him wear their uniform for the rest of this season.
No Thrashers player is more likely to be playing somewhere else after Wednesday.
“He’s one of the guys that’s certainly got some value around the league,” Waddell said. “He’s certainly well-respected. He’s probably been our best defender over the last four years. It’s got to be the right deal; otherwise we’ll continue forward and see where that takes us in the summertime.”
Center Marty Reasoner also is an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and also has value, as a penalty killer, a faceoff winner, a two-way forward in the midst of one of his most productive offensive seasons.
more including shooting down some rumors…
from Tracey Myers of Five for Fighting,
...right now, it’s hard to see positives with the Stars. So let’s talk about today, shall we?
1, Five straight losses. So much for February being their hot month. So much for home ice being so advantageous. The Stars had a great opportunity to keep pace in the Western Conference and they squandered it.
2, Top guys are gassed. The Stars’ top players have given all they’ve got, according to coach Dave Tippett, and they may be running out of steam. Stephane Robidas? Mike Ribeiro? Jere Lehtinen? A ton of minutes, a ton of work, and that wears you out after a while, which brings me to our next topic…
added 8:40am, from Jennifer Floyd Engel of the Star-Telegram,
Put a fork in the Stars. They are done, or they are going to be really soon if they keep this gutless nonsense up.
This is not an overreaction to Sunday’s 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh or about how this fifth consecutive loss has precipitated an ugly free-fall from contention but rather because what I know for sure is a team that does not stand together does not stand a chance.
And watching how this Stars team failed to rally to Steve Ott’s defense on Saturday certainly raises some troubling questions about this Stars team.
via Chris Iorfida of Blogs and Columns at CBC,
Pittsburgh, Carolina, Buffalo, Montreal, Florida, Boston and New Jersey all told Hockey Night in Canada they weren’t the teams looking to acquire Bill Guerin, who was scratched before Saturday’s game and didn’t practise with the New York Islanders on Sunday.
The contending teams in the East not on that list are Washington, the New York Rangers and Philadelphia.
from Shawn Lavigne of the XM204 Blog,
I have enormous respect for Don Cherry but there are weeks when I watch ‘Coaches Corner’ where I just scratch my head in bewilderment at some of the stupid comments he makes. Last night on his ‘hockey pulpit’ he talked about the theatrics of Alexander Ovechkin and the ‘boring Europeans’ on the Detroit Red Wings and after 25 years of this anti-European garbage spewing from his mouth it motivated me to share my thoughts.
As broadcasters most of the information that we comment on is our opinion but unfortunately in Canada when it comes to Cherry it is suppose to be taken as religion with his anti-european cult of followers. Trust me I’ve been in sports radio and television for 15 years and heard it all from callers and hosts who bow down to the Great Wall of Cherry.
added 5:51pm, from Nate of Welcome to the Show,
Cherry is entitled to his opinion, of course, but it raises a good question: do we have to listen to it? Specifically, for those of us in the U.S., should NHL Network subject us to this garbage on a league-owned network?
Don’t get me wrong, I fell in love with Hockey Night in Canada when I had the chance to watch for four years in Michigan. I wish Jim Hughson could follow me around and describe my every move for a day.
And there’s room for criticism on NHL properties; you’ll see it on NHL.com and hear it on NHL Live and On the Fly. But Cherry’s xenophobic, misguided and frankly wrong comments have no place on a league-owned network.
from TSN/ The Sports Network,
Edmonton Oilers forward Ethan Moreau is back at home the day after suffering a scary eye injury against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.
Moreau was hit in his right eye by the stick of the Wild’s Antti Miettinen late in the third period. After leaving the ice, Moreau was immediately taken to Royal Alexandria Hospital in Edmonton.
While the real extent of the injury is not yet known, surgery was not required on Saturday night. Doctors will continue to monitor the eye through the week to see if that changes.
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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