Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
News alert: The Sabres have a poor reputation among players. It has become increasingly evident that the only way to get quality veterans into Buffalo is to force them here through trades. It’s an unpleasant way to survive.
Forget the woe-is-Buffalo excuse. Everybody knows this is a passionate hockey town, but the word has spread about the organization’s business practices. The Sabres are known more for their commitment to the bottom line than their commitment to winning. To players, it might as well be Edmonton.
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
The fun and games are still three months away, but on this day it looks to us like the best bets to make the playoffs are the teams that did last season: Montreal, Pittsburgh, Washington, New Jersey, New York Rangers, Philadelphia and Boston.
Ottawa, it appears now, will be in the mix with Tampa, Carolina, Buffalo, Florida, the Islanders and the Thrashers for the eighth spot.
To improve the Senators’ chances of making the playoffs, their Murray needs to recreate some magic. He needs to win a trade.
Minnesota Wild President and General Manager Doug Risebrough tonight announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has signed forward Owen Nolan to a multi-year contract.
“Owen Nolan is a true power winger who can score goals, play a physical brand, play either wing and take face-offs,” said Risebrough. “We are excited to add a player of his experience and versatility.”
Russo’s Rants reports 2 year deal for $5.5M
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
We must admit we find all the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the media and fans over the amount of money spent during the first days of free agency a bit confusing.
We’re pretty sure Chicago GM Dale Tallon did not knock down some old woman at the Billy Goat Tavern and pull $56 million out of her handbag to pay Brian Campbell to come and play defense for the Blackhawks.
Nor did Cliff Fletcher panhandle on the sidewalk outside the Air Canada Centre to raise the $12 million it took to bring in the anonymous Jeff Finger to play defense for the Toronto Maple Leafs….
Memo to owners: This is what you wanted. If you can’t make it work, boo hoo.
via Russo’s Rants,
According to a knowledgeable source, it’s official. The NHL’s second outdoor Winter Classic will take place New Year’s Day at the storied Wrigley Field when the Blackhawks take on the Stanley Cup-champion Detroit Red Wings.
An announcement is expected next week in the days leading up to the three-day inaugural “Blackhawks Convention” at the Chicago Hilton.
from Brian Costello of the Hockey News,
The fact of the matter is if I’m an NHL GM and I’m starting up a team and I have one year to win a championship, Huet is not among the top 10 goalies I’d pick to be my starter.
Here are 10 goalies I wouldn’t hesitate picking before Huet: Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo, Miikka Kiprusoff, Evgeni Nabokov, Henrik Lundqvist, J-S Giguere, Ryan Miller, Ilya Bryzgalov, Tomas Vokoun and Marty Turco.
I’d probably even pick some of this next tier of goalies before Huet: Niklas Backstrom, Vesa Toskala, Marc-Andre Fleury, Rick DiPietro, Tim Thomas, Chris Osgood, Carey Price, Cam Ward, Martin Biron and Kari Lehtonen. That’s why Huet may not be among my top 15.
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
The Blue Jackets’ summer of significant change has made the club bigger, stronger, faster and nastier.
One word might sum it up: Hitchcockian.
From the day Scott Howson was hired as general manager more than a year ago, it was obvious he saw his dream hockey club through the same lens as coach Ken Hitchcock.
“We’re on the same page,” Howson said. “We have the same opinion on how you build a hockey club.”
Then we have a complaint from a Dispatch reader,
Mr. Stein: You people continue to show your financial interest in the Blue Jackets.
Do you really believe the sports masses in central Ohio are interested in names of hockey players, whom most of us could not pronounce, in a two-page spread (last Sunday)? Yawn. Also, there was an inordinate amount of space dedicated to the NHL draft when not too many folks are interested.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Something else has to happen, specifically along the blue line, if the Bruins are going to return to the playoffs next spring. Even with Dennis Wideman plugged back into the equation - and his pending arbitration case makes that a question - the defensive corps needs an upgrade or two, specifically to enhance the transition game, a body or two to deliver the ever-elusive first quick pass out of the zone.
continued and many NHL notes too…
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
As season turned to post-season turned to off-season, Joe Public and his friends have not witnessed the Senators getting any better.
And that’s only because they’re not.
The team’s response thus far to a tailspin that saw it barely qualify for the playoffs, then leave quickly and quietly under the guidance of the Pittsburgh Penguins?
Replacing one of the all-time leaders in coaching victories with a man who has not been a bench boss in the NHL yet this century, adding a backup goalie and third- or fourth-line winger.
The Senators have also bid farewell to the best defenceman in franchise history, the only goalie that ever took them to the Stanley Cup final and one of the best fighters in the Eastern Conference.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Without Jagr to both blame and lean on all at once, everyone will come under more scrutiny; the coaching staff and the players, alike. For all of his imperfections, Jagr was kind of like that cereal, Captain and Crutch. Now, Jagr can’t be anyone’s excuse. Avery’s absence will be felt on the ice, even if the Rangers are sure he won’t be missed anywhere else.
There will be a gust of fresh air in the room next season that might enter with the Rangers billed as The King and His Court. Henrik Lundqvist, who always has shared the greatest part of the burden with Jagr, will be held to the Brodeur Standard, one that has nothing to do with exchanging salutations or shaking hands.
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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