Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
• One NHL Governor said that, at the December BOG meetings, an owner got up and said, “We should have six outdoor games a year.” Thank God that had little support.
• If Kovalchuk does leave, the number one reason will be the mess that is Atlanta ownership. Those guys have fought in court for five years, with no sign of a resolution. That uncertainty is the number one reason he may bolt. What is the future? What if they move to a city he doesn’t like? I do agree with Mike Milbury, though, that Kovalchuk should tell the Thrashers if he intends to leave. He’s been good for them, but Waddell has also been very good to him.
• Jimmy Howard should teach every NHL team and fan the value of patience. How many times during his four-year AHL run did people give up on him? Now, at 25, he is saving the Red Wings’ season.
from Michael Arace at Puck-rakers,
Coach Ken Hitchcock, who has been under fire here in Columbus, fielded scads of questions from large media hordes during the recent Western Canadian road trip (which began with a 7-4 loss in Vancouver). The questions were variation of “Are you worried about getting sacked?” Hitchcock needed to escape. He saw some old friends in Edmonton, his hometown, and they provided a mental lift. Then came the victory over the Oilers.
“The whole season changed with the third goal in Edmonton,” Hitchcock said. “It made a difference on the bench, a difference in the locker room, a difference in the feel. The tension was everywhere. Oh, no, here we go again. Something bad is going to happen. When we (Kristian Huselius) scored the third goal in Edmonton, the whole season changed.”
Hitchcock was asked whether the 2008-09 Blue Jackets have entered the building. They have allowed two goals or less in seven of the past nine games.
“Yeah,” he said. “I don’t see any reason why we can’t play like this the rest of the year. The players were comfortable with it. Obviously, it’s winning hockey. We’re grinding it out with some really good teams. Every night, if we play this way, we’ll give ourselves a good chance to win. Seventy-five to 80 percent of scoring chances are coming off the check, which is what good teams do. Rather than looking for space, we’re fighting for space.”
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette via the National Post,
They remain little boys inside the hockey uniforms of grown-ups, not unlike playground gradeschoolers who get their jollies out of shoving a snowball down another kid’s pants.
Pranks and practical jokes have been a part of hockey forever, from house-leagues to NHL dressing rooms.
They can be craftily conceived and executed with skill:
Montreal Canadiens Hall of Fame defenceman and then Calgary Flames assistant coach Guy Lapointe, the ruler-for-life in hockey’s Kingdom of Prankdom, was sitting in the sauna when he got wind of Flames trainer Brian Patafie coming his way with a bucket of ice water. So Lapointe beat Patafie to the punch, turning a hose from head to toe on his approaching fellow joker. Only then did he realize that Patafie’s pail was empty—and that the trainer was wearing Lapointe’s expensive new suit.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
The Rangers’ recent correction in which they have gone 8-1-3 since the Dec. 16 Garden defeat to the Islanders that prompted the twin two-game exiles of Wade Redden and Ales Kotalik presents a challenge for GM Glen Sather.
Because even though the Blueshirts seem to be a playoff caliber team in a conference overloaded with deficient squads, this run against a succession of terrible opponents should not and must not interfere with the real business at hand of constructing a Stanley Cup contender.
To that end, no matter the standings, no matter the “game with points streak,” no matter the revenue the Garden would stand to derive from a few playoff home dates, Sather has the responsibility to be a seller rather than a buyer as the trade deadline approaches.
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
Our fans have to understand I’m as frustrated as they are,” said GM Brian Burke. “Way more so.”
If there’s change to come, it won’t be the coach. Ron Wilson’s job is “100 per cent safe,” said Burke.
Change is more likely to come in the form of call-ups – Tyler Bozak and Jay Rosehill at the top of the list – followed by trades.
“I’ve been moving heaven and earth on the trade front for some time, I would be more concerned if there were deals going down all around me. There aren’t,” said Burke. “We’ve looked at call-ups. No one at this point has kicked down the door to the point where we have to give them a recall. Bozak and Rosehill have been strong the last couple of games, so we’ll think about giving them a look.”
Fans of a team on a 2-6-2 slide are understandably frustrated, but have yet to entirely throw in the towel. One site, boycotttheleafs at ipetition.com, is urging fans to stay away from the Air Canada Centre, to send a message that fans are sick and tired of losing. As of Sunday, there were only 18 signatures.
from Ian Mendes of Sportsnet,
The Ottawa Senators are hoping that a little bit of talk will lead to some action. And more importantly, they are hoping it can lead them to a much-needed win.
Following a 4-1 loss to the Hurricanes on Sunday night, the Senators held a players-only meeting in the dressing room at RBC Center. The meeting took only a few minutes, but the players insisted there was no tension inside the room. The message coming from several players was that now was the time to stick together, since the club is battling so much adversity.
“We’ve got to stay positive, we can’t start blaming each other. We’ve got to be honest with each other and realize we need to step it up,” netminder Pascal Leclaire said. “We’re not that far off.”
from David Pollak of Working the Corners,
After about 15 minutes, Todd McLellan had players lined up against the sideboards, skating the kind of sprints that are euphemistically called conditioning drills. After that came some “compete” drills with more than a little physical contact as players battled for loose pucks in the corners.
Sort of what you might expect after a 4-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings, though as it turned out, those sprints off the sideboards were part of a different message the coaching staff was delivering.
“That,” Todd McLellan said afterward, “was due to lack of execution in practice.”
via Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Best we can tell, no truth to the increasing rumor that the Bruins are considering their own alternative “CH’’ logo, emblematic of Club Hub, solely for games in Montreal.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
• We all love Sid the Kid, but if you were voting for the top centre in the NHL today, wouldn’t it be Henrik Sedin or Jumbo Joe Thornton? Sedin has proven, to everybody, that he’s a stud. You can’t push him around. He’s a legitimate Hart Trophy candidate. He would be running away with the NHL scoring race if his brother, Daniel, hadn’t missed 18 games with that broken foot. How good is Henrik? Heading into Saturday’s game with the Calgary Flames, in the 52 games, Alex Burrows has been his linemate, he has 32 goals and 52 points.
• Can somebody tell me why the Chicago Blackhawks would screw up a good thing by bringing in Ilya Kovalchuk from the Atlanta Thrashers as a rental on the trade deadline day?...
• Rest assured, Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson will be trading Filatov, probably at the entry draft in June, because he’s not going to have a kid dictate who he plays or how many minutes he plays. He’ll have no trouble moving the forward, for the top four D-man he needs.
more hockey talk…
Brad Luckowich of the Canucks on the Flames Rene Bourque.
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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