Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jamie Fitzpatrick of Jamie’s Hockey Blog at About.com,
Everyone loves the underdog. The upset special. The little guy who goes all the way.
But in the modern NHL, it almost never happens.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs produce plenty of upsets. It seems like every year a team emerges from the bottom of the pool to knock off a couple of favorites.
But they always fall short of the ultimate goal.
Since 1996, every Stanley Cup champion has finished among the top five in the regular-season standings.
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
The Journal’s David Staples, who covers the Edmonton Oilers from home, wrote that Oilers defenceman Ladislav Smid has been “begging” to be traded out of Edmonton.
The Smid blog came complete with a character analysis explaining why Smid might want out—even though Smid says he’s never met the writer.
“On the Internet, some guy is writing some (crap) about me wanting to be traded,” he said.
“You know what Edmonton is like, lots of rumours. I don’t even pay attention.”
update 12:07pm, for some reason, the Edmonton Sun has either pulled the story or they are having an issue with the link. It was working and now it is not.
added 3:46pm, Here is an alternate link to the Edmonton story via Slam. Be aware, Slam links on occasion disappear too.
from Eric McErlain of AOL Fanhouse,
Cherry had already warmed up the viewing audience earlier in the segment when he jokingly referred to Calgary Flames center Oli Jokinen, a Finn, as a Russian—because after all, it’s impossible to tell those European players apart these days!
Next, in a move that will only reinforce Cherry’s reputation as a xenophobe, he mangled the Caps owner’s last name (“Legonsis”), before questioning his hockey judgment in light of the team’s decision to sign Jaromir Jagr to a long-term contract…
from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
So far, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby’s season hasn’t gone as planned — verbal jabs from opponents, public denouncements from the media and criticism from fans.
Plus, his club, two victories shy of the Stanley Cup last year, is currently fighting for a playoff spot.
Perhaps those are the reasons Crosby, the player often called “the Face of the NHL,” has smiled a lot less this season.
“It’s probably always something you deal with when a team is not doing as well,” Crosby said of the vitriol aimed at him in recent months. “They look at leadership.”
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
• Ray Shero was busy around deadline time. Trying to make sure his club gets to the post-season, sources say the Penguins GM tried to re-acquire LW Ryan Malone from the Lightning before making the deal to get LW Chris Kunitz from Anaheim. The belief is the Penguins offered D Ryan Whitney in exchange for Malone, who signed as a UFA with Tampa Bay in the summer. When the Penguins were rebuffed, Shero, looking to add a winger to play alongside Sidney Crosby, went and got Kunitz.
• The Panthers came close to moving D Jay Bouwmeester at the deadline. Sources say the Flyers dropped out of the running at the 11th hour because they didn’t have the cash and left the Canucks as the only suitor.
from Tom Reed of Puck-rakers at the Columbus Dispatch,
Captain Rick Nash scored three goals—all of them unassisted. The last time that happened? Try March 14, 1948 when legendary Maurice “Rocket” Richard pumped in four against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. That’s according to Sal from the Elias Sports Bureau….
The Jackets had lost four of their six games and were coming to an arena where they have lost 19 times in 25 tries (6-17-2). They have only lost more games in one arena—the Sommet Center in Nashville. And yet they put together a stellar all-around effort.
Of course, there were two teams on the ice and the Red Wings, a proud franchise, were simply humbled. Do you recall a Detroit squad so loose with the puck? Brian Rafalski should argue he deserves an assist on Nash’s second goal. The Wings have allowed eight goals twice in eight days. The magnficent Henrik Zetterberg was a minus-4.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Jagr, who accurately had been linked to the Oilers in mid-February, is all but certain to attempt to gain clearance from Omsk and the KHL to return to the NHL next season even though he had told friends throughout the year he is locked into Russia for 2009-10. If Tom Renney had remained behind the Ranger bench, it’s likely he would have sought to come back to New York.
That scenario is now inoperative. Indeed, if the Oilers miss the playoffs for a third straight year, it’s just possible Renney could replace Craig MacTavish as head coach and reunite with Jagr in Edmonton.
read on plus a few more hockey topics…
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice, T
he door to the visiting room remained closed for about 10 minutes following the Devils’ 7-3 loss to the Islanders this afternoon as head coach Brent Sutter ripped into his players for their lack of effort against the league’s last-place team.
“This team we played tonight worked hard again and we weren’t ready to match that work ethic,” a clearly upset Sutter said afterward. “Our compete level tonight, it’s hard to play this game when you’re not physically involved. Outside of maybe a couple of guys, we weren’t involved like we needed to be. When you get seven goals scored against you, it tells you something, especially with a team that takes pride in playing well without the puck. That’s tells you where your mindsets were and it’s disappointing. They should be embarrassed because they got embarrassed by a bunch of young players that play hard and compete.”
Sources tell TSN the Tampa Bay Lightning are close to signing head coach Rick Tocchet to a three-year contract extension.
Tabbed interim head coach since taking over for the fired Barry Melrose on November 14, this would mark Tocchet’s first full-time head coaching job.
from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice, one of the game’s best people, had an interesting take on the development of Lightning rookie Steven Stamkos. Maurice said Stamkos “is going to be a great, great player,” but not just because of his skill. In part, because of how he handled the pressure on the front end of his career.
Asked if the Lightning would have been better served not hyping expectations so much for the No. 1 draft pick, Maurice disagreed.
“I think that’s part of it,” Maurice said of the maturation process, “and maybe an important part of what he has to go through. You might be able to look back and say there was more pressure than was needed, but at the end of the day, this man is a high -pressure man. All of them go through it.”
Maurice said even now, Canes star Eric Staal, at 24, is still learning to deal with expectations, and even though the numbers have been there, Sidney Crosby is even struggling with pressure because it is constant.
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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