Kukla's Korner Hockey
The All-Star weekend has come and gone and now teams return Tuesday night for the second half. Scott Burnside and E.J. Hradek answer these 10 Burning Questions as we count down to the playoffs:
What’s the one move one team needs to make before March 4?
Burnside:...It says here if Gainey does not upgrade the team’s goaltending depth, the Habs will celebrate their centennial season with a second straight embarrassing second-round exit.
Hradek: If the Blue Jackets want to help support their rookie goalie and earn their first playoff berth, they’d be wise to add a veteran scorer to boost their attack. Maybe they could grab a guy like Blues winger/center Keith Tkachuk?
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Bruins Blog,
Patrice Bergeron, Milan Lucic, and Andrew Ference will all play tonight against Washington.
Bergeron, out since Dec. 20 because of a concussion suffered when he collided with Carolina’s Dennis Seidenberg, passed the neuro-psych test that is required of all players who are diagnosed with head injuries. Bergeron received clearance to play after passing the test.
“Just relief of getting a chance to be back soon,” Bergeron said when he was informed of his clearance. “There was relief. I was happy.”
from Bruce Ciskie of NHL Fanhouse,
One of my favorite hockey-related shows on NHL Network is Voices. As a hockey broadcaster myself, it is neat to watch how the best in the business prepare to go on the air, and how they interact with the best athletes on the planet.
Watching Voices made me start wondering who the best really were. With that in mind, I took advantage of a Center Ice subscription and an active remote, watching every team’s local broadcast as many times as I could stomach.
I came to a few conclusions.
Mike Emrick is so good he deserves his own category. I feel bad excluding him from this list, but I do it because he’s that much better than everyone.
via Stan Fischler of Game On,
What is the difference between Brendan Shanahan’s comeback and that of Mats (Card Table) Sundin? Brent Sutter has the answer while twitting Matty: “Shanny is well-conditioned,” explains the Devils’ coach. “He wasn’t traveling North America playing poker in those celebrity events!”
Sutter rates Sid Crosby (as a Junior) and Zach Parise among the two “hardest-working” players he’s ever coached. Parise, despite impressive numbers, does not rate himself a superstar. He tells us, “I could be better if I could be more consistent. I’ll figure it out soon.”
RALEIGH, NC—Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, announced today that Associate Head Coach Ron Francis will not be behind the bench for tonight’s game at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers. Francis suffered a back injury during the All-Star break and is not with the team on the current road trip.
from Sam McCaig of the Hockey News,
The closer the post-season gets, the more fiercely contested the games. Teams want to make sure they’re peaking at the right time, so they try to ensure everyone is on the same page – or at least using the same playbook – as the post-season nears. A player can be forgiven for a slow start to the season, but don’t go cold when your team is desperately trying to win in the spring.
With that in mind, here are a lucky seven players who can salvage their season - and maybe that of their team’s - with an improved showing in February and March:
Ales Hemsky, Edmonton
Granted, Eric Cole and Sam Gagner need to forget about the first half of the season and finally start contributing some goals on a semi-regular basis. If they don’t, it’s difficult to imagine the Oilers sneaking into the playoffs
A note about Gagner- The Oilers are waiting for results from an MRI performed yesterday on his ankle, which did not improve over the All-Star break.
Leave it to Scotty Bowman to break down the forced-sitting of Lidstrom & Datsyuk.
Listen to Scotty who was on the Fan590 in Toronto this morning. Scotty also discusses numerous NHL topics.
Also, from Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen,
Make them go to their room.
Make them each write a 1,000-word essay on why they love the NHL All-Star Game.
But to make Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings miss tonight’s game against the Blue Jackets does more potential harm to the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Anaheim Ducks and Minnesota Wild than it does to Detroit.
For the sake of propping up an all-star game that is rightly mocked for presenting silly hockey, the NHL is using a sledge hammer to kill a fly.
from Len Ziehm of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Like it or not, the 17-day trip is here.
After practicing today in Bensenville, the Blackhawks take off on their longest road trip in eight seasons and the second-longest in the 82-year history of the franchise.
The stretch of eight consecutive road games begins Wednesday in Anaheim, and the Hawks won’t return to the United Center until Feb. 14.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Of all the questions to consider as the 2008-09 NHL season heads into the home stretch, the one on everyone’s mind in Western Canada is: Is this the year the region’s three Canadian-based teams qualify for the playoffs together?
At the all-star game break, the Calgary Flames were third on the Western Conference list, with the Edmonton Oilers holding down sixth place and the Vancouver Canucks, despite a six-game losing string, hanging on to seventh.
If the playoffs began today, the Flames and Oilers would meet in the opening round, setting up the first playoff Battle of Alberta since their memorable 1991 meeting, won by the Oilers in seven games.
continued with a look at the Wings, Ducks and some trade options…
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
With a leg dangling over each side of the fence, Bryan Murray claimed yesterday he is prepared to do both some buying and some selling.
But he also adamantly insisted he’s not about to put a stick of dynamite to the Senators roster.
“I read and hear the comments being made ‘blow up the team’ or ‘start over’ or ‘lose all the games so you can get the first pick’. I don’t think that does any of us any good at this point,” the Senators GM told an Ottawa media scrum yesterday. “Maybe four years down the road it may make a difference, but this year and next, I don’t think you people would be very happy writing and talking on a daily basis that we’ve gone into the tank or whatever….”
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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