Kukla's Korner Hockey
via the Atlanta Thrashers,
HLN anchor Christi Paul will sing the U.S. National Anthem prior to the Thrashers game on Tuesday, Feb. 24 vs. the Colorado Avalanche.
Paul, who joined CNN in 2003, anchors HLN weekdays from noon – 5 p.m. on the cable network. She has sung the anthem at other professional sporting events including the Atlanta Braves, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Indians as well as the Cleveland Lumberjacks of the defunct International Hockey League.
from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,
The league’s two best players are Russian. Four of the top 11 scorers are Russian. Three of the top 10 goalscorers. Even Sidney Crosby’s yapping during yesterday’s loss to Washington was an implicit acknowledgment of the truth: Crosby is only the second-best player on his own team and the league’s best and most exciting player is Alexander Ovechkin, not Crosby.
In a single week with the Montreal Canadiens, we got the entire spectrum the Russians bring to the game: Alex Kovalev - ordered to take two games off by GM Bob Gainey, - stormed back with a goal and two assists in Saturday’s 5-3 win over the struggling Senators.
Ovechkin scored another of his highlight-of-the-century goals against the Habs in Washington. His great young rival Evgeni Malkin, the next night in Pittsburgh, led the Penguins past the Canadiens.
And finally, the Kostitsyn brothers were scalded for their open association with one Pasquale Mangiola, who faces drug and weapons charges….
Many Canadian fans have the impression that Russians play only when they want to, that they are inscrutable, that all they want is to cash the paycheques and live the good life.
Some of it is true of certain players. Some is not.
from Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Team officials privately, and coach John Stevens publicly, say the trade deadline probably won’t provide a big headline. There are salary-cap constraints and a limited number of available players who could make a big difference and, anyway, they like the team they have now.
“If the deadline comes and goes and the team that’s here is the team that’s here, I think we’re pretty confident this group can compete with anybody,” Stevens said. “I don’t think we’re looking for anybody to come in here and save the day. If we were to make any changes at all, I think it will be to complement what’s already here and not to resurrect anything.”
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
Which leads to the one list I have that is more complete than any other, and that is the list of players the Jackets won’t pursue – be it because the players are too old, too expensive, or would cost too much (first-round pick plus) to import. So far, I have on that list Jay Bouwmeester, Lecavalier, Tomas Kaberle, Pavel Kubina, Jason Spezza, Olli Jokinen, Doug Weight, Keith Tkachuk and Nik Antropov. In a couple of the cases – Jokinen, Antropov, Tkachuk – I personally don’t think the player’s personality fits in Columbus.
read on to find out who the Blue Jackets may have interest in…
from Dan Steinberg of D.C. Sports Bog,
After the game, Crosby was asked about the words thrown in his direction from the Caps; “that’s always the case,” he said. “You know, it doesn’t change from team to team.”
Crosby was also asked about his second-period shoving match with Ovechkin; “I don’t know, I was skating to the bench and he pushed me from behind so I just gave him a shot back,” Crosby said. “That’s hockey, and he likes to run around these days, so that was it.”
“It was not a cheap shot,” Ovechkin said. “It was a game moment. If he don’t like it, it’s his problem.”
from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,
Negotiations have been ongoing between Ian Laperriere and Avalanche management toward a contract extension. But no agreement has been reached, and Laperriere is aware he could be dealt to another team by the NHL’s March 4 trade deadline if one can’t be made.
But Laperriere made it clear after Sunday’s 5-2 defeat to the Carolina Hurricanes that he wants to finish his career with the Avalanche.
“I don’t want to go anywhere else. But I’ve got no control over that,” said Laperriere, who has had a good season, at plus-2 with seven goals and 17 points. “If I do go somewhere else, I’ll go wherever they tell me to go. It’s a business, and we’ll see what happens in the next couple weeks.”
from Dan Wood of Ducks Blog at the OC Register,
“No matter what, I have to listen, to anything that gives us a chance to be a better team next year,” Murray said. “I’m not about just getting in the playoffs and then losing in the first round. It’s about getting in and being capable of winning.”
Even if the Ducks were to sneak into the playoffs, they would appear likely to be seeded seventh or eighth and face a daunting opening-round challenge against a powerhouse foe such as the defending champion Detroit Red Wings or San Jose Sharks. The idea of making a deep post-season run, then, appears dubious at best.
“I’m losing thoughts of that,” Murray said. ” I thought some spark might come, some passion, some chemistry. It hasn’t happened. It hasn’t happened yet.”
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Sather was asked whether coach Tom Renney’s job is safe, whether the head coach who has taken the Blueshirts to the playoffs in each of his three full seasons behind the bench, would be on the ice for the club’s next practice session.
“I’m not going to get into that. You know that,” the general manager told The Post. “I’m not going to talk about that at all.”
Sather similarly deflected a question about his intentions regarding Sean Avery, who remains in Hartford on loan from Dallas.
“Sean is another team’s property,” Sather said before bobbing and weaving when asked when and if he would ask the Stars to place the winger on re-entry waivers so the Rangers could claim him.
“It’s more complicated than that,” Sather said. “There are cap issues. There might be other things going on that no one knows about….”
more and watch below for post-game reaction from Renney, Lundqvist and Drury.
from John Glennon of the Tennessean,
With just over a week before the NHL’s March 4 trading deadline and only five teams realistically out of the playoff chase, Nashville’s David Poile said recent conversations with his fellow general managers are following a similar pattern.
In one breath he and his peers are talking about what they might like to acquire if they’re buyers at the deadline. In the next they’re talking about what they might be willing to give up if they’re sellers.
“I’d be very hard-pressed to think that a lot would happen at the trading deadline,’’ Poile said Sunday. “That may be famous last words because every year there’s been a lot of trades at the deadline. But I don’t think the race has ever been as close as it is today. For most teams of any significance, you just don’t have any trading partners.’’
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal via Faceoff.com,
I’m not sure why people are writing off Detroit’s Nick Lidstrom for his seventh Norris Trophy. Don’t you have to knock off the champ?
Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is getting lots of play in Boston, but he’s got 34 points and is plus-24. Lidstrom has 43 points and is also plus-24. Capitals defenceman Mike Green might actually be the biggest challenger. Green has 51 points and he’s plus-26 in Washington, but Lidstrom has played all year with tendinitis in his elbow, which has cut down his effectiveness.
Here’s everything you should know about him, though. He’s plus-404 in his NHL career. He’s never had a season where he was a minus player. Here’s the top five in history, with most playing in the ‘70s and ‘80s, when there were lots of patsies to beat up on: Larry Robinson (plus-730), Bobby Orr (597), Ray Bourque (528), Wayne Gretzky (518) and Bobby Clarke (506). Orr was plus-124 in 1970-71.
more hockey topics…
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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