Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
In an unprecedented meltdown that had coach Jacques Lemaire screaming mad in the postgame news conference, the Wild lost at home after leading by three goals for the first time in history as the Ottawa Senators stormed back for a 5-3 victory….
“We get up three goals in the first period and basically just disrespected the other team,” said veteran Owen Nolan, who scored two goals and an assist early in what looked like a destined Wild rout. “We thought the game was in hand, and they came out ready to work the next two periods and they gave it to us.
“There’s no reason for the outcome.”
Not only did the Wild slip to 10th in the West, it doesn’t play again until Thursday, meaning the top eight will surely distance itself. And when the Wild returns to action, it plays third-place Calgary, second-place Detroit and fourth-place Chicago.
more & watch Lemaire’s post-game press conference below…
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post,
When the Flyers and Rangers make their season debut today on the NHL on NBC, don’t expect analyst Mike Milbury to give Philadelphia goaltender Marty Biron a lot of love….
“(Biron) is an OK goaltender, but he’s not an A-1. The team in front of him is a pretty good team, but it’s not Detroit either. They are going to need better goaltending to take them to the Promised Land.”
Putting too much credence in Milbury’s opinions is a dangerous thing.
This is a guy who as a defenseman with the Boston Bruins once climbed into the stands at Madison Square Garden, pulled the shoe off a fan and hit him over the head with it.
This is a guy who as coach of the Wales Conference All-Stars, forced the NHL to change its selection rules after he chose enforcer Chris Nilan over the legendary Guy Lafleur.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
The odds that the hockey world would ever go back to wood sticks are probably on a par with goalies everywhere going back to pads stuffed with horsehair.
But it sure gets frustrating, night after night, to see NHL ice surfaces littered with shattered pricy carbon shafts, which seem to have a way of vaporizing just as a point man puts the hammer down on a 40-foot slapper. Imagine the pain felt by parents who shell out $100, $200, or more for a stick, only to take home two halves to stake tomato plants in summer gardens.
“It’s a big point of contention among GMs throughout the league, I’ll tell you that,” said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli. “The stick budget for every team keeps going up.”
According to Chiarelli, the Bruins spend some $400,000 per annum on the lightweight sticks.
more plus other hockey notes including who the Bruins may be targeting at the trade deadline…
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
• The betting here is that Nik Antropov, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Pavel Kubina and Matt Stajan will not be Maple Leafs by the time the NHL trade deadline passes. And if Brian Burke can find teams who want the contracts of Jason Blake, Lee Stempniak and Ryan Hollweg, he’ll move them too. Where things get interesting are with injured defenceman Tomas Kaberle, who Burke likes but understands he has the most market value of any of his players.
• The more I watch Jay Bouwmeester the more I’m convinced that a) some team is going to overpay for him at the trade deadline or b) some team is going to way overpay for him in free agency this summer. He’s good. He’s not great.
more hockey notes among other sports observations…
via Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,
Hawks leading goal scorer Patrick Sharp left Saturday’s game with Dallas 39 seconds into the first period with what appeared to be a left knee injury.
Sharp was unable to put any pressure on his leg as he was helped to the dressing room.
Coach Joel Quenneville said after the Hawks’ 6-2 win that Sharp would not be going on the road trip this week to Tampa, South Florida and Dallas and that more details would be announced on Monday. Several Hawks acted as if Sharp would be out for a long period of time.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Too many teams in the NHL playoff race means not enough players will be available at this year’s trade deadline.
With a little more than two weeks to the March 4 deadline, only Toronto, Atlanta, Ottawa, Tampa Bay and the Islanders appear to be out of the chase.
In the Western Conference, all 15 teams still have a realistic chance of making it to the post-season, with only 10 points separating fifth place to 15th as of yesterday.
The closest teams to being sellers in the West would be the Blues and Avalanche.
continue on for some trade talk…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Today would be as good a time as any even if Avery, who played his first game for the Wolf Pack in last night’s 4-1 loss to Manitoba, might need another game or two to build his stamina, After claiming Avery on re-entry, the Rangers could assign him to Hartford for conditioning.
“I think [the NHL] is where I belong; that’s the type of player I am,” said Avery, who had last played 11 weeks ago today for the Stars in Edmonton. “But in saying that, I’m just happy to be playing here and I’ll worry about [the NHL] when the time comes.”...
Two NHL teams with the right to claim Avery on re-entry before the Rangers - Tampa Bay and Toronto - had scouts at the match, though neither is believed interested. Unless there’s a shocker, he’s the Rangers.
Also from Brooks,
Wade Redden is Glen Sather’s Folly. That has become painfully obvious fewer than 60 games into a six-year, $39 million contract that stands as the worst in the history of the NHL, if not in the history of hard-cap pro sports.
With skills declining so precipitously over the last three seasons that if he played baseball, one would deduce that he had built his previously admirable career resume on PED’s, the 31-year-old defenseman is the GM’s Greatest Mistake, far more substantial than Stephane Quintal or Theo Fleury or Bobby Holik, or any of those pre-lockout signings that all came with erasers.
from Bolts Report,
Washington’s Mike Green made NHL history on Saturday becoming the first defenseman in league history to score a goal in eight consecutive games.
Green, who leads all defenseman in goals, notched his 22ndh of the season at the 5:33 mark of the second period with a power play marker
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
Here’s how Brodeur’s informal meeting with the media went today.
Were you nervous for your first practice with the full team?
“No, not really. I knew was not going to get as much work in practice time. They said we were going to practice only for 20 minutes, so I said, ‘All right. I’m going ot have to some work after.’ So, I wasn’t really nervous. I was anxious to get going and see the speed of the shots, speed of the guys. It’s totally different than just making drills when guys are coming at a high pace. That’s why I need to practice, just to get used to that. It was good.”
Through the process of your recovery have you had any setbacks?
This one time—I don’t think I was on the ice yet—doing some of my rehab, I tweaked it pretty hard. It was the first time that broke scar tissue, so that panic. I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ And that was catching a lacrosse ball. We stopped right away and put ice (on it). I talked to (the doctor) and (he) was like, ‘Don’t worry about it. It’s going to happen.
from Matthew Sekeres and David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The Phoenix Coyotes are among the poorest teams in the NHL, but head coach Wayne Gretzky makes far more than any other coach in the league.
Gretzky earns between $7-million and $8-million (all currency U.S.) per year on a five-year contract, or more than seven times the average annual salary for an NHL head coach, according to several sources. The contract is so generous that even though Gretzky was said by one source to have agreed to defer up to half his salary this season, he would still be the best-paid bench boss in the league.
The huge compensation came based on the notion that Gretzky would help sell tickets at the Jobing.com Arena in suburban Glendale. But now, in Gretzky’s fourth season behind the bench, that does not appear to be the case.
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org