Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mark Spector of the National Post via Canada.com,
Today, in the third season after the lockout that changed so many facets of the game, the NHL finds its popularity waning in three of its gold star American markets: Detroit, Dallas and Colorado. There just may be a price to be paid after all, the league is learning, for the salary cap that has put millions into league coffers over the last three years….
While interest has increased in small markets, where teams now compete on an even economic plane, it seems people in the large markets preferred it when their team had the ability to outspend opponents.
All of the big U.S. markets include competition from the NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball. There is an inherent battle for headlines and talk-show time that is being lost by NHL clubs that simply aren’t making news the way they used to under the old collective bargaining agreement.
from the Edmonton Journal,
The cavalry’s coming.
One of the Edmonton Oilers’ horses, Fernando Pisani, could be back playing within the week, maybe tugging on a jersey when the team is in California to play the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings.
And captain Ethan Moreau may be riding to the rescue around Christmas. He’s been told he still has to wear a cast on his broken left foot for two more weeks.
Finally, some light at the end of the tunnel for the Oilers, who’ve been going without their valuable third-line veterans, who usually eat up 15 to 18 minutes a night.
from Media News via Inside Bay Area,
Sharks coach Ron Wilson knows that his name has been kicked around in the hockey media at various points this season as someone who needs to be worried about his job.
He routinely shrugs that off. And Tuesday, he used his team’s strong play in its own zone — second fewest goals allowed, second fewest shots allowed — to help explain why.
“If we were bad defensively, yeah, I’d be, ‘It’s me,’” Wilson said. “The only way you can play defense is if you have a team committed to doing something. If I’ve lost the whole team, why are we playing so well defensively?”
from the Buffalo News,
There will be 18,690 waiting in HSBC Arena. The Buffalo Sabres host St. Louis tonight, and it’s a long-awaited outing for McKee and Blues teammate Lee Stempniak. McKee hasn’t played in Buffalo since Game Six of the 2006 Eastern Conference finals, while West Seneca’s Stempniak has never played professionally in his hometown.
“It’s special,” McKee said Tuesday. “I was very fortunate to grow not only as a player but as a person here in this town. To come back and play here is going to be a pretty neat feeling. The fans were great, stuck behind me over the 10 years I was here, and that doesn’t always happen with players. I felt very fortunate for that.”
from Bill Lankhof of the Toronto Sun,
Fire the coach! Draw and quarter the ##%%&&())$ general manager!
Trade Sundin! Bench McCabe! Andrew Raycroft is Judas reincarnate!
In the words of that great philosopher, Chicken Little, the sky is falling, which goes to prove only one thing: It must be hockey season in Toronto.
Phaneuf put a big hit on Hudler last night in the 3rd period. Hudler had been agitating Dion most of the night and you just had a feeling Phaneuf was looking for the right opportunity to pay him back.
Watch the video of the hit…
from the Chicago Daily Herald,
But the biggest story tonight is Havlat’s return. The all-star winger has battled injuries for much of his first two seasons with the Hawks, although when he has played he has been one of the most dynamic scorers in the NHL.
“It feels pretty good, but I guess we’ll find out now how it feels in a game,” Havlat said Tuesday. “It’s been great to watch the team win. I just want to come back and help.”
The concern is Havlat’s twice surgically repaired shoulder won’t last the season. The Hawks will be holding their breath on every hit, but Havlat won’t be.
“I have to do what I do best, and if I think about it then I’m not going to be able to play the way I can,” Havlat said.
Now, it’s highly unlikely the deal in Tampa will go through. It’ll take a minor miracle for it all to get settled and go through before the end of the season. Thus, the Blue Jackets will have to keep on paying MacLean. The remainder they owe is about $450,000.
That money would come in handy right about now if general manager Scott Howson is eagerly working the trade market. Certainly, that would be some nice “play money” at the trade deadline.
A $450,000 chunk doesn’t sound like much. But if a $1.8 million player is acquired at the trade deadline, the salary he’s owed the rest of the season—about 1/4 of the way to go—is roughly $450,000. There are some pretty good $1.8M players out there.
from the St. Petersburg Times,
Wilson said he still is trying to make sense of the tumult surrounding the now-dead $200-million proposal that included the St. Pete Times Forum lease and 5 1/2 acres of nearby land in Tampa.
He also tried to allay “understandable” fan nervousness about the team’s future.
Wilson said he still has “some degree of optimism” Absolute Hockey Enterprises’ main players can resolve their differences and resurrect the purchase.
If they do not, he said, the team will not be shopped—“we’re not hiring a broker to see who might have interest in the Tampa Bay Lightning”—but offers that “fall out of the sky” will be considered.
from the Columbus Dispatch,
Blue Jackets defenseman Duvie Westcott likely suffered yet another concussion Saturday, ruling him out of the club’s short-term plans and calling into question his NHL future.
The news yesterday was not good.
“We’ll wait for the doctors to tell us (what’s next),” general manager Scott Howson said. “But we have been told that he’s symptomatic.”
Detroit’s Niklas Kronvall slammed Westcott into the boards late in the game Saturday in Nationwide Arena.
Westcott’s head did not appear to be struck, but his body was jolted.
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.
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