Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the CP,
When the Washington Capitals come to town, a crowd forms quickly around 22-year-old scoring star Alexander Ovechkin.
Not far away, left in relative peace, sits Nicklas Backstrom, the 20-year-old rookie who picks up many of the assists on Ovechkin’s often spectacular goals.
As a duo, they promise to bring misery to NHL goaltenders for many years to come. But for now, Ovechkin is happy to absorb the pressure of expectation and endless media interviews.
“Backie’s a great guy,” Ovechkin said Tuesday as the Capitals prepared to the play the first of back-to-back games against the Montreal Canadiens. “He’s a little shy with you guys, but not us.”
From Lew Serviss at Slap Shot (NYT hockey blog),
Lucic reported to Boston and banged and crashed through training camp and pre-season, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound bunker buster. He wound up cracking the Bruins’ opening night roster.
His introduction to the Boston faithful came 2:17 into the Bruins’ first home game. Lucic squared off with Tampa Bay’s Nick Tarnasky and rained about a dozen heavy rights on the unsuspecting Lightning tough guy.
The hit (and fight) parade continued. Lucic, 19, also looked at home offensively,setting up plays and firing a hard shot, on a line with the dangerous Phil Kessel and another skilled rookie, David Krejci. In the fourth game of the season, Lucic scored a Gordie Howe hat trick in Los Angeles, where he held his own with the Kings’ 260-pound enforcer Raitis Ivanans.
In Boston, the combination of physical play, heavyweight toughness and offensive ability in a Bruins jersey adds up to just one thing: Cam Neely.
more… profiling the development of Milan Lucic in Boston this year
from Jim Kelley of Sportsnet,
The simple fact is the kid has become toxic and not just because he was a few minutes late for practice Monday.
Emery has passed the stage of being “free-spirited” and of “moving to a different tune”. He’s now morphed into the worst possible world for an elite athlete; he has become a talent that is too much trouble for his team.
You really expect someone to make a trade for a guy like that?
I understand players go off course from time to time, but Emery has given every indication that he’s a player who has gone off the tracks.
Update 1:49pm ET: From Ken Warren at the Ottawa Citizen,
Ray Emery will be fined as much as the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement will allow, according to Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray.
Murray says Emery, who was late for Monday’s practice on Long Island, will be fined a “substantial” amount.
The Senators general manager says he has talked to other general managers about trading for a new goaltender - the first time he has openly discussed the possibility of dealing Emery.
Brian Burke was just on NHL Live and mentioned the Ducks are $1.7M under the cap right now, which will allow them to trade for a $5M player at the trade deadline if need be. They also have the #1 pick from Edmonton they can dangle in trade talks too.
We will try to get the audio and post it if it becomes available.
from the LA Daily News,
General manager Dean Lombardi will decide who to deal, who to keep and what the Kings can get to build for the future before the Feb. 26 trade deadline.
Rob Blake, the Kings’ all-time leader in games played for a defenseman, is the biggest bargaining chip. He’s 38 years old and in the final year of a two-year contract. But he’s also a likely Hall of Famer and a veteran with playoff experience that could put a contender over the top. Blake has a no-trade clause, so he will have control over his destination, but he has said he would consider waiving his right if Lombardi asked.
Defensemen Brad Stuart and Jaroslav Modry and forwards Ladislav Nagy, Brian Willsie and Scott Thornton are others often mentioned in trade rumors.
from the News & Observer,
One of the biggest reasons the Canes have slid in recent months is that they struggle to put together consistent games.
In their last game before the break, the Canes gave up three short-handed goals in a 6-3 loss to the New York Islanders. For chunks of the season, it has been the penalty kill letting them down. Injuries and illnesses haven’t helped matters.
Canes coach Peter Laviolette has seen the effort he’s looking for in recent games—he especially liked what he saw in a late two-goal rally for a 3-2 overtime win over the Islanders on Jan. 21—but the Hurricanes haven’t given the same effort nightly.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
“The goal (is) to finish as high as we can in the standings,” Christopher Higgins said. “That’s something we’ve talked about recently since we’ve been playing better. Before, we were talking about separating ourselves from the pack below but, now, it’s about catching who’s in front of us. That’s a healthy way to think about things.”
The reality is that, while the Canadiens have the second-best record in the Eastern Conference, they are as close to ninth place as they are to first. With 60 points, they are six points behind Ottawa with a game in hand, but only six points up on the ninth-place New York Rangers.
Chris Chelios via the Detroit Free Press,
“I think our biggest issue ... is getting some more exposure to our game, and I think we just signed a three-year deal with Versus. ... We need a better TV contract, more exposure on TV, and we’re not getting that. It’s not going to hurt for a team to go over to Europe for some of the stars to be seen over there. But our problem is in the U.S., selling buildings out and exposing the game.”
more on the Wings…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Sather, we’re told, is demanding the equivalent of a top-four defenseman in return for Malik, who carries a cap charge of approximately $950,000 the remainder of the way for this, the final season of his contract.
While there is widespread interest around the league in Malik, no GM has been willing to meet Sather’s requirement for making a deal.
from the St. Petersburg Times,
Gratton and Boyle have no-trade clauses, meaning they must approve any deal. But that doesn’t make things any easier.
“I try not to pay attention to it,” Gratton said. “We’re trying to stay focused and trying to climb back into the playoff race and worry about the task at hand.”
Would he waive his no-trade clause as he did when traded to Tampa Bay from the Panthers?
“You have to wait and see,” he said. “I was thankful to get the opportunity to come back here. I’ve made it known I don’t want to leave. But you always want to do what’s best for the franchise.”
“Ask me in a month,” Boyle said. “The last thing I want to do is talk about getting traded. I want to concentrate on playing well and helping this team turn things around. That’s my focus.”
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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