Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the LA Times,
Brad Stuart is looking forward to keeping things simple for a while. Jaroslav Modry said the time will allow the Kings to further bond as a team. Rob Blake, well, he’s just indifferent these days.
Such are the opinions of the most veteran Kings players, as they prepare for an eight-game, 16-day trip, one of the longest of their careers.
“It’s right up there, for sure,” said Stuart, in his eighth NHL season and first with the Kings. “It’s going to be a long haul, but I think the good thing is we’re spending a lot of time in an area where we don’t have to travel a whole lot.”
continued (reg. req.)
from the AP via the Santa Barbara News-Press,
San Jose is among the league’s elite teams at 27-15-2-5, with remarkable team defensive play and Thornton’s usual playmaking brilliance in front of a workhorse goalie enjoying a career year. Yet the Sharks’ offensive struggles and lackluster home record have left even some players feeling that the club with the NHL’s third-best record is somehow underachieving.
‘‘I think we all realize we’re not even close to playing the way we want to,’’ said veteran defenseman Craig Rivet, whose steady play and off-ice leadership have been among the Sharks’ biggest assets. ‘‘We’ve got much more work to do in the next three months or so before the playoffs. We’ve got a lot to get done.’‘
from Rangers Report,
We know Marek Malik skated today. We know he had a talk with Tom Renney and his teammates before practice and we know, by all outside indications at least, that the team is trying to put the events of last week behind it.
from the Ottawa Sun,
Ray Emery is going to have some explaining to do.
The Senators goaltender, who has had his share of time management issues this season, showed up at 4:04 p.m. for the team’s 4 p.m. practice at the New York Islanders’ practice facility.
Senators coach John Paddock didn’t let Emery on the ice. The club is believed to be considering its options - including a suspension.
added 9:10pm, from Ian Mendes at Sportsnet,
After being late for another practice on Monday, you can make the argument that Emery’s trade value has never been lower. So if you are a general manager in Tallon’s shoes, now is the time to strike. He is looking to the future and despite what everyone is saying about Emery today, the guy still has a lot of upside.
And in the Blackhawks arsenal, Tallon holds a netminder with playoff experience that the Senators would likely covet.
And that man is Patrick Lalime.
Ok, just kidding.
While I will always be a fan of Lalime’s, the netminder I am speaking about is Nikolai Khabibulin.
from David Amber at ESPN,
Keep your head up, or you might meet Dion Phaneuf the hard way.
The 22-year old All-Star is geared up for a big game in Atlanta, where his bullet-like shot was on display. In this week’s Facing Off, the league’s hardest hitter tells us what it’s like playing for his hometown’s archrival, why he may be the most feared player in the game and who he thinks is the team to beat this season in the NHL….
Q: Mike Richards just signed a 12-year $69-million deal with Philadelphia. You will become a restricted free agent on July 1. What dialogue have you had with the Flames about signing a contract extension?
A: Can’t comment on that. We’ve haven’t been talking yet. As far as the deal Mike signed, I think it’s a great deal. Some guys are going to the longer-term deal, some guys prefer a shorter deal. It’s really up to the player and the team to work it out, and hopefully both sides can be happy.
note: added the Selanne press conference video at the bottom of the post at 8:40pm.
Sources tell TSN the Finnish winger and the Anaheim Ducks have agreed to terms on a contract for the balance of this season and Selanne will be re-joining the team this week.
added 4:18pm, via the Anaheim Ducks,
The Anaheim Ducks announced today that right wing Teemu Selanne has signed a one-year contract and will join the team for the remainder of the 2007-2008 season. Selanne, who was an unrestricted free agent, will practice with the team today and travel on the club’s eight-game, 15-day road trip (team departs Tuesday).
“It took Teemu several months to determine if he had the passion and determination to return to the NHL, and we are thrilled to have him back,” said Executive Vice President/General Manager Brian Burke. “This is a player who scored 48 goals last year and showed no signs of slowing down.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Consider that last year, the gap between the No. 1 team at the break (for those with short memories, it was the Nashville Predators, believe it or not) and the 30th-place Philadelphia Flyers was 44 points. This year, it is 36 — pretty close in other words.
A more telling measure is the gap between second-best and second-worst teams at the All-Star break. Last year, it was 32 points.
This year, it’s only 21 points (from the No. 2 Ottawa Senators down to the No. 29 Tampa Bay Lightning). Normally, you’d think that a team lingering at the bottom of the conference standings such as Tampa wouldn’t be harboring any playoff thoughts whatsoever, with about a third of the schedule to play, but you’d be wrong.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Sidney Crosby pauses as he walks down the hallway of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. He hears the happy cries of a boy in one of the rooms just visited, so he stops, retraces his steps and disappears behind a curtain in the room.
“Hat fit OK, buddy?” Crosby asks the boy, who can’t speak.
A behind-the-scenes look at Sidney Crosby during a recent visit to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
There are more excited noises.
“I had one conversation with one GM - the same one I’ve had about five or six months now,” Rutherford said of his trip to Atlanta. “And it ended the same way it all ended.
“I would like to continue to work on trying to get more mobility on our defense. And that’s what we continue to work on but it’s not easy. You have to pay a high price if and when they are available.
“And if get them, they get into high-rent district on their salaries.”
Rutherford said the Canes will continue to see appealing defensemen come available and may look to address that in free agency in July.The trade deadline is Feb. 26.
from the Tennessean,
If the Predators do make such a move, it will almost surely be to add an offensive-minded forward to an occasionally goal-challenged club.
“Our missing piece is a top-six forward,’’ Poile said. “We have one (injured Steve Sullivan), but he’s not playing. So we could add a top-six forward that could bring more offense, but — not to take myself off the hook — that’s a tall order.
“Because in my discussions all year long with most clubs, they’re looking for the exact same thing. Other than Ottawa and Detroit, almost every club would like a top-six forward.’’
Poile also isn’t willing to sacrifice large chunks of the future, as he did the last two seasons at the trade deadline.
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