Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Brophy of Sportsnet,
There is no question a lot of teams up against the salary cap will be hampered in their ability to add talent – and salary – at the deadline, but you just know when push comes to shove teams that believe one more piece added to the puzzle will guarantee them a shot at the Stanley Cup, or at the very least a long playoff run, will find a way to make a deal.
The most obvious targets will be impending unrestricted free agents. Teams, especially those that have fallen out of the playoff picture, shudder at the thought of having an asset walk away without getting anything in return.
continue for players who may be on the move…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The Boston Bruins surprised, the Ottawa Senators disappointed and thanks to parity, and all those extra points for overtime and shootout losses, about 25 teams still figure they’re legitimately in the NHL playoff race. Mike Keenan won his 650th game and is still employed as an NHL coach, while Barry Melrose was one of three coaches to get a pink slip (Denis Savard and Peter Laviolette were the others) and landed a new/old gig as a broadcaster with ESPN, where he can continue to poke pins in his Len Barrie voodoo doll.
There was new life in Chicago, even before they played a Winter Classic at Wrigley Field to rave reviews. Five of the six pre-expansion teams were on pace for 100 points or better, with only the Toronto Maple Leafs unable to participate in the Original Six revival.
read on and as always, many more NHL topics…
from Japers’ Rink,
This morning I noted that “On this date back in 1998, Dale Hunter had three helpers and reached the 1,000 point plateau, becoming the first - and still only - player in NHL history with 1,000 points and 3,000 PIMs in a career.”
Maruk commented that Huntsy may be the only member to ever enter that exclusive club, and while you never say never… he’s probably right. A quick glance at the active Top 100 in points and PIMs makes you realize that it’s unlikely anyone currently playing is going to reach the double milestone, but let’s take a look at just how unlikely.
Penguins forward Ruslan Fedotenko will miss four to six weeks with a broken right hand, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Ray Shero.
Fedotenko suffered the injury January 6 versus the Atlanta Thrashers and has been placed on injured reserve.
from Fluto Shinzawa of Bruins Blog,
Patrice Bergeron, making his first public appearance since suffering a concussion on Dec. 20 against Carolina, spoke for approximately 15 minutes in the home dressing room at TD Banknorth Garden this morning.
“I’m very confident I’ll play this year,” said Bergeron. “It’s a matter of when. That’s why I don’t want to put on a date on it and get disappointed like I was last year in the playoffs. I’ve learned from that. So yes, I do think I’ll be back.”
Update 7:45pm ET (alanah): More on Bergeron from James Murphy at NHL.com. Murphy also told me that Bergeron looked much better and was in much better spirits than he expected.
Our weekly “Faceoff” features ESPN.com NHL writers Scott Burnside (based in Atlanta) and Pierre LeBrun (based in Toronto), who duke it out over any given hockey topic. Let the games begin!
This week’s topic: Should the NHL consider realigning its 30 teams?...
Scott Burnside: ...When you see compelling games like the Flyers-Caps tilt the other night, it makes you pine for more. It brings us to the question of realignment, which pops up every now and then, and will likely continue to do so as we discuss the future of franchises in Phoenix, Atlanta and Nashville, among others.
The assumption has long been if the NHL ever gets to a point where it is serious about realigning the conferences, the first order of business will be to move Detroit into the Eastern Conference, which would set up some interesting rivalry possibilities with Toronto, Buffalo and Ottawa.
Pierre LeBrun: Scotty, I wouldn’t be so sure about moving Detroit. I think Chicago, among others, would have serious issues with that.
from Rich Hammond of Inside the Kings,
I highly doubt that this will discourage any Internet gossip-mongering, but Dean Lombardi said yesterday that the Kings aren’t close to any type of significant trade. And when the Kings do start seriously looking, it will be up front, not in goal.
Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson admits that a big part of his team’s struggles this season are a result of his team’s inability to overcome adversity and show mental toughness.
“We’re very fragile,” Alfredsson said on Friday afternoon. “When we get a goal against us, we get away from our game plan. We don’t follow through and trust. It’s individual mistakes and when we make them, we can’t overcome them.”
What team do you pick to finish 1at at the end of the regular season? The standings listed below are as of this afternoon.
from Brad Holland of NHL.com,
Less than a year ago, Milan Lucic, Brandon Dubinsky, Nicklas Backstrom, Marc Staal, and Kris Letang were the rookies, the wide-eyed, first-year skaters heading to the NHL All-Star Game simply to savor a taste of the experience.
Only a year later, and my how things have changed! The peach fuzz may still remain, but the wide-eyed stare has been replaced with the seen-it-all glare of an NHL veteran.
Five of the boys are back in town for their second All-Star Game (six, along with Patrick Kane, named to the Western Conference starting line), in the hockey-mad city of Montreal.
The five veterans of last year’s YoungStars Game returning for the 2009 incarnation will be joined by five more of their contemporaries—Atlanta’s Bryan Little, San Jose’s Devin Setoguchi, Edmonton’s Andrew Cogliano, Vancouver’s Mason Raymond and the Kings’ Erik Ersberg—and the 10 players will take on the “younglings,” the rookies from the 2008-09 season, in a battle of the brightest of the League’s future.
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