Kukla's Korner Hockey
from The Good, The Bad And The Duthie,
What do you do, Jacques? What in the world do you do?
You trade him. That’s what you do. You cannot watch Bouwmeester walk away for nothing. A couple of (possible) home playoff dates aren’t worth it.
And I believe that Martin will do just that, unless the trade offers are laughably bad, which they shouldn’t be. As trade deadline approaches, they will get better and better. Someone will put together an attractive package that works; perhaps a solid NHL player, a top prospect, and a first round pick. And Jacques will take it.
from David Staples at The Cult of Hockey,
Hitting and blocked shots are extremely useful things in the defensive zone. A well-timed blocked shot can win a game. A defenceman who consistently hits hard can intimidate all but the toughest of attackers. A defenceman like Jason Smith who can do these things and do them well will tend to keep his job in the NHL, even if his puck skills are lacking.
So here are the 2008-09 league leaders among defencemen in defensive points (with a note of caution, that you’re a better hockey fan than me if you can figure out what constitutes a ‘hit’ in an NHL game; often I see players play a hard, physical game and not get more than one hit to their name; and I’m told that what is a hit in one city isn’t a hit in another, so be careful about the weight you put on that stat):
1. Brooks Orpik, PITT
2. Matt Greene, LA
“No one in that dressing room is taking this lightly. We understand everyone’s frustration and disappointment, but we are going to stick together to get back on right track. Our guys are not indifferent, and they are taking this personally. They want to succeed, and sometimes wanting too much can hurt you as much as not wanting it enough.”
-Canucks coach Alain Vigneault after Vancouver lost their 8 straight home game last night. More on the game at VancouverCanucks.com.
Rich Hammond of Inside the Kings did a fan Q & A…
Question: The Kings have 17 games left until the trading deadline and 12 of those games are on the road. How many games into this little stretch before Dean decides whether the Kings are buyers or sellers on March 4th? And just for fun, how many points would it take for you personally to make that decision, Rich, if you were in Dean’s position.
Answer: I can’t speak to what Lombardi is thinking in terms of the deadline, but logic dictates that these next six games will be huge. After Thursday’s home game, the Kings play five on the road, including tough games at Montreal, New Jersey and Washington. The Kings are only six points out of a playoff spot, but there are also four teams between them and the playoffs. My tendency is to think that it’s not a matter of being a ``buyer’’ or ``seller.’’ It’s more about long-term help for the team. It’s not going to be about bringinng in a rent-a-player for a playoff push. They’ll look at trades that help in the long term and short term.
from Five for Fighting,
The team will head up to Detroit in about two hours… ah, another visit to the building that time and a good disinfectant forgot. But it’s fabulous to watch a game there, so it’s worth it.
more on the Dallas Stars…
from Daryl Reaugh of Razor With An Edge,
By all accounts Don Waddell is a good hockey man, but…
You wouldn’t raise an eyebrow if someone used the phrase “he must have pictures” to rationalize his survival as Atlanta Thrasher G.M.
Here is a snapshot of his team’s business over the eight years Waddell has been in charge:
* Traded Marian Hossa (who he’d acquired from Ottawa in a deal that was all about giving Dan Heatley a fresh environment following the Dan Snyder tragedy) for a very average collection of Penguins (Colby Armstrong, Eric Christensen, and Angelo Esposito)
* At the draft he has selected 1st overall or 2nd four separate times and only two of those picks are still with the franchise. Patrik Stefan was a spectacular failure and is out of hockey, Dany Heatley has turned into that trio mentioned above. Kovalchuk has produced and is still there – but for how long? Kari Lehtonen has shown flashes but is oft-hurt and too many nights just average.
more & I can’t really say why Reaugh is pointing this out at this time…
from Dave Hodge at TSN,
Let’s start with thumbs down to the makeover of the Maple Leafs, which hasn’t started yet - and so it’s really thumbs down to the effect the uncertain future is having on certain players.
General Manager Brian Burke is known to dislike European-born players and small players - sounds like a sweeping and quite irrational generalization, but the proof appears to be in the statistics.
Free agent-to-be Nik Antropov, who would have reason to believe he’d be traded no matter where he was born, has been in a plus-minus free fall since Burke took over. he has gone from plus two to minus 12.
Same with the other Nik - Hagman - who’s European and small. Before Burke - plus three - now, minus nine.
more thumbs down and ups…
One of the negative points about Brian Burke’s departure from Anaheim is that he’s not around to gruffly blast anyone who is propagating the Internet rumour about the possibility Ducks defenceman Chris Pronger will be traded to the Flames.
Even if you ignore the fact that moving Pronger makes little sense from the Ducks’ standpoint and that Mr. and Mrs. Pronger didn’t have too much fun when they were last in Alberta, how in the world are the Flames going to squeeze another $6-million man onto their payroll this year and next?
-Jean Lefebvre of Flames Insider.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Keeping everyone happy could get problematic for Holland down the road, but it is a challenge that every GM around the league faces. The primary goal will be to avoid expensive mistakes – the kinds of contracts that can’t be traded, almost the moment the ink dries on the document.
The quality that sets Holland apart from the rank-and-file NHL general manager is that he’s thinking a little faster and a little farther out than others in his peer group. At the moment, you cannot find one contract on his list that looks bad in hindsight – even the deals he awarded to his supplementary players, such as Kris Draper or Kirk Maltby.
“Players only get so many years to make their money,” said Holland. “You want to make sure they feel good about their contracts and they feel good when they walk into the locker room. What we’ve been able to do since I became the general manager in 1997 and started with Steve (Yzerman). There were other people in the league making more than Steve. Steve wanted to take less so he could be surrounded by teammates.
Holland was also on the Fan590 about an hour ago, talking the Zetterberg contract and how he will deal with future signings. Listen here...
added 8:06pm, from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
...by getting Zetterberg to sign on for the long haul without breaking the bank, Holland has once again positioned himself to keep the Red Wings in the hunt—today, tomorrow and beyond.
from Ted Montgomery at USA TODAY,
Let’s take a look at burning questions as the NHL begins the second half of the 2008-09 season.
Q: Can any team in the Western Conference unseat favorites Detroit and San Jose?
A: Of course. Come playoff time, it’s all about injuries, hot goaltenders and teams sailing into the postseason on a winning streak. Right now, it doesn’t appear that any Western Conference team can outlast the Wings or Sharks in a seven game series, but that could change. A significant injury to either of those teams’ star players could turn the tide in a minute….
continued, many teams mentioned…
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 email@example.com