Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
In my many years of covering the NHL, one of the questions I most frequently hear after a game is:
“Gee, who picked the three stars?”
In some NHL cities, the choices are put to a vote of all media members in the press box. Most places, a single selector is designated before the game. At the Pepsi Center, the choices usually are made by a writer or by one of the four announcers on the “in-house” Altitude radio and television broadcasts.
Even when Denver Post colleague Adrian Dater or I make the official choices at an Avalanche home game, the “Post’s three stars” in the paper might be slightly different. Here’s why: Whoever is making the official choices at the game is gently asked to submit them with about five minutes remaining in the third period.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
It’s painfully obvious the Predators miss Alexander Radulov, who bolted for Russia last summer even though he had an NHL contract. Would they welcome him back next season? “Never say never,” said GM David Poile, who was furious that the kid just up and left, leaving the Predators with few options late in the summer.
“It’s about playing in the best league, but maybe he wants to stay in Russia.” He would have fences to mend in Nashville, but, as Poile says, “he scores goals.” The Predators are hanging in the playoff race, but they’re a shadow of their team from two years ago when former owner Craig Leipold told Poile to get out the meat cleaver.
“No Kariya, no Hartnell, no Timonen, Vokoun. That’s what the order was,” said Poile, who is not into excuses, but it was hard to stomach. “Craig wanted to be as low (payroll) as he could.” Leipold now owns the Minnesota Wild.
more hockey notes…
from John Glennon of the Tennessean,
The next few weeks of the season might determine not only the Predators’ chances of making the playoffs, but also the chances of a number of Predators to remain with the organization.
A scroll down the roster reveals nine players in the final years of their contracts, including established NHL players Radek Bonk, Greg de Vries, Vern Fiddler, Scott Nichol, Steve Sullivan and Greg Zanon.
Should the Predators slide from the playoff picture in the weeks leading up to the March 4 NHL trading deadline, at least some of those names are bound to surface as potential trade bait.
Should the Predators remain in contention for a postseason berth — and they’ve won five of six games going into today’s game at Dallas — the roster is much more likely to stay intact.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The Canucks, we are told, have yet to officially make a contract offer to veteran defenseman Mattias Ohlund. So, unless something drastic changes soon, it appears Ohlund is headed to unrestricted free agency. While we’re sure the Canucks would love to be able to move him March 4 if they fall out of the playoff race, the fact is Ohlund controls his fate with a no-trade clause.
In the meantime, talks have also stalled with the Sedin twins, also pending UFAs. There was a meeting this past Wednesday between Canucks GM Mike Gillis and the Sedins’ agent, J.P. Barry, but no progress was made.
Vancouver, meanwhile, is believed to be among a list of teams that has at least inquired about veteran blueliner Mathieu Schneider, a UFA on July 1.
read on for more NHL topics. It is basically a recap of HNIC Hot Stove talk from last night but there is additional topics discussed.
from Bruce MacLeod of the Macomb Daily,
With the Detroit Red Wings (unfortunately) having salary cap room because of recent injuries to Brad Stuart and Tomas Holmstrom, the franchise has finally gotten a chance to look at some top prospects in NHL action.
When Stuart and Holmstrom return, the youngsters will be gone. But since the spotlight is on them right now, here’s one man’s rankings of Detroit’s prospects. Consider this a combination of proof and potential.
1. Darren Helm, center, 21. What separates Helm from defenseman Jonathan Ericsson is that Helm has more proof. Helm was very, very good in helping the Wings win the Stanley Cup last spring, solidifying the fourth line. Helm is physical despite being of average size and very fast. If the Red Wings were to put the system’s best team on the ice, Helm would be there.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Joe Thornton will be back on Causeway Street Tuesday night, only his second visit to the Hub of Hockey since the Nov. 30, 2005, trade that Mike O’Connell orchestrated, sending Jumbo Joe, the Boston franchise’s centerpiece, to the San Jose Sharks.
Some three-plus years later, O’Connell figures the trade was justified, and it is one that he would make again, given the same circumstances. As for what he got in return, said O’Connell, there will always be those who say he should have received more.
“That’s always the case, even if it’s your best trade,” said the former Bruins general manager, these days overseeing pro development for the Los Angeles Kings. “But it was like any trade: You take in, rely on what everyone in the organization says - scouts, everyone - and let’s not forget there was a money issue here, too, moving Joe with his high [$6.6 million] salary. This wasn’t the pre-salary-cap NHL. Like all these deals, the money had to work, too.”
continued plus more hockey topics…
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
But unless some ridiculous offer comes their way, the Sabres shouldn’t do anything at the deadline other than plan for the future. Doing nothing shouldn’t be a chore for Regier, who has been ripped royally for doing exactly that. This year, though, doing nothing makes the most sense.
The Sabres have their core players locked into long-term contracts. If they can land a good player who will be under contract for the next several years, fine. Otherwise, dumping dead weight or hefty salaries should be the goal. And that, alone, is a tall order because of the salary cap.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
• Coming off a 10-2 loss to the Stars Friday, there’s plenty of talk that Rangers coach Tom Renney is in deep trouble. If New York decides to make a change, don’t be surprised to see Pat Quinn behind the bench on Broadway. Quinn, who led Team Canada to a gold medal at the world juniors last month, played junior hockey with Rangers GM Glen Sather and they have been close friends since.
• The talk is the Habs are getting tired of RW Alexei Kovalev and his disappearing acts. Kovalev has played a valuable role this season, but not consistently. Nobody would be surprised to see him moved soon.
more of this kind of talk…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
The Flyers, who will have to shed around $2 million of cap space in order to reinstate Daniel Briere from long-term injury reserve once he recovers from groin surgery, are somehow positioning themselves as in on Florida’s Jay Bouwmeester while also having substantial interest in Anaheim’s Scott Niedermayer ($6.75 million), should he become available as a rental.
We’re told that Philadelphia is prepared to move Mike Knuble ($2.8 million, unrestricted on July 1) and Joffrey Lupul ($2.312M this year, $4.25M the next four years) in order to help the blue line.
The Ducks will be seeking young defensemen in any deals for Niedermayer or Chris Pronger, who seems on his way out with another year at $6.25 million remaining on his deal.
The Devils are interested in bringing Niedermayer back for their Grateful Dead Reunion Tour, but will not move Paul Martin to get it done.
more trade talk plus Olympics and suspension talk too…
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
While Toskala was solid, Montreal goaltender Carey Price was distraught after the game. He faced 41 shots and was beaten high on the glove side three times as he lost for the sixth time in eight starts since he returned to action from an ankle injury.
But Christopher Higgins said it would be a mistake to heap all the blame on the goaltender, who was a last-minute starter after Jaroslav Halak came down with the flu.
“We gave them a lot of odd-man rushes. “We didn’t give (Price) a lot of help.”
But head coach Guy Carbonneau didn’t let the goaltender off the hook.
“We’re not doing anything right,” said Carbonneau, whose team is clinging to fourth place in the Eastern Conference despite losing seven of its last nine games. “We’re having trouble scoring goals and it seems that whenever we make a mistake, the puck’s in our net.”
When asked what he didn’t like about Price’s performance, he said: “Where do you want me to start? He let in five goals.”
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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