Kukla's Korner Hockey
New York (December 17, 2008) – Chicago’s rekindled love affair with the Blackhawks, already manifested by soaring United Center attendance and insatiable interest in NHL Winter Classic 2009, now is being reflected in the fan balloting for the 2009 NHL All-Star Game.
As of 7 a.m. ET today, Blackhawks’ winger Patrick Kane had taken over the top spot among Western Conference forwards in the XM NHL® All-Star Fan Balloting presented by 2K Sports that will select the starting lineups for the 2009 NHL All-Star Game in Montreal Jan. 25. In the last week, Kane vaulted four players to take a 26,828-vote lead over the previous pace-setter, Detroit’s Marian Hossa. Anaheim center Ryan Getzlaf also slipped past Calgary’s Jarome Iginla for the third starting nod.
from Ryan Dixon of the Hockey News,
Everybody deserves something from Santa’s sack of goodies this season. Here’s what I think the Sleigh Man has in mind for each NHL club:
Boston Bruins – The address of every pundit who picked the Bruins to be an also-ran this year, just so Milan Lucic can go door to door, asking a few friendly questions.
Detroit Red Wings – Just a little note reminding them they’re still the defending champs and that, deep down inside, every NHL team still fears them the most.
San Jose Sharks – Twenty-three factory-defect calendars, so when April rolls around, all the players think it’s October.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
So, Peter Forsberg looks like he’s going to take another kick at the proverbial hockey can after playing just nine regular-season games since the start of the 2007-08 season. Although he played well when he returned late last season for Colorado, he missed enough action that his health and availability became a permanent sideshow for the Avs.
It’s hard to imagine it won’t be more of the same if he does return.
Here’s a look at some notable comebacks.
1. Guy Lafleur, New York Rangers/Quebec Nordiques: After being in retirement for three seasons, the Montreal Canadiens great returned for one season in New York with the Rangers and two in Quebec with the Habs’ arch-enemy Nordiques.
How about Ted Lindsay who made a comeback with the Wings after taking 4 years off?
An all access look at Los Angeles Kings superstar Anze Kopitar takes us for a tour of Manhattan Beach with his family.
from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Spectators loved the pace of Tuesday’s game. This is the fast-paced game Gary Bettman wants to see in the new NHL.
There was lots of skating, lots of tape-to-tape passes, lots of odd-man rushes and plenty of high-speed collisions. The game had a terrific flow and it featured sustained action, start to finish.
Unfortunately, the Blues can’t just let it fly right now. It’s not about marketing the sport in a tough economy, it’s about surviving the simultaneous loss of so many key players.
They must find ways to win games with a makeshift lineup. If they can remain viable, they could position themselves for a big second-half run after they key players return.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The NHL will not announce plans for next year’s season opener in Europe for another month or so, but at least three clubs have expressed interest in going, including one from Canada, the Calgary Flames.
And while the Toronto Maple Leafs are not a candidate for 2009, they would be a leading contender to open the season abroad in 2010, one NHL source said yesterday….
The other clubs in confirmed negotiations for the junket are the Detroit Red Wings and the St. Louis Blues, both of which have targeted Stockholm as their venue of choice. The Red Wings, the Stanley Cup champions, have a nucleus of Swedish-born players, including perennial James Norris Memorial Trophy candidate and team captain Nicklas Lidstrom, last year’s playoff most valuable player, Henrik Zetterberg and others - Johan Franzen, Nicklas Kronwall, Mikael Samuelsson and Andreas Lilja.
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
Hitchcock doesn’t see the Sharks as simply a collection of All-Stars with unfathomable statistics. He sees them as an example of where the Blue Jackets need to get.
“We want to move from the middle of the pack to the next level, and the next level isn’t technical,” Hitchcock said. “It’s having more people engaged for longer periods of time.
“That isn’t something you talk about, or wave a magic wand and it happens. It’s something that takes a lot of work, a lot of adversity. We’re moving that forward. It’s not just being willing to pay the price to win. It’s understanding what the price to pay is.”
from Dave Dye of the Detroit News,
But while the role of the agitator has diminished over the years, there still are a few who live to be irritants.
Kirk Maltby and Chris Chelios can fill that role for the Red Wings, although not necessarily to the degree they did earlier in their careers. And some of the top agitators in the game today include Ottawa’s Jarkko Ruutu, Nashville’s Jordin Tootoo and Dallas’ Steve Ott….
Television analyst Pierre McGuire, a former NHL coach, added: “An agitator is a guy that does whatever it takes to win. He’ll pursue the puck with a vengeance. He’ll finish his checks bordering on getting a penalty. He’ll dive face first in front of a shot and then laugh at people on the other bench who think he’s nuts. He’ll do virtually anything to win. Usually the best agitators are guys that hit, run and play tough in key situations.”
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
If the Rangers are informed that Sundin is following his heart to Broadway rather than his wallet to Vancouver, the Rangers would be able to place players on waivers up until 3 p.m. New York time on Friday.
Though they technically do not have to clear salary-cap space until they actually register Sundin’s contract (which won’t take place until a day or two before the center is deemed ready to play in a game), their failure to trim or reorganize the roster by Friday means the Rangers would be carrying two or three dead men skating throughout the freeze.
That’s obviously not ideal for club unity or morale. Neither will it be good for club unity or morale if Sundin, who is returning to Stockholm for Christmas, begins practicing with the Rangers the last week of December with the current roster intact….
This means the most likely options would involve deleting Petr Prucha and Dan Fritsche from the roster. Making both moves by Friday would add approximately $1.565 millionto the $1 million in cap space they’re currently holding.
from the Philadelphia Inquirer,
From: Gonzalez, John
To: Ford, Bob; Sheridan, Phil
Subject: Party animals
Well now. Just when you thought Sean Avery was the NHL’s lone bad boy, along come your Philadelphia Flyers. There’s a story on the Internet, along with a number of pictures, about the Flyers crashing a Temple University fraternity date party in Old City last week.
continued with a link to the pics.
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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