Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
“We’re three games above .500,” Weight said in reference to the team’s 6-3 mark before the 2-1 loss. “If I didn’t produce much in the first nine games, which is my job, then I’ve got to do something about it. But I’m going to try to be upbeat. All you can do is work as hard as you can and get the coach to get you back out there.”
Weight is referring to his challenging relationship with Blues coach Andy Murray, who has limited the center’s playing time and kept him off the No. 1 power-play unit as a result of his slow start.
from The Columbus Dispatch,
There seems to be a consensus, however, that faceoffs include ample strategy, gamesmanship and as much cheating as any other facet of the sport.
“I don’t think the average fan understands them,” said Hockey Hall of Famer Ron Francis, a center who played 23 NHL seasons. “They aren’t glamorous, but people inside the game know how important they are.”
The Blue Jackets, enjoying their best start in franchise history, never have finished higher than 12th in faceoff percentage. Three times in six seasons they ranked in the bottom third of the league.
from the Vancouver Province,
What the Vancouver Canucks tried to do this offseason was stand still.
Because he had virtually no other choice, GM Dave Nonis essentially did nothing in the offseason—at least nothing that could possibly have had any significant impact on the existing roster.
With $38 million of last year’s payroll already committed to this season and needing to sign 10 players to fill out the roster, he was left shopping the bargain basement for free agents like Byron Ritchie and Brad Isbister and making trades that involved such luminaries as Jason King and Ryan Shannon.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
It’s hard to decide who is better in front of the goal crease—Detroit’s Tomas Holmstrom or Colorado’s Ryan Smyth.
Both grinders make their livings in the high-traffic areas where collisions abound and tempers flare, with goalies and defencemen trying in vain to move them.
“They’re the best in the world at it,” said Detroit general manager Ken Holland.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
While Neil was chirping at winger Dany Heatley for a hook during a 1-on-1 drill and then winger Brian McGrattan near the end of the workout, Emery was screaming expletives at winger Patrick Eaves for getting a shot up high early in practice.
Once Emery took that shot to the mask and chewed out Eaves for it, nobody dared shoot high the rest of practice because there’s no question that Emery is one of the club’s toughest customers.
From Jim Souhan at the Star-Tribune,
With a French-Canadian lilt that transforms Marian Gaborik into “Mary-Ann,” and the ability to invert sentences like Yoda, Lemaire offers insights and hockey philosophy in a soft-spoken tone that makes listeners lean forward in anticipation.
Tuesday morning, Lemaire raved about Penguins phenom and Shattuck-St. Mary’s product Sidney Crosby. Tuesday night, Lemaire watched Crosby become the third opponent ever to score four points at Xcel Energy Center, in Pittsburgh’s 4-2 victory.
Lemaire praised Wes Walz’s checking line for its defense on Crosby—even though Crosby’s line produced nine points.
The performance left Lemaire feeling covetous. “I’d love to have one on our club,” he said of Crosby, “if they make any more.”
From Allan Maki at the Globe & Mail (Wednesday edition),
Today could see the ownership plight of the Nashville Predators settled — for now, at least — with a Canadian listed as one of the new investors. And no, his name is not Jim Balsillie.
It’s Doug Bergeron, the Windsor-born chairman and CEO of VeriFone, a San Jose-based company that specializes in electronic payment products.
Bergeron’s name has surfaced as a possible partner in the group of mostly local investors that is down to the final hours of its exclusive negotiating agreement with Craig Leipold, the Predators’ owner.
From the AP via Santa Barbara News,
The Boston Bruins recalled goalie Jordan Sigalet from Providence of the AHL on Tuesday after Manny Fernandez sustained a slight strain of his left knee in practice earlier in the day.
Fernandez and another veteran, Tim Thomas, had been sharing the goaltending duties.
Update 7:45pm ET
From Fluto Shinzawa at the Boston Globe,
Chiarelli said the strain might keep Fernandez sidelined for the next two or three days, which might put him out of uniform for Thursday’s game against Buffalo. With Jordan Sigalet recalled to replace Fernandez, all signs point toward Tim Thomas starting on Thursday.
Chiarelli said the strain was not related to the left knee sprain Fernandez sustained last season.
From Jim Kelly at Sportsnet,
The Habs are a surprising second in the Northeast Division (to Ottawa) and through Monday night were 6-2-2 and tied for third overall in the Eastern Conference and tied for fifth overall with the likes of Philadelphia and Colorado. Isn’t that where Vancouver or maybe Calgary was supposed to be?
To be sure, both the Flames and the Canucks have had their problems, especially in regards keeping the puck out of their respective nets, but the Habs have out-pointed every Canadian entity except the Senators and even have some games in hand in comparison to some teams ahead of them in the standings.
How is this happening you ask? Well, in a word, goaltending.
Tack on another it would be defence and after that add things like timely scoring, smart positional play, a potent power-play attack (often the best in the league so far) and consistently strong lines.
From Dan Gelston at the AP via USA Today,
Simon Gagne compares his health to a barfly who’s had a few too many stiff drinks.
He stops short, however, of describing what he’s feeling as any kind of lingering symptoms from a concussion.
“Nobody has really said if it’s a concussion,” Gagne said after the Flyers practiced Tuesday. “Right now, it’s more a vision problem and dizziness. I don’t think they call that a concussion.”
Gagne hasn’t played for the Philadelphia Flyers since he was knocked out of last Wednesday’s game against Florida. He has not been cleared to return to the ice.
*A “vision problem and dizziness” and they don’t figure it’s related to a concussion? Odd.
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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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