Kukla's Korner Hockey
From the CP via TSN,
If the National Hockey League had an award for comeback player of the year, a prime candidate could be Alex Kovalev of the Montreal Canadiens.
Last season, the skilled but unpredictable right winger scored only 18 goals and looked to be on his way out of Montreal and perhaps even the NHL.
But Kovalev has rebounded to become the Canadiens scoring leader, as well as acting as mentor to young Belarus forwards Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn.
“You can’t be perfect all your career - there’s going to be ups and downs,” the 34-year-old Kovalev said Thursday after the pre-game skate. “Last year was one of those years where you can’t find your game and nothing’s going your way.
via the Colorado Avalanche,
The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that further medical evaluation on the injured right ankle of forward Ryan Smyth revealed a fracture and that he would be out approximately eight weeks.
“The fracture was discovered following additional medical tests which included an MRI exam,” said Avalanche Head Trainer Matthew Sokolowski. “We expect him to make a full recovery.”
from the AP via the Globe and Mail,
Teppo Numminen’s surgically repaired heart is pumping fine after the Buffalo Sabres defenceman’s latest medical checkup.
It’s his stamina that still isn’t there yet, leaving Numminen unable to predict Thursday when he might be ready to play.
“I don’t know. Still on the same schedule, day by day, week by week,” said Numminen, catching his breath after a 90-minute practice. “But things are getting closer. We’re moving in the right direction. ... They checked things out and things are like they should be.”
from Kevin Paul Dupont at MSNBC,
Before we go too far — and, remember, Feb. 26 is this year’s trade deadline — let’s take a look at how the first half has unfolded and size up some of the potential award winners….
Most significant franchise-changing moment
At the risk of sounding insensitive, the Sept. 26 death of long-time Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz, 77, triggered a number of changes that have aided the franchise in returning to relevance.
from the Detroit Free Press,
So what is the reason for fans not attending?
The Pistons are currently 10 games ahead of second place Cleveland in the Central Division and in position to have one of the top two spots in the Eastern Conference playoffs. They are also in the midst of a 10-game winning streak and are the only team to beat the 27-3 Boston Celtics at the Garden.
Many people might say it is because of Michigan’s poor economy. If you are having a tough time paying your bills, you are certainly not spending $30-$40 to watch professional basketball.
But for everyone that wants to blame the economy, they will need to look no further than the attendance numbers this upcoming summer at Comerica Park. Middle of the week games against the Kansas City Royals will be near capacity. The Tigers also play twice the home games at a venue that is twice the size of the Palace….
Fans are cautiously optimistic because they have seen this movie before. They expect long playoff runs and know that is when the real Pistons’ season begins.
from George Johnson at ESPN,
Phaneuf’s renown, however, rides on his ability to sap people of their senses. He currently sits a comfortable second in Western Conference All-Star voting among defenseman, trailing only the inevitable and unavoidable Lidstrom. And Phaneuf isn’t getting that kind of broad-based love at the ballot box for nimble poke-checks, stylish tie-ups or witty repartee.
He will develop over time and become a more well-rounded defenseman. He may even add some curly-cues to his repertoire. But what fans relish, and opposing forwards dread, is Dion Phaneuf, the Terminator.
Washington center Nicklas Backstrom, who led all rookies with 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 13 games as the Capitals posted their best month on a points percentage basis since February 2001, has been named the NHL Rookie of the Month for December.
Backstrom edged Chicago Blackhawks linemates Jonathan Toews (5-7—12 in 12 games) and Patrick Kane (2-7—9 in 12 games), Phoenix Coyotes center Martin Hanzal (1-8—9 in 14 games) and Atlanta Thrashers defenseman Tobias Enstrom (0-9—9 in 16 games) for the award.
The Chicago Blackhawks received some good news Thursday as an MRI revealed that Jonathan Toews’ knee injury is a sprain and no surgery will be required.
Hawks’ General manager Dale Tallon expected the 19-year old Toews to miss the next three to four weeks.
The electrifying rookie suffered the injury in the first period of Tuesday’s Blackhawks’ loss to the Kings. Toews said he felt as though he “changed directions too quickly” after going hard into the boards.
3 1/2 minutes of the Top 10 hits of the week.
from the Tennessean,
Predators center David Legwand and defenseman Ryan Suter returned to practice Wednesday but might not be back in the lineup for tonight’s game against Edmonton.
Although both are healthy enough to play, Coach Barry Trotz said he was happy with the performance of the players he used in the Predators’ shutout at Dallas on Monday and did not feel particularly compelled to change….
“No team in this league scares me enough to say, ‘We are over our heads here,’ ” Trotz said. “We’re not gifted enough to have passengers. We have to be good as a team, and that’s what we did in Dallas.”
more on the Predators…
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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