Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Thrashers Blog at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Slava Kozlov has dinner plans with Vladimir Konstantinov, his old teammate with the Red Wings who was paralyzed after that limo accident in 1997. When I asked Kozlov if he was looking forward to the Detroit trip, he answered: “Always, always. I have great memories of Detroit.”
Don Waddell said he has 40 family and friends who will be attending the game. He grew up a few miles from Olympia Stadium, where the Wings used to play. He’s excited to coach in his hometown.
Even Marian Hossa said he was excited to play in Detroit because he said he’s only played there a couple times in his career, which is hard to believe. “I’ll feel like a rookie,” he said.
From Steve Conroy at the Boston Herald,
When Marc Savard was left off the Eastern Conference All-Star team again last week, there weren’t shouts of outrage from many corners. Even Savard, who took last year’s snub fairly hard, simply shrugged and moved on this time around.
But in his second season with the Bruins [team stats] after signing a four-year, $20 million deal, Savard is rounding into the complete player that coach Claude Julien always felt he could be since he watched Savard develop as a youngster in the Ottawa area.
From the The Dallas Morning News,
Lehtinen (sports hernia) and Jokinen (knee) are skating and are targeting the area around the All-Star Game (Jan. 27) for their returns. Jokinen, who missed some time in the playoffs last season with a rib injury, said this has been the first significant down time he has had in the last eight years.
more… including updates on Boucher and Zubov.
NEW YORK—Minnesota Wild right wing Marian Gaborik, Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mathieu Garon and Philadelphia Flyers left wing Scott Hartnell have named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending January 13.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Perhaps, MLSE steals a page from the Dallas Stars playbook and swaps experience for celebrity?
With no obvious candidate available or interested at the moment, primarily because of the current structure of the hockey department, why wouldn’t the Leafs look within?
With guidance from an experienced man like Maple Leafs assistant general manager and director of player personnel, Mike Penny, former Leafs captain Doug Gilmour might be able to bridge the gap.
Gilmour would instantly grab headlines and similar to Brett Hull’s appointment in Dallas, Gilmour might be able to provide a short term public relations spin.
My personal, gut feeling, Scotty Bowman will end up in Toronto, even though all published reports do not indicate that.
added 11:43am, from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
What is even more embarrassing for this Original Six franchise is, even in the face of this free fall, ownership is so paralyzed by its constant infighting and lack of direction that it appears powerless to react.
When players pull the chute and lose 11 of 13, as the Leafs have done at a crucial juncture of the season, a normal team’s owner will come down from his/her perch and fire either the GM or coach or both, or mandate a dramatic change in player personnel.
from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
The Blues have been among the most innovative teams in the NHL with their broadcasts, being among the first to allow a camera to be placed in the locker room to tape strategy sessions and even permitting microphones to be worn by players.
And they’ve tinkered for several years with having radio analyst Kelly Chase work from the Blues’ bench area, where he is able to give a firsthand account of what’s going on….
Chase thus can obtain interviews quickly and provide insight he gains from being near the action, and it’s not just a gimmick — he has mined some quality nuggets.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Phaneuf also plays the point on the power play, where he has more shots (139) than any other NHL defencemen. He plays on the penalty kill, and, of course, five-on-five. He’s only 22 and Sunday’s game was only his 207th career outing, but you’d never know it….
He’s good; maybe even Norris-trophy good some day, whenever Lidstrom retires.
“He’s pretty much wired for sound every day,” says Keenan of his young blue-liner. “You never worry about Dion liking hockey or living life. It’s his personality ... he’s a treat to be around,” adds Keenan, who’s coached some big-minute, high-end D-men—Chris Pronger in St. Louis, Mark Howe in Philadelphia and Brian Leetch in New York. Guys who want to be out on the ice all the time and don’t run out of gas.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
So this week the MLSE board must do one of two things: Give Ferguson a contract extension and thus a meaningful vote of confidence and the freedom to do what he believes needs to be done, or fire Ferguson, and give a new person – Bowman, Smith, Healy, Campbell, whoever – enough time to evaluate the roster and organization and then canvass the entire league for transactions that might improve the club’s standing next season.
The silly chatter about the Leafs still being in the fight for a playoff berth has finally been exploded, although smart hockey people understood that reality two weeks to a month ago.
So we’re talking about next season now. Period. No more there’s-a-lot-of-hockey-still-to-be-played nonsense, okay?
And therefore we’re talking about something being done. This week.
“It’s tough to lose Witt,” Nolan said after the win in Calgary. Comparing the rugged defender to goaltender Rick DiPietro, Nolan added, “He’s similar to Ricky in how valuable he is to us. But the stars were lined up and we had seven defensemen dressed, which was luck on our part. Freddy Meyer did a great job.
“But it was a tough loss for Witt, and we’ll cross our fingers and hope the MRI comes back not as serious as it seems to be. It’s an ankle sprain right now, and we’ll check and see what the severity of it is.”
from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Despite the ups and downs, from one period to the next, the Thrashers are in the thick of the playoff hunt.
Those inconsistencies that plague the Thrashers? Associate coach Brad McCrimmon calls it a league-wide epidemic.
Unless you live in New Jersey, Ottawa or Detroit, chances are your favorite NHL team is driving you crazy this season.
It’s parity. It’s the salary cap. It’s a league filled with young, inexperienced players handed key roles on their teams.
“I don’t see powerhouses anymore,” said a scout for a Western Conference contender. “You can’t keep a team together, everyone wants to get paid.”
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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