Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
And it will be bloody - not in the literal sense - for the Islanders, who established themselves as a playoff contender over the first half of the year with a relentless work ethic that overcame holes in the lineup, but who have been unable to muster the necessary inspiration to overcome fatigue, warts, injuries and a suspension down the stretch.
Have we mentioned that the Islanders are 5-7-4 since Garth Snow appropriately pulled the trigger on the trade for Ryan Smyth?
Have we mentioned that the Islanders are 3-7-2 since Alexei Yashin returned to the lineup on Mar. 8 after going 8-2-4 while he was down with a knee?
Hmmm. Must be a coincidence….
There is tonight for the Rangers and Islanders, but if the Blueshirts win, there will be no tomorrows for Ted Nolan’s team. This more likely than not means no tomorrows on the Island for, among others, Smyth and Jason Blake. Talk about an organization on the brink.
From The Hockey News, the Players Poll has determined that Sean Avery is the most hated and the most overrated player in hockey. Predictably, Avery embraces the first part… but “overrated”?
But elation soon turns to disbelief when Avery finds out he was also voted the most overrated player, too.
“What?” he says. “You’ve got to be kidding me. I’ve never really heard anybody say I was good. Did you put candidates on the ballot?”
No, we did not.
“Then how come Shane Doan wasn’t named most overrated,” Avery continues. “Hey, if I’m going to take shots, I’m going to dish them out, too.”
from Lynn Zinser of the New York Times,
Avery was involved in high-profile altercations as a King, including one in which he made derogatory remarks about French Canadians and another in which he was accused by forward Georges Laraque, who is black, of making a racial slur. Avery denied that, but was suspended last year by the Kings for clashing with team officials and coaches.
With the Rangers, no such problems have emerged. He jokes easily with his teammates — often loudly and ruthlessly — and the laughs cut across the many nationalities of the team.
“Maybe some people don’t like it because he’s too personal,” said Jaromir Jagr, the Rangers’ captain. “He gives it to you, but he takes it, too. I laugh at it. Maybe somebody from other teams, they get mad because he told them something they don’t want to hear. Some guys are too sensitive. In our country, that’s normal. We’ve got the same kind of humor, like he does. He could be easily a Czech.”
more on Avery….
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Because in Avery’s 24 games on Broadway since his Feb. 5 acquisition from Los Angeles in one of Glen Sather’s best deals (though no more constructive than exchanging Aaron Ward for Paul Mara), Avery has not only established himself as one of the Rangers’ go-to players on the ice and in the room, he has established himself as a forward who makes his linemates better.
That’s why Tom Renney faces a no-win situation as he ponders line changes and a lineup change for Saturday’s game in Philadelphia. For as the head coach considers who gets to play with Avery, he also has to decide who doesn’t. And, yes, it’s stipulated that Avery is not quite Adam Graves, either.
from Garth Woolsey of the Toronto Star,
Pest. P-e-s-t. That’s one of the milder four-letter words associated with Sean Avery through his sometimes rocky NHL career.
Well, now, how about best, b-e-s-t? As, in quite possibly the best acquisition by any team leading up to or at the league’s trading deadline this season. That is a saying a lot because that list includes the likes of Ryan Smyth, Gary Roberts, Peter Forsberg, Bill Guerin, Keith Tkachuk and Todd Bertuzzi.
from The Maven,
I’m thinking back to those dark Rangers days of yester-month, when legions of Blueshirts’ fans thought I was this side of The Nut House.
Over and over, I kept insisting that Tom Renney’s renegades would somehow make the playoffs despite howls of derisive laughter in the background.
So, who’s got the last chuckle now as point after point is garnered; all of them solidifying a playoff berth that many thought impossible.
No, the Rangers are not in – neither like Flynn, Avery, Jagr nor Nylander – but they just happen to be so HOT, that no NHL team at this time would want to touch them without super-protective gloves.
via Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
The Post has learned the GM is in the midst of serious negotiations with agent Paul Theofanous regarding a contract extension for Nylander, who is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. It is believed the two sides are talking about a two-year agreement that would carry Nylander through the final season of Jaromir Jagr’s contract, presuming the Rangers exercise their team option on Jagr for 2008-09.
Colton Orr of the Rangers knocked out Todd Fedoruk of the Flyers with a hard right in the opening two minutes of tonight’s game.
Fedoruk crumpled to the ice, received medical attention and a neck brace was applied. Todd was talking as he was being wheeled off the ice on a stretcher.
First report is he will have x-rays at MSG, not the hospital.
added 7:57pm, Now being taken to a local hospital after x-rays at MSG.
added 9:35pm, Video link...
from David Kolb’s blog at MSG.com,
After the Rangers win vs. Islanders on March 5, as a result of Matt Cullen’s shootout goal, the three stars were being announced. Cullen, who was that night’s first star, jumped back on the ice and acknowledged the fans cheers. He then started to make his way to the dressing room, but was first patted on the shoulder by a guy in a black suit, who perhaps Cullen thought was a fan, until Shanahan hollered, “It’s Shanny!”
A huge smile lit up Cullen’s face as the two made their way back to the dressing room.
more on the return of Shanahan tonight…
from Lynn Zinser at the New York Times,
“That first week, some people were saying I was done for the season, some saying maybe I was done for my career,” Shanahan said. “One week stretched into two and two weeks stretched into three. I started to wonder who was right. And then suddenly it went away.”...
Like football, hockey has a culture of athletes playing hurt, but the National Hockey League has tried to take a more cautious approach on concussions since the mid-1990s, when several star players sustained serious injuries. League officials say the N.H.L. has been studying concussions — hoping to publish its results next year in a medical journal — and assembles its team physicians at least once a year to discuss the latest findings….
“I happen to think the N.H.L. has shown some leadership in some regards, establishing a study group and committing time and energy to the issue,” said Dr. Karen Johnston, a concussion specialist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute who has treated some of hockey’s most famous concussion patients, including Mike Richter and Eric Lindros. “Just by looking into an issue, you keep the attention focused on it.”
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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