Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Youngsters such as Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan and San Jose’s Joe Pavelski are strongly in the mix now to make the American squad, and if the Olympics started tomorrow my hunch is that Buffalo’s Paul Gaustad would be the fourth-line center….
Boston’s Blake Wheeler and maybe Buffalo’s Drew Stafford are two other young forwards who have to be considered
My take on the team is that there are, barring injuries, four locks on defense in Detroit’s Brian Rafalski, Montreal’s Mike Komisarek, Nashville’s Ryan Suter and New Jersey’s Paul Martin.
Then, Anaheim’s Ryan Whitney is still strongly in the mix, as is Pittsburgh’s Brooks Orpik and Edmonton’s Tom Gilbert. Don’t rule out Florida’s Keith Ballard or Carolina’s Tim Gleason. Ron Hainsey’s power play prowess with Atlanta gives him a chance. Dallas player Matt Niskanen is also in play.
The two youngers guys with strong chances to make the team are Los Angeles’ Jack Johnson and St. Louis’ Erik Johnson, although Erik will have to show well at the start of next season because he will have missed the entire 2008-09 season with a knee injury.
In case you don’t wander over to the KK Members’ Blog area….
My name is Jeremy Pellek and am a Senior at Bowling Green State University. In light of the current tough economic times, and lack of state funding, BGSU will experience a $6-10 million budget shortfall for this coming fiscal year. As it stands now, many part-time employees will be let go after the school year ends, but further cuts need to be made to negate this substantial loss of money. Recently, it has surfaced that one possible cut may come in the form of the varsity hockey program.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League today announced that Norfolk Admirals right wing Steve Downie has been suspended for twenty (20) regular-season games as a result of his actions in a game at Hershey on Feb. 28.
At the 19:48 mark of the third period, Downie was assessed a game misconduct under the provisions of AHL Rule 41.2 for deliberately striking an official with his stick.
Downie has already served three games of the suspension. He is scheduled to be eligible to return to the Norfolk lineup on Apr. 11.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League today announced that Norfolk Admirals right wing Steve Downie has been suspended indefinitely, pending league review, as a result of his actions in a game at Hershey on Feb. 28.
Downie was assessed a game misconduct under AHL Rule 41.1 for physical abuse of an official.
The AOL Fanhouse has more on the incident…
from the CP via TSN,
Attendance at minor-league hockey games is down at most levels. The only exception is in the ECHL, which has seen a 2.2 per cent increase in per-game attendance after losing four of its seven lowest-performing franchises since the end of last season.
Minor-league officials refuse to attribute the decline to a decrease in fan interest. For decades many teams have remained in the same communities where kids follow the sport from an early age.
“We’re in hockey hotbeds,” International Hockey League commissioner Paul Pickard said. “I think (the attendance drop) has a lot to do with the economy.”
From Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy:
See, the Iowa Chops have these flabby dudes called the Pork Bellies who come out between periods and get their Full Monty on. They’re a bunch of Chops season ticket holders who started dancing at games as a gag, and now actually practice routines to perform during intermission. They’re not the first team to have chubby guys dancing to pop hits, but they might be the first to have them storm the ice from the back of a U-Haul.
“Usually, at intermission, people go get beers and drinks,” said Frank Meeink, who works in communications for the Chops. “Now, when they know that they’re coming, nobody moves.”
Of course, we’re happy to support this noble cause. Here’s the video:
from Kevin Ryan of the Ann Arbor News via Mlive,
The University of Wisconsin is banking on Camp Randall Stadium to draw a world-record crowd next year, but not for football.
The university has tendered a formal contract to the University of Michigan for an outdoor hockey game to be played at the 80,321-seat stadium Feb. 6, and the Wolverines are expected to accept the offer, Michigan associate head coach Mel Pearson said Thursday afternoon.
from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail,
Steve Downie appears to have settled in as an irascible forward with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Akim Aliu is playing major-junior hockey as a Chicago Blackhawks’ draft pick. As for OHL commissioner David Branch, there are always new challenges to confront, issues to address.
But for Moe Mantha, moving on hasn’t been so easy. For him, the past is never far from the present. He walks into a rink and people recognize him as the former Windsor Spitfires general manager and head coach who was floored by a hazing incident and fight involving Downie and Aliu, only to be suspended by Branch.
It happened three years ago, but for the past two Mantha hasn’t been able to find another job in hockey. He calls teams, including NHL teams, looking for a coaching position and some get back to him, some don’t. Off the record, outsiders offer a consoling take: “Moe’s a good guy and all, but the Windsor thing is hard to get past.”
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
We’ve got an update for you on one of our “in-limbo” guys we wrote about this past November. Veteran center Bryan Smolinski will join a minor league team next week in an effort to revive his career.
He’ll check in Monday with the Port Huron Icehawks of the International Hockey League. Will it lead to a return to the NHL? Who knows.
“I have an open mind. I’m not expecting any miracles,” Smolinski told ESPN.com on Thursday. “An opportunity presented itself. A friend of mine [Chris Bogas] plays there. It was a conversation we had, ‘Would you like to play?’ and I said, ‘You know what? Yeah.’ I’m healthy again, I feel good. I’ve been working out and skating.”
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org