Kukla's Korner Hockey
Today, the NHL and the Philadelphia Flyers made Mike Richards available for a media teleconference. Below is the text of that Q&A session.
Q. Does it get any better than finalizing a 12-year contract extension and being named an All-Star in the span of two months?
MIKE RICHARDS: I don’t know, it’s been a pretty big season getting the privilege to play in an All-Star Game, it’s pretty exciting.
from the Philadelphia Flyers,
Simon Gagne (concussion), Jason Smith (leg injury), Sami Kapanen (facial lacerations) and Scottie Upshall (sprained ankle) all skated with their teammates on Wednesday at practice. If this were a football injury update, Gagne and Kapanen would be on the probable side, while Smith and Upshall would be listed as questionable.
Of course, the big news is that Gagne, who has missed the last 26 games, will get back into game action after the long layoff.
“I’ll be nervous,” said the two-time 40-goal scorer. “I was a little bit nervous coming in for practice today. I felt good again on the ice and I’m looking forward to playing in New York.”
More fuel was thrown on the fire regarding Steve Downie’s sucker punch on Wednesday, with Philadelphia Flyers Senior Vice President Bob Clarke holding the gas can.
Clarke, who selected Downie 29th overall in the 2005 Entry Draft, told TSN’s Off The Record that he enjoyed watching the rookie forward go after Toronto Maple Leafs winger Jason Blake.
“When he went after Blake, I loved it,” Clarke told TSN.
note: GM Paul Holmgren was a bit less understanding the other day.
Update 4:30pm ET: From the Globe & Mail,
After the Leafs’ morning skate Wednesday morning, Blake said brushed aside Clarke’s comments and repeated what he said about Downie a day earlier. “I don’t care who it is, but in the over-all picture, there’s no place for [those hits],” he said. “You don’t want injuries that will keep you out for the whole season. I’m just thankful there was no structural damage.” Leafs head coach Paul Maurice put Clarke’s comments down to sticking up for one of his players. “That’s what it’s all about,” Maurice said. “Whether you’re a player or in the office, you take care of your own.”
from the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Colin Campbell, NHL Executive Vice President and enforcer of discipline, gave him a stern warning about his sucker punch that left Toronto’s Jason Blake with a black eye, but did not suspend him.
“We had a conversation with Mr. Campbell and that’s it. The rest will be between the league, the Flyers and Steve,” said general manager Paul Holmgren. “It was a good talk.
“It’s Steve’s [fourth] NHL game. He’s walking a fine line there, which is basically what he was told. My conversation with Steve was a little harsher than Colin Campbell’s.”
Paul Holmgren at PhiladelphiaFlyers.com,
“Lupul has been diagnosed with mild concussion. However, the more concerning injury is that he sustained a spinal cord contusion at the level of his fifth & sixth cervical vertebrae, which are located in the neck area. It’s creating some tingling sensations in his hands. The X-rays are negative on any real damage. But right now we have to give Joffrey some complete time off. He’s going to take a couple weeks off from doing pretty much everything and then we’ll evaluate him at that point two weeks from now.”
Watch the video as Hatcher hit Steen of the Leafs and his own teammate, Lupul.
Steve Downie with a cheapshot on Jason Blake.
Make sure to watch the complete video, comments from Don Cherry and Paul Maurice at the end.
via Fire & Ice,
NHL Executive VP Colin Campbell confirmed that Derian Hatcher will not be suspended or fined for alleagedly biting Travis Zajac’s left middle finger. Campbell said via e-mail that there was insufficient video evidence of the incident.
thanks to a KK member for the heads-up…
from the AP via TSN,
...Hatcher’s version of the story was different.
“If he’s cut, good, but I didn’t bite him,” Hatcher said. “I didn’t think anything of it until someone mentioned it to me.
“He went like that (face wash) right across my face. He got his glove on my tooth, almost pulled it out. It’s all sore.”
Hatcher could face an NHL suspension, especially if there is video showing him biting Zajac. Devils coach Brent Sutter saw one replay, but didn’t get a total picture of what happened.
“It shows Trav pulling his hand away with the glove still in Hatcher’s mouth, like a dog on a bone,” Sutter said. “It’s not something you like to see in the game, let alone a veteran player like that.”
from Ed Moran of the Philadelphia Daily News,
Consider what happened to the Flyers after just three wins: They went from 13th in the Eastern Conference and last in the Atlantic Division to sixth in the conference and third in the five-team division, trailing first-place New Jersey by only three points. (Pittsburgh’s win yesterday pushed the idle Flyers down one spot in both standings.)
“It can get exhausting to feel like you’re in a playoff race already,” right winger Mike Knuble said. “But I think the fact is that we are. It’s different if you’re chasing it than if you’re in the middle of it.
from Ed Moran of the Philadelphia Daily News,
The unfortunate thing about the Flyers going into the Christmas break on a six-game skid is that they have found the level of consistency they have been searching for, but it isn’t good: They are consistently finding ways to lose games they would have won earlier in the season.
The surprise team in the East early in the year now sits tied for last in the Atlantic Division in points with the Islanders, and tied for 12th in the Eastern Conference. Some of this has to do with Simon Gagne being out of the lineup since Nov. 8, but more of it has to do with the fact that they are not the “Broad Street Bullies.” They need to play tougher and desperately need to play better in their own end.
more on the Flyers and some consistency talk regarding NHL refs. In case you want to see the video Moran is referring to, here it is…
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