Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Ed Moran at the Philadelphia Daily News,
As of yesterday, the Flyers were second in the league in penalty minutes with 605, topped only by Anaheim, which has 706. And watching games like the win in Minnesota, where the Flyers were flagged for nine penalties compared to the Wild’s three, it would seem the Flyers are constantly on the wrong end of the whistle.
The fact is, a lot of those minutes have to do with the game misconducts and majors that came with those five big incidents. And in 31 games, the Flyers led in penalties only 17 times and won 10. Still, coach John Stevens would like to start trimming the time his team is shorthanded.
“I don’t know what the final total was, but you’ve still got to play the game hard,” he said after the Flyers’ loss to the Devils Sunday night. “We’re still trying to sort through what is and what isn’t a penalty. The one guy gets his stick knocked out of his hands [slashing] and, I don’t know, that’s just a battle for the puck.
more including injury updates on Gagne and Timonen
from the News & Observer,
After the Hurricanes won the shootout for a 6-5 win Saturday after 65 minutes of rough-and-tumble hockey, Carolina forward Chad LaRose stood in the hallway between the two dressing rooms looking for Flyers forward Scottie Upshall.
LaRose emerged from the Carolina dressing room furious with Upshall for “dirty” and “personal” things he said on the ice.
“I even put someone else’s shoes on so I can kick him in the face,” LaRose said.
Hurricanes defenseman Niclas Wallin and video coach Chris Huffine retrieved LaRose from the hallway and LaRose declined to comment afterward. He was escorted past the Flyers dressing room to the Carolina bus by another team staffer.
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post,
All indications point to the NHL salary cap rising to about $55 million next season.
Theoretically, that would leave the Flyers about $11 million in cap space to sign unrestricted free-agent defenseman Jason Smith and restricted free agents Jeff Carter, R.J. Umberger, Randy Jones and Riley Cote.
Can they do it?
“We’re going to have to be very creative,” Flyers president Peter Luukko said.
Smith is the Flyers’ top priority. At 34, he still plays a take-no-prisoners brand of defense and his quiet leadership cannot be overstated on a team that desperately needed—and found—a true captain.
from Wayne Fish of Phiily Burbs,
I want to see the Flyers play a game outdoors, just like the Penguins and Sabres are doing on New Year’s Day.
Much to my surprise, Flyers management agrees with me.
In fact, general manager Paul Holmgren already has some plans in mind — namely a game between the Flyers and Penguins at Penn State.
That’s not a typographical error: Penn State, Beaver Stadium, 100,000 rabid hockey fans shouting their heads off, all under the stars.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Some 15 months ago, it was the Islanders committing budgetary lunacy, inking then-25-year-old netminder Rick DiPietro to a 15-year deal worth $67.5 million. The Goalie for Life at the time stood a sub.-500 58-62-13. With a 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh last night, the ex-BU Terrier has gone 46-31-11 since signing the historic pact.
Now we have the Flyers sizing up the 22-year-old Richards, the 24th overall pick in the 2003 draft, as their franchise piece going forward - up to and including the 2019-20 season (good seats still available for that ‘19-20 opener).
What’s it all about? Well, specifically, it’s about: 1. Thomas Vanek and 2. Dustin Penner. And, to a certain extent, Brad Richards, too.
read on plus numerous NHL topics…
from Piere LeBrun at Sporstnet,
Reaction around the league to the Richards deal has been a mixed bag. Privately, the NHL’s head office is not impressed and has made it a priority to seek term limits on contracts in the next collective bargaining agreement. The NHL Players’ Association will have a say in that, however, and will need a giveback in return for letting that happen. But that’s a story for another day.
One NHL GM, who obviously wanted anonymity, said he didn’t understand the point of the Richards deal.
“He’s not a $6-million player next year and he still would have been a restricted free agent,” said the GM. “The guy had 32 points last year. I know he’s had a great eight weeks so far… but could you not have just done a three-year deal at $4 million per year and then re-address it after that?
From Blackantehm Military News,
“My mom and dad in Michigan are watching,” said Army Spc. Graham Besonen. “It’s important for them to see me and know I’m safe. I’m really a Red Wings fan, but I came to enjoy a hockey game and for my family to see me.”
Most of the pictures were sent to Versus at least a week prior to the game. However, the network wanted to make sure all of the troops were recognized. Just prior to the start of the game, a group photo was taken and e-mailed to Baker. During the third period, the picture was shown on TV.
“I was really impressed with Versus and the NHL putting our pictures on during the game,” said Army Sgt. Rich Allen. “I’ve always been a hockey fan, and to be deployed and see myself on television during a game was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
Centre Mike Richards, who has emerged as one of the league’s top two-way forwards this season, has agreed to terms on a contract extension with the Philadelphia Flyers, sources tell TSN.
Updated 4:49pm ET:
TSN’s story has been updated with this information,
TSN has learned it is a 12-year extension for $69 million that averages out at $5.75 million per year for the cap hit.
from Philly Burbs,
Coach John Stevens was still somewhat annoyed by Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien’s post-game comments suggesting the Flyers ran up the score (by using their first power play unit) and resorted to rough-house tactics.
It should be noted the Penguins scored eight goals twice against the Flyers last season and finished 8-0-0 against them.
“When you [Pittsburgh] take running head shots at guys, breaking sticks [over bodies] away from the play and running your goalie ... I would be disrespectful if I didn’t put those guys out there,” Stevens said. “I have a lot of respect for the Penguins, but not for what he had his players do. If you’re going to take those kinds of penalties against us, why wouldn’t we try to score?”
more on the Flyers…
from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Crosby is a terrific player. He is also capable of some hit-and-run behavior of his own. He tripped up Flyers goaltender Martin Biron from behind in the third period, then hid behind teammate Georges Laraque, who took a dive into Biron’s legs a few minutes later.
When things really got out of hand, Crosby was on the bench.
There’s no way to defend all the fighting and foolishness to a non-hockey fan. The NHL has worked hard to steer the game away from the professional wrestling atmosphere and emphasize the skill and the speed that really make the sport fun to watch.
But a night like this has a certain, hard-to-justify appeal to those of us who grew up watching Bobby Clarke and Dave Schultz and Bob Kelly throw their bodies around and their gloves on the ice.
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 email@example.com