Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the CP,
The Buffalo Sabres were halfway through their practice on the rink in Ralph Wilson Stadium on Monday afternoon when coach Lindy Ruff canned the monotonous drills and let his players play shinny.
“I wanted them to get back the feeling of playing pond hockey,” Ruff explained. “It felt like the right thing to do, and they had a great time.” Millionaire pros were acting like kids.
“That was awesome, it really was,” Ruff said of the unique outdoor experience. “It kind of gets you back to your roots.”
from Mark Madden at the Beaver County Times,
The Penguins are about $12 million under the cap. With new-arena revenue starting to accrue in 2010, there’s no reason the team can’t spend more to get the right player.
Who is that player? Tough call. Atlanta winger Marian Hossa, 28, has averaged 39 goals over his past five seasons. He’s an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, but will likely be traded before that. The Penguins shouldn’t get a rent-a-player. If you swap for Hossa, hammer out a new contract with him before making the deal.
San Jose is reportedly shopping winger Jonathan Cheechoo, 27. Cheechoo averaged 40 goals over the last three campaigns, including a league-best 56 in 2005-06. He has just four goals this season, but that might lessen what the Penguins would have to surrender. Cheechoo is signed through 2010-11, and makes a reasonable $3 million per.
Here’s something that would be fun to do: Washington mega-scorer Alexander Ovechkin, 22, is a restricted free agent at the end of the season. Offer Ovechkin what Crosby makes, then wait for the Capitals to match the offer. They would, but it would make for a marvelous week of dreaming.
via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Veteran forward Gary Roberts left the game between the Penguins and Buffalo Sabres at Mellon Arena tonight after a collision with Buffalo forward Tim Connolly during the second period.
Roberts was diagnosed by team doctors with a broken left fibula, and it is unknown how much time he will miss. Roberts will be re-evaluated by team doctors in the coming days.
BUFFALO (Dec. 29, 2007) – To ify any advantages or adversities created by weather conditions at Ralph Wilson Stadium during Tuesday’s AMP Energy NHL Winter Classic, the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins will switch ends halfway through the third period – ensuring each team would spend the equivalent number of minutes attacking or defending each goal, the National Hockey League announced today.
If necessary, a five-minute overtime period also would be divided in half, with the teams switching ends after 2:30 of play.
Should a shootout be needed, each goaltender would be given the option of determining which goal to defend. Thus it is possible that both teams would shoot at the same goal. Once a goaltender has chosen the goal he wants to defend, he must defend that goal for every round of the shootout.
The League also announced that length of intermissions between – and timeouts during – periods may be subject to modification depending on weather and ice conditions, as may be determined by the Game Officials and/or Commissioner Gary Bettman, in consultation with representatives of the National Hockey League Players’ Association.
from the Toronto Star,
The icemaker is worried. The trainers are worried. The equipment managers are worried.
This business of playing hockey outdoors in the cold piles worry on top of worry for the people behind the scenes, whose job it is to make Tuesday’s Buffalo-Pittsburgh game at Ralph Wilson Stadium seem seamlessly magical.
“You don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Chris Stewart, the Penguins’ head trainer.
On Tuesday, January 1st, at 1 p.m. ET, Sidney will lead the Penguins onto the ice at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, where they will take on the hometown Sabres in the AMP Energy NHL Winter Classic.
Sidney leads the Penguins and is tied for second in overall NHL scoring with 16 goals and 34 assists for 50 points in 37 games played. The Penguins will host the Sabres at Mellon Arena tomorrow in the first of the back-to-back encounters that will culminate with Tuesday’s outdoor game.
Q. How often have you actually skated outdoors when you were growing up in Nova Scotia?
SIDNEY CROSBY: A lot. I mean, probably not as much as other kids in Ontario and Quebec. Our weather wasn’t always consistently cold. But I’ve certainly done it enough. Always had fun doing it. Certainly looking forward to this time.
via Empty Netters,
Mark Eaton is out indefinitely with a torn ACL.
As we’ve illustrated before, Eaton is one of the most valuable members of this team.
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
Dan Craig also once created a rink on top of an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Needless to say, he has this rink-building thing down to—pardon the pun—a science. And you don’t need to remind him how much his ice matters to the event.
“You’re going to have 70,000 people there, and seven million watching on the tube,” Craig said. “You know CBC and NBC have corporate partners they have to keep pleased. I’m very conscious of that.”
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
The fall out of favor of Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik, scratched from the last two games, is merely symbolic of the dysfunction striking the Penguins.
A notable number of players in the room harbor bitter feelings toward head coach Michel Therrien and assistant Andre Savard. There is resentment, we’re told, over the manner in which veteran Mark Recchi was waived. Ruutuu and Gary Roberts have asked for trades.
more and some Simon and NHLPA talk too…
In our “Friday Faceoff,” ESPN.com NHL writer Scott Burnside (based in Atlanta) and Toronto Star columnist and frequent ESPN.com contributor Damien Cox (based in Toronto) duke it out over any given hockey topic. Let the games begin!
This week’s topic: Is this season’s outdoor game a good or bad thing?
Damien: Actually, it’s endeavour. Not that you were born here in Canada or anything. The outdoor event? Oh sure, great idea. Well, great old idea. Or just old idea. Look, if people want to sit in a Buffalo snowdrift and “watch” an NHL game from 300 feet away, God bless ‘em. But don’t tell me this game should count in the standings. It makes a mockery of the game. You’ll have guys out there in toques playing on crappy ice hoping to get the wind for the third period.
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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