Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
Crosby will likely be climbing the walls by the time his trip to Western Canada concludes. His passion runs high for playing games in Canada, but his time away from the rink is spent keeping a low profile. In other words, Crosby won’t be found looking for a postgame pint on Electric Avenue in Calgary.
“Probably a little busier, more interviews,” the reigning NHL MVP said when asked about the difference between playing in Canada and the United States.
from the Buffalo News,
Who’s holding a “viewing party” for thousands of Buffalo Sabres fans unable to score a ticket for the Jan. 1 NHL Winter Classic in Ralph Wilson Stadium?
Will fans attending the game be able to park their campers or RVs at the stadium a day or two beforehand for a festive New Year’s Eve party?
When will the ice be put down?
continued... all the information you will need about the game…
from Adrian Dater at the Denver Post,
A little birdie told me the Avs had scouts at the Penguins-Senators game the other night, so start your trade rumors from those locations.
Personally, I think the Avs might be considering getting Marc-Andre Fleury, the former first-round goalie pick who hasn’t been that great for the Pens. But that’s just a hunch, not based on big word of mouth. John-Michael Liles could be part of that mix, but again, just a hunch.
from Mike Madden at the Beaver County Times,
Could Michel Therrien do a better job as Penguins coach?
Let me count the ways:
Marc-Andre Fleury should start every game unless he physically needs a rest….
Sidney Crosby should play the entire two minutes of every power play…
Use Crosby and Malkin to kill penalties, especially when the Penguins have committed several infractions in a short span….
from Darren Eliot at Sports Illustrated,
I asked Crosby about the team’s rather uneven start, postulating that maybe the young core group overlooked how well teams would prepare for them after the Penguins’ successful 2006-07 campaign. He replied, “I don’t think that’s it. We went through it last year when there was a lot of attention paid to us. We are a young group and we’re gaining experience all the time. We’ve been playing good hockey lately and hopefully we can start getting some results.”
They have been losing a lot of close games, which is disconcerting in that they excelled at winning them during the second half of last season. “The difference is in making plays” Crosby offered. “Whether it is a pass, a hit, blocked shot or save, we need to make plays at the right time. We’re starting to do that more consistently.”
from Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
There is no aspect of the Penguins’ performance to date with which management should be particularly pleased.
Consequently, aside from the nucleus of players who are either elite young talents or have the potential to be there should be no untouchables when Shero is discussing potential trades.
That doesn’t mean a roster-wide purge is in order but sticking with the status quo will become more of a high-risk strategy with every point the Penguins surrender if they don’t start to string together some victories.
from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
At 9:03 yesterday morning, with the players’ parking area at Mellon Arena nearly empty and his teammates possibly still home in bed, Sidney Crosby walked into the West Igloo Lounge and greeted about a dozen people.
He was sized up by two clothes stylists and shown some black duds hung on a rack and placed on tables.
This was no indulgent personal shopping spree for the popular Penguins captain. Crosby arrived for work early to devote more than an hour to ESPN The Magazine, which is doing photo shoots with several top-caliber athletes across the country in advance—well in advance—of its 10th anniversary issue in March.
From Rob Rossi at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Gonchar is not listed on its All-Star ballot. According to a league spokesperson, the hockey operations department has the final decision on the All-Star ballot, which was finalized at the end of October and based on performance from previous seasons.
Gonchar ranked second, eighth, first and second (tied) in scoring by defensemen after each of the past four seasons.
“And I would still definitely say he is underrated,” defenseman Ryan Whitney said. “But players know how good he is, and that is what is important to him.”
Gonchar is the only current defenseman to record at least 50 points in each of the past seven seasons. He has scored more goals (104) than any defenseman dating to 2000, and his 385 points during that span are second to only Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom, who has 391.
Rossi also notes that Gonchar currently has 19 points through 20 games this season—tied for first among all NHL defensemen.
from Mark Madden at the Beaver County Times,
But the feelings of veterans shouldn’t matter when a team is based on youth. Unless the Penguins arrive a bit early, Recchi, Roberts and Sydor will almost certainly not be around when the team wins its next Stanley Cup. So who cares how they feel? Respect them. But don’t placate them. Don’t treat them with kid gloves when they play badly.
If anybody feels Roberts is still worth anything, Shero should trade him. Try calling north of the border, Ray. If his misguided raging-bull style on the ice is any indication, Roberts is not handling his decline well.
Recchi and Sydor can still help in lesser roles. Just make sure they have lesser roles.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
The most fascinating aspect of the Penguins’ struggle is that it provides us the first opportunity to gauge what kind of administrator general manager Ray Shero will be. Because this is his first GM job, we have no history to review.
But my hunch is Shero will be able to walk the fine line between aggressiveness and panic. I believe he will continue to look for scoring wingers, and I believe he will continue to be patient with Fleury. I believe he will be more patient with Fleury than his coach seems to be. I think if Shero believed Fleury needed an older goalie playing beside him, he would have acquired one last summer.
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.
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