Kukla's Korner Hockey
from All Things Avs,
What better place to be than Northern California, this or any time of year? That’s my best bet for where the Avs will open up, at the H-P Pavilion against the Sharks.
A quick couple of thoughts here before the ambien fully kicks in: I think the Avs would be better off playing the Sharks in the first round, instead of Minnesota. I know San Jose has been the hottest team in the West in the second half, and that their defense was transformed with the addition of Bryan Campbell, and Joe Thornton is a monster and Patrick Marleau has been a lot better. I get that.
I still think that’s the best matchup for Colorado. I don’t think the Avs fear Evgeni Nabokov much. I think, of the top eight teams in the West, he is in the middle of the pack among goalies.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
So we will wait to annoint Brian Campbell as the second-coming of Paul Coffey in San Jose until we see how far the 106-point Sharks go this spring. But right now the former Buffalo Sabres defenceman is clearly the best addition any team made on Feb. 26 or in the leadup to the deadline.
You can make a case for goalie Cristobal Huet in Washington (8-2, 1.83 average) and Joe Corvo (18 points in 20 games, plus-6) in Carolina, too, but Campbell has given the NHL’s hottest team exactly what they needed—a blueliner who could easily transport the puck up ice and run the power play.
He’s got 16 points in 17 games which gives him 59 points on the year, third most for defencemen after Nicklas Lidstrom’s 66 and Sergei Gonchar’s 62, and is also plus-10 in San Jose
from Drew Remenda at Seagate Broadcaster Blog,
As Kurtis Foster was laying on a opererating table getting his leg repaired, the Minnesota Wild had quickly made arrangements to get his fiance to the San Jose. Chris Snow the Wild’s Director of Hockey Operations stayed behind to make sure Kurtis Foster was getting the best possible care by keeeping the communication going between the Wild and Sharks Medical Staff. One of Kurtis’ first visitors at the hospital was Greg Jamison. The Sharks President and CEO brought by a gift basket and showed some kindness to the injured Wild Defenseman. Shortly after GM Doug Wilson dropped by.
via Working the Corners,
Not only did Jonathan Cheechoo skip the morning skate, he didn’t even make the trip. Patrick Rissmiller did both and will be in his usual spot alongside Torrey Mitchell and Mike Grier.
Keeping Cheechoo off the plane makes all the sense if the soreness remains in the head and neck areeas after that hit by Anaheim’s Chris Kunitz. Still, it does raise a red flag.
from Lyle Richardson at the Hockey News,
Now that he’s with the Sharks and a pending UFA, Campbell’s contract value certainly rise above the $25-million deal he reportedly sought from the Sabres. It has been speculated Wilson could get Campbell signed to a five-year, $30-million deal. Elsewhere, Campbell might command a $7 million per season offer.
The New York Rangers, Chicago, Atlanta, Carolina, Colorado, New Jersey and Los Angeles could be interested in Campbell and all have the available cap space to bid for his services.
from Working the Corners,
But both Wilsons were unhappy about an anonymous quote that appeared in TSN commentator Darren Dreger’s blog on the Canadian sports network’s web site. That unnamed coach labeled Mitchell “a player who preys on the vulnerable” in Dreger’s blog on the TSN web site.
“I wonder if he thinks it’s Torrey Mitchell or the Mitchell that plays in Vancouver,” Ron Wilson said. “Torrey’s penalties have been a hook, a trip — what can you say?”
The Sharks coach clearly had a problem with one of his colleagues hiding behind an anonymity.
“I could make a good guess and I bet I’m right, but I’m not even going to go there as to who said that,” he added, before quickly eliminating Minnesota’s coach as a suspect.
from the Mercury News,
“They’re all out here - by a country mile,” Wilson said. “The West has depleted the East of the great ones.”
The Sharks’ acquisition of Buffalo’s Brian Campbell last month was the latest example of how cornering the market on top-echelon defensemen has helped tilt the NHL’s balance of power toward the Wild, Wild West.
The list is impressive. Anaheim’s Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger. Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski. Dallas’ Sergei Zubov, Calgary’s Dion Phaneuf and Chicago’s Duncan Keith.
And now Campbell.
“Either through free agency or trades, guys are finding their way to the West,” Campbell said.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Nine months later Roenick is thankful that he went to see his former Blackhawks teammate (Doug) Wilson and grateful to Wilson for giving me “a chance to hold my head high again.”
Roenick said he was “blown away” by the respect that Wilson showed him that day.
“He told me that he didn’t want me to retire the way that it was going,” Roenick said, still touched by that meeting. “That meant the world to me because respect is huge to me.”
From Pierre LeBrun at CP,
Along with the NHL-leading Detroit Red Wings, we argue the three Pacific Division contenders make up the best four teams in the NHL. And one will almost surely be out in the first round. Hence the urgency of the six total games involving the Sharks, Ducks and Stars.
“Those games against Dallas and San Jose are critical,” said Carlyle.
If you think you’ve seen this movie before, it’s because you have. The same three clubs also came down to the wire last season and finished three points apart, the Ducks winning the division with 110 points followed by San Jose (107) and Dallas (107).
Update 4:58pm ET: Link fixed, changed to the original CP report via Google. Sorry ‘bout the botched one earlier.
From the AP via the Santa Barbara News-Press,
After the longest winning streak in franchise history, Roenick’s only remaining question is whether the Sharks can ride this wave all the way into June.
San Jose’s club-record 11-game roll ended Sunday night, but the 2-1 shootout loss to Edmonton still produced the Sharks’ 23rd point in 12 games. Led by a rejuvenated captain, a new defenseman and a tireless goalie, San Jose has replied to the doubters who saw the preseason Stanley Cup favorites’ first 60 games as a disappointment - particularly the five before their winning run.
‘‘We had that five-game losing streak, and when you’re in a playoff race and you get scared of actually missing the playoffs, it gets your attention,’’ said Roenick, recalling a miserable trip from New Jersey to Philadelphia right before the streak began.
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