Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Ready or not, Toronto, here comes Mats.
In just five days, Mats Sundin returns to the Air Canada Centre, this time wearing a Vancouver Canucks jersey, not the familiar blue-and-white of the Maple Leafs.
And as the Saturday night tilt creeps closer, expect the type of pre-game hype usually reserved for a Super Bowl.
Know this: Sundin certainly won’t be sneaking into town—he comes back on Hockey Day in Canada.
from Jason Kay of the Hockey News,
If Curtis Joseph’s NHL career indeed comes to an end at the conclusion of this season, he’ll retire with the fourth-most goalie wins of all-time and a giant question begging to be answered: has he done enough to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame?
Most people I talk to instinctively say no. He was a very good goalie, who wove an excellent 19-year tapestry – at times he was stellar – but didn’t set himself apart enough to become an Honored Member. He never won a Stanley Cup or appeared in a final, never earned a post-season all-star berth, never captured a Vezina Trophy.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
With all the uncertainty surrounding this year’s trade deadline, you can really only be sure of one thing. From now until March 4, Burke will be a closet fan of the Blues, Nashville Predators, Phoenix Coyotes and Columbus Blue Jackets. He wants them all to stay within a few points of eighth place in the West, so if they do anything at the deadline, they’re adding, not subtracting.
Because if it shakes out the way it looks - limited supply versus significant demand - that will make Burke’s handful of pawns look like shiny kings on that one crazy day when all reason disappears from the frontal lobes of NHL general managers.
more on the Leafs trade deadline planning…
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
As a waiver pickup last winter, Moore stands as one of John Ferguson’s better acquisitions during his time as Leaf GM. He’s making $900,000 (U.S.) on a one-year contract, certainly one of the cannier moves Cliff Fletcher made last summer.
Now it’s up to Burke. Trade Moore before the deadline with his value arguably at its peak? Sign him to a multi-year deal this summer? Let him walk as a 28-year-old free agent?...
Moore’s never had much relative financial security in the game, so maybe he’s thinking this is his chance to nail down a solid contract a great deal closer to the league’s $2 million average salary.
Then again, neither he nor his agent, Larry Kelly, has yet broached the matter with Burke.
Going to Harvard might make you smarter, but it doesn’t make you a soothsayer. As the Leafs try to figure what Moore is, he can only wonder where he’s headed.
In the blue and white corner this Saturday is Mikael Grabovski, a five-foot-11, 179-pound non-brawler who was a Habs’ prospect and is currently the most hated man in the Bell Centre.
In the bleu, blanc et rouge corner stands Sergei Kostitsyn, brother of Andrei and, at five-foot-11, 196 pounds, carrying a weight advantage over his Toronto opponent.
The two had to be restrained from fighting by the officials in January as both shoved at linesmen in what was interpreted as an attempt to get at each other.
Grabovski was the more aggressive of the two against a striped shirt, earning himself a three-game suspension. He left the ice to a chorus of boos, plastic cups and foul hand signals.
This week, the pair hyped up their possible battle as best they could.
“I think he is not Belarusian now, he is French, because I never fight with Belarusian guys,” said Grabovski, of Kostitsyn. “I don’t know why he wants to fight with me.
Update 3:22pm ET (alanah): From Mike Zeisberger via Sun Media—
For his part, [Guy] Carbonneau told Montreal reporters this week that he will not shackle Kostitsyn from participating in extracurricular activities in the event they arise during tonight’s Leafs-Habs meeting at the Bell Centre.
“I think it’s just great,” Carbonneau said, flashing a grin when asked about the feud between the two Belarusians. “You need emotion to play. For me and Peter Statsny, it wasn’t love.”
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Ron Wilson joined the pile on his goaltender Friday, a couple of days after his boss, Toronto Maple Leafs president and general manager Brian Burke, gave Vesa Toskala a public spanking.
“No, I don’t disagree,” the head coach said of Burke’s charge that Toskala does not work hard enough in practice. “I would have expected Vesa to have much better numbers at this point. He’s been inconsistent at best.
“I want to see him practise harder. You can say you’re saving something in practice for the games. But if you are failing in certain parts of your game, the only thing to do is practise harder. We are talking to Vesa about that.”...
“We have to have better numbers,” Wilson said. “You can’t have 20 shots and five go in. We have to get closer to a .900 save percentage.”
The Washingon Capitals claimed Staffan Kronwall off re-entry waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday.
The 26-year-old defenceman was placed on waivers by the Maple Leafs on Thursday.
From the CP via TSN:
The reason for the rivalry remains unknown, however team mates on both sides believe it has something to do with sharing the same nationality. Older brother Andrei [Kostitsyn] would not discuss the feud but did state that [Mikhail] Grabovski “…talks too much in the Russian newspapers about me and my brother.”
While both players were born in Belarussia, Grabovski believes that Kostitsyn’s heritage should be questioned. “I think he is not Belarussian now, he is French because I never fight with Belarussian guys.”
Canadiens heavyweight Georges Laraque thought the prospect of the two flyweights throwing down would be hilarious.
“I think it would look really funny,” Laraque said of the potential tilt between the pair who are both generously listed at 5’11”.
read on for the full story
Brian Burke appeared on Fan590 about an hour ago. Burke talked Leafs and then was asked about the Pronger to Toronto rumors. His response, “He is not coming here, not a chance.”
Burke then went on to say the package Anaheim GM Bob Murray would get for Pronger is a “#1 pick and a kid.” I found it a bit interesting Burke did not say if he is traded, but instead just said this is the type of package Anaheim will get for Pronger.
You can listen here and the Pronger topic starts at the 7:20 mark..
Penguins centre Tyler Kennedy has been suspended one game by the NHL for initiating a fight with the Maple Leafs’ Luke Schenn on Saturday night.
The Leafs had asked the league to review the incident, saying that Kennedy had come off to the Pens’ bench to start an altercation with the young defenceman.
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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