Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/19/10 at 09:54 AM ET
from Rich Hofmann of the Philadelphia Daily News,
Playing on a line with Danny Briere and Hartnell, Leino has 11 points in 10 playoff games and continues to impress with his poise and his speed. He and Briere together are a truly dynamic combination.
And nobody saw it coming. Repeat, underlined: nobody.
“It was an awful regular season,” Leino said. “It was a really, really tough stretch there. I don’t know if you sometimes have to go to the bottom to get back on top. Mentally, it was tough. Hopefully, I got stronger from that.”
In February, when the deal was made, it was viewed as a nothing kind of transaction, just a little roster churning by general manager Paul Holmgren. What they knew all along was that Leino needed to play with skilled players to show his skill, that he really didn’t have a checking-line function. And it was hard for coach Peter Laviolette to find a place for him - that much was obvious.
“I think Detroit had some cap issues,” Holmgren said. “When I talked to [Red Wings GM] Kenny Holland, I don’t think he wanted to trade him. He liked him, and I know the coach [Mike Babcock] really liked him. But they got themselves into a bind and they were going to lose him on waivers. I think somebody would have claimed him if they went that route. We were able to make a trade.
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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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