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Penguins Have To Believe They Can Win

from Sam Kasan at PittsburghPenguins.com,

General manager Ray Shero tapped Bylsma to take over the Penguins, who are five points behind the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, and lead the club to a postseason berth.

“That’s our goal,” Shero said. “It’s been uphill battle. This is a resilient group. I’m looking for Dan to come in with the coaches here to rally the troops. We’re looking to make some progress here and make a push. “

“To have an opportunity to coach a team with this much talent and this much possibility is a great chance for me,” Bylsma said. “I look at the players and the roster and I look at a group that can win games right now. We need to do that starting (Monday) on the Island. We can do this but the players have to believe that we can do this. That’s the approach that we’ll take.”

read on

added 8:24am, from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

They have the 20th-ranked penalty-killing unit and are 21st in the NHL in goals against per game after being one of the top teams in the East defensively last season.

So Therrien was an easy mark.

He didn’t have enough chips in the bank. He wasn’t GM Ray Shero’s guy, having preceded Shero in Pittsburgh by half a season.

He was gruff and combustible and sometimes hard on people around him.

And you know what? He may have also saved this franchise.

more

added 8:29am, from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

That is why the finger of blame can swing toward Lemieux, the minority owner who has a huge say in running the team thanks to his status in Pittsburgh as a minor deity.

Almost one year ago, the Penguins were the most improved team in the NHL. But they had a couple of shortcomings that were making the ascension to champions less than a sure thing.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dan+bylsma

Mara Injury A Blow To The Rangers Defense

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

So it turns out yesterday’s 5-2 Garden loss to the Flyers was not the most damaging of the day for the Rangers.

Because the Blueshirts also lost Paul Mara, who for the bulk of the season has been the team’s best and most inspirational defenseman, when his right shoulder popped out as he tried to throw a punch while fighting with Aaron Asham, 6:14 into the third period.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: paul+mara

Is Renney Next?

from Steve Zipay of Blue Notes at Newsday,

When I asked about the chants of “Fire Renney” and “Fire Sather” and how much blame he needs to take for the unrest and slumping team, he said:

“I take full responsibility for where this team is right now. That’s incumbent with the position. My job is to correct this, get us winning, get us feeling better about ourselves. I look to be a solution. It’s as simple as that.”

Actually, it’s more complicated. I’m starting to get the feeling that some players—-not all—-have tuned Renney out, and as the old saying goes, you can’t get fire of all the players.

My growing suspicion is that if the Rangers don’t respond with wins Monday in St. Louis and at home against the Islanders on Wednesday, the successful coach of almost five years may not get a reprieve.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tom+renney

Therrien Fired

Dan Bylsma has been named interim head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins, replacing Michel Therrien, it was announced tonight by Executive Vice President and General Manager Ray Shero.

Bylsma, 38, has been serving as head coach of the team’s American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He will coach his first game with the Penguins Monday at 2 p.m. against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.

Therrien was relieved of his duties this evening, and assistant coach Andre Savard was reassigned within the organization.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dan+bylsma, michel+therrien

Gaborik Skating

from Russo’s Rants,

Marian Gaborik is skating, Risebrough said, and Risebrough maintains that he expects Gaborik to eventually return to the Wild’s lineup, not somebody else’s. However, Risebrough said Gaborik has a big physical that he must pass March 3 in order to really ramp up his training. You know me by now. I’m a conspiracy theorist. I find it interesting that 1) Risebrough knows the date because he normally lets Tom Lynn handle details about most everything and 2) March 3 is one day before the trade deadline. Or maybe it’s just a coincidence, eh?

Risebrough did his best to lower expectations for any “magical trade deadline” move for a scorer. Risebrough said, grinning, “He’s recovering,” meaning Gaborik.

more on the Wild…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marian+gaborik

Paid Attendance Talk In Tampa

from Damian Cristodero & Joe Smith of the St. Petersburg Times,

The Lightning announced a crowd of 17,249 for Saturday’s game with the Capitals at the St. Pete Times Forum.

But if a recent pattern is an indication, tickets sold likely were significantly fewer.

Numbers provided by Hillsborough County, which owns the 13-year-old facility, show that through December (the latest data available) the team sold an average of 14,119 tickets for 16 dates. Announced crowds, however, averaged 16,698.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Expect An Avs Deal In The Next Few Days

from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,

I’m not officially on the beat this weekend, but I can pretty much guarantee there will be at least one trade by the Avs in the next few days. The moves will start to happen, folks.

I’ve seen the rumors about Ryan Smyth being on the block, and I don’t think he’s going anywhere. Not in this economic climate, and not with the money and term left on his deal….

But I do think Jordan Leopold will be traded, and maybe Brett Clark and/or Ruslan Salei too. Remember those Jaro Halak rumors I wrote about a couple months ago, too? Don’t be shocked if he still ends up in Denver after all.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

What Do The Rangers Do Now?

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

This was a throwback to the pre-lockout days when the Rangers were a miserable collection of underachievers and the Garden crowd amused itself by chanting for the dismissal of the GM and the coach.

That was this afternoon, when the reeling Rangers were humiliated 5-2 by the Flyers after falling behind 5-0 midway through the second and the crowd intermittently chanted “Fire [Glen] Sather” and “Fire [Tom] Renney.”

How low can they go? Who knows?

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Sharks May Make A Defensive Depth Move At Trade Deadline

from David Pollak of Working the Corners,

Because the March 4 trade deadline is just a little more than two weeks away and that’s what hockey writers are supposed to do at this point. I know that because we exchange emails a lot and I’m starting to get a few of them asking what I think the Sharks might be up to.

The limited salary cap space is an obvious limiting factor. Beyond that? I’m not in the room when these matters are discussed and Doug Wilson has earned a reputation around the NHL as a non-gabber on such matters.

But if I had to (educated) guess, I’d say he might be in the market for a depth defenseman, not because the team has soured on Alexei Semenov or Derek Joslin — it hasn’t — but because another veteran with more playoff experience couldn’t hurt if any one of the Top Six end up injured.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

For The Love Of The Game?

from Justin Bourne at The Hockey News,

As I sit here and type this, my jaw is in four pieces. I’m equipped with two plates, 10 screws and a bottom row of teeth that would rival the finest set in any backwoods pub in England. I’m a hockey player, and this is my life.

My dad, Bob Bourne, was a hockey player, and a pretty good one. He won four Stanley Cups with the Islanders back in the dynasty days and has his name is in the rafters at Nassau Coliseum. I’m pretty sure it was his name they were raising; it was tough to see from the huge shadow I’m in. At least I have the option of being a professional clown with these huge unfilled shoes of his.

But really, I never tried to fill them. In fact, I was never married to hockey. If hockey were a girl, I’m fairly certain I could go to court and get a restraining order. Hey, I just liked it. Maybe I led it on a bit with the late night games and the odd early morning rendezvous, but it knew what we were.

continued

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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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.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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