Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Craig Custance of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Bubble teams aren’t just for NCAA tournament Selection Sunday. Thanks to parity and three-point games, there’s no shortage of bubble teams in the NHL.
As teams enter the final 10 games of their season, we handicap who is likely to be in and who’ll be out when the dust settles.
WE LIKE THEIR CHANCES
New York Rangers: After a slow start, things are starting to click for a Rangers team that many thought was the best in the East following a big-spending summer.
from Brian Costello of the Hockey News,
A growing trend in the NHL’s salary cap era is the fast-tracking of talented youngsters into prominent roles strictly for financial reasons.
That’s not really breaking news, but we’re sure noticing it with more regularity each season, especially when putting together our list of top 50 prospects for Future Watch 2008.
We were more than a little shocked to realize the top seven prospects from Future Watch 2007 made the quick jump to the NHL this season.
Over at the AVSForums, a thread headline reads... “Russian Rocket Fails To Put Dish Network Satellite In Proper Orbit.”
Only a hockey fan would reply… “When I saw this thread I thought of Pavel Bure.”
from Gary Peterson of the Contra Costa Times via Inside Bay Area,
We have seen over the past three weeks that Marleau still has jump in those 29-year-old legs, and that the Sharks are better off when he’s on top of his game. But there are bigger questions afoot that cannot be answered until the regular season ends, and the mission shifts from playoff positioning to legend making and legacy building.
Question No. 1: Speaking of interpretive data: Does Marleau rise to the level of competition, or does he shrink from it? In 2004, he scored seven goals as the Sharks defeated St. Louis and Colorado in the first two rounds of the playoffs. He was held to one goal and was a minus-5 in the conference final loss to Calgary.
In 2006, he scalded Nashville for seven goals as the Sharks won in five games. He scored two goals as they were eliminated by Edmonton.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
Wayne Gretzky was the planned surprise guest at the party the Vancouver Giants are having for Gordie Howe to celebrate his 80th birthday today, but while he said he wouldn’t be able to come, he’ll surely find a way to send along his regards.
The Great One took some time here to tell a few of the tales of his interaction with the man Reggie Fleming used to call “Blinkey” as a way to try to get under his skin, always a dangerous proposition. And it all started with that famous picture of the two taken when he was just 10 years old; Wayne remembers it like it was yesterday.
“I remember I was getting out of school that day because I was meeting Gordie at the Holiday Inn at 2’ o’clock,” said Gretzky
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Somehow, the sixth-place Rangers are only four points ahead of the ninth-place Sabres, though they do hold a game in hand on Buffalo. Somehow, the Rangers are fighting for their playoff lives following last night’s 3-0, empty-net-abetted defeat here to the Lightning.
Somehow? Here’s how: The power play, even more pathetic last night than usual while going 0-for-3, is operating without purpose, confidence or competent play from the point, yet coach Tom Renney refuses to adjust his personnel….
Somehow? Here’s how: Despite diminishing returns from veterans Martin Straka and Brendan Shanahan, Renney opted against a rest-and-replenishment night for either, even with three games in four nights coming up this week beginning with Tuesday’s Garden match against the Penguins that will be followed by games in New Jersey and Philadelphia.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
The Senators can buy out goalie Ray Emery between June 15 and June 30 at one-third of the $6.75 million left on the last two years of his deal. That would be spread out over four years, or $562,000 each year on the cap. Bet on them doing it.
much more NHL talk…
via the LA Times,
“I don’t think we’re happy about it,” (Scott) Niedermayer said of the suspension. “It’s not something you want to have happen for sure. But, again, Chris is a guy that plays an intense game. And we know that. I’m sure he’s said this before that he’s not going to change the way he plays.
“I personally think the incident was a lot different than a lot of incidents that happen. It was just a quick reaction that could be viewed in many, many ways.”
Said goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere: “You know Pronger is a competitor and sometimes he gets emotionally involved in the game. These things happen. That’s not to defend what he did. But we’ll have to accept the consequences and move forward.”
There are those who believe the NHL should enlarge nets, shrink goalie equipment and implement more four-on-four hockey to increase scoring.
Former National Hockey League forward Scott Mellanby fuelled the debate during Saturday’s Hotstove segment on Hockey Night in Canada.
Mellanby suggested the league break from tradition and have teams defend the end of the ice opposite their bench in the first and third periods.
Entering play Saturday, 2,058 goals had been scored this season in the second period, compared to 1,683 in the first period and 1,844 goals (excluding 185 empty-net markers) in the third frame.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
It’s really going to be up to Babcock to decide if he wants to stay with the Wings. He holds the option on the last year of his contract, which means he has the hammer in negotiations.
At this point, it doesn’t seem likely Babcock will leave the Motor City, but things could change if the club underachieves in the playoffs this spring.
If Babcock, 45, were to become available, Senators GM/coach Bryan Murray would almost certainly have an interest in speaking to him.
read on an many more NHL bits…
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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