Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Terry Frei at ESPN,
Pronger maintained the season “can be easily turned around.” The issue, of course, is whether this is an aberrational period, a somewhat inevitable slump involving injuries and a loss of focus (as evidenced by too-many-men minors) rather than an indication that this is the real Anaheim.
The Ducks are going to be fine. Thanks to the soft Central Division, both the Predators and Wings have passed them in the conference, and, yes, they have looked shaky of late. Pronger and Scott Niedermayer at times seem as if they’re not 100 percent, but they’ll get back to it.
from Shawn P. Roarke at NHL.com,
After discussing dream jobs in the opening segment of last week’s Crashing the Net, this week’s Opening Faceoff focuses on 20 young men living out their hockey dreams. This week, CTN rates the 20 best rookies in the NHL this season.
10. Travis Zajac, New Jersey, C—The fifth center to crack the Top 10 on this list, Zajac is not as offensively polished as the ones who precede him on this list, but he is solid in all three zones and has assumed a key role as New Jersey’s second-line center
read on for the rest…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
From night to night, you never know what to expect from the Thrashers. They are the poster children for the new NHL. They can win 8-2 one night with an explosion of offence and then lose going away 5-1 the next. They can run roughshod over an opponent in one game and then find themselves steamrolled by the same opponent the next time out.
Page 2 at ESPN,
White laces have been the standard for decades, but yellow is slowly creeping into the game. Current devotees include Ilya Kovalchuk, Slava Koslov, Alex Ovechkin (who’s erroneously shown wearing white laces in NHL 07), Jaromir Jagr (whose yellow laces really clash with the Rangers’ color scheme), Marc Savard (now there’s how to match your laces to your uni!), and Petr Nedved.
more... scroll down to hockey…
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
Well, with t-minus two weeks and counting until the Feb. 27th trade deadline and the bipolar nature of nearly every team nowadays, I’m nowhere near brave enough to predict who’ll be on the inside of the post-season looking out.
That said, I’m much more comfortable predicting who’ll be on the outside looking in. Want to know which two teams almost assuredly won’t make it?
Not if you’re a fan of the New York Rangers or Edmonton Oilers, you don’t.
Yeah, I’m singling out the Blueshirts and Oilers to fail in this season’s playoff race.
from the Collegiate Times (Virginia Tech),
The NHL is boasting some of its brightest, most media-friendly players in years with the likes of Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. “Sid the Kid” is leading the league in points as a 19-year-old while the 21-year-old Ovechkin is second in the league in goals, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. These guys steal the show wherever they go.
The suggestion here isn’t that ESPN should flood Sportscenter with NHL coverage, as they have with their recently-acquired NASCAR rights (anyone else notice how NASCAR has taken over Sportscenter recently). They should, however, give respect where respect is due and stop ignoring the fact that hockey is in the strongest state it has ever been.
In order for the current crop of young stars populating the lineup of the Pittsburgh Penguins to achieve the sorts of feats that the Edmonton Oilers did in the 1980s, somehow, that lineup is going to have to stay intact.
Glenn Anderson, one of the stars of that Oilers dynasty, is concerned that with the current economic climate and collective bargaining agreement, there won’t be the same sort of roster continuity and longevity as he and his mates had.
“The rules were a little different then. But there are a lot of similarities with the talent that they have and with that team,” Anderson told Simcoe.com, as he spoke about the likes of Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal, Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury.
from Rob Oiler of the Columbus Dispatch,
For those who passed up a 4-2 loss last night to the St. Louis Blues—and considering sidewalk snow drifts outnumbered fans inside Nationwide Arena, it’s a safe bet you stayed home—may I suggest you open the unauthorized biography of the Blue Jackets titled, Playoffs: We’re closer than you think. ... Honest.
In this coffee table read—it would be inaccurate to label it a page-turner—we learn that a search of the Dispatch library database turned up 106 entries in which “MacLean” and “improve” appear in the same story since the first puck dropped Oct. 7, 2000.
But mainly we discover, through actual quotes, that the Blue Jackets have always been this close to contending for the playoffs
from the Ottawa Citizen,
It’s bad enough that the buyers heading into the Feb. 27 trade deadline outnumber sellers because so many teams are lingering around the final playoff positions. Basic market principles dictate that the asking prices will be high if demand is strong and the supply limited.
On top of that, organizations have to decide if a shakeup of a roster is worth the risk. In adding a player, typically a veteran who can boost a playoff run, someone on the existing roster is going to be affected, with reduced ice time or a spot in the press box.
Now, mix in the fact that, around here, the Ottawa Senators don’t exactly have a history of striking gold with pre-deadline moves.
-A handful of big name players could be on the move by deadline day.
It these names interest you, check out Spector today.
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