Kukla's Korner Hockey
from John McGourty of NHL.com,
Leave it to the Toronto Maple Leafs to spoil a good party.
The 27th annual “What’s Wrong With the Leafs?” luncheon will be held at a Toronto restaurant in a couple days and if the boys in blue can top their recent 5-1-1 streak with road victories tonight over the Atlanta Thrashers and tomorrow against the Montreal Canadiens on Hockey Night In Canada, there will be precious little downside to talk about at the negativity-in-perpetuity shindig.
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
“I just think there’s going to be a steady, dramatic increase in visor usage,” said Kelly, hired by the NHLPA in October to replace ousted former NHLPA executive director Ted Saskin. “Players are getting the message that they should put a visor on, there are more young guys and European guys coming into the league, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 20 (percent) spike in the number of players wearing visors next year, and another 15 percent spike the year after that.
“Even left to its own natural evolution, visor use will become pretty much unanimous in a matter of two or three years.”
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Looking at how players are performing this season and projecting where they will be in 2009-10, the highly likely Olympians at forward would appear to be Paul Stastny (Colorado Avalanche), Zach Parise and Brian Gionta (New Jersey Devils), Dustin Brown (Los Angeles Kings), Chris Drury (New York Rangers), Erik Cole (Carolina Hurricanes), Chris Higgins (Montreal Canadiens) and Kane.
Brian Rolston (Minnesota Wild) will be 36 in 2010, but my hunch is he will be on the team playing the role of the smart, skilled veteran who can handle a variety of roles.
from Black Athlete,
Tough Willie O’Ree—whose older brother used to hit him into the boards to get him used to the greetings of NHL players—always had to be ready for a fight. Because there was always a fist, elbow, stick or—especially in New York, Chicago and Detroit—a slur in O’Ree’s face.
“I never wanted to be a fighter, but I wasn’t going to let anyone push me out of the league,” he says as we walk the quiet halls of the TD Banknorth Garden, the arena that replaced the original Boston Garden in 1995.
He never picked a fight because of a racial comment.
“I let them go in one ear and out the other—(otherwise) I’d be fighting all the time,” he says.
Update 5:19pm ET: At Willie O’Ree’s NHL.com blog, an interview with O’Ree and Snoop Dogg at a Ducks game this week.
from Rich Sadowski of the Rocky Mountain News,
A few observations now that most NHL teams have reached the one-third mark of the 2007-08 season:
* Henrik Zetterberg continues to pile up points, as do the Red Wings, making him the early favorite to win the Hart Trophy as Most Valuable Player. Zetterberg would join Peter Forsberg, who won the award with the Avalanche in 2003, as the only Swedish-born players to be so honored.
* While Ryan Smyth has been everything the Avalanche could have hoped for after signing him as a free agent, Scott Hannan hasn’t yet lived up to expectations. Maybe it’s more difficult for a defenseman to adjust to new surroundings, but Hannan is a quality player and he shouldn’t be lugging around a plus/minus rating that looks more like Tiger Woods’ golf score after a couple of rounds.
from the News-Democrat,
“To me, the work ethic of our penalty-killing players is not matched by the work ethic of our power-play players,” Murray said. “The power-play guys can say it’s easier to kill penalties, and it is. But we’re also paying some guys some pretty good dollars to make our power play work.”...
For the season, the Blues are successful on 13.3 percent of their power-play chances (17-for-128). And while the team’s overall play has improved since Murray’s arrival last December, the power-play remains a major concern.
“We’re not seeing enough goals on our power play,” Murray said. “We’re not seeing the extra work to battle for pucks, to come up with loose pucks, to make sure you outnumber your opponent around the puck.
“There were some guys trying to be difference-makers, but there weren’t enough of them.”
more on the Blues…
via Ice Chips at the Arizona Republic,
When goalie Ilya Bryzgalov opened up the Christmas card the Coyotes are sending out this season, he saw his smiling face.
He immediately realized that the leg pads were not his—and then he noticed that it wasn’t his body either.
Since he was not on the team at the time the photo was taken, his face was superimposed over the face of David Aebischer, who is now a goaltender in Europe.
Bryzgalov, taken aback a little at first, joked that he’d have to take somebody to court.
from the Boston Globe,
One longtime scout, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said last night at the Garden he believed the Bruins were in talks with Columbus, which will be in town tomorrow night.
The Blue Jackets, who look capable of landing the franchise’s first playoff berth, were rumored in the offseason to be trying to move talented Russian winger Nikolai Zherdev, who has a history of being somewhat of a lone ranger on the ice.
from the News & Observer,
“I wouldn’t consider any options at this point, but I do think it’s time for me to look at everything a lot closer now,” Rutherford said Thursday. “All teams are going to go through ups and downs but I think our down has lasted too long. And it’s more the fact that in given games we look really good and given games we look really bad. There’s no in-between with us.
“That’s troublesome. I’m concerned about that. When we can prepare and play so well one night and play so poorly the next night, that’s not a good sign.”
Rutherford said the trade market is stagnant at the moment, although he continues to make calls.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
So what happened? What changed?
How did “Not For Sale” change to “About To Be Sold”?
How did this go from Daryl Katz being given the bum’s rush by Cal Nichols and the Edmonton Investors Group to Nichols standing first in line to sell his shares to the Rexall owner?
In August, Nichols announced “a resounding vote to reject this offer.”
Remember the quotes?
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.
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