Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Ottawa Citizen,
In the grand scheme of things, tonight’s matchup between the Ottawa Senators is just another game in the long journey that is an NHL season. Game No. 43 for the home side, in fact.
A few more numbers will tell you why it’s so much more….
Maybe 308? That’s how many goals the NHL’s two top-scoring teams have racked up midway through the year.
Five of the top 10 scorers in the league play in either Motown or O-Town.
added 1:01pm, via the Detroit Free Press,
A quick update from Scotiabank Place: Henrik Zetterberg missed the morning skate because of flu and is probable for tonight’s game against Ottawa.
Zetterberg practiced yesterday, but started to feel ill during the afternoon, team captain Nicklas Lidstrom told me.
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
With his job on the line, possibly as early as tonight’s game in San Jose, Maurice refuted talk the team has quit on him. Midway through his second season with the Leafs, he has another year on his contract.
“We still have dominant men in that room who are competing,” a tense-looking Maurice said after the last-place Kings toyed with the Leafs 5-2 the night before, the club’s 10th loss in the past 12 games. “You always have to have that fight in you and when you don’t, that’s when it’s done.”
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
According to the terms of the agreement, Ovechkin has what is described as a “modified no trade clause.”
Prior to July 1, 2014 the Capitals have the luxury and sole discretion of trading Ovechkin to any team in the league.
However, the language in the contract goes on to read that during the month of June 2014, Ovechkin can provide Washington with a list of up to 10 NHL teams to which he does not want to be traded to during each of the seasons after July 1, 2014, commencing with the 2014-2015 season.
more, and yes, my sources are telling me Ovechkin may still be moved this season…. There, we got it out of the way and if any hockey fans reads it again, don’t believe it.
from Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun,
Ken Holland figured he had a fairly sound hockey club on his hands when training camp ended last fall.
But this good? No.
“We’re a little surprised,” the Detroit Red Wings general manager said in a telephone interview. “I don’t think anybody envisioned that we would be where are just past the halfway point.”
As much of the rest of the National Hockey League skims along in a big bunch, the Wings have forgotten about the idea that parity was supposed to be the way to go in the post-lockout NHL. The Wings head into Ottawa tonight with 70 points to face the Senators.
from Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star,
The fact is, the NHL would have been far better off had Ovechkin been allowed to bolt Washington as a restricted free agent this summer to join an NHL team in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, or New York – cities where Ovechkin’s talents would have been better used to help raise the NHL’s profile.
“Flagship franchises are the key to any retailer – sports or otherwise. Apple Store and Nike World were created on 5th Avenue in New York,” said Tony Chapman, a Toronto sports marketer. “The NHL needs to populate their flagship franchises with their top players.”
from Michael Russo of the StarTribune,
“I can’t sit in the stands,” Leipold said. “I can’t because I’m a pathetic fan. There is a standard as an owner that I should be abiding by that I have a hard time doing. I’m not mad at our players or coaches. I just get mad at the other team, I get mad at the referees. So I sit up in my suite because I’ve got to have space because I am going all over the place.
“I can’t sit down in the chairs. There are too many people out there, and I’m going to hurt somebody.”
Leipold said that after games he loves going down to the locker room, shaking hands with the players and pow-wowing with the coaches.
“They can be screaming at players and I’m just in the corner drinking a beer,” Leipold said. “I’m not going to react to it. I never have. I’ve never called a coach or GM up and said, ‘You need to do this.’ I’m a fan, but I know my boundaries.”
added 7:03am, from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,
Now, after fruitlessly trying to sell the game to people who don’t want it, Leipold takes control of a contending team in one of those rare American locales where hockey has deep cultural roots. He might even make an operating profit.
Happy, happy, happy.
And it smells to high heaven.
It is impossible to have followed the travails of Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie, as he attempted first to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins and then the Predators in the hopes of moving a franchise to Southern Ontario, and not to connect the dots to what happened this week.
from Lynn Zinser of the New York Times,
As fans stood for the national anthem before a game last weekend, clapping and cheering while the singer belted out the last words, they filled the United Center with noise, something that had been sorely missing during years of dismal Blackhawks games. It was excited, hopeful, vibrant, this-game-is-going-to-be-fun noise.
It rained down on a Blackhawks team perhaps too young to appreciate how remarkable this is, but most Chicago hockey fans over age 20 understand. The Blackhawks had been mired in misery for most of the last decade. Crowds had dwindled to 6,000 on some nights.
From Mark Spector at the National Post,
“I think someone can effectively represent the players of the NHL, and at the same time do it in a manner that is constructive, co-operative with the NHL, with the owners, and good for the game as a whole,” Kelly said in a one-on-one interview this week. “We should be able to solve complex problems without firing at each other; without not being able to be in the same room with each other; without the bitterness and emotion that existed the last time.
“Maybe I’m being naive,” he added. “But I will tell you, having spent a lot of years dealing with difficult legal issues - civil and criminal - and negotiating difficult legal problems with some of the finest lawyers in the world, I know it is possible to do this.”
from Icing at the Chicago Tribune,
Blackhawks general manager Dale Tallon said Friday he’s still working on a trade but the timetable has been pushed back a few days. He still believes it will get done, just not until after the weekend.
Tallon said Thursday he’s looking for a veteran defenseman to help solidify the defense, help out younger players and still fit into the team’s plans for the future.
more on the Blackhawks…
from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
“We know him through really bad times. We’ve been through fire together,” Leonsis said. “I couldn’t think of a better face for our franchise.
“Our fans love Alexander Ovechkin. Our fans didn’t love Jaromir Jagr.”
Whether the fact that Ovechkin is a home-grown talent, or the fact he signed on for a 13-year tour of duty with the Caps of his own volition, makes any difference to a hockey market that has distinguished itself with its own indifference, is unknown.
The only thing that is for certain is that Leonsis won’t have to worry about second-guessing himself, even if it cost him $124 million for that satisfaction.
“You can talk to me after we win a Cup,” he said.
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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