Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Columbus Dispatch,
Left winger Rick Nash, out the past four games because of a strained back, was a surprise participant in practice and could be on the verge of a return.
Center Sergei Fedorov (hyperextended elbow), center Alexander Svitov (bruised foot) and defenseman Adam Foote (flu) took the ice, too, and they all, along with Nash, packed their bags for a trip to Chicago, where at 7:30 tonight the Blue Jackets will play the Blackhawks in United Center.
“We looked like a completely different team on the ice today than we have the past three games,” coach Ken Hitchcock said, smiling.
from the Province,
Luongo hit the ice like a dropped rock near the end of Monday afternoon’s practice at the Bell Centre when a soft 15-foot Daniel Sedin wrist shot—an unassertive shot basically flicked at the net—found a way under his mask, smashing into the front of his neck near his Adam’s apple.
Luongo crawled out from the crease and spent more than a minute crumpled on the ice, grasping his neck in extreme pain.
Canucks fans at the practice gasped and huddled around the glass, waiting to see if Luongo was OK. Luongo then skated off the ice crouched over. Shortly after, he had a golf-ball-sized red welt on his throat.
from Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen,
Even during practice, Alexander Ovechkin is a striking figure.
When it comes to bright colour, he is an equal opportunity employer. He wears a red practice jersey and a white helmet with the famous tinted visor, canary yellow laces on a pair of black and silver skates. Yellow laces also hang from his black hockey pants, and in his hands is a tri-coloured stick shaft that leads to a wicked curve near the tip of the blade.
He emerges from the visitors’ bench and explodes up and down the ice with those bow-legged strides, blasting a shot high and wide, first at one of the Scotiabank Place ice, then the othe.r
from Grant Kerr of the Globe and Mail,
Some critics may not endorse Lemaire’s coaching because of the use of the neutral-zone trap, but there’s no denying he’s an astute teacher, one capable of getting his message across.
The Wild check tenaciously, get their sticks in passing lanes and defend leads. Minnesota also is going on the offensive more often, getting away from trapping because it has more skill at the forward positions….
“I love the challenge of coaching, all the competition, especially when the guys are working hard,” he had said in Vancouver.
“But sometimes you have to push them to work. You get frustrated.
“When we had less talent [in other seasons], we were winning games on the road. We do have more talent than before, so where do you go? You work a little harder, that’s all.”
from Mark Everson of the NY Post,
The GM who always holds his cards close to the vest has tipped his hand.
As the Rangers visit the Meadowlands tonight, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello has six weeks to decide if his team is a genuine Cup contender, or whether he should trade Scott Gomez for significant return, before he likely loses his top offensive center in July without compensation….
Trading Gomez for a promising kid, or a first-rounder, is almost certainly the wise move for the future of the franchise.
Just don’t expect it to happen.
And expect Gomez to walk in July.
from the Daily News Journal,
Fann and her husband Howard, Murfreesboro residents, have been season ticket holders since 1999-2000, the second season of the NHL franchise’s existence. As such, they have seen the team go through its growing pains, endured the pain of a lockout which wiped away an entire season ... and even risked stomach pain….
“Howard had a pack of peanuts, and somehow or another he turned and said, ‘Here, eat a peanut so we’ll get a goal,’” Debbie Fann said. “So everybody around there was eating a peanut, he was passing a peanut to everybody and it’s like, they scored a goal. So then, every time we wanted a goal ... I bet they eat five, six packs of peanuts a game.”
from the New York Times,
The Rangers and the Devils have always been separated by more than the Hudson River and a few miles of swampland. Their bitter rivalry has pushed them to opposite ends of many scales — playing style, free-agent signings — making it often seem as if one serves as the other’s N.H.L. counterweight.
Now, however, they also find themselves with an unintentional cultural gap. The Rangers have become a sort of United Nations of the sport, featuring players from eight countries and even selling T-shirts with “Be a Ranger” written in those countries’ languages.
The Devils, in contrast, have the most players from the United States of any team in the N.H.L., 14. (A 15th, Cam Janssen, has played 28 games with the Devils this season but is in the minors.)
from the Arizona Republic:
The Coyotes have offered center Yanic Perreault and goaltender Mikael Tellqvist, two players who have keyed their revival this season, contract extensions and are awaiting their replies.
Few details are available, but Perreault, 35, has been offered a one-year contract and Tellqvist, 27, has been offered a multiyear contract.
“He’s a consummate pro and a zero-maintenance pro,” General Manager Mike Barnett said of Perreault, who will represent the Coyotes at the NHL All-Star Game next week. “He’s happy to play with anyone and understands the system and buys into it and works hard every day. . . . We hope to have him signed soon for another year.”
from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Penguins general manager Ray Shero meets informally with members of the team all the time. But his sit-down discussion Monday with forward Ryan Malone had a bit more urgency than most of his recent talks with the club.
The talk centered on a rumored trade involving the 26-year-old forward.
Sunday, the New York Post reported a possible deal that would send Malone and, potentially, defenseman Brooks Orpik to the New York Rangers in a package deal including forward Petr Prucha.
“(Shero) kind of told me that he talked to Glen, obviously, and that teams were asking about me,” Malone said. “He said he’s not looking to trade me, but it’s part of the business and that’s just the way it goes. I’m kind of struggling or whatever, and I don’t think I’m playing up to my potential right now.”
from the Toronto Star,
That Mark Cuban is a rare American is well established. The owner of the Dallas Mavericks is one of the world’s 793 certifiable billionaires. He’s also among the few pro-sports executives who, in his jeans and sneakers and T-shirts, isn’t a suit-and-tied corporate drone.
Less known, perhaps, is that he’s of the opinion that the NHL — left for dead as a niche sport points south — should be considered a peer of the NBA’s….
“People in the States underestimate (hockey),” he said. “More people watch Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday nights than watch NBA basketball on Thursday night in the States. People in the U.S. don’t realize that. They don’t realize there are more hockey fans in a country of (32.8) million than there are NBA fans in the U.S. (population 300 million).
“I’d be out there promoting the NHL’s combined TV viewership in the U.S. and Canada. But it doesn’t happen.”
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