Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Alan Adams at Sportsnet,
Do or die. Must-win. Now or never. Biggest game of the season.
Name the cliché and you are bound to hear it heading into the final weekend of the NHL’s 2006-07 regular season.
There are races galore as the curtain closes on the current campaign.
Radio station WDFN in Detroit is reporting Pavel Datsyuk has signed an extension with the Wings.
Art Regner, who is now a part-timer with DFN, called in the news.
update 11:27am, Wings holding a 1:00pm press conference.
update 12:44pm, via TSN,
The contract is believed to be a six or seven year agreement that will pay Datsyuk between $6 and 7 million per season.
update 1:31pm, via the AP,
“Everyone in the organization wanted him to stay with us,” said team owner Mike Ilitch.
Ilitch singled out longtime captain and current team executive Steve Yzerman for his insistence that the Red Wings’ management retain Datsyuk.
“We felt it was extremely important to lock this player up for as long as we can,” Yzerman said at an afternoon news conference at Joe Louis Arena.
“This contract was extremely important to me,” Datsyuk said. “Especially since I have been a Red Wing since 2001.”
update 3:38pm, per TSN, $46.9-million, seven-year deal
from the Montreal Gazette,
Look for Cristobal Huet to start in goal tomorrow night when the Canadiens’ playoff hopes depend on at least taking the Toronto Maple Leafs to overtime.
The only good thing to come out of the Canadiens’ 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers was the fact that Huet made his first appearance since Feb. 14 and showed that he’s fit enough to play in Toronto.
He replaced Jaroslav Halak in the third period and stopped the eight shots he faced.
more on the Canadiens…
from the Bleacher Report,
If you’re thinking I’m one of those north-of-the-border types who have no idea how irrelevant hockey can seem in the United States, think again:
I was born and raised in Northern California.
Hockey has jumped atop my list of favorite sports in recent years—and no, it’s not because the media’s convinced me, or because my company has a cushy skybox to throw around.
The NHL is my favorite new league because it earned the top spot—one goal, forecheck, and fight at a time. And for those of you in the U.S.A. who aren’t jazzed about the Stanley Cup Playoffs, here are four simple reasons to start paying attention.
from William Houston of the Globe and Mail,
Two weeks ago, NBC’s Sunday afternoon hockey telecast outdrew ABC’s NBA coverage. Both had 1.0 ratings (number of households tuned in), but NBC produced a larger audience share.
Last week, ABC rebounded to earn a 1.9 rating (Miami-Detroit), while NBC, with two weak regional matchups (Detroit-Columbus and Los Angeles-San Jose) slumped to a .71. That’s the lowest rating for an NHL broadcast in years.
more on HNIC using the web during the playoffs…
from the Buffalo News,
Buffalo Sabres center Tim Connolly has proclaimed to the coaching staff he’s ready to play.
It’s foreseeable doctors will clear him to return for Saturday’s road game against the Washington Capitals.
That doesn’t mean Sabres coach Lindy Ruff will feel comfortable enough to use the itchy triggerman….
“If we’re in a situation where we’re playing him on special teams and he gets in a footrace on a turnover, can he match the pace of the guy he’s going against or will it cost us? Those are the little things we’re trying to evaluate.”
from the Edmonton Journal,
As great a hockey blessing as Pronger’s stay in Edmonton was, his departure has been a curse. Any post-mortem of what has gone wrong with the Oilers begins with the questions still surrounding the Pronger affair: Why, in fact, did Pronger leave? And what has his departure meant for the franchise?
Nichols believes that Pronger himself has failed to be forthcoming enough about his departure, falling back on the excuse that he wanted out for private family reasons.
“I think Pronger was too vague. He owed it to our organization and to the fan base to be just a bit more specific about it, because that is what is annoying everybody.”
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
The Hockey News has learned Los Angeles Kings veteran defenseman Rob Blake will undergo season-ending hip surgery Friday morning and faces up to five months of rehabilitation before he’ll be able to return.
That would still allow him to be ready for the beginning of next season if all goes well, but there is little doubt that the surgery is a major procedure.
from the Pittsburg Post-Gazette,
Maxime Talbot scored with less than 10 seconds left in regulation to give them a 3-2 victory against the Senators at Scotiabank Place and a 3-1 edge in the season series.
That’s significant, because the Penguins and Senators will meet in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, although the home-ice advantage for that series will not be determined until tomorrow.
The teams have 103 points each—for the Penguins, that’s the second-highest total in franchise history—but Ottawa has an edge in the first tiebreaker, total victories.
Consequently, the Senators can lock up home ice by beating Boston at TD Banknorth Garden; if the Senators lose, however, the Penguins (46-24-11) can earn home ice by defeating the New York Rangers at Mellon Arena.
from the NY Post,
Parent was on hand when Brodeur broke the 33-year-old single-season record of 47 victories with last night’s 3-2 triumph over the Flyers here. The victory, the Devils’ fourth straight and fifth of six, clinched their seventh Atlantic Division title, second in a row.
The difference is Brodeur’s 48-23-7 record is fattened by 10 shootout victories that arguably would have been ties in Parent’s era. Parent went 47-13-12 for the Flyers in that 1973-74 season when he shared the Vezina Trophy as top goalie with Chicago’s Tony Esposito, and won the first of two straight Conn Smythe trophies as playoff MVP. Parent may have had at least six more victories, if there’d been shootouts then.
“You can’t argue with the fact that it’s easier,” Brodeur said.
“Everybody has a right to see a record in a certain way. But it’s tough enough.
“It doesn’t take anything away from what I did. Maybe in five years they’ll decide the game is boring again and put something else in.”
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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