Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the CP,
When the Washington Capitals come to town, a crowd forms quickly around 22-year-old scoring star Alexander Ovechkin.
Not far away, left in relative peace, sits Nicklas Backstrom, the 20-year-old rookie who picks up many of the assists on Ovechkin’s often spectacular goals.
As a duo, they promise to bring misery to NHL goaltenders for many years to come. But for now, Ovechkin is happy to absorb the pressure of expectation and endless media interviews.
“Backie’s a great guy,” Ovechkin said Tuesday as the Capitals prepared to the play the first of back-to-back games against the Montreal Canadiens. “He’s a little shy with you guys, but not us.”
From Lew Serviss at Slap Shot (NYT hockey blog),
Lucic reported to Boston and banged and crashed through training camp and pre-season, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound bunker buster. He wound up cracking the Bruins’ opening night roster.
His introduction to the Boston faithful came 2:17 into the Bruins’ first home game. Lucic squared off with Tampa Bay’s Nick Tarnasky and rained about a dozen heavy rights on the unsuspecting Lightning tough guy.
The hit (and fight) parade continued. Lucic, 19, also looked at home offensively,setting up plays and firing a hard shot, on a line with the dangerous Phil Kessel and another skilled rookie, David Krejci. In the fourth game of the season, Lucic scored a Gordie Howe hat trick in Los Angeles, where he held his own with the Kings’ 260-pound enforcer Raitis Ivanans.
In Boston, the combination of physical play, heavyweight toughness and offensive ability in a Bruins jersey adds up to just one thing: Cam Neely.
more… profiling the development of Milan Lucic in Boston this year
From Sam McCaig at The Hockey News,
Here’s a team-by-team look at NHL rookies who are making some noise this season:
There isn’t a Calder candidate in Anaheim; left winger Drew Miller was leading the Ducks rookies with two goals and five points in 26 NHL games played through Jan. 28. Bobby Ryan, the second overall pick behind Sidney Crosby in 2005, made his big-league debut this season and had three goals and five points in 13 games.
The Thrashers feature one of the most surprising rookies of 2007-08 in Swedish defenseman Tobias Enstrom. He’s among the freshmen leaders in assists and ice time, and may make it onto the Calder ballot.
From Scott Burnside at ESPN,
General managers ... recharge your BlackBerrys, update your Rolodexes and confirm your speed-dial lists. It’s trade-deadline season.
With the All-Star break beyond us, the Feb. 26 trade deadline looms large, and serious wheeling and dealing will begin in earnest as teams try to restock for the future, a charge to the playoffs or a run at the Stanley Cup.
Here’s a look at 25 players who could be on the move in the coming weeks, what impact they might have and their contract status after this season.
continued… Olaf Kolzig, Michael Ryder, Sergei Fedorov, and more…
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Read my NHL.com blog today to find out more. I normally don’t ask KK readers to get involved, but today I ask you for your participation to make this post one for the ages!
from Jim Kelley of Sportsnet,
The simple fact is the kid has become toxic and not just because he was a few minutes late for practice Monday.
Emery has passed the stage of being “free-spirited” and of “moving to a different tune”. He’s now morphed into the worst possible world for an elite athlete; he has become a talent that is too much trouble for his team.
You really expect someone to make a trade for a guy like that?
I understand players go off course from time to time, but Emery has given every indication that he’s a player who has gone off the tracks.
Update 1:49pm ET: From Ken Warren at the Ottawa Citizen,
Ray Emery will be fined as much as the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement will allow, according to Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray.
Murray says Emery, who was late for Monday’s practice on Long Island, will be fined a “substantial” amount.
The Senators general manager says he has talked to other general managers about trading for a new goaltender - the first time he has openly discussed the possibility of dealing Emery.
Brian Burke was just on NHL Live and mentioned the Ducks are $1.7M under the cap right now, which will allow them to trade for a $5M player at the trade deadline if need be. They also have the #1 pick from Edmonton they can dangle in trade talks too.
We will try to get the audio and post it if it becomes available.
from Fox Business,
So what’s in store for the NHL?
That all depends on whether or not the league finds ways to increase its revenue and get back on ESPN or a similar network.
If there is no alteration in the TV deal, “in the next five years they will look just like they do now,” said Fort.
The league could be forced to relocate franchises struggling to bring in revenue, such as Nashville’s Predators (Houston and Portland have been mentioned as potential destinations), said Brook.
The biggest battle the league might face over the next few years could be a public relations one.
“In the next five years I don’t see hockey making great strides but I also don’t see it making a great decline. I think the league is doing everything they can to make hockey better. It’s an issue on the perception side,” said Brook.
from the LA Daily News,
General manager Dean Lombardi will decide who to deal, who to keep and what the Kings can get to build for the future before the Feb. 26 trade deadline.
Rob Blake, the Kings’ all-time leader in games played for a defenseman, is the biggest bargaining chip. He’s 38 years old and in the final year of a two-year contract. But he’s also a likely Hall of Famer and a veteran with playoff experience that could put a contender over the top. Blake has a no-trade clause, so he will have control over his destination, but he has said he would consider waiving his right if Lombardi asked.
Defensemen Brad Stuart and Jaroslav Modry and forwards Ladislav Nagy, Brian Willsie and Scott Thornton are others often mentioned in trade rumors.
from the News & Observer,
One of the biggest reasons the Canes have slid in recent months is that they struggle to put together consistent games.
In their last game before the break, the Canes gave up three short-handed goals in a 6-3 loss to the New York Islanders. For chunks of the season, it has been the penalty kill letting them down. Injuries and illnesses haven’t helped matters.
Canes coach Peter Laviolette has seen the effort he’s looking for in recent games—he especially liked what he saw in a late two-goal rally for a 3-2 overtime win over the Islanders on Jan. 21—but the Hurricanes haven’t given the same effort nightly.
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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