Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
Every time a serious problem arises, they first pull the ostrich routine. Then they go into denial mode.
Then they go into containment, as in, “We don’t really see it as a problem.”
Then it goes into commissioner Gary Bettman’s favorite phase — a work in progress. And eventually — maybe — something of substance gets done, but not until serious damage has been inflicted on the game.
We saw it with clutching and grabbing. That took 10 years to elicit a response. We’ve seen it with attendance. And now we’re seeing again with an even more serious problem — head shots.
Granted, this is, as Freddie Mercury used to like to say, “a tricky situation.”
NEW YORK (March 19, 2007)—San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton, Colorado Avalanche center Joe Sakic and Dallas Stars center Mike Modano have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending March 18.
Each Monday, the NHL will recognize three players who delivered the League’s top performances over the past week.
FIRST STAR—JOE THORNTON, C, SAN JOSE SHARKS
Thornton led all NHL scorers for the week, posting 10 points (four goals, six assists) in four games as the Sharks gained seven of a possible eight points (3-0-1). He opened the week with one goal and two assists in a 7-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks March 13 and recorded one goal and three assists in a 5-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes March 15. He tallied the game-winning goal in a 3-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets March 16 and finished the week a goal and an assist in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche March 18. Thornton has moved up to third place in overall NHL scoring with 96 points (20 goals, 76 assists). His 76 assists tie him with Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby for the League lead in that category. The Sharks (44-25-4, 92 points) rank second in the Pacific Division.
Over at Canucks and Beyond, Alanah asked a Canucks fan to write a piece on her recent visit to the Shark Tank…
It took 17 hours straight by car but me and my hockey buddy made it just in time to watch the Canucks kick Shark butt on Friday March 9. Why a road trip? Why not! Visiting the enemy is always a fun experience.
continue reading at C&B…
from the Maven at The Maven,
Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Newman had the priceless line, “What, me worry?”
I still love it.
Devils and Islanders fans might want to paraphrase Alfred E.
Come to think of it, with Pittsburgh in Manhattan tonight, Rangers rooters might want to steal Newman’s deathless phrase.
Worry? There’s much to share among the three locals.
For the Blueshirts, whose demolition of the Bruins has thrust them headfirst into the homestretch run, the worry is Sid Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the under-the-radar phenom, Jordan Staal.
read on for more on the Rangers, Islanders and Devils…
KK mod and member Tony is keeping KK readers up to date with the NHL playoff race and other stats.
Make sure to check it out in this thread of the KK Forums...
NEW YORK (March 19, 2007) — NHL.com today launched the Playoff Fantasy Hockey Challenge presented by XM Radio. Developed by STATS LLC, this interactive challenge allows fans to act as NHL club owners and build a team that competes against other fantasy owners based on the statistics generated by actual NHL hockey players as they compete for The Stanley Cup.
Participants in the Playoff Fantasy Hockey Challenge begin the postseason owning the rights to every player participating in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. The task is to create a team of 10 starting players each week with the added challenge of starting each player a maximum of three times throughout the course of the playoffs. Fans can compete by creating or joining a public or private league of friends with similar interests and fantasy skill levels.
The Challenge begins with the first playoff game scheduled for Wednesday, April 11, 2007, and ends after the last game, estimated to be Monday, June 11, 2007. The Challenge consists of nine weekly periods know as “Challenge Weeks.” A Challenge Week consists of all games played Monday through Sunday.
from Joe Starkey at the Hockey News,
It used to be that Fleury made the simple save look spectacular; he dropped to his knees more often than a break dancer. Now, pucks are regularly hitting him in the chest. Coach Michel Therrien’s structured system hasn’t hurt and it’s nice when your guys are filling nets like longshore fishermen, too.
“The team is helping me out a lot,” Fleury said. “They’re blocking shots and clearing rebounds, which is a big help. The forwards are coming back.”
Truth is, Fleury has begun to look like a closer. His penchant for allowing bad goals at the worst times had all but disappeared.
from the Edmonton Journal,
“Clearly we have room in terms of our (owners) commitment (to spend more money).”
Lowe needs some sizzle. He needs a puck-moving defenceman in the worst way. On the last road trip, captain Jason Smith had the most points of all the blue-liners in the lineup, with nine. That’s right, NINE. The injured Steve Staios leads the way with 17.
Lowe needs a scorer on the wing, even if he can’t re-sign Smyth, maybe a big body with an edge to his game, too. He might want a playmaking centre, as well. If Joffrey Lupul, who’s had a miserable year, can’t work with Shawn Horcoff or Jarret Stoll or any other centres, maybe he has to get somebody else, although Horcoff is certainly more of a passer than a shooter.
There are 190 unrestricted free agents at last look. With an increased salary cap in the neighborhood of $48 million US, Lowe has to spend some of the owners’ money.
from the Toronto Star,
Oh, Canada, they are standing on guard for thee. The home and native sons are having an outstanding season in our national game’s top competition.
Not that statistics tell the whole story or that citizenship matters so much within the National Hockey League melting pot, but check the passports and there’s a blaze of maple leafs among the scoring leaders.
The top four points men entering yesterday’s play were Canadians – Sidney Crosby, Vincent Lecavalier, Joe Thornton and Martin St. Louis – as were seven of the top eight.
from Woody Paige of the Denver Post,
“We’re in a position that if we keep winning, we can be where we want to be,” Budaj said.
Let me translate for Budaj, who is from Slovakia.
The Avalanche has 80 points, Calgary 84. They are even at 72 games. They are even for the season at three games apiece. They play two more - April 3 in Calgary and on the last day of the season, April 8, in Denver.
The last is a makeup from Dec. 21, when one of the 50 snowstorms postponed the game. Wouldn’t it be odd if that game determines the playoff team. Very well could be.
If the Avalanche maintains pace with the slumping Flames in the teams’ other eight games and then wins those two close encounters, the Avs are in, the Flames out.
That’s what the Avalanche goalie was trying to say. You don’t have to translate that he is 26-15-5 in net and getting stronger.
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