Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
You think its painful for the Maple Leafs to be playing their best hockey of the season with no chance to make the playoffs?
Try the Caps predicament. One lost weekend turned great promise into what is likely to be another spring on the outside looking in.
Now, it appears there won’t be a group of three or four teams in each conference fighting to get into the playoffs right up until the final day of the season.
In the east, only ninth place Buffalo has a realistic chance to still get in. Out west, going into play yesterday only ninth place Nashville still had serious hopes of making it to the dance.
A little late, but Empty Netters has invaded Washington D.C. and is live blogging from the game…
from the Vancouver Province,
Weight’s take, a common one, is that trash-talking is down—except for one saucy segment.
“I’m sure it’s a cyclical phase,” says Weight. “But there’s definitely a crop of guys that have come in in the last five years . . . and they want to disrupt you from the first drop of the puck. Not just physically—by hitting you late or throwing their stick around—but they’re going to go by your bench and talk. They’re going to talk after whistles. They’re going to try to be as disruptive as they can verbally. Whatever.
“It’s almost like when your kids are being disruptive, you can tune them out.”
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Just as it’s your right not to like fighting, especially in hockey, it’s my right to embrace it, even get worked up over it, especially when it’s a really good hockey fight, packed with emotion, suspense, and purpose. All these years later, I still get a hoot out of the memory of John Wensink gallantly bowing in front of the North Stars bench, inviting any and all to pair up in a bare-knuckled waltz.
Is that hockey? Frankly, no. But in those days it was part of it, and boy, do I miss that part, and those days.
If you don’t like it, then I say, with all due respect and careful consideration: Watch . . . something . . . else.
read on for more on this and other NHL topics…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
A well-placed source has told The Post that Sather rejected a San Jose trade deadline offer of Bernier, the 22-year-old, 6-foot-2, 225-pound, emerging power winger, for Avery. Thus denied, the Sharks then sent Bernier and a first-round draft choice to the Sabres in exchange for prospective unrestricted free-agent defenseman Brian Campbell. The Penguins, who themselves had been trying to get Bernier, then made their deal for Marian Hossa.
In other words, it was Sather’s decision not to move Avery for Bernier - made with significant input from others within the organization, we’re told - that created the domino effect in which Hossa and Campbell, the two prime impending free agents on the market, went to Pittsburgh and San Jose, respectively.
read on for more on the Rangers…
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
Yeah, it’s been a trying year here in Sabreland and a few other hockey outposts, but overall the spread of talent has been terrific for the league. Only a few teams are polishing their golf clubs with a month remaining, which makes the NHL standings a daily must-read for hockey lovers from Florida to Vancouver….
Ultimately, the NHL has found a way to create more interest, which is what the league needed most when emerging from the lockout. For all the gripes fans had over the years, playoff hockey wasn’t one of them. And for a good dozen teams out there, the playoffs started a month ago.
from Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,
Is it too soon to expect Brule or Brassard to blossom next season? Who takes Foote’s place on defense? Would one strong playmaking center next to Rick Nash be enough to jump-start the offense, or will it take more?
Howson and Hitchcock are smart guys and they know this team probably wasn’t good enough to do what they asked of it. Because of contracts that were inherited, they were mostly forced to play with the roster they were stuck with. Now Howson will have both the money and the latitude to give Hitchcock a gun in place of a pocket knife.
As hard as it to see it in the gloom of a goal-deprived season, the sun might soon be shining.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Brain Teaser. Overtime. Breakaway. Penalty from behind. Penalty Shot. But wait. A second penalty is called. Diving. OK: what happens?
Answer as soon as the NHL, immediately stumped for a response, provides one.
more NHL Talk…
Two of the world’s most famous ballparks could be in the running to host hockey’s next outdoor extravaganza.
Yankee Stadium in New York is at the top of the list of possible sites if the NHL decides to hold a sequel to the wildly popular New Year’s Day Winter Classic in Buffalo, according to CBCSports.ca’s Scott Morrison.
Chicago’s Wrigley Field, home of the Cubs, is also on the short list.
from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
The decision to make Rucinsky a healthy scratch tonight and perhaps many more times in the final 15 games was a group consensus among Blues President John Davidson, GM Larry Pleau, VP of Hockey Operations Al MacInnis and head coach Andy Murray….
Rucinsky said after today’s morning skate that he understands the Blues’ decision.
“That’s how it works . . . that’s how it is . . . I don’t know what to say,” Rucinsky said. “There’s not much I can do about it. The decision is not mine; it’s theirs. I’m just going to have to live with it. I guess it’s a part of our job. I can’t control those things. What I can control is to be prepared everday for games, and if that decision comes, that I’m going to be in the lineup, I have to make sure I’m ready for it.”
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org