Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.”
from the Denver Post,
“We’re definitely earning it right now,” said Avs captain Joe Sakic. “But we’re in the same position we’ve always been. We have to win our next game and still get some help. Hopefully, Sunday will mean something for us.”
The situation, with the Avs’ win coupled with Calgary’s loss, is this: The Avs are three points back of Calgary with two games left. All Calgary needs to do is get two points in either of their final two games, at home against lowly Edmonton and Sunday at the Pepsi Center against Colorado. The Avs have to get at least three points in their last two, and any loss in regulation would eliminate them. But the Avs can win the eighth spot either by one point or by virtue of a possible tiebreaker.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
All the Maple Leafs had to do last night was beat a minor league goaltender named Wade Dubielewicz.
That’s all. That’s not too much to ask.
Only now, a Leafs win tomorrow night in what should have been—and still may be—the most anticipated Toronto-Montreal Canadiens game in 40 years could end up eliminating both Toronto and Montreal from the Stanley Cup playoffs.
And who would have envisioned that possible scenario as the race for eighth place goes down to the final weekend?
According to a report in the Calgary Herald, disgraced hockey agent and promoter Alan Eagleson was pardoned in 2005 by the Canadian government on his 1998 conviction and imprisonment on three counts of fraud and embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars of Canada Cup earnings.
The paper reports that Eagleson avoided a five-year prison sentence in the U.S. in a 1998 plea bargain that allowed him to serve just four months of an 18-month prison sentence in Canada.
from Ansar Khan at MLive,
Are the Detroit Red Wings closing in on a contract extension with star forward Pavel Datsyuk?
Datsyuk’s agent, Gary Greenstin, believes they are.
“I believe it’s very close,” Greenstin said on Thursday.
Asked about the likelihood of a deal getting done before the playoffs, when Wings general manager Ken Holland stops all contract discussions, Greenstin said, “We’ll see.”
Greenstin declined to provide any other details, saying, “I cannot make comments during negotiations.”
Holland was not prepared to declare a deal is close but said he’s had productive talks and planned to have one more discussion with Greenstin in the next couple of days.
from the Mining Journal,
His Atlanta Thrashers had made the NHL playoffs for the first time in the team’s brief history, but Don Waddell didn’t celebrate much Sunday night.
“I was in New York and was excited,” the Thrashers’ executive vice president and general manager said in a telephone conversation Thursday morning, “but it had been such a long time coming, I didn’t go out and celebrate. I just thought, ‘we finally made it.’...
“We try to get character guys,” said Waddell, a member of the NHL’s Competition Committee. “You need that to be a successful team and we have an outstanding locker room.
“You have to have patience, though. There were many times I wanted to blow up (our roster) or trade younger guys. But then there’s the danger that you’ll miss the playoffs — or have a short run — and not have any future assets,” he added.
from Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
I’ve spent plenty of time and newsprint lambasting the league for all the above and more.
But the critical points are these:
• The NHL product is worlds better than it was before the lockout of 2004-05, even if scoring is slightly down this season.
• The playoffs again will be wildly, ridiculously entertaining, as they were last season.
Get the scoop on both teams as they prepare to play Saturday night at 7:00pm EDT.
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