Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
Goaltender controversy? Not in the Canadiens dressing room, says David Aebischer, who appears to be the favourite to start tomorrow night when the Canadiens face the Flyers in Philadelphia. "Some people might want to talk about it, but it doesn't exist in this dressing room," Aebischer said when asked about the internal rivalry between himself and Cristobal Huet. "We're teammates and we're both working hard to play our best. At the end of the season, we'll be able to look back and see who plays the most."continued
from (the other) Jimmy D. of the Chronicle Herald,
...And since speed kills in this new NHL, Buffalo and Minnesota will be competing for Lord Stanley’s silly little mug in the spring. Think Jimmy is joking? The Sabres — their ugly, new horny slug logo notwithstanding — have speed and skill to burn and Ryan Miller backing up their mistakes. And in the Midwest, fans will be going wild when the Wild win the West. Sure they are 2-0, but it’s the balance through the lineup — the finesse, the grit, the skill — and the coaching of Jacques Lemaire that will lead Minny.read on
Kevin Allen of USA TODAY sat down with Kris Draper...
Parity seems to have engulfed the NHL. Do the Detroit players look around and tell themselves, this is a whole new salary cap world and we just have to get into the playoffs and give ourselves a chance? Draper: That's exactly what it is. I think last season when we watched how the playoffs were shaping up you knew that (regardless of who you played) you were going to play a team that had an opportunity to win a Stanley Cup. That's just how it was. It will be the same thing this year. There were a lot of changes in the offseason. You go out and play 82 games and win as many as you can, but you have to be ready to play your best hockey come playoff time. You have to try to get better and better, and try to get on that roll. Carolina got on it last year and Edmonton got on it.read on...including the Wings altered their travel plans to catch the Oakland/Detroit ALCS matchup this Saturday...
from Stan Fischler of MSG Network,
• If anyone has PLENTY to prove this year, it’s Keith Tkachuk, who – as a veritable fat guy -- was such a downer at this time last year. The good news is that KT is A-OK shape-wise. Of all John Davidson’s moves, our favorite quiet one is the acquisition of Dan Hinote. As Mike Kitchen so aptly notes, "He’s an energy player who knows only one way to play." • Pavol Demitra is one of a few NHL players who has retained a wooden stick. Ironically, Nike Bauer paints his sticks so that at a glance it appears to be a fancy composite one. "I’ve got no feeling for the puck if I don’t play with wood," explains Demitra. It’s a wonder that so few players use the wooden weapon.more
from Fox Sports,
In the end, professional ice hockey isn't a TV-friendly product, and the vast majority of its players represent a faceless lot. This is an impossible sell to an American public that will forever remain indebted to the boys of a distant Lake Placid winter, but won't let that sentiment get in the way of ignoring the NHL.more thanks to KK member Tony for pointing to this in the KKF... added 9:35pm, Interesting vote taking place within the same article...Results as of 9:34pm...
from Spector at Fox Sports,
The current NHL collective bargaining agreement doesn't expire until 2011, but already some concerns are popping up that could become major points of contention in the next round of labor talks. Salary arbitration has already proven to be a headache for the teams, as arbitration awards are driving up player salaries faster than anticipated when the CBA was ratified in July 2005. Several pundits have already point out arbitration makes it extremely difficult for clubs to build and maintain rosters under the restrictions of the salary cap. Since arbitration hearings are traditionally set for late-July through early-August, it's hard for general managers to both sign free-agent players and at the same time prepare for potential arbitration awards.continued
from Hockey Refs,
The NCAA should be applauded for its continued implementation of the strict standards of play. Many people forget, but U.S. collegiate hockey is the reason why Hockey Canada, USA Hockey and the NHL have all went to the new standard. Just before the 2004-2005 season, the NCAA realized the game was a mess: officials were negligent with enforcing the rules as written because of the omnipresence “let them play” game-calling philosophy.continued
from Gary Thorne at USA TODAY,
Let's try this: Since pitching in baseball seems to be the end-all predictor as to who will win the World Series — and of who will get there in the first place — why not use goaltending in hockey to predict the NHL season? There will be plenty of discussion about these selections, but can this mode of prognostication hold up? Let's find out. In the East, Marty Brodeur of the Devils is No. 1. Thanks to GM Lou Lamoriello's late-night maneuverings to stay under the cap and sign necessaries like Brian Gionta, the Devils can let go a collective sigh.continued
from John Buccigross at ESPN,
The Pittsburgh Penguins are history. Gone. You can kiss them goodbye. And there is nooooooooooo doubt about it. New owner-in-waiting Jim Balsillie has given Mario Lemieux a giant hockey bag of cash that will allow Mario to join seven more country clubs and buy 18,378 more bottles of wine. Balsillie will also take away Mario's legacy as a player when he moves the team to Hamilton or Toronto or Las Vegas or Yellow Grass, Saskatchewan. Mario will not have an NHL sweater anymore. Scratch my back with a hacksaw and buy my dog one, too.continued
Note from Paul: I wanted to bring this post by George back to the front page. George posted this last Friday around 6pm, just about the time KK readership drops for the weekend. Very well written and I did not want it to get lost, never to be read again... By George Malik: As soon Jim Balsillie got involved in the bidding for the Pittsburgh Penguins, it was assumed that the CEO of the Blackberry-producing RIM corporation would attempt to move the team to Hamilton, ON. Balsillie was part of an earlier group of Hamilton-based investors who approached the NHL directly about moving the Penguins to Steeltown, but the league's desire to keep the Pens in Pittsburgh--provided that the franchise receives a new arena--nixed those plans. But Balsillie's purchase of the Penguins sparked renewed the hopes of those who believe the Maple Leafs Ontario monopoly must end.
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