Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rob Oiler of the Columbus Dispatch,
For those who passed up a 4-2 loss last night to the St. Louis Blues—and considering sidewalk snow drifts outnumbered fans inside Nationwide Arena, it’s a safe bet you stayed home—may I suggest you open the unauthorized biography of the Blue Jackets titled, Playoffs: We’re closer than you think. ... Honest.
In this coffee table read—it would be inaccurate to label it a page-turner—we learn that a search of the Dispatch library database turned up 106 entries in which “MacLean” and “improve” appear in the same story since the first puck dropped Oct. 7, 2000.
But mainly we discover, through actual quotes, that the Blue Jackets have always been this close to contending for the playoffs
from the Ottawa Citizen,
It’s bad enough that the buyers heading into the Feb. 27 trade deadline outnumber sellers because so many teams are lingering around the final playoff positions. Basic market principles dictate that the asking prices will be high if demand is strong and the supply limited.
On top of that, organizations have to decide if a shakeup of a roster is worth the risk. In adding a player, typically a veteran who can boost a playoff run, someone on the existing roster is going to be affected, with reduced ice time or a spot in the press box.
Now, mix in the fact that, around here, the Ottawa Senators don’t exactly have a history of striking gold with pre-deadline moves.
-A handful of big name players could be on the move by deadline day.
It these names interest you, check out Spector today.
from the Tampa Tribune:
“There’s no doubt Lecavalier is a star in this league and he’s considered one of the elite players,” said Cliff Fletcher, the Coyotes’ VP of hockey operations and a former Tampa Bay executive. “I love his competitiveness. He’s a winner who doesn’t play to end up second best.”
After averaging 26 goals in his first seven pro seasons, Lecavalier is now determined to display the all-around skills that made him the obvious first overall pick in the 1998 draft.
He may not quite be Jordanesque, but he is close enough.
“We think Vinny’s been the best player in the league this year,” Lightning captain Tim Taylor said. “Now he wants to do it every night. He wins faceoffs, he protects his teammates, his preparation is better … all the little things.”
from the Chicago Daily Herald:
It has only been four games, but Brandon Bochenski is lighting it up for the Boston Bruins.
Looking nothing like the player who couldn’t get much done with the Blackhawks before being dealt to Boston on Feb. 3 for a prospect, Bochenski has 4 goals and 2 assists in four games playing on the Bruins’ first line with playmaking center Marc Savard.
“Good for him,” Hawks coach Denis Savard said. “He’s had a few goals the last few games, but he didn’t show that when he was up here. He didn’t have the enthusiasm or the jam to be up here, let’s face it. Maybe he has the skill and the talent, but at a young age if you don’t have the will, you can’t have him around.
“Maybe he’s starting to figure it out because it’s his third team in six months. Good for him if he does well.”
from the Toronto Sun:
Not every day you hear about a game taking nine periods. Who would have ever guessed hockey history could be made on a winter night at the Chesswood Arena?
It doesn’t get any more Canadian than this story. This was a game of legend before it even ended. And unless the Hockey Hall of Fame can find anything different, the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey Association first round playoff game on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007, between the Pickering Panthers and the Toronto Jr. Canadiens will go down as the longest junior hockey game in history.
“The crowd doubled in size throughout the game,” said Panthers media relations director John McCartney, who is also a producer at TSN. “During one intermission, I was stopped by a guy in the lobby who said, ‘Is that game still going?’ After saying yes he grabbed his buddies and came down.”
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
The Buzz: Rumoured reports (seemingly the only kind left in the world of hockey these days) have it that Flyers Semi Interim General Manager Paul Holmgren has an offer for Peter Forsberg in his back pocket from Nashville that includes two first-round draft picks and emerging star forward Alexander Radulov.
The BACKHAND: Yeah and if you believe that you probably believe that Internet bloggers who refuse to put their name to their work are legitimate journalists. Look, the Flyers have set the price high hoping some one will be as foolish as those guys who bid on Mark McGwire’s balls.
more buzz on different NHL topics from Kelley…
from the Calgary Sun,
A healthy scratch in the Calgary Flames 7-4 loss Sunday in Detroit, Amonte was back in the lineup for last night’s game against the Atlanta Thrashers.
But he was still upset about being sat in the Motor City and, after being unwilling to discuss it Monday, was asked how he felt when given the news before the game against the Red Wings.
“What do you think my reaction would be? That’s a bad question,” he said. “Do you think I’m happy about it? I’m definitely not happy about it. I’ve got a lot of pride and take a lot of pride in the game and the way I play.
“No, I’m not happy.”
fromm Pierre Lebrun of the CP via Yahoo,
Only seven points separate sixth-place Tampa Bay from the 11th-place Rangers with Carolina, Montreal, the New York Islanders and Toronto sandwiched in between and seven and half weeks to go in the regular season. The Rangers, who play at Carolina on Thursday night, feel they’re primed for a run.
“I do feel that way. It’s not just yapping, it’s the real deal,” Rangers head coach Tom Renney said Wednesday. “I’ve seen the way we’ve played in the last two weeks. If we were in the playoffs and they were starting tomorrow, I would feel very, very good about playing anybody.”
from David Amber at ESPN,
In this week’s Facing Off, Guerin explains why the Blues could be considered “America’s Team,” how Mark McGwire is getting a raw deal from Hall of Fame voters and why hanging out with Bobby Holik just one night was more than enough.
Q: When you look at traditional hockey cities like Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago not selling out every game, what do you think about the state of the game in the United States?
A: It needs improvement. I know they’re trying to improve on marketing, but we have to do more. We have to focus on the fans, we have to keep them happy and we have to reach out for more fans. It’s definitely an uphill battle.
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 email@example.com