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Pronger Preparing For Playoff Run

from the Province,

He was then asked if he ever let that media scrutiny become a distraction. “Never,” he said with a wry smile.
Pronger’s uneasy relationship with the media—notably made worse by the firestorm created when he asked out of Edmonton—clearly hasn’t vanished.
“The media likes to run with [stories] and make up their own opinions and lies and rumours. It makes for good TV and print media, doesn’t it?” Pronger said when asked about the looming trade deadline.
He is now enjoying his time out of the spotlight. He said his mental approach is as sharp as ever as he attempts to again peak at just the right time—the playoffs.

read on

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Preds Try To Get Radulov Going

from the Tennessean,

The question now: Will third-line right wing Alexander Radulov be the next to benefit from Legwand?
The Russian rookie was all the rage the first few weeks of the season, when he lit the lamp 10 times in his first 18 games.
But Radulov has just one goal in his last 24 games and he’ll take a 15-game goalless streak into Thursday’s duel with the Montreal Canadiens at Gaylord Entertainment Center.
“He needs to get going here. He’s got to have a little more game,’’ Predators Coach Barry Trotz said of Radulov, whose last goal came on New Year’s Day.

read on

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Be Careful Of What You Wish For

from the Detroit Free Press,

“If you try to put together small pieces to the puzzle, it can sometimes work, but to make major changes at the deadline, more often than not, they don’t really work out for that season,” Schneider said Tuesday.
“What happens is you bring in a high-impact player, and he’s taking away someone else’s ice time, possibly. It takes time to get adjusted to fit in with your new linemates.”
The Wings’ acquisition of Schneider in March 2003 didn’t pay off in the immediate playoffs, as they were swept in the first round.

more

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Critical Options For GMs

form the National Post via Canada.com,

“Certainly, the future is starting to become apparent to many GMs ,” he said. “We came out of that work stoppage in ‘04 and had a ton of guys to sign. Last year, the cap went up significantly,” loosening the screws on GMs a bit. “Now, I really feel that a lot of guys are saying, ‘There’s a guy on my team, and if he keeps playing at this level it’s going to cost me that much? Can I afford it?’ The money issues are more critical.”
While Bill Guerin emerges as the prime unrestricted free agent left in this year’s market—drawing feelers from San Jose, Detroit, Anaheim, Toronto and Carolina—there is much purpose in Naples for any of these GMs, whether or not the playoffs are a reality this spring.

more

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Murray Joins Elite Group Of Coaches

from the CP via the Ottawa Sun,

Bryan Murray joined a distinct coaching fraternity Tuesday night.
Murray, 64, becomes the fifth NHL coach with 600 wins behind Scotty Bowman, Al Arbour, Dick Irvin and Pat Quinn.
“It’s elite company, no question about it, and I respect it a great deal,” said the Shawville native, who earned the milestone in his 1,199th career game after winning his first back on Nov. 14, 1981 as coach of the Washington Capitals. “To win that many games it’s a great compliment to the players I’ve had, to the teams I’ve coached,” Murray said.

read on

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Not Laughing Now

from Johnette Howard of Newsday,

Admit it. For a week or two last July, back when the Islanders were being ridiculed as the laughingstock of the NHL, you would’ve taken a season like this in a heartbeat. The Isles may not be the scourge of the league now, but look: They are in the playoff hunt. The disaster that was darkly predicted for them hasn’t happened. The midsummer rants that Isles owner Charles Wang had reverted to his screwball ways, and Mike Milbury was still somehow secretly pulling the strings though he had stepped aside as GM—all of that is gone.
Nobody’s even dredging up the sumo goaltender jokes anymore.

continued

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Anyone Want To Protect Jagr

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

Last night, referees Greg Kimmerly and Wes McCauley allowed Paul Martin to get away with an unpenalized first-period knee on No. 68. What else is new?
It was after the Jan. 31 game at the Garden against Toronto that Brendan Shanahan expressed amazement at the abuse officials had permitted opponents to inflict on Jagr. If anything, it has gotten worse since then.
It is as if the league is sanctioning flagrant fouls against Jagr. It is as if the NHL referees have declared open-season on the Rangers’ captain.
The league won’t protect Jagr and the Rangers don’t appear capable of it. Again, what else is new?

more

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More Rivalry

from Tom Powers of the Pioneer Press,

Folks, you don’t see it here in Minnesota, where the Wild are thriving. But hockey is dying in many other parts of the country. And that includes traditional markets such as Boston and Chicago. The sellouts you see at Xcel are the exception, not the rule.
Nashville is typical of the new wave of teams. The Predators may be one of the top two teams in the league, yet they can’t fill their building now that the novelty has worn off. Not that the other owners care. They’ve already pocketed the expansion fees.
Something needs to be done to juice up the competition. And out of all of the above issues, the lack of rivalries can be most easily addressed. This is a totally fixable situation. Of course, the NHL won’t fix it. Its solution to a problem is to try to spin the data.

read http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/16744748.htmon

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#94’s Swan Song?

from Allen Panzeri of the Ottawa Citizen:

Happy Birthday, Ryan Smyth.
As the Edmonton Oilers leave Ottawa for Columbus, Ohio, this morning, Smyth’s teammates will be helping him celebrate his 31st birthday.
It could well be his last one as an Oiler. As tough as Smyth makes it for goaltenders, it’s not a lot of fun to be in his skates right now.

continued

 

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That Explains His Stride

from the LA Daily News:

Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles’ hockey savior, grew up in a city of 21,000 people - just more than the capacity of Staples Center. Turns out, that steel-mill town in northern Slovenia gave Kopitar all he needed.
The talent? It blossomed, nurtured by a hockey coach father and assisted by videos of Sergei Fedorov.
The motivation? It came from the desire to put his tiny Eastern-bloc country on the hockey map.
The work ethic? It sprung from the childhood days spent waiting tables at his mother’s restaurant.

In his skating posture, puckhandling abilities, and heads-up play, he’s a spitting image of Sergei Fedorov, circa 1992.
A word to the wise: Stay away from tennis players, kid.

continued

 

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com

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