Kukla's Korner Hockey
A review of weekend sports from the St. Petersburg Times,
Best broadcast team
What a brilliant idea for NBC to put a third broadcaster in the little area between the two benches for its hockey broadcasts, and it makes you wonder why no one else does this. Pierre McGuire not only gets an ice-level view but can eavesdrop on the benches and do quick interviews. Better still, he doesn’t perform the usual sideline reporter duties - speaking only when it’s thrown to him. He’s a part of the broadcast team, speaking up when he can.
What makes NBC’s lead team of McGuire, analyst Ed Olczyk and announcer Mike Emrick so good is Emrick might be the best play-by-play guy in hockey, and McGuire and Olczyk aren’t interested in playing nice if they disagree with one another. They give you the feel that you’re watching the game in your living room with a couple of buddies.
NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire, talking about a heavy check in the Penguins-Capitals game: “He threw him down faster than a free beer at a frat party.”
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
It’s not too soon for general manager Francois Giguere to lay the foundation for taking runs at a high-end unrestricted free agent, if there are any on the market after July 1. The possibilities include Chris Drury (oh, the irony) or Daniel Briere of Buffalo; Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk; or that longtime Nashville stalwart, Peter Forsberg - if he has proved he’s somewhat healthy and wants to stay in the NHL.
Giguere soon should try to talk with Don Baizley, Joe Sakic’s agent, about a new two-year contract. Sakic, who is playing under a one-year deal and again could be an unrestricted free agent July 1, previously has said he wanted to take the rest of his career - all together now - one year at a time, including in his contracts. Both sides took the position that there wasn’t much sense talking about 2007-08 until after this season.
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
With the Academy Awards on Sunday, the ratings-starved NHL should be thinking about its own Oscar show. So with apologies to Roger Ebert ...
Best Actor: Gary Bettman. Never one to let empty seats or flat-line TV numbers faze him, the commish keeps going to the podium to put on a happy face.
Best Supporting Role: Evgeni Malkin for The Sidney Crosby Story, just edging out Ron MacLean and the Sedin twins (dual eligibility).
more... and some trade talk too…
from Mark Everson of the New York Post:
The head of the Meadowlands doesn’t know how the Devils can do it, nor what they’ll do about it.
“I know construction, and I don’t think there’s any way that they’ll have that building [in Newark] ready,” N.J. Sports and Exposition Authority head George Zoffinger told The Post.
“They don’t even have all the roof trusses up. There’s no way they can complete that,” Zoffinger said.
from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Where was George Birman when we really needed him?
A Penguins employee, he serves as the team’s Russian translator.
Where was he when the Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin hooked up with the Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin in the bowels of Mellon Arena early last night after the Penguins’ 3-2 win?
Wouldn’t you have loved to been a part of that little chat between the two good friends and former Russian national teammates?
from Mark Spector of the National Post:
Step inside the mind of a National Hockey League general manager, with their winter get-together opening this morning in Naples, just eight days before next Tuesday’s trade deadline. There are 30 GMs, but no two share the same set of factors that shape their willingness to deal.
There is a Don Waddell, whose Atlanta Thrashers have never made the playoffs. Their lead atop the Southeast Division has been slipping steadily, a slide that could drag along the fan base, the advertising dollars for next year—Waddell’s job, possibly—as part and parcel of what would be a disaster should the Thrashers slip out of the top eight in the East over the next six weeks.
“We’re a non-traditional hockey market that relies heavily on the fans we have,” Waddell said. “We have to be in the playoffs. We need to get there. For our fans—our attendance has been up 2,000 per game this season—for everyone. We need to get there.”
from the Edmonton Sun:
If you lived in England and were soon to be married, where would you go for your stag?
If you’re Charles (Chaz) Burgess, a diehard Oilers fan, you head for ... Toronto?
Burgess flew from the U.K. to Hogtown to watch his beloved Oilers fall 4-3 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
“I’m a big Oilers fan. I come across (the Atlantic Ocean) as often as I can,” Burgess said.
Hey, he got half a dozen Hall-of-Famers to appear at his bachelor party…
from the Chicago Daily Herald:
Defenseman Duncan Keith was unavailable for the final few minutes of Sunday’s loss when he damaged his skate blade on the concrete under the ice.
Madison Square Garden historically has had the worst ice in the NHL.
“I went to turn and I felt my skate go right down to the cement,” Keith said. “That’s never happened to me before.”
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
Once upon a time, saying a team was “tattooed last night” just meant it had suffered a lopsided loss.
Now it’s also in reference to boys going down to local parlour together to become men. Yes, getting tattoos is often very much a group effort — especially in junior hockey.
“For awhile there, everyone was getting them ... I don’t know too many guys who don’t have one,” says Senators centre Chris Kelly, who has had his back patted with the permanent drawing of a sun.
“It can be a team-building thing, something nice to look back on if you win a Memorial Cup or a Stanley Cup.”
from the CP via TSN,
“A lot of things get done when you get a bunch of managers together like that. More things seem to happen,” Holmgren said. “Things also happen at the draft when everybody is together in the same city. I would think it’ll be a little hectic (at the GMs meeting).”
The Anaheim Ducks, like the Red Wings, are Stanley Cup contenders who are looking to bolster their lineup. “I like our team. I believe in them,” Ducks GM Brian Burke said. “We’re looking to add some depth but we’re not looking to change much.”
Officially, trade talk isn’t why the GMs are here. That just happens to be what they’ll be doing before after their morning meetings with league commissioner Gary Bettman, deputy commissioner Bill Daly and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell.
added 6:17pm, from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The National Hockey League’s general managers descended upon blustery Florida Sunday for three days of meetings, divided between the formal agenda - possible rule changes for next season - and the informal - golf games, deep-sea fishing and dinners out that will also feature oodles of trade talk.
With the NHL trade deadline moved up to Feb. 27 (it was Mar. 9 last season), the GMs will be down to just six shopping days once their meetings end Wednesday, suggesting the seeds for any moves will of necessity be planted in the next 72 hours - if not consummated on the spot.
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.
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