Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of the CP via Sportsnet,
NAPLES, Fla.—With anticipation growing as the trade deadline approaches, the NHL’s 30 GMs are gathering in this picturesque part of Florida for their annual three-day meeting.
Officially, there’s an agenda from the league to look at possible rule changes and the general state of the game in meetings Monday through Wednesday. Unofficially, it’s a great opportunity for GMs to get some face time with their potential trade partners ahead of the 3 p.m. ET deadline on Feb. 26.
from Sabres Edge,
(Lindy) Ruff, on whether the trade rumors are dogging his team: “It’s part of the game, part of the rumor mill. It can affect a few players. But you focus on the fact we’ve lost one of our last 11. If it was bugging us, it should have been bugging us [before]. The rumors will come up and you guys will make up rumors—which you guys are usually good at. And I’ve told them not to listen to you guys so they know better.”
more on the Sabres…
from Ice Chips at the Arizona Republic,
As players battle on the ice, there’s a battle of wits going on elsewhere in the arena between coaches who probably haven’t watched more than a handful of live hockey games in years.
Video replay coaches, who observe from off-ice areas, are in constant communication with assistant coaches. They try to pick up trends and nuances, and their suggestions and observations often translate into success on the ice seconds later. It could be a tweak in a power play that leads to a goal or player who is able to find a little crease to squeeze through and help set up a breakaway.
Technology has reached a point where almost every sequence in a game can be broken down with the right equipment and a trained eye.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Last February, 50 trades were made in four weeks prior to the deadline, but there has been no such flurry this winter, only a single deal that sent Cory Stillman to the Ottawa Senators. The best bet is that once one Western Conference team makes a significant move, others will quickly follow.
Dallas, Anaheim and San Jose are eyeballing each other closely, and Detroit has got to be thinking a lot more about making a bigger move with the way Mike Babcock’s club has floundered of late.
Fletcher, then, really has to wait and watch the west. That’s got to be more interesting than watching games that don’t matter.
from Empty Netters,
In the Canucks’ 4-2 defeat of the Oilers last night, things went crazy. Apparently the teams got into an argument over who’s Reebok Edge Super-Duper Uniform System jersey was uglier. (And frankly, there is no winner in that argument.)
There were 14 fighting penalties, eight misconducts and 183 total minutes in penalties.
check out the videos…
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
With as few as six points separating 13th and seventh, depending on what time of which day you’re logging on to NHL.com, trying to predict who’ll get the last couple of spots is like trying to decipher Japanese shorthand….
Knowing their season will be hanging in the balance virtually every night from here on in won’t be easy. Twenty-two straight playoff-style games is no one’s idea of a fun time, especially when it’s not even the playoffs yet, but nobody has a choice in the matter. If they don’t throw everything they have at this seven-week stretch drive, there won’t be any playoffs.
from the Staten Island Advance,
Too often, injuries to referees and linesmen aren’t even reported. A player limps off the ice and it is deemed significant. Yet when an official is hurt, cheers are heard from the crowd and it might get a line in a story.
NHL officials are, in fact, pretty tough. And there are several of them who do their jobs better than most players perform their own. Kerry Fraser, Don Koharski and Bill McCreary are three who come to mind.
fromm George Johnson of the Calgary Herald,
Retirement, says Teemu Selanne, is something he’ll delight in falling into, like a king-sized, eiderdown-soft hotel bed early in the a.m. on the 15th day of a 16-day road trip.
A lot of men who play games for a living—an embarrassing number, actually—cling to the life like a shied tomcat run up the living-room curtains. They only leave by force, kicking and screaming, feeling bitter and abandoned.
It’s all they know. It’s what defines them.
fromm Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star,
Now a group of influential NHL players that includes New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur, Dallas’s Marty Turco, Detroit’s Dominik Hasek and Edmonton’s Dwayne Roloson want the league’s – and inevitably the Leafs’ – uniforms altered again. In what would be a radical overhaul that might incite hockey traditionalists but surely gratify some of the league’s cash-strapped owners, several NHL goalies have asked the league and its players union to consider starting a so-called Goaltender’s Club….
The players are working alongside prominent hockey marketer Brad Robins and Edmonton player agent Ritch Winter. Robins and Winter estimate on-uniform ads might generate upwards of $30 million a season for the NHL.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
The Wild is going to have a dicey situation on their hands this summer if they go to Marian Gaborik and, say, offer him $7.5 million a year for five years in a new deal and he says ,“Hmmm, let me think about it.” No way does Minnesota want Gaborik in the last year of his contract and an unrestricted free agent in July 2009, like the Marian Hossa situation in Atlanta right now. If he drags his feet, maybe they investigate trading him, sooner rather than later.
read on and more NHL talk too…
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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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