Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Because in Avery’s 24 games on Broadway since his Feb. 5 acquisition from Los Angeles in one of Glen Sather’s best deals (though no more constructive than exchanging Aaron Ward for Paul Mara), Avery has not only established himself as one of the Rangers’ go-to players on the ice and in the room, he has established himself as a forward who makes his linemates better.
That’s why Tom Renney faces a no-win situation as he ponders line changes and a lineup change for Saturday’s game in Philadelphia. For as the head coach considers who gets to play with Avery, he also has to decide who doesn’t. And, yes, it’s stipulated that Avery is not quite Adam Graves, either.
from Bob McKenzie at TSN,
The Los Angeles Kings’ GM ruffled feathers with last week’s signing of free-agent defenceman Joe Piskula from the University of Wisconsin.
As part of Piskula’s contract, there are games played bonuses of $25,000 for playing one game, three games and five games. In other words, he gets $75,000 guaranteed for playing just five NHL games with the Kings, which will likely happen by the weekend.
The NHL believes this bonus structure violates the CBA clause on guaranteed monies for entry-level players and, therefore, rejected the contract when the Kings submitted it. But the NHL Players’ Association filed a grievance over that rejection and so Piskula’s contract will stand until such time that an arbitrator rules on it.
from Spector at his Fox Sports blog,
Once upon a time, the Chicago Blackhawks were considered among the elite teams in the NHL and a perennial favorite to contend for the Stanley Cup. But over the past decade they’ve only made the playoffs once.
The Blackhawks have been on a rebuilding path for some time but have little to show for their efforts, frustrating their long-suffering fans.
I am old enough to remember some great Chicago teams, I do hope one day soon this team puts it all together and makes a serious playoff run. The fans deserve it and then some.
David Amber at ESPN has a Q & A with Dan Boyle…
Q: It sounds like you have a chip on your shoulder.
A: I do. Until I retire, it’s going to be the fuel that energizes me. People have overlooked me my whole career and still do today.
Q: Does it bother you when you see these 6-foot-4, 235-pound players, who don’t have the same skill level as you, potentially taking away the chance for another Dan Boyle-type player to get a look?
A: Yeah, that bothers me. If I am helping any smaller defensemen get a look, if I am helping out in any way, that makes me more proud than anything. Eight years ago, you couldn’t name five guys with my size in the league. Now, there are more and more smaller defensemen getting a chance. It’s great.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Peter Forsberg has been in Nashville since Feb. 15, and yet it seems as if he will add a fresh dynamic to the rivalry Thursday night when the Predators and Detroit Red Wings play for first place in the Western Conference….
The Predators acquired Forsberg specifically because of his reputation for bringing grit and high performances to big games, particularly in the playoffs. Thursday’s game has some qualities of a playoff game, only because Detroit is winning the season series and the Red Wings have long been a measuring stick for the Predators.
“Detroit is always hard to beat, no matter who you are,” Forsberg said. “I don’t think there is any mental hurdle. We know we are a good team. We know we can compete with them.”
via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Penguins forward Gary Roberts did not practice today and is unlikely to play Thursday night against the Boston Bruins.
Roberts, 40, was injured Wednesday night during the Penguins’ 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals when he was struck by a shot from teammate Sidney Crosby during the second period. The knee remained swollen today.
In case you missed it, Alanah at Canucks and Beyond participated in an NHL tele-conference with Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo. She asked him a few questions and will also have the transcript up when available. added 4:11pm, The tele-conference transcript is now available...
from the Hockey News,
The Hockey News polled players from all 30 NHL clubs - 283 NHLers in total - to find out their thoughts on the game. Here are their responses:
Compared to 2005-06, how is the NHL product this season?
1) About the same (167) 62%
2) Better (84) 31%
3) Worse (20) 7%
read on.... many questions asked and anwered…
from John Romano of the St. Petersburg Times,
The only difference is last year the goaltender was changing from game to game. Now, it is from period to period. Soon, the Lightning could make NHL history with goaltender line changes.
This, my friends, is a collapse.
It is not a slump. It is not a fluke.
This is a team in the middle of the playoff chase looking as if it has a chicken bone lodged in its throat.
“There’s no explanation. It’s not like we have any time to mess with,” defenseman Dan Boyle said. “Five games to go, anything less than four (wins) and we’re probably going to be out.”
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
In the movies, the cavalry always arrives just in the nick of time and saves the day. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way in the NHL. But for at least one team facing another playoff-less summer, a last-minute reinforcement provides a reason to believe things will improve next season.
The long-suffering Los Angeles faithful will get a look at a big part of their future on Thursday night when Jack Johnson pulls on a Kings sweater for the first time. As good as Anze Kopitar has been this season—and the 19-year-old Slovenian forward has been a bright light in a very dark tunnel—it is Johnson who is at the core of GM Dean Lombardi’s vision for reconstructing the Kings.
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.
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