Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ray Shero, son of famed coach Fred Shero, grew up with a far greater understanding of the league’s history and tradition than others who have risen to his rank.
He appreciated the difficulty of the playoff gauntlet long before he had his first NHL job, and he can testify to the stages of building a championship team, including the time-honored tradition of a team needing to know playoff failure before it knows playoff success. But he doesn’t necessarily buy the idea that history has an impact on the future.
from the Detroit Free Press,
Joe Rogers is unlike any goalie at this week’s USA Hockey Nationals in Fraser….
He can’t close his glove after catching a puck. That’s it.
Rogers, you see, was born without a full right hand.
And yet the 17-year-old has a 30-1-3 record, a 1.19 goals-against average, a .939 save percentage and 13 shutouts.
“It’s all I’ve ever known,” Rogers said of his birth defect, “so I don’t think anything about it.”
His fingers didn’t fully develop, and he had two surgeries as a young child to strengthen his thumb.
from the Courier Post,
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren confirmed Monday the Flyers were interested in letting LeClair play his final NHL game as a Flyer on the final weekend of the regular season, but with LeClair still interested in resuming his NHL career next season, the idea was scrapped.
more on the Flyers…
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Star,
The math is not at all complicated. Tonight is the Maple Leafs season.
It is that simple. You can add and subtract, multiply and divide, but the calculations remain the same.
This is one game for everything. One game to determine whether this is another failed experiment for the Leafs or whether this team has any chance of advancing to the post-season.
Tonight is a best of one against themselves and the equally desperate defending Stanley Cup champions, all at the same time.
A new spot for Gatorade by Downtown Partners DDB in Toronto, airing exclusively in Canada, reveals what happens inside the head of Sidney Crosby, center for the Pittsburgh Penguins, as he prepares to take a shot on goal.
As Crosby, the youngest player with two 100-point NHL seasons barrels toward the goalie, the camera zooms onto, and eventually smacks into, the back of his head.
Inside, we find a group of men dressed like air-traffic controllers gathered around a miniature hockey table with graphics reminiscent of a video game. Crosby’s mind is a hive of activity. In one area, men shovel coal into a blazing blue fire. In another, hundreds of pictures blaze by.
read on...and you can see the video there too…
A published report out Philadelphia suggests the Flyers are set to announce that they have agreed on a two-year contract with goalie Martin Biron worth approximately $6.8 million.
“We’re getting there and we could have some news for you by [Tuesday],” Lupien said. “For us, we want a shorter term. One year was too little. Five years was too long. We feel two years gives us some flexibility for Marty in future free agency.”
Holmgren said he and Lupien are playing phone tag and he doesn’t expect the deal to be done until Tuesday.
from Stan Fischler at the Hockey Journal,
• Much as we admire Sid (Der Bingle) Crosby, some of his on-ice antics are infuriating the (non-Pittsburgh) hockey community. As Bryan Murray notes, The Kid is becoming a master at diving and its assorted penalty-getting variations.
• One owner’s theory on Ryan Smyth is that time will heal the wounds he feels inflicted by the Oilers and he’ll reconsider a return to Edmonton next season. We still like his chances of staying on Long Island!
more NHL bits from Stan…
from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Bob Hartley is as much a hockey fan as he is a coach. He has a satellite dish at home to watch minor-league hockey in Canada, and his flat-screen television in his Duluth office keeps him constantly updated with feeds from TSN, Canada’s ESPN equivalent.
Right now the fan in him is puzzled. Why, he wondered on Monday after practice, are hockey pundits debating fighting in hockey when the NHL — and the Thrashers — are in the stretch run of an exciting race to the playoffs?
“Why are we not talking about this great race?” he asked. “Tell me a sport where we have seen a race like this, that’s what we should be talking about. Some teams won’t go down. No one wants to go down.”
Martin Brodeur took part in an NHL tele-conference today…
Q. Out here in Vancouver, we wonder how Luongo can play every night. You’ve done it many times virtually playing every night. Do you get into a zone that you just want to be in there every single game?
MARTIN BRODEUR: Well, yeah, I think so. I think when you start playing a lot of games, I think you’re overcoming a lot of the ups and downs of the hockey season. Sometimes when you do take breaks, everything you do is a little magnified.
When you go in, bad game, good game, lucky game, it doesn’t matter. You have that confidence that you’re going to go out there the next time and do it again. I think it makes your season go through a lot easier as far as winning and stuff like that.
That’s what I found. For me playing lots of games, you don’t feel when you lose a couple games that you sit back for a week and wait for your next start; you just go right at it and get it over with and feel good about it.
I think if your body and your mental game is good enough to do it, I think it’s great.
The Detroit Red Wings have clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the 16th consecutive season, the latest milestone for a franchise that has set a standard for sustained excellence not only in the National Hockey League but for all of North American major pro sports. The New York Yankees, who have qualified for the Major League Baseball playoffs in each of the past 12 seasons, have the next-longest streak.
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