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Early Games Today

20 teams in action today.  Action begins at 1pm ET.

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Welcome To The “Ballet”

from the Tampa Tribune,

“This coach, here, I think the game’s going in the wrong direction,” Tortorella said. “I think we’ve done some great things as far as some of the rules changes, in allowing our best players to be our best players. But I think what we’ve done is we’ve gone across and gone down the wrong road and taken the physicality out of the game, taking the jam out of the game. And I think we get so hyped up about trying to bring new fans in, we forget about the old-schoolers that are going to be there, thick or thin. And I think we’re losing them, because it’s a ballet.”

more

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Tonight On The Report: Colbert Wins!

from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star:

The last time the Windsor Spitfires visited Saginaw, Steagle Colbeagle was born.
Thanks to satirical television talk-show host Stephen Colbert, when the Spitfires return to Saginaw’s Dow Enter Center tonight, they will discover that since then, he’s grown into an international phenomenon.

Colbert, who has donned a Spirits jersey during his show, features OHL updates during his Sport Report segment.
The latest one aired Thursday and concluded with Colbert accepting a bet from Oshawa mayor John Gray.
If Oshawa were to win Friday in Saginaw, Colbert must wear a Generals sweater through an entire episode of his show.
If the Spirit were triumphant, Gray would decree Colbert’s birthday as Stephen Colbert Day in Oshawa.

continued

update from the Toronto Star:

With their 5-4 win over the Generals last night, the Spirit have ensured the American host will have his party in Oshawa.
“I’m always disappointed when the Gens lose,” said Gray last night from a fan bus heading home. The mayor said he hoped to talk with Colbert’s people on Monday to honour the bargain.
“We’ll give him an open invitation,” Gray added.

continued

 

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Bruins Talk

from the Patriot Ledger,

Can this group be saved? Chiarelli has to figure that out - fast.
Unrestricted free agency beckons for Stuart, who despite a recent slump to minus-12 remains No. 2 on the defense depth chart. Chiarelli faces a tough call if Stuart remains unsigned near the deadline, and the Bruins are still in the playoff race: Can he swap Stuart for a defenseman of equal stature?...
Left wing Marco Sturm presents a similar quandary - although not quite as urgent as Stuart’s. Sturm can almost count on being traded at the deadline if he doesn’t pick up his production (12 goals in 42 games), and some think Boyes (26 goals as a rookie last year; 8 so far this season), his status threatened by rookie Phil Kessel and several prospects in Providence (American Hockey League) might not survive the deadline, either.

more

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Predators Loyal Fan Base- 10,000 People

from Joe Biddle of the Tennessean,

The Predators have a core of loyal fans that numbers no more than 10,000 fans. Corporate support has been noticeable by its absence. The Preds currently rank No. 24 of 30 NHL teams in average home attendance at 14,516 a game.
While the Titans have had players in the news for a variety of legal embarrassments, the Predators have been model citizens. Still, Nashville wraps its arms around the Titans and ignores the Preds.
I thought winning and making the playoffs would change that. It hasn’t.
Leipold has been saying all the right things, claims he has no intention of selling or moving the team.
But if this trend continues, Leipold will have no choice. He loves the game, but Nashville hasn’t responded in kind.

more

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From The Toronto Projects To The NHL

from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,

But as Glen Metropolit left Toronto to play hockey in British Columbia 12 1/2 years ago, the future was murky.
But his upbringing was clear, providing mom’s concern: Could a kid raised by a single mom in the projects of Toronto make it on his own? She just wasn’t sure.
She should have been.
When Metropolit, 32, talks about his childhood, it’s done so matter-of-factly that it almost doesn’t sound like a big deal. He grew up in a part of Toronto called Regent Park. The slums.

read on

thanks to a KK member for the heads-up!

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The Gatekeeper

from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun:

Teams have won Super Bowls with average quarterbacks, they’ve won World Series with an average pitcher or two in the rotation. Some NBA teams have even won titles without a good defence lawyer.
But nobody gets close to Stanley in this day and age without an outstanding goaltender.
What used to be the most important position in hockey is now, thanks to the new NHL, the most important position in all of sports.

continued

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He’s Already Great, Just Not Gretzky

from the Arizona Republic:

It’s being dubbed The Great One vs. The Next One.
Granted, that corny billing sounds more like a boxing match than a hockey match, but those attending tonight’s first game pitting coach Wayne Gretzky and the Coyotes against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Jobing.com Arena may want to save their ticket stubs.

Gretzky, the opposing coach, is not looking forward to watching Crosby play in person tonight.
Gretzky, the hockey fan, can’t wait.
“Every 15 or 20 years a real special athlete jumps into the NHL,” Gretzky said. “What he does as a player is truly just really wonderful. He’s a Steve Nash kind of player. He makes everybody around him better, and he works hard every shift. You can talk about talent and vision of the game, but a lot of time great players don’t get enough rewards for how hard they work; and if you watch him play, he works as hard or harder than any player in the league.”

continued

 

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Satan Talk Not True

from the On The Islanders Beat, a blog at Newsday,

With only a month left until the Feb. 27 NHL trade deadline, rumors are bound to proliferate as they always do. But Islanders coach Ted Nolan found one speculative report published recently in Ottawa particularly troubling. The report suggested Nolan is embroiled in a feud with winger Miroslav Satan, wants to trade him and is angry that Satan is invoking a no-trade clause to block any deal.
Nolan just shook his head in wonder when asked about the report privately after this morning’s skate. “Satan is one of the nicest gentlemen I’ve met in the NHL,” Nolan said….
Somehow, it doesn’t seem surprising that the report came out of Ottawa, where the Senators’ general manager is John Muckler, who did not get along with Nolan when both were in Buffalo and Satan was a rookie with the Sabres.

more on the Islanders

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Hossa Leaves Game With Knee Injury

from the AP via Sports Illustrated,

Marian Hossa hobbled off the ice with an injured left knee early in the second period of the Atlanta Thrashers’ game against the New York Islanders on Friday night.
Hossa was tripped by Islanders defenseman Freddy Meyer and slid into the boards behind the New York goal

update 9:33pm, Hossa back on the ice!

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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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