Kukla's Korner Hockey
Q. There’s been a lot of attention in terms of the Red Wings, maybe their top 5-man unit, particularly with the defense, people focus on Lidstrom. But can you talk about what Brian Rafalski means. He played with a tremendous Hall-of-Famer in New Jersey, and just kind of gets the short shift of attention in Detroit.
SIDNEY CROSBY: He’s a good puck moving defenseman. He skates well. He’s not the biggest guy, but I think he’s smart and plays his position well. So I think he probably makes up with his size with how well he plays his position, and probably helps anybody he plays with to be that much more solid.
Q. This is a time to kind of celebrate the game, but there’s some sad news yesterday with Luc Bourdon. I know you new him a little from Atlantic Canada Midget Hockey, can you talk about how you’re getting set to play the biggest game of your career and there’s some sad news like that?
From Damien Cox at the Toronto Star,
One of the worst kept secrets in hockey is expected to become public in the next few days as Barry Melrose returns from TV exile to take over the coaching reins of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Melrose, who last coached in the NHL with the Los Angeles Kings 13 years ago, is expected to get the Tampa job, replacing John Tortorella, who has yet to be replaced or reassigned.
More at TSN.
Update 8:42pm ET: Melrose responds on ESPN‘s SportsCenter—
“This is no different than any of the last 10 years,” Melrose said in response to a report in the Toronto Star. “I’ve been contacted by a handful of clubs every year since joining ESPN. My desire to coach again has never been a secret, but I love what I do at ESPN.”
Melrose’s return to NHL coaching has been speculated upon several times in recent years but, when asked about the report on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” on Friday, Melrose added: “I want to coach again in the NHL. But nothing’s going on. Uh, I work for ESPN and I’m very happy working for ESPN.”
From Daniel Malloy at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Away from the ice, though, the ferocity disappears, replaced by an aggressive philanthropic spirit.
Mr. Laraque doesn’t turn down a request for his time—“There are no bad charities,” he says—and spends about four days a week during the season working in the community, mostly with children.
“A lot of athletes will talk about doing good things, a lot of them do good things, but Georges takes that to an entirely different level,” said Cliff Benson, who has collaborated with Mr. Laraque on various charitable initiatives around town.
“He makes that a purpose in his life. That makes him different from most.”
From Randy Turner at the Winnipeg Free Press,
It’s difficult to forget how in the immediate aftermath of the Jets’ departure to Phoenix, the sense of mourning—for most hockey fans, at least—was palpable. There were fond and fresh memories of white-outs, now a staple in the land of the Penguins. Then there were long-standing feelings of bitterness and cynicism toward a league that never really wanted Winnipeg in the first place.
Not to mention the subsequent hundreds of millions of dollars frittered away to finance the facade of the NHL someday operating a successful franchise in the Arizona desert.
But now, with the passage of time, there’s a void replaced by… what? Ambivalence? Acceptance? Disinterest?
*thanks to a KK reader for passing this on
PITTSBURGH—National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman today released the following statement:
“The National Hockey League family grieves with the family, friends and teammates of Luc Bourdon. We send heartfelt condolences to the Vancouver Canucks’ organization and the community of Shippagan, N.B. To honor a young life ended long before its promise could be fulfilled, a moment of silence will be observed Saturday night prior to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.”
Over 100 of the top prospects available in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft are in Toronto to take part in the league’s Combine. The players will take part in physical testing and most have a series of interviews set up with representatives from NHL clubs.
TSN is at the combine, too, and will file reports on the various activities throughout the day in this Combine Blog.
9:39 - The NHL annual meat market is already well underway with one group having completed the physical testing portion. The prospects are all wearing heart monitors so their heartbeats can be tracked during the workouts.
updates being added throughout the day.
Citing the apparent trend of NHL teams toward dividing GM duties amongst several executives, Adam Proteau at THN poses a question…
Naturally, the question is, ‘where will the specialization end?’
My answer: I hope it doesn’t end. I hope NHL bigwigs further compartmentalize GM responsibilities until you need a program, trail of breadcrumbs and DNA evidence to decipher who’s doing what in any one organization.
With that in mind, here are a handful of potential new GM roles.
Pre-Draft Fluff Artist: This is the guy who moseys on up to the podium, thanks the host town for its hospitality – and congratulates the Stanley Cup champion – before a team makes its first pick.
Capologist: This person hands a team’s baseball hat to each of its newly selected draft picks.
from John Dellapina of the NY Daily News,
With desperation setting in, the three parties who must work out the complex logistics associated with the event - the NHL, the Yankees and the Mayor’s Office - plan to sit down next week for a Stadium hockey summit.
“This is not dead yet,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Daily News yesterday.
Although reports yesterday stated that the NHL will play its 2009 Winter Classic at Wrigley Field - with the Detroit Red Wings visiting the Blackhawks - the preferred option is to have the Rangers play host to the Boston Bruins in what would be the final sporting event at the current Yankee Stadium.
“The only two options at this point are Yankee Stadium and Wrigley Field,” Daly said. “Wrigley Field is not done.”
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,
Sobbing uncontrollably just hours after losing her son, Luc Bourdon, in a tragic motorcycle accident, Suzanne Boucher said she had tried desperately to stop him from buying a bike.
Her plea worked last year when her fears changed his mind. That’s when Bourdon, the promising Canucks defenceman, first told his mom he dreamed of riding, and was spellbound by the “power and beauty” of motorcycles.
“I was scared when he told me that,” Boucher said yesterday through tears from her home in Shippagan, N.B. “I disagreed with it so much. I said, ‘You can’t do it.’ It was too risky, too dangerous. His girlfriend helped me reason with him. But this year was different. This year he wasn’t going to listen….”
from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
As was the case for Yzerman during his 19 seasons as Red Wings captain, Crosby is focused only on that next hockey game.
That steely focus is one of Crosby’s many attributes Yzerman finds appealing.
“I’ve watched how he conducts himself, and I like the way he plays,” said Yzerman, who retired in 2006 as the sixth-leading scorer in NHL history and a three-time Cup champion. “He’s an extremely talented kid, but he competes hard.
“I’ve been very impressed watching from afar.”
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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