Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Edmonton Journal,
It’s a 24/7 job being an Oilers fan. Any fool can see that, and I passed that ineptitude test long ago.
But, with the Oilers away for a fortnight that will either be a marathon of hope or a journey of despair, what’s needed, it seems to me, is respite. Could be for a day, a night, a week, might be as brief as skipping a period of the out-of-town broadcast to walk the dog, for the true believers among you.
But it’s important. For the love of Gretzky, look away, take a backward step, take a breath, get some perspective.
Begin living today the experience of daily life without the Oilers this spring. It will be better that way. Wean yourself off the hockey fix, if you can.
from the Palm Beach Post,
Todd Bertuzzi appears to no longer be a candidate for a trade. The latest setback in his rehab from back surgery means Bertuzzi will play at most three games before the deadline, and unless he scores hat tricks in all three, nobody is going to offer more than a conditional draft pick. That’s not enough.
By holding onto Bertuzzi for the rest of the season, Martin gets exclusive negotiating rights with him until July’1. And again, unless he excels beyond expectations in the 20 or so games he plays, it’s hard to imagine any team looking to offer Bertuzzi more than one year at, say, $3 million to $4 million plus incentives. He loves the weather and relative anonymity of South Florida; there’s a good chance he’ll be back.
more Panther player talk…
via the Denver Post,
Sakic became the 17th NHL player to reach 600 goals with his five-point performance, leading the Avs to a victory in which they overcame 2-0 and 4-2 deficits. His empty-net goal with 9.9 seconds remaining put the game away and his name higher in the record books.
“An empty-netter isn’t the prettiest one to get (600), but it still feels pretty good,” Sakic said. “What it all means, I don’t know, we’ll figure that out some day. But it was just nice to have that put the game away. We needed to win here and we did.”
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
“I talked to (Flyers GM Paul) Holmgren (Wednesday) night,” said Ducks GM Brian Burke before the game. “We were in there right to the end. We could have Forsberg on the ice right now, but there were certain things I wouldn’t do.”
Burke is now expected to immediately turn his attention to St. Louis and forward Keith Tkachuk, who can play either centre or wing and, like Doan before he signed and Forsberg, is headed for unrestricted free agency this summer.
“But you can’t change your price tag just because another team made a deal,” said Burke, “and the price of rental players is going up.”
via the Toronto Star,
Buffalo Sabres forward Maxim Afinogenov will miss six weeks after breaking his left wrist and rookie Jiri Novotny is out indefinitely after aggravating a left ankle injury last night.
“It’s going to make things a lot tougher. We’re going to have to dig in,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said after the team’s 2-1 win over Edmonton. “You’ve got to grind your way through it.”
from Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,
...But if the NHL doesn’t want to become about as relevant as Australian rules football, it could at least try not to appear so darned clueless and aloof. The elimination of its mysterious “war room” in Toronto would be a good place to start.
Having a play in Columbus “go to Toronto” for review creates the image of league officials who take themselves too seriously. Their intentions are good — they probably have more high-def TVs than Circuit City in the NHL offices — but fans in the stands and at home only see a ref on a 1960sstyle telephone waiting for orders from a secretive tribunal.
from the Arizona Republic:
With the Coyotes fading from playoff contention, other teams keep calling regarding possible trades.
Many calls are inquiries about players with significant playoff experience.
Roenick said he hasn’t given up on the Coyotes making the playoffs this season, but if it becomes clear they won’t make it and another team in better playoff position comes calling for him, he’d be OK with a trade.
“Absolutely, 100 percent,” Roenick said. “I’m on a one-year deal, anyway. . . . I’d definitely be up for a (Stanley) Cup run.”
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
In the wake of the Peter Forsberg trade, there will be a rush to judgment.
Some will proclaim the Predators just dealt their way to the Stanley Cup.
Others will say the Flyers parlayed a rental player into a bountiful harvest of picks and prospects.
We are likely to get the early returns on Nashville’s half of the equation before Philadelphia’s, but it is fair to say both scenarios are fraught with peril.
added 9:41pm, from TBM at NBC Sports,
That’s it? That’s all Philadelphia gets for Peter Forsberg?
E-mail the Bellowing Moose
The Moose told you on Wednesday that Nashville was the front runner in the Forsberg derby, but what he didn’t know was how little the Predators would be giving up to land the player who may very well deliver them to the Stanley Cup Finals this June.
added 10:29pm, from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
A long playoff could help solidify their fan base, in the same way that both the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Carolina Hurricanes became far more viable franchises after they won Stanley Cup championships in 2004 and 2006 respectively.
A lot needs to go right for the Predators to join those teams in the winning circle — minimal injuries, ensuring that Forsberg contributes to team chemistry. Still, on paper, they now have as close to a Murderer’s Row lineup as a team can ice in the new collective bargaining agreement, with three lines all able to score, skill on the blueline and depth in goal in case of injury.
Forsberg’s addition could be the final piece of the puzzle that turns Music City into Hockeytown - and not at some indeterminate time in the future either.
added 10:36pm, from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Never mind winning the Stanley Cup. Nashville Predators GM David Poile may well have saved his entire franchise Thursday evening.
With ruthless efficiency that belies his understated demeanor, Poile has established himself as one of the gutsiest, most assertive GMs in the business with his coup de grace acquisition of Philadelphia center Peter Forsberg.
According to Bob McKenzie on TSN, he may be headed to Nashville.
added 7:03pm, TSN link now available
added 7:17pm, via TSN,
Sources tell TSN the Nashville Predators have agreed to trade Scottie Upshall, Ryan Parent, a first round pick and a third round pick to the Philadelphia Flyers for Peter Forsbeg.
The deal will not be official until the completion of a trade call with the NHL.
Leaders are urging fans to be patient about a power play to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl indicated Thursday that a deal is more likely than not.
Ravenstahl said there are no details outstanding that are insurmountable.
Ed Rendell said Thursday that progress is made each time officials meet.
Rendell did not get into specifics and did not say when a deal might be announced.
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