Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet,
The Detroit Red Wings are on their way to capturing the President’s Trophy this week as the NHL’s top team in the regular season and yet you’d be hard-pressed to find many pundits picking them to win the Stanley Cup.
All the Wings do is win and win and win but they don’t seem to get the same respect right now as San Jose or Anaheim. Well, here’s something worth noting—Wings head coach Mike Babcock feels this is the best team he’s had yet.
from Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News,
At least they’re still alive. The standard sure has fallen for this team. Who would have imagined that, one year after winning the Presidents’ Trophy, the Sabres would be jumping with joy because they still had an outside chance to finish eighth?
The arena didn’t have much of a pulse Sunday. The fans seemed to know they were watching a squad that was going nowhere, a team that had gone from Cup favorite to also-ran in 10 months. The Sabres won. But for much of the night, they didn’t play with the sort of passion you’d expect.
There was no curtain call by the players after the last regular-season game. Presumably, the Sabres didn’t want to give the impression that their season was over. So odds are, this year’s team will never get a chance to skate around and bid the fans a final goodbye.
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
“The single most important thing a GM does, and it’s miles ahead of anything else, is hire a coach,” Burke said. “You need to find a guy who can get the team to where it needs to be and then get out of the way. If I talked to Randy Carlyle 10 times last summer, that would be a shock to me. The one decision that will get you famous or get you fired, is who will coach your team.”
While a GM’s career body of work carries significant weight, our rankings focus more on performance over the past year, including at the recent trade deadline.
1. Brian Burke, Anaheim
The only thing missing from Burke’s portfolio was a Stanley Cup, which he accomplished last season with the Ducks. Burke has helped build one of the NHL’s top teams, but what’s even more impressive is how he took a very uncertain Scott Niedermayer situation and made his team better.
“Look at the run we had in Detroit with the Red Wings in the mid-to-late 90’s,” Federov continued. “It got to the point where we were so good at diving, and we were getting so many power plays that the NHL stepped in and made rules to hamper our style of play. As you can clearly see, the game of hockey has never been the same, and that’s what will happen to the MLS if this initiative goes through.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
It is a cliché, popularized by Rodney Dangerfield, a favourite comedian of the 1970s, that professional sports teams embraced like a loving grandmother - the idea that they don’t receive enough respect from their peers, adversaries and critics.
Never mind that in an era of parity, NHL teams have a genuinely healthy respect for one another and that another well-worn bromide — on any given Sunday — may be the more appropriate saying, especially at it relates to the Western Conference playoff races.
NEW YORK (March 31, 2008) – San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton, Nashville Predators goaltender Dan Ellis and Boston Bruins center David Krejci have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending March 30.
from Lyle Richardson at the Hockey News,
The Minnesota Wild’s roster could have a significantly different look next season.
Two key veteran forwards, Pavol Demitra and Brian Rolston, are eligible for unrestricted free agency in July and young forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard becomes a restricted free agent.
Pundits have speculated throughout this season as to whether or not the usually budget-conscious Wild management will re-sign all three.
As the way fans watch the game continues to change in this information age, we’re seeing all sorts of new ‘arenas’ where fans can compete and win while cheering on their favorite team. NHL PlayAction launched recently, and Big League of PlayAction.tv dropped by Kukla’s Korner to give us some insight into this new age of fan-driven competition.
Paul Kukla: Hi Big League. What’s the driving force behind PlayAction and what can fans expect when they sign-up and play?
Big League: All of our PlayAthletes are posed the same 8 questions, sent by text message to their phone, from which they predict certain outcomes in the game. For example, how many points will Alexander Ovechkin tally tonight? They then make their picks on their mobile giving fans a way to interact with each other by competing throughout the game. The questions keep the game exciting right to the end. Your team may be down 5-0 with 10 minutes left, but you still need to see if your choice, say “Pittsburgh Forward”, will get the last shot of the game. It really adds excitement from the opening face-off to the final buzzer.
The cool thing is that you have a live “Game Jockey” who is watching the game and keying questions based on the action.
from the St. Peterburg Times,
Tortorella said, and Thrashers general manager Don Waddell confirmed, it took a commitment from USA Hockey to supply young players that are “ready to win” to seal the deal.
“We need to look by the old school,” Tortorella said. “We want players to go over there and want to play, not look at it as a chance for a vacation and then play some hockey.”
Tortorella stressed, “This isn’t a criticism of anybody else. It’s just something I believe in. You play to win. It’s a great situation in the changing of the guard.”
from Alan Ryder of the Globe and Mail,
Ovechkin has already won the Richard trophy and seems likely to win the Art Ross as well. Let me make the case for Ovechkin’s name on the Hart.
First of all, he has not simply won the Richard trophy. He has smoked the competition with a season for the ages.
Maurice (The Rocket) Richard set the bar with 50 goals in 50 games in the 1944-45 season. The number of 50-goal seasons has recently been raised to 182 by Ilya Kovalchuk and may grow by another should Jarome Iginla notch one more goal in Calgary’s final three games. To properly compare these results across over 60 years of the changing face of hockey it is necessary to adjust for (at least) two things.
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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