Kukla's Korner Hockey
Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, who led all scorers with 11 points in three games, has been named the NHL's Offensive Player of the Week. Calgary Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, who backstopped the Flames to three victories with a 0.33 goals-against average, .984 save percentage and two shutouts, has been named the league's Defensive Player of the Week.
from the Pittsburgh Penguins,
Hockey fans are in luck – the pinnacle of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ promotional lineup is here. And, those who attend Thursday’s game at 7:30 p.m. at Mellon Arena have a chance to bring home a unique piece of Penguins history. The box and first DVD are only available at Thursday night’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. None of those items or the other DVDs will be available in stores, so the only way to get this once-in-a-lifetime series is to attend the designated games. The rest of the series will be distributed in order at home games on December 8, January 7, February 2 and March 7.Watch some of the clips from all five DVDs.
Like everyone else in the NHL, Wayne Gretzky has watched the breakout seasons both Jason Spezza of the Ottawa Senators and Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes is having. And as much as the two young players deserve to be on list of 81 under scrutiny for Canada's Olympic team, they will probably be out of luck because there's just not the room on the roster for them. Staal and Spezza are centres and Canada isn't lacking down the middle.
from the Russian Hockey Digest,
It didn’t seem that Crosby would face serious rivalry in the run for the Calder Trophy, which is, to remind you once again, awarded to the best rookie of the NHL prior to the season. Things got a bit worse for ‘Sid the Kid’ when Russia’s top young talent Alexander Ovechkin opted out of his contract with Russian Super League team Avangard Omsk and joined the Washington Capitals to start his NHL career. This new rivalry was adding up excitement and making the fans anticipate the beginning of the new era in the history of the National Hockey League with even greater impatience than there already was. Crosby was regarded as nothing less than the new Gretzky or at least the new Lemieux while Ovechkin was getting a fraction of that sort of attention unless we’re talking about the indigenous mass media services of the DC area.
from the LA Times,
Just because there's a Hockey Hall of Famer in our family, doesn't mean our home life is any different from yours. I mean, we still have to take out the garbage once a week, do the laundry, water the plants, pay the bills. And, just as in your home, I'm sure, the phone will start ringing in the morning and it'll be the bank or the car repair place or the guy who's coming over to fix the doorbell. Or maybe it'll be Brian Burke. Or Dave Taylor. Or Gary Bettman. Or Wayne Gretzky. That's the kind of thing that happens, I've learned, when you're married to a hockey writer. And not just any hockey writer, but this year's winner of the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award from the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto for bringing "honor to journalism and to hockey": The Times' own Helene Elliott.
from the Daily Times,
"We were at a critical stage in the hockey game," said Hitchcock. "Derian (Hatcher) had a beat on those guys. They weren’t going around his area very quickly. We needed to get that kill. We needed to get it for sure." So, the timeout was specifically called to get Hatcher some rest after a long shift and to get right back out there to kill some more? "Yes," said the coach. It was definitely a smart move by Hitchcock because, while most of the Flyers were on cruise control against the Thrashers, Hatcher was definitely one of the few impact players that carried the team.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Niemenen, who has appeared a step slow since training camp — maybe because of the groin, maybe because of suspect conditioning — is one of those players who may become extinct in the new NHL. He's an agitator and baiter in a league that seems to have no place for those kinds of dinosaurs; certainly not for those who can't keep up with the pace and who can't keep their sticks down and to themselves. In the five games immediately preceding Saturday, Niemenen had picked up six minors; just about one every 7:45 of ice time. No one can expect to be penalized at that rate and keep his spot in the lineup, whether a veteran or rookie. In other words, these aren't the days when Tomas Kloucek would be benched for committing lesser and fewer blunders than the ones that never stuck to Teflon Igor Ulanov. This, rather, is the time when Niemenen can sit because of his penchant for taking penalties and Fedor Fedorov can be scratched because of a failure to engage. It's also the time when Renney can send a public warning — er, reminder — to his team not only in referring to Niemenen but while praising Petr Prucha following Saturday's coming out party.
from the Toronto Sun,
The most penalized player in National Hockey League history hates the league's squeaky-clean makeover. But in blasting the league yesterday, Tiger Williams said he was defending the skill players of yesteryear as well as his lunchbucket buddies. "They've taken everything out of the game," the former Maple Leaf complained yesterday at the Air Canada Centre, after helping a team of Canadian legends beat a team of Russian legends 7-4 in an exhibition game. "Guy Lafleur would grind out his 50 goals every year and so did (Lanny) McDonald, (Bryan) Trottier, the Rocket, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. Now, you don't have to get a broken nail on your finger and you're going to score 40 or 50 goals.
from the Boston Herald,
In this extravagant new era of the NHL, 5-on-5 play can be genuinely exciting, with teams racing up and down the ice to generate intense and nonstop offensive action – and no plodding defender slowing things down with a well-placed hook or hold. Unfortunately, in too many games 5-on-5 play is a sight as rare as either a standup goaltender or a good toe-to-toe fight. In creating its new on-ice product, the NHL rightly wanted to do a better job of showcasing the prodigious talents of its best players. At times, that certainly has happened. But too much of the time now, the talent showcase has almost the feel of an All-Star Game – hockey that is all about gaudy skills but lacking the physical intensity that always made NHL play special.
from the Phildadelphia Inquirer,
It's a tune played for celebration, the "Chicken Dance." Weddings, birthday parties, multiple-goal hockey games. So it's been playing down at the Wachovia Center this year on a regular basis. Whenever the Flyers score four or more goals, the song blares on and the fans cheer. Free chicken sandwiches for everyone in the building. I'll bet the people at Chick-fil-A are rethinking that promotion. But back at league headquarters in New York, the song should be the stuff of elevator music.
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