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Afternoon Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“It’s definitely tough news when you find out you’re not going to be playing hockey for four to six months.

“In the end it’s not an easy thing missing the Olympics—an opportunity like that doesn’t come around very often—but more importantly the Leafs have made a commitment to me and the best thing at this point is to have this surgery and have it take care of by arguably one of the best shoulder guys.”

-Mike Komisarek of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Team USA.  More from Jonas Siegel of am640.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+komisarek, team+usa

NHL Surprises

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Brian Duff of the NHL Network at NHL.com,

A quick survey of my colleagues at the NHL Network, who have been immersed in the game in some way, shape, or form for years, finds that they are still amazed at how the storylines of a season evolve far beyond the imagination of anyone.

Former Calgary Flames GM Craig Button
—“My biggest surprise has been the Colorado Avalanche. They were a team with a promising future, but who knew that future was so soon?...

Gary Green, a former NHL coach
—“The Phoenix Coyotes, without a doubt. I thought that they would be hurt by the lack of interest and the summer fallout of the bankruptcy. Not knowing the team’s future has often hurt teams in the standings over history in the NHL.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Will The Chicago Goalie Please Stand Up

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Rosenbloom of RosenBlog at the Chicago Tribune,

Well, they have a couple goalies, just not one you’d stake your Stanley Cup life on right now. I realize that the Blues beat the Hawks on deflected shots, so I’m not hanging that specific loss on Cristobal Huet. But that position remains the biggest question because Huet has never won a playoff series and Niemi has never played so much as a postseason minute in the NHL.

And now, Huet can’t handle a small workload. The Hawks’ game of keepaway means their goalies see fewer shots than other netminders, but the quality of the chances against them might be just as high. The last few times that Huet has faced 20 shots or so, he has not given anyone confidence that he can be trusted in the heat of spring. Anyone in the Hawks organ-I-zation, I mean.

Maybe that changes soon. Maybe one of these two guys—- nobody cares which, at this point—- gets it together before April. It appears one of them will have to because this isn’t your father’s NHL trading deadline, where 100 bodies change teams. Nope, this is a salary-cap era that is hamstringing the   Hawks—thank you, Billfold Wirtz—- so Huet or Niemi will need to be Roy or Brodeur.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

PTI Likes The Caps

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Steinberg of D.C. Sports Bog,

Here’s how you know the Caps are becoming a big deal: Tony Kornheiser discusses them on national television without using the phrase “choking dogs.”

“Odds the Caps win the Cup” appeared during PTI’s oddsmakers segment Wednesday afternoon. Wilbon put the odds at 49 percent. Kornheiser chose 60 percent. Those aren’t bad odds.

“They’ve got the most points in the NHL, they’ve got an 11 game winning streak and they’ve got the most exciting offensive player in the league in Alex Ovechkin,” Kornheiser began. “But this always comes down to a goalie. And if the guy Varlamov, or however you pronounce that, who was in the playoffs last year, if he’s healthy I like their chances. If Theodore is in the nets, I like them not quite as much, but I still like them. Watch this Reali, 60 percent.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Columbus Fires Ken Hitchcock

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

The Columbus Blue Jackets announced the firing of coach Ken Hitchcock yesterday.  He has been replaced by Claude Noel a longtime minor league hockey coach (with IHL, ECHL and AHL experience) who was a Blue Jackets assistant coach.  He is an unknown as an NHL coach.

Ken Hitchcock is one of the most respected NHL coaches.  He is 11th in all time regular season coaching wins and has won the Stanley Cup in his Dallas Stars days.  He is the most successful coach in Columbus Blue Jackets history - being the only one to guide them to a playoff berth. 

Ken Hitchcock teams have always played a very disciplined defensive system and are known for keeping goals against down.  This season has been a bit of an anomaly.  Columbus is fourth worst in goals against with 3.19 goals allowed per game.  This is despite being 14th in the league in shots allowed per game.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Targeting Eric Staal- Stick To The Head, Skate To The Head & Stick To Umm, Lower Body

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: eric+staal

Did Team Sweden Make A Mistake By Not Naming Franzen To Their Team?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Greg Wyshynski of PuckDaddy,

The Wings said yesterday that Franzen’s target date for a return is next Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues, putting his rehab time at the minimum of four months and potentially giving him three games before the Olympic break. Then he can put his feet up on the coffee table and do whatever it is a guy nicknamed the Mule does to relax for a few weeks, having been left off the Team Sweden Olympic roster.

That snub didn’t exactly sit well with Franzen. In speaking with Swedish newspaper Expressen (article hilariously translated here, including the phrase “it feels a little sandbox on the whole”), Franzen said Team Sweden officials “made a mistake and they want to hide it” after keeping him off the roster.

According to the admittedly rough translation, the paper previously reported that Swedish head coach Bengt-Ake Gustafsson hadn’t spoken to Franzen since November and that the team didn’t consult Detroit doctors about his injury rehab.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: johan+franzen, team+sweden

Establishing A Game Plan

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

We get it. John Tortorella is the chess master playing with one king, one rook, a knight, a bishop and about a dozen pawns. But at some point the head coach of the Rangers must declare and implement a strategy against more heavily fortified opponents that does not change every five minutes.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Let’s Help Don Waddell Out

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

By going public with the Ilya Kovalchuk will be traded line yesterday, Atlanta GM Don Waddell is trying to create more interest in his star player.

With that in mind, what is your best offer for Ilya, and let’s assume it is as a ‘rental player’ only, meaning he will be going to the UFA market come July 1st.

For some real trade talk, Lyle Richardson of Spector’s Hockey takes a look at all the teams mentioned as a possible destination for Kovalchuk.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ilya+kovalchuk

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“It’s certainly been a different year right from the get-go to be quite honest but it’s not a bad thing. I’ve learned lots through this. The first two years (in New Jersey) I didn’t go through this so it’s experience in going through it but with the coaching staff, with (GM and brother) Darryl and Ken (club president King) and with Murray (part owner Edwards) and the ownership group, I’ve had a lot of support through it so we’re staying the course.

“They’ve been tough days but you have to stay positive too, continue to believe so it’s been, to be quite honest, something you don’t want to go through but it’s something we’ve gone through and we all have to take something good out of it and I certainly have as a coach.

“Hopefully it’ll make me better at what I do. It is what it is and you deal with it the best way you can.”

-Flames Coach Brent Sutter.  More on the Flames win last night from John Down of Flames Insider.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brent+sutter

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