K is for Kovalchuk:
The All-Star left wing and Captain of the Atlanta Thrashers has come to a “snag” in talks for a new contract with his current club.
Next year, Kovalchuk becomes an unrestricted free agent. Kovalchuk entered the league in the 2001-2002 season with Atlanta Thrashers, and has played with them since. He has been posting up consistent numbers, averaging 79 points in the five completed seasons he has played. Atlanta has had trouble in the past completing deals. Atlanta was unable to sign Marian Hossa a few seasons back.
Kovalchuk is one of the big names this year for potential free agents. It is expected he will sign with Atlanta and become their franchise player, however if not, oh what a fun time it will be come trade deadline.
F is for Fisticuffs:
The Florida Panthers visited the Philadelphia Flyers last night for some good ‘ol hockey.
The meeting was their first since October 24th, where Flyer’s captain Mike Richards hit winger David Booth. The hit, which was controversial in being a head shot or not, received no disciplinary action, but has taken Booth out of the lineup for an indefinite period of time. Booth is the future of the Panthers, but currently is only participating in “light” skating.
The game began with a bang, as the first period consisted of 3 fights, one less than 2 minutes in. The total fight count ended with 4, yet the one to make note of was Panther’s captain Bryan McCabe challenging Flyer’s captain Mike Richards to a fight 3 minutes and 42 seconds into the game. The two dropped the gloves, circled briefly with both captain C’s bearing on their chest, and began to throw their punches.
It is not often you see two captains going toe to toe in a fight. Respect to both captains, McCabe for setting the tone and the score, and for Richards taking responsibility for his previous actions on Booth. Hockey is scrutinized for it’s fighting, however self regulation such as this makes the game safer than if fighting were to be removed.
The Panthers dominated the score board, winning 4-1, moving them to 8th place in the East, and sending the Flyers into a speedy decline to second to the bottom of the conference.
C is for Champion:
New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur broke the shutout record, posting his 104th of his career in a 4-0 win over the defending Cup Champions Pittsburgh Penguins. The record previously belonged to Detroit Red Wing’s Terry Sawchuk.
Brodeur, smiling from ear to ear took many photos with teammates and his puck inscribed with “104.” It is good to see the emotion and love for the game, and Devils forward Zach Parise said it best about the milestone, “I mean, it’s pretty fun. I’m sure it’s fun for him but it’s pretty cool for us too.”
The record stood for 39 years. Ironically, Sawchuk’s last shutout was against the Penguins on February 1, 1970.