Kukla's Korner Hockey
The Coyotes finished the regular season 35-39-8, fourth in the Pacific Division and nine points out of the final wild card playoff spot. [Max] Domi believes the team is ready to take the next step and reach the postseason for the first time since 2012.
“There’s no reason we can’t,” said Domi. “We came out of the gates pretty hot this year and we beat some high-end teams but when the nitty gritty comes down to it, you gotta be able to win after the All-Star break — that’s when it really matters. Finding a way to find that consistency and manage that throughout an 82-game season will be pretty clutch for us and there’s no reason we can’t do it.”
The Coyotes promising start last season included opening 13-9-1 and a 24-20-5 record at the All-Star break. However, the young team limped to the finish line with an 11-19-3 record in their final 33 games to end the year.
Sensing a need for help blueline, Coyotes general manager John Chayka added defencemen Alex Goligoski and Luke Schenn during the off-season, two players Domi believes will have an immediate impact on the team.
“It’s amazing,” Domi said of the additions. “I mean our D core is pretty solid. Goligoski is unbelievable, I had to play against him quite a bit when he was in Dallas and Luke Schenn, I watched him when he was with the Leafs and played against him a little bit this year too in L.A. Both of those guys are going to be outstanding and the other new guys we got are going to be awesome too.”
Via NHL.com, St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo spoke with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jesus Ortiz regarding the possibility of Pietrangelo succeeding David Backes as the Blues' next captain:
“Yeah, I would welcome the responsibility,” he said. “I think being so close with Dave over the five years he was captain, I’ve learned a lot from him just kind of sitting back and seeing how he operates on a daily basis. Not only on the ice but off the ice, which is a big part of it trying to keep the locker room together and doing the off-ice stuff.
“He was always trying to help me through that. I think he knew this opportunity might come some day for me. He was always willing to answer my questions, and I was always eager to ask him. So if there is a guy that I was lucky to learn from, it was him. Being such good friends of his made it that much easier.”
Blues GM Doug Armstrong tipped his hand ever-so-slightly as well:
I lost you just a few days ago, and I already miss you a lot.
Even though I had a chance to say goodbye, there are still a few things I’d like to tell you.
Plenty of people are familiar with our family’s story. They know about how dad assaulted you when I was a little kid and how our family ended up moving to California and changing our names so he could avoid going to jail. They know about how he was eventually caught and how you and I had to figure things out on our own. And they know about how I ended up making it to the NHL despite all that. Yes, plenty of people have asked us about that story, but I don’t think enough people know about your story.
I was 12 when dad got caught and had to go away. Before that, he was very much the head of the family. Everything kind of revolved around him. But after he was gone suddenly, you had to take on more than you probably ever thought you would — more than any parent should have to. You didn’t panic, though. You always seemed to be in control, even though you might not have felt like you were. And you did such an amazing job. Just, such an amazing job.
When I think about you, I don’t think about what Dad did to you. I don’t think about how scared we were when he was caught. I don’t think about any of that. Instead, the first thing that comes to mind, of all things, is California Pizza Kitchen.
I know you’re smiling right now at just the mention of that. California Pizza Kitchen was our place.
I'm not sure if this is what it looks like, but patient The Emperor has been ill for several days now, and he's well-taken care of, but he's going to need a few more days of rest to get back to work, and your thoughts and prayers are welcome...
(For you kids too young to remember, Dr. Bob was the Muppets' resident physician)
And that's where my situation becomes a bit of a wrench in the system. I'm supposed to be going up to Grand Marais for my family vacation tomorrow, and my family will only be up in the U.P. for the next week, so rescheduling the vacation would kind of take its purpose away. I feel guilty about doing so, but I'm pretty sure that I'm going to head Up North tomorrow, and that means that it'll be a very quiet weekend for both Kukla's Korner and the Malik Report.
Mostly, I'm worried about Paul right now, though he's OK, but complicating that is a shit-ton of guilt about leaving KK and TMR in the lurch. It may be a quieter time of the year, but news is still happening, and there's a really strong desire on my part to be behind the laptop screen...But it kind of takes away the whole purpose of going up to be with my family...
So I'm all sorts of conflicted, and in the end, this ain't about me, it's about KK and TMR and making sure that Paul gets as much rest as possible.
From the Denver Post's Terry Frei:
From NHL.com's Tom Gulitti:
The start of the NHL season is more than two months away, but it felt like it was right around the corner at Braemar Arena on Thursday.
Fans filled the rink for an evening of three 4-on-4 games in the inaugural season of Da Beauty League. Even with some players unavailable to play because of other commitments, the league's six teams featured 75 players from 16 NHL organizations, 14 minor league teams and seven NCAA teams. All of them are either from Minnesota or spend their summers there.
"It's funny to think it took this long to get something like this going with the amount of players that come back here," said New York Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh, who scored two goals to help Team Tradition rally for a 6-5 shootout win against RBC Wealth Management. "With the pros and colleges in the area and just the number of players who train here, it's been a great thing. I think all of us players didn't realize how big it was going to be and how many kids are having a blast just watching us."
Da Beauty League plays three games (two halves of 25 running minutes) a night here on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The competition concludes with the championship game on Aug. 10.
From the Globe and Mail's James Mirtle:
It was a Stanley Cup party that had surprisingly little to do with hockey.
Held at the posh Forest Hill mansion of entrepreneur Michael Kimel, Phil Kessel’s night with Lord Stanley’s silverware last week was a well-organized to-do, with valet parking and a heavy security presence at the front door.
What the Pittsburgh Penguins star’s celebration didn’t have was many fellow players. No current members of the Toronto Maple Leafs were present, and former captain Dion Phaneuf – who flew in for the celebration from his off-season home in Prince Edward Island – was the only former teammate.
A rowdy P.K. Subban, meanwhile, showed up hooting and hollering at around midnight, still wearing a cowboy hat from his introductory press conference in Nashville that afternoon.
But that was it, in terms of NHL star power.
According to those who attended, Kessel wanted his Stanley Cup party to be a thank you to the other friends he made in Toronto, many of them from the hospitality industry. He was a regular at some of the higher-end restaurants in the downtown, and it was there that he first met many close friends during his six years playing for the Leafs.
NHL.com's Rob Vollman examines four free agent defensemen still available on the open market:
Now that most teams have settled on their top four defensemen this season, it's a good time to shore up depth at the position with experienced, cost-effective free agents.
Coming off an injury or a disappointing season, there are some overlooked veterans who can provide valuable depth at a discount and deserve one more chance to be part of a winning NHL organization.
Though the mainstream focus is on more prominent free agents like Kris Russell and Kyle Quincey, keep an eye on the following four veterans, each of whom have the proven ability to contribute, whether killing penalties, providing secondary scoring or helping to develop younger teammates.
THIS DATE IN HISTORY: July 29
1925: Ted Lindsay, the left wing on the Detroit Red Wings' famed "Production Line," is born in Renfrew, Ontario. Lindsay makes the Red Wings as a 19-year-old in 1944; by the late 1940s, Lindsay, center Sid Abel and right wing Gordie Howe form 'The Production Line," one of the most famous trios in NHL history. Though he's listed at 5-foot-8, 165 pounds, Lindsay also earns the nickname "Terrible Ted" for his willingness to do anything he has to do to win.
Lindsay is a First-Team NHL All-Star in 1947-48, when he leads the League with 33 goals. He begins a streak of five consecutive seasons as a First-Team All-Star in 1949-50, when he wins the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's top scorer, and is again a First-Team NHL All-Star in 1955-56 and 1956-57, when he has a career-high 85 points. But Detroit general manager Jack Adams, angered by Lindsay's efforts to help form a players union, trades Lindsay to the Chicago Blackhawks in 1957; he plays three seasons with Chicago before retiring. However, after four years off the ice, he returns to the Red Wings for the 1964-65 season at age 39 and finishes with 14 goals and 28 points, giving him 379 goals and 851 points in 1,068 NHL games. He is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966.
From Sportsnet's Luke Fox:
It’s a strange sight.
P.K. Subban is hustling up ice, spinning and slipping blind, backhanded passes thwack on the tape of soon-to-be goal scorers. He’s falling, laughing, and trying to trip contest-winning hockey hopefuls at Gatorade’s GCamp. He’s playfully battling Sidney Crosby, a fellow sponsored athlete, in the corners and dangling around teenagers that idolize him. Chirping, smiling, high-fiving — all gestures as blockbuster-sized as his trade one month ago. In short, P.K. is being P.K.
So that’s not the odd part. It’s what he’s wearing.
Aside from a G-splashed white-and-black sweater, Subban’s dekes and circle-backs are coloured in navy and gold. He’s rocking his official Nashville Predators helmet, gloves and pants. After nearly a decade representing Le Bleu-Blanc-Rouge, the visual is jarring.
“Very strange for me to see something like that happen,” Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty tells Sportsnet at GCamp, thinking back to one of hockey’s most climate-altering one-for-one trades in history. “P.K. is the person I got drafted with. He was the only remaining player I got drafted with.”
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.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com