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Kukla's Korner Hockey

Marc-Andre Fleury On The New Modified Equipment

from Jesse Granger of the Las Vegas Sun,

The NHL altered goaltenders’ chest-protectors this offseason, making them smaller in several areas to cover less of the net. With last year’s padding Fleury’s arms weren’t as mobile, and he never could have slicked his hair back while wearing it.

“I guess that’s one of the benefits,” Fleury joked.

But Fleury and many goalies around the NHL aren’t completely satisfied with the new equipment. They are still requesting small tweaks to provide them with the proper protection. Fleury is still awaiting replacement parts with preseason already started and the regular season quickly approaching.

“I think it just feels a little bit rushed,” Fleury said. “There are still come complaints about parts so we’re still waiting for pieces to be signed off on by the league. I’m hoping I get the pieces here in time.It would have been nice to get comfortable, make sure it’s safe and wait for parts before the season started.”

The changes include making the shoulder floaters (small pieces that hang on the shoulders) 1.5 inches narrower, and narrower arm pads around the elbow. They are designed to make the pads fit the shape of the goalie’s body and not protrude.

Fleury said there have been a small amount of shots in practice he thought were going to hit his shoulder, but sailed by and into the net.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marc+andre+fleury, vegas+golden+knights

Who’s On The Right Side With Sidney Crosby?

from Mark Madden at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

Crosby’s style will likely keep him productive well into his 30s. He doesn’t have to temper his game much, or think of anything new. Foes obviously have a read on Crosby, but it doesn’t matter. He just needs to stay fit.

He will. Crosby is likely doing push-ups right now.

Crosby’s style makes selecting linemates more challenging than one might think. Here’s what Crosby expects (requires) from his wingers:

•Defensive acumen;

•Quick and accurate puck movement through the neutral zone;


•Support down low.

Be ready for plenty of in-game guidance, too. Personal coaching from hockey’s best.

Jake Guentzel is an easy choice at left wing. A great match stylistically. That’s no surprise. He’s a coach’s kid.

But who’s going to play right wing on Crosby’s line?

The accurate answer: Many will.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Saturday Night Hockey Notes

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

- I know there are only 31 general manager jobs in the NHL and it’s an impossible job to get. Plus, I like and respect Pierre Dorion but if I were him, there would be 30 teams with general managers and one messed up team in the market for one.

- In 2007, the Montreal Canadiens used their first three draft picks to select Ryan McDonagh, Max Pacioretty and P.K. Subban, all of them impressive enough to have letters on their jerseys, all now gone with the return for the three somewhat inconsequential.

- Statistics can’t measure what Henrik Zetterberg did for the Detroit Red Wings. They are only part of the package. A player like Zetterberg, getting 18 minutes a night, was 16 minutes of a clinic on how to play without the puck. There have been few players smarter than him in his time in the NHL. He’s in my Hall of Fame, every single day.

- Don’t understand the NHL, part 2789: It will be legal to smoke marijuana in Canada next month. The NHL will continue to test for what is about to be recreational substance.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

What Would It Take For Artemi Panarin To Become A Member Of The Boston Bruins?

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

With the $2.75 million cap relief the Bruins picked up in the McQuaid swap, they are right on the cusp of being able to handle the $6 million owed Columbus superstar Artemi Panarin this year. They also have the young roster assets and prospects to woo Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen into making a deal. The question becomes: Would Panarin sign in Boston long term and would the Bruins pony up the $8 million a year to keep him happy? As for compensation, Columbus might want both Jake DeBrusk and Ryan Donato. Painful, but big deals most always include some hurt. Panarin, 26, has averaged nearly 80 points over his three NHL seasons, virtually in lockstep with fellow left winger Brad Marchand.

many more topics including the Ottawa Senators and Steve Yzerman...

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink

It’s Stanley Cup Or Bust For The San Jose Sharks

from Curtis Pashelka of the Mercury Times,

They were thought to be playoff contenders again, like they have been for most of the last 15 years. Maybe not in the NHL’s top tier, but among the teams that have a reasonable shot at a division crown.

All that has changed with the acquisition of Karlsson, who should help a power play that ranked 16th in the 2017-18 regular season and sixth in the playoffs.

The message is simple. It’s time to hang a Cup banner in the rafters of SAP Center.

“Things kind of get shaken up after a big trade,” said Couture, who centered a line with Hertl and Timo Meier on Friday. “It’s a good energy, it’s a nervous energy, it’s every type of energy that there is. … Everyone’s just ready to get going and today was a very good day.”

That’s partly because the Sharks saw Thornton back on the ice, healthy, rested and eager to play.


Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Connor McDavid Ready To Lead, Can The Rest Of The Edmonton Oilers Do Their Part?

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

A back-to-back Art Ross winner, McDavid spent a summer listening to what everyone employed by this organization heard. Some variation on the theme of, “What the heck happened to you guys last season?”

Of course, the Oilers rebuild started so long ago. If it were a child, it would be in Pee Wee hockey. Maybe even Bantam. But McDavid has only been here for three years. He doesn’t own all that previous grief, just the fall-on-their-faces season that was 2017-18.

“We definitely get a sense from the fans and the media, and we’re just as eager as (they) are, inside the room. We want to get this thing going, get moving in the right direction,” McDavid said. “Put last year to rest and stop having to talk about it. Having to answer questions about it.”

Ask McDavid about being faster or better this season, and you don’t get much: “My fitness is right where it’s always been. I’m not a guy who will blow the bench press out of the water, but I’m a fit guy.”

But, during the week prior to the opening of camp, word was filtering back from players and coaches. McDavid, for the first time starting an NHL season able to buy a beer in the United States, is getting even better at age 21....

“We were just saying, a small group of us, at one point or another he’s going to do something special. We’ve got to pull our rope and be part of that,” said Strome, Edmonton’s third-line centre. “It’s like if you get to play with a Crosby or a Malkin. We’ve got to pull our rope and do our part in getting us all there.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Kicking Off The China Games

from Amalie Benjamin of NHL.com,

SHENZHEN, China -- 7The teenager stood, half his body suspended over the railing. He waved his arm, over and over, calling for attention.

"Brad Marchand!" he yelled. "Brad Marchand!"

In front of him, the Boston Bruins and Calgary Flames had just taken the ice for warmups at Universiade Sports Center in Shenzhen, China, their usual routine transformed for their first preseason game of the 2018-2019 season. Instead of an arena in North America, the Bruins and Flames were halfway around the world, 30 minutes away from the start of the first game of the 2018 O.R.G. NHL China Games, which the Bruins would win in a shootout, 4-3.

The kid wore a Bruins jersey with a No. 15, Milt Schmidt's retired number. Next to him stood a man in a newly minted John Tavares Toronto Maple Leafs sweater, and nearby a neon P.K. Subban Nashville Predators edition. A Grant Fuhr Edmonton Oilers jersey could be seen a few sections over, and the concourse revealed Daniel Alfredsson and Ken Dryden and Milan Lucic and Joffrey Lupul.

These were the people who already knew, and loved, the game.

But there were others, the ones with no history and no allegiances, with no sense of hockey's past that the NHL wants to be part of its future. For them, there came an announcement after the two teams left the ice: They would be explaining the rules of hockey to the assembled crowd.


Check out the game highlights below (not normal for KK to post from a preseason game, but since it is China....)

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink

It’s New Territory For The Washington Capitals

from Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post,

There was a time — say, 365 days ago — when the opening of Washington Capitals’ training camp meant regurgitating some version of a nauseating end to the previous season. Man, that was hard. There was a time – say, 365 days ago – when the Capitals wallowed in the latest in a litany of crippling losses. From top to bottom, the organization admitted to a hangover.

Now, the most significant concern might be: Are the Caps still hung over? The pre-training camp questions have been about opportunity lost and whether they can gear up again. They have never before included whether they did one keg stand too many.

And now, here we are, because — and even these three months later, it’s so weird to type this — the Washington Capitals are Stanley Cup champions. Thus, the opening of this training camp Friday at (recently rebranded) Medstar Capitals Iceplex begins the first season Washington pursues something it already has.

The Stanley Cup champs, going after another Stanley Cup. In Washington.

Go figure.


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

Wheeler Dealer Doug Wilson

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

San Jose, however, seems to have cracked the post-cap code in this regard, and this season will ice the trio of Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, the best threesome in the NHL going into the 2018-2019 season. Nashville might differ, with P.K. Subban, Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm, but most would give the Sharks a slight edge with the acquisition of Karlsson and his splendid skill set this week.

The fact Karlsson and Burns were acquired by trade speaks to the resourcefulness of Sharks general manager Doug Wilson and his creativeness when it comes to horse-trading with his fellow GMs. Heck, he didn’t even know Burns was a forward or a defenceman when he got him from Minnesota in 2011 for Devon Setoguchi and Charlie Coyle, and most would agree that has turned out very much in San Jose’s favour.

Wilson, now in his 15th year running the Sharks, was never really viewed as overly cautious among his peers, but he was certainly committed to a consistent draft-and-develop strategy and understandably conscious of the revenue and payroll restrictions of San Jose, which plays in one of the NHL’s smallest rinks.

In the past three years, however, Wilson has become increasingly bold, almost at the same time Nashville counterpart David Poile has become similarly aggressive when it comes to trades.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: doug+wilson

The Return Of Thoughts On Hockey

from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,

- As training camps open, there’s no clarity on Rick Nash’s future. There were plenty of teams who checked in (Las Vegas and Toronto believed to be among them), and a GM indicated he heard one club was willing to offer $16 million over three years. Wife Jessica recently gave birth to their third child, and Nash’s injury history (including multiple concussions) had him seriously considering retirement. Agent Joe Resnick: “Nothing has changed since July 1. Status quo.”

- There’s no reason not to take Steve Yzerman at his word, that family concerns were the reason he stepped down as Tampa Bay GM. Say he signed a five-year extension. That would mean almost 15 years with the Lightning, with his family in Detroit. It’s a big ask. One of the other theories is that the organization was concerned about losing both Yzerman and Julien BriseBois, promoted to replace him. The latter’s time in the No. 1 chair was coming, whether in Tampa or elsewhere. (He was interviewed by Pittsburgh when the Penguins hired Jim Rutherford.)

Yzerman’s uncertainty made it important to keep/elevate BriseBois. As usual, Yzerman kept it in the vault. His GM brethren reacted with shock, with one texting, “Are you drunk?” when asked if he’d heard anything about the potential move. Whether discussing moves or in casual conversation, Yzerman gave little indication anything was coming. His typical (and generally appreciated) bluntness set off a storm of speculation, however. Instead of saying he has no future plans other than going home, he left open the door for something else in one year’s time. We’ll see.

- Nashville’s Filip Forsberg, asked who will stand up in the Predators’ room and say, no matter what happened last year, we are still good enough to win this: “That will be me. That will be me this year. Because I really believe it.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com


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