Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ths Spin, a blog by Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
While the East is, don't forget, the conference that produced the 2004 and 2006 Stanley Cup champions, it is a conference that goes into the 2006-07 season without any team that looks particularly dominating or threatening. Few believe Carolina can repeat. Tampa's still reconfiguring. Philly get a goalie yet? Buffalo's still fighting the budget crunch. Ottawa is still, well, Ottawa, but now without the towering presence of Zdeno Chara. In fact, you could argue that the top five favourites for the '07 Cup are all from the Western Conference. They would be: 5. Minnesota Wild . . . A team that has finally added payroll and star power.read on for the rest...
from the Daily Herald,
Khabibulin might be the key to 2006-07 if he can rebound from a season in which he went 17-26-6 with a .886 save percentage. Khabibulin’s poor start helped put the Hawks into a hole from which they were unable to recover. “I think I put a little bit too much pressure on myself,” Khabibulin said. “I tried to do too much. When I play, I should only try to do my own job, and I tried to cover too many things, and it kind of backfired.” Khabibulin admitted that part of the problem was trying to prove he was worth the four-year, $27 million contract he signed as a free agent — the richest deal in Hawks history. “When you come to a new team and get a big deal, you just want to be the guy,” Khabibulin said. “Sometimes it doesn’t work that way. A goalie has to stop the puck, and I don’t think I did a very good job of that.”more
from the Pioneer Press,
How they manage higher expectations will be telling. "It's definitely different," said veteran Wes Walz, one of three remaining original Wild players with Gaborik and goalie Manny Fernandez. "We haven't had pressure on us from Day 1," Walz said. "When you come in every year, anything you do good surprises people. Now anything we do good is supposed to happen. It's going to be interesting to see how we deal with it." Fernandez, entering his first season as the undisputed No. 1 goalie, said that despite the additions the Wild must retain their underdog mentality.more
from the Journal News,
"It's a game right now where smaller players have a chance to play in this league right now," said Rangers defenseman Darius Kasparaitis, who is entering his 16th NHL season. "Before, people were concentrating on size. As long as he was a big boy, they would take them. But now with the new rules and the speed of the game, a smaller player has a better chance to make the league because they're harder to stop." One year after the NHL returned from the year-long lockout with a host of skills-friendly rules changes, the physical makeup of teams might be changing as well. By cracking down on the clutching and grabbing that had slowed the game down to a grind, the league now affords more space to a player who once might have been undersized. By allowing two-line passes, those same players are also allowed to generate more speed up ice.read on
from the Tampa Tribune,
They're off and puking at Lightning training camp. Around and around they skated, experiments in exhaustion for the sinister lab inside their head coach's head, capped by a delightful 3-mile night run. "We started out on Tortorella time," Lightning GM Jay Feaster said of Day 1. "Our 7 a.m. meeting started at 6:53." There is no time to waste, not for familiar faces, not for all the new faces. The faces from that Cup photo grow fewer and fewer. No matter. Time won't wait.continued
from the AP via NJ.com,
Julien won't have to worry about a possible distraction from right wing Alexander Mogilny and defenseman Vladimir Malakhov. Mogilny, 37, was invited to camp after finishing last season in the minors, but his twice surgically repaired left hip is bothering him again and he is unable to play.more on the Deviils...
via the Dallas Morning News,
Your girlfriend, Willa Ford, is on this season's edition of Dancing With the Stars. Are you watching? I was out there Tuesday night and watched it in person. It's pretty nerve-racking when it's live TV. It's a one-shot deal, and you have to hit every move. Can she take down Emmitt Smith? I saw him out there, and I think he was wondering what I was doing. He was pretty calm, but I think when he got off the floor, he was glad it was over. Any chance of a future appearance of Mike Modano on Dancing with the Stars? No, definitely not. That's just not going to happen.
from the AP via the Mercury News,
Just a few minutes into the San Jose Sharks' first scrimmage of training camp, Joe Thornton already had Jonathan Cheechoo in his sights. The reigning NHL Most Valuable Player's chemistry with the league's top goal-scorer apparently hasn't waned since the Sharks were knocked out of the second round of the playoffs. Playing together on a line with newcomer Mark Bell, Thornton repeatedly found Cheechoo for shot after shot Friday despite their teammates' best defensive efforts. "Cheech was hitting everything but the back of the net," coach Ron Wilson said. "It's important that we create chemistry, and get it early. We've got to get them up to speed, because they've got a new guy."more...inlcuding possible line combos...
from the American Chronicle,
Seven years following his retirement, the greatest player in the history of professional hockey is still setting records. MINT State, an Illinois dealer specializing in high-grade sports cards has sold a 1979 O-Pee-Chee #18 Wayne Gretzky rookie card for $80,000. The company claims it is the most valuable hockey trading card in existence. Although Gretzky’s 1979-80 rookie cards from OPC and Topps are perceived to be a fairly modern issue and not considered especially rare, the card is the only Gem Mint 10 ever graded by Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) and therefore commanded a huge premium.continued click for larger image
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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.
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