Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Tennessean,
The Predators did lose quite a talent in Kimmo Timonen, who’d posted at least 40 points in five straight seasons. But the addition of experienced Greg de Vries, the steady improvement of Zanon, Suter, Weber and Dan Hamhuis, and the potential of Marek Zidlicky should make for a formidable blueline unit.
“Our defense is very strong and it will probably be the strength of our organization for a number of years,” Predators Coach Barry Trotz said. “You’ve got the growth of the young guys and you’ve got the depth our organization has had in finding those type of players that are really strong.”
from the Denver Post,
Choosing to fight Smyth, who is playing on the top line with Joe Sakic and Andrew Brunette, appeared inexcusable, like a Broncos defensive lineman trying to beat up quarterback Jay Cutler. It also appeared that Laperriere’s fight with Love was meant to send a message that you don’t mess with high-salary, skilled forwards like Smyth.
Afterward, the players presented a different picture. Turns out that Smyth, who signed a five-year, $31.25 million contract in July, picked the fight with Love, and Laperriere only fought Love to remind Smyth that he will be handling his dirty work.
more on the Avs…
added 8:14am, The Denver Post also has a nice feauture on Steve Konowalchuk.
from the News-Democrat,
While his progress has been watched intensely by Blues fans since being selected first overall in the 2006 draft, the 19-year-old Johnson tries to let others worry about things he can’t control.
“I’m not a guy that really puts pressure on myself too much,” he said. “I feel really good out there, I haven’t been nervous at all. I’ve been happy with how I’ve been playing and I’ve really been trying to keep things simple, so that’s helping me out a lot.”
Johnson is staying at the former Blues star’s family home in St. Louis, following a recent trend that saw Blues winger David Backes living with Keith Tkachuk for a time last season and Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby once sharing a house with Mario Lemieux.
“I usually talk to him a little bit every day, he’s a great guy to have around and he’s a great mentor,” Johnson said of MacInnis, now a Blues vice president. “It’s good because you get home-cooked meals and you don’t have to pay rent, so that’s nice.”
from the Mercury News,
While Vlasic’s name now is chiseled onto the Sharks’ roster, he faces a different challenge: finding a defensive partner. The steady Scott Hannan is gone, having signed as a free agent with Colorado.
“I thought Scotty and I had a pretty good chemistry,” Vlasic said. “If I made a mistake, he was there to back me up. He showed me how to position myself on the ice. It was great to play with him.”
Actually, Wilson countered, it was the other way around.
“I think Mark helped Scotty more, to be honest,” he said. “Marc is the last guy I’m worried about. We just have to find him someone to play with now.”
read on... Is that a backhanded shot at Hannan from Wilson?
via the OC Register,
Veteran defenseman Mathieu Schneider, signed as a free agent July 1 as insurance against the possible retirement of captain Scott Niedermayer, left the game midway through the second period because of an ankle injury. Schneider is scheduled to undergo an MRI today.
“I really don’t know what to tell you,” Schneider said. “It didn’t feel like much on the ice, but it stiffened up on me. My skate just kind of stuck on the ice.”
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
• The Ottawa Senators have quietly expressed some interest in Curtis Joseph as a backup goaltender should they be able to find a home for Martin Gerber and his $3.7-million US contract.
• Word around is that the new tough NHL was ready to give Mark Bell a 30-game suspension had he not shown such remorse and personal growth to the league. Doubt Ferguson, who said he did his due diligence on Bell, was aware of that when he tied up $2 million in summer cap money trading for him.
• A waste of money: Whichever NHL team ends up signing Peter Forsberg. He has little left to offer.
from the Edmonton Sun,
The Oilers had been searching for a puck-moving defenceman almost from the moment Chris Pronger left town.
They found one in Joni Pitkanen, but skeptics saw his glaring minus-25 last season in Philly and wondered if he’d be moving the puck out of his own net as often as he moved it out of the zone.
“We lost a lot of games last year,” said Pitkanen. “The year before I was plus-25 (22, actually, and plus-15 the season before that). It’s almost like if you win a lot of games, absolutely you get a lot of pluses. When you lose a lot of games you get minuses.
“I played last year the most ice time on the team ... they’re (minuses) coming if you lose.
“It’s a new season, I know what I can do.”
from the Columbus Dispatch,
Last week, both acknowledged frustration with their Blue Jackets careers, and they shouldered some of that blame. But in the wake of front-office shuffling in the offseason, Foote and Fedorov vowed that different days lie ahead, both for their own careers and for the Blue Jackets’ success on the ice.
“I want to have more fun here,” Foote said. “I want to win.”
Fedorov put it another way: “I came to training camp excited as hell.”
from Erin Nicks at the Ottawa Sun,
While the Senators would undoubtedly be overjoyed if No. 12 experiences a healthy and fully productive season in 2007-08, they surely must realize that if Fisher comes away with a newfound goal scoring vigour, he could easily price himself out of the franchise’s range by next summer. Keep in mind that the Senators already have their backs creeping against the wall before the season has begun, with similar players such as Scott Hartnell landing a six-year, $25.2-million (all terms US) contract with Philadelphia. It’s a safe bet to assume that many GMs would willingly cough up a Hartnell-type salary—an average of $4.2 million per season—for one of Ottawa’s greatest assets. In fact, several would probably consider that number as a starting point.
from the Toronto Sun,
The Maple Leafs are rumoured to be on the short list should the NHL again choose to open the 2008-09 season in Europe.
“I have heard about it,” general manager John Ferguson said yesterday. “No question, the Leafs are a team with global appeal.”
Stockholm would be a strong possibility for the Leafs, who have Swedes Mats Sundin—for this year anyway—as well as Alex Steen. A perfect match would be the Vancouver Canucks with the Sedin twins and Markus Naslund.
more... hmmm, I know another NHL team that would be even a better fit to play in Stockholm than either the Leafs or Canucks…
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.
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