Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the National Post,
You can’t win the Stanley Cup in the first month,” said Spezza, whose 1.31 points per game over the past two seasons rank fourth in the NHL behind San Jose’s Joe Thornton, Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Jaromir Jagr of the New York Rangers. “It’s a process. You go to camp to get better, and when the season comes, you have to peak at the right time. I mean, we were 13th in the East at one point last year.”
“We all learned a lot, it was a good experience,” said winger Dany Heatley of last season’s run to the Cup final. “I don’t think we’re complacent. Maybe some teams in the past were, but I think we’re hungry. I’ve been back a few days to scrimmage and it’s a pretty good pace. I expect we’ll come out hard. We still have a lot of young guys, hungry guys, and maybe that’s different from other teams. Hopefully, we start the season with a bang.”
from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
In the winter of 1998-99, Andy Murray coached a prep hockey team in Minnesota during the week and on weekends flew to Koln, Germany, to be general manager of a team there.
And that’s only one of the zany details of his hockey odyssey. In a three-year span, Murray went from coaching the Canadian National Team to Shattuck-St. Mary’s School to the Los Angeles Kings.
“If you look at the script of my coaching career, you kind of say, ‘Did he have a plan?’” Murray said.
from the Toronto Star,
The Toronto Maple Leafs are the most popular NHL team in Canada, but enjoy the lowest percentage of hometown supporters, according to a study released yesterday.
Across the country, 26 per cent of people asked to pick their favourite team chose the Leafs. The Montreal Canadiens followed with 23 per cent.
But only 63 per cent of fans in the Toronto market picked the blue and white as their favourite team, giving the Leafs the smallest percentage of hometown support compared with the other five Canadian markets.
from the Mercury News,
Sharks veterans report to training camp today and Coach Ron Wilson hopes to accomplish many things between now and the Oct. 4 season opener in Edmonton.
He has his priorities. Ask him to identify the top items on his to-do list and there’s no hesitation:
• Find a backup for goalie Evgeni Nabokov now that Vesa Toskala is gone.
• Keep the defense on track despite the loss of Scott Hannan, who signed as a free agent with Colorado.
• Decide if it makes sense to start Patrick Marleau on a line with Joe Thornton rather than waiting until the offense needs a jump-start.
from Michael Russo of the StarTribune,
Q So Gaborik says he’s confident his groin troubles are a thing of the past. If healthy, what’s Gaborik’s ceiling?
A High. Nobody in the NHL has a second gear as fast as Gaborik, and when it comes to his wrist shot, few are better. Health is the only thing keeping Gaborik from contending for the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal-scorer. In the past two seasons, only Ottawa’s Dany Heatley (.610) has averaged more goals per game than Gaborik (.602). If sidekick Pavol Demitra is also healthy, Gaborik could be on the verge of his first 50-goal season.
from the Washington Post,
“I’m hungry for hockey,” said Ovechkin, who turns 22 on Monday. “I can’t wait until the season starts. We have a stronger team right now. I can feel it in the locker room. This atmosphere . . . everyone is happier, everyone is hungry.”
Ovechkin says he’s in the best shape of his career, having spent less time vacationing and more time on the ice and lifting weights this summer.
After his production dipped from 52 goals and 106 points as a rookie to 46 goals and 92 points last season, Ovechkin rededicated himself with a rigorous training routine. The Moscow native spent six weeks skating and working out in St. Petersburg with Kozlov, Alexander Radulov, Sergei Gonchar, Alexander Semin and Evgeni Malkin, and three weeks practicing with Dynamo Moscow, his former Russian Super League team.
more (reg. req.)
TORONTO (September 12, 2007): Following today’s media release issued by the National Hockey League announcing the suspension of Mark Bell for 15 regular-season games, NHLPA Associate Counsel, Ian Penny issued the following statement:
“The NHLPA sees no basis for the excessive suspension Gary Bettman has imposed upon Mark Bell.Mark has fully accepted the serious consequences of his actions. He faces incarceration at the conclusion of the season and has already been suspended without pay as a result of his placement in Stage 2 of the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health program (SABH). There is no legitimate purpose served by adding a substantial league disciplinary suspension to the severe sanctions that have already been imposed.
We are currently reviewing all of our legal options with respect to this matter.”
The NHLPA will have no further comment at this time.
via the Detroit News,
Ilitch also spoke about his ownership of the Red Wings and the team’s sudden attendance challenges. He blamed “scheduling” boredom for fan disinterest and indicated that changes in the NHL schedule will be forthcoming in the 2008-09 season.
“You’re gonna be able to see a lot of teams,” Ilitch said, implying that the division-heavy scheduling of past seasons will give way to greater diversity. “This is history. This will be the last year with this type of structure, I think.”
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail, in response to Gary Bettman’s statements today regarding Mark Bell’s suspension,
Bettman’s phrasing is eerily reminiscent of the wording of commissioner Roger Goodell’s statement when he suspended a couple of NFL miscreants (Pacman Jones and Chris Henry) last May. Goodell talked about the “integrity” of his league; how it was a “privilege to represent the NFL” and that its members must meet “the highest standards of conduct.”
All of which sends a clear signal to professional athletes everywhere — that whatever standard of behavior was tolerated in the recent past by the NHL, NBA, NFL and major-league baseball, the rules are starting to change and that part of the “covenant” with their fans that Bettman alluded to is becoming good role models again.
from Allan Muir at Sports Illustrated,
No surprise, really, but I failed for the 26th consecutive year to finagle an invitation to an NHL training camp. Rather than succumb to bitterness, I merely did what I do every year at this time: scour camp rosters to see who was lucky enough to get the call. Most of these guys aren’t any more likely to suit up in the NHL than I am, but there are always a few surprises on the lists. I’m talking about the where’s-he-been guys, the last-chancers, the longshots, the dark horses and the no-names who could be big names before too long if things go their way.
Here are 15 players that caught my eye.
Brandon Sutter (Hurricanes): The 11th overall pick of this year’s draft won himself a lot of fans—me included—with his ferocious performance at the Super Series.
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