Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
The Toronto Maple Leafs unveiled their own new RBK jerseys a few minutes ago. This post on HF Boards shows a screenshot from Leafs TV:
More on the history of the evolving Maple Leafs sweater can be found here.
Update 3:58pm ET: For another point of view… (ha! okay, sorry…)
Update 4:34pm ET: Here is the broadcast from Leafs TV that unveiled the jerseys earlier today. (opens in WMP)
from Shawn P. Roarke of NHL.com,
At least for part of the day Tuesday, the skate was on the other foot for the NHL officials at their training camp at the Beaver Valley Community Center. The officials spent part of the morning playing hockey as their peers worked on their refereeing skills in live-fire game situations.
“That’s the toughest game you will ref all year,” said Dan O’Rourke, one of the referees. “Guys just want to get their time done as the ref and go back to playing because the boys are all over you about everything.”
from the blog of Bob McKenzie at TSN,
The first thing that needs to be said about the Mark Bell suspension is this: if you are an NHL player and you get convicted of a significant crime, you are going to get further punishment from the league.
Now, in the light of the fact Bell got 15 games, you can debate whether it’s too light or too heavy, but the real issue is that he was suspended.
Rick Tocchet, take note.
From Pierre LeBrun via the Globe & Mail,
Hockey’s back. Training camps open around the NHL on Thursday and Friday and the buzz is as good as it gets in Pittsburgh where Sidney Crosby and the Penguins believe they’ve got a shot at the Stanley Cup.
“That’s our goal and I think it’s realistic,” Penguins defenceman Darryl Sydor told The Canadian Press.
continued… (Including a look at various teams around the NHL, gearing up for the season)
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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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