Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Rory Boylen at The Hockey News,
Here are a few teams who I think could achieve more than is expected of them this season:
Florida Panthers: I’ve ripped on them in this space before – and until the front office does something smart, I’m sure I’ll do it again – but the potential is still there for the Panthers to rise.
You’ve got to think that, one of these years, Nathan Horton will meet the expectations of being a No. 3 overall draft pick. While he has not impressed and actually stalled his point production at 62 points last season, Horton could be ready for a 70- to 75-point campaign. If he can meet this goal and if incoming offensive catalyst Cory Stillman can kick-start Stephen Weiss, the Panthers could generate more than the pathetic 216 goals they scored last season.
read on for more on the Panthers, plus two other picks for overachievers this coming season
110 degrees outside? Why not play hockey?
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Last week we mentioned this story in USA Hockey Magazine that was already on newsstands, but not yet on the internet. Now it’s available online.
From Ricki Dugdale at USA Hockey Magazine:
Today’s bloggers are gaining acceptance among mainstream media, in part because professional journalists have learned that if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
The rising popularity of blogs has forced mainstream media to re-evaluate which direction coverage is heading in the near future as fingers stay glued to the keyboard and eyes stay fixed on a computer screen.
“I think [blogging] sort of changed how we approached coverage of events,” said Kevin Allen, president of the Professional Writer’s Association and USA Today’s hockey writer. “Instead of just reporting what happened in the news we are interpreting it quickly, and we have been forced to do it by the amateur bloggers.”
Craig Custance of the Sporting News Today (daily online newspaper with free subscription) conducted an interview with NHLPA Executve Director Paul Kelly. Topics discussed are European expansion, the CBA, ESPN and the Winter Classic.
Hopefully this link will take you there, if not, registration is painless and you get a daily email notification when the paper is available to view.
Update 5:36pm ET: Bonus material at Custance’s Sporting News blog—
[But] we covered a lot of ground that wasn’t printed. Some will be in an upcoming story I’m working on. But here are two bonus questions with Kelly that I couldn’t squeeze in the SNT Q and A:
Q: What’s the biggest issue in getting a transfer agreement with European federations?
A: It’s an economic issue first and foremost ...
from Dan Wood at Ducks Blog,
Last summer flew by even faster, of course, because every member of the Ducks was accepting handshakes and pats on the back, attending celebratory gatherings and enjoying their individual days with the Cup. By the time training camp, and the regular season, rolled around, the club was nowhere near emotionally or physically ready to get back to the grind that is life in the NHL.
The contrast now is striking. While Ducks fans are growing increasingly impatient as they await some hockey action, most players are still at least a couple of weeks away from getting back on the ice in preparation for camp. By the time they arrive at Anaheim Ice next month, the Ducks will be in much better shape, physically and mentally, than a year earlier.
from Ian Shantz of the Barrie Examiner,
A little more than a decade ago, Daniel Tkaczuk was a top-10 NHL draft pick.
Coming off a 105-point season with the Ontario Hockey League’s Barrie Colts, the Calgary Flames made the centreman its first overall pick in 1997. Tkaczuk went sixth overall. Touted as a surefire bet to become as prolific in the world’s top hockey league as he was throughout his four seasons of junior, some might say the 18-year-old’s potential was mind-blowing.
Almost two full seasons in the minors and a total of 19 NHL games later Tkaczuk’s NHL career was done….
Is Tkaczuk disappointed by how things worked out? Yes. Is it the end of the world? Hardly.
“Do I look back and say I regret any decisions I made? No,” said Tkaczuk, now 29 years old, living in Barrie with his wife, Lyndsey, and making his living playing hockey in Europe. “Do I wish things maybe worked out a bit better over here? Of course I do….”
from the Tampa Bay Business Journal,
How do you balance the payroll to field a competitive team, yet stay within the revenue capabilities of the market?
Carefully. We could sign a $4 million defenseman who isn’t worth it that would bring us closer to the cap, but would that make the fans happy? No, we think winning would be the best solution. It’s about fielding the best team we can.
Even with the league taking a year off to institute a salary cap, clubs are still crying poormouth. Will the Lightning be one of them if attendance drops?
Absolutely not. We don’t solely drive income from attendance. Only one-third of our income is based on attendance.
from Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun,
Both were high-end draft picks. And both were considered the future of the franchise.
But after impressive rookie campaigns, Andrew Cogliano and Sam Gagner are now considered integral parts of the Edmonton Oilers lineup heading into this season.
Expectations will be high as they attempt to avoid the dreaded sophomore jinx.
“A lot of the sophomore jinx has to do with guys forgetting how hard they worked to get here going into their rookie year,” said Gagner.
“All of us that are going to be sophomore’s this year know how hard we have to work. We have worked hard this summer trying to make sure it doesn’t happen.
“That’s all you can really do. Once the season starts, you have to stay focused and mentally prepared, not letting things get to you and try and handle the things you can control. Hopefully that helps you get through it.”
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Ryder, 28, will travel south to Boston next week, checking out places to live after signing on with the Bruins as an unrestricted free agent July 1, getting a $12 million payday (over the next three seasons). After back-to-back 30-goal seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, he slumped to a career low of 14 in 2007-08, the hard-hitting onetime sniper becoming a forgotten part in Guy Carbonneau’s up-tempo bleu-blanc-rouge offense.
“A weird year, I’ll tell you that,” said Ryder, sitting in the lobby of a downtown hotel last week, not far from the condo he owns here. “I started out on a line [with top forwards Saku Koivu and Chris Higgins], got pushed back in the lineup, and then all of a sudden, I was out of the lineup.
“To be honest, I still don’t know what happened. All I ever heard from the coaches was, ‘Shoot the puck . . . work hard . . . it will all work out.’ But . . .”
much more on Ryder…
“‘We’re going to do what’s best for the Chicago Blackhawks,’’ Tallon said. ‘‘If it’s keeping Khabibulin, we’ll do it. Right now we’re sitting tight.
‘‘Winning is the bottom line, and the No. 1 position to win is great goaltending. If you don’t have that, you’re going to struggle. If it doesn’t work out with the number of games [each goalie] plays or someone not wanting to be here, then we’ll have a look at it.’‘
-Dale Tallon at the Chicago Sun-Times. Read more on this topic including comments from Huet.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org