Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Phil Coffey at NHL.com,
Teams starting off 2007-08 ought to take a quick look back at last season’s standings. Tight playoff races in both conferences should add a little spring to their respective steps to start padding their points totals in October.
The Leafs don’t need to be reminded they fell one point short of a playoff berth, the Canadiens two points. The Hurricanes, Stanley Cup winners in 2006, didn’t defend their title, missing the postseason by four points.
Finally, the puck drops in North America tonight.
Center Ice ready, Verus tuned in and still waiting (but know it is coming) for the NHL Network.
The game is back folks, we are in our comfort zone again. The ice is heating up and I can’t wait.
A tradition here at KK continues, enjoy! (wmp audio)
From at the AP via Yahoo!,
Adam Litteken, 16, and his Francis Howell Central teammates were warming up for practice Tuesday night at the Rec-Plex rink in St. Charles County when he collapsed, school officials said Wednesday.
Paramedics treated Litteken at the scene and took him to Barnes-St. Peters Hospital, where he was pronounced dead about an hour after falling to the ice.
from Damien Cox at ESPN,
Well, the Hawks will surely hit the half-century mark without winning it all, while the Leafs were closer five years ago than they are now. The Leafs are likely to be better this season and in the immediate future, but the Hawks have a chance with Toews and Kane to be one of the game’s most talented young teams if they nurture the prospects they own.
So the answer, really, is neither team appears on schedule to win the Cup anytime soon. But if the Hawks have the right kids and a productive change in ownership direction is in the offing, they look like the better bet somewhere down the line.
read on for a comparison…
from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
Here’s a look at some players, coaches, teams and managers who might be making headlines this season:
Our pick for best defenseman (Norris Trophy)
With Scott Niedermayer on the fence somewhere between Fernie, British Columbia, and retirement, the door once again swings wide open for Nicklas Lidstrom, who has managed to win five of the last six awarded. Chris Pronger may give chase in Anaheim, but this is Lidstrom’s trophy to lose.
Our pick for best goaltender (Vezina Trophy)
This one represents a changing of the guard as far as we’re concerned. Yes, Martin Brodeur will be in the mix as will Roberto Luongo, but watch for Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers to earn his first Vezina after being nominated in each of his first two NHL seasons.
from Pat Hickey at the Montreal Gazette,
Alex Kovalev said yesterday there’s no reason his younger linemates should feel intimidated.
“I’ve told them to play their games and not to worry about me,” said Kovalev, who will be playing with Andrei Kostitsyn and Mikhail Grabovski when the Canadiens face the Carolina Hurricanes tonight.
Last season, Tomas Plekanec said he was uncomfortable playing between Kovalev and Sergei Samsonov. But Kovalev said yesterday that he is heeding general manager Bob Gainey’s advice and helping the youngsters.
from the Sun-Sentinel,
The wife of NHL Hall of Famer and former New York Rangers coach and general manager Emile “The Cat” Francis has been found unharmed at a hotel after he reported she was missing.
If you can catch ESPN Classic today, you have some great games to watch.
All times are ET.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
“When Doug Weight left I asked him who he thought should replace him as captain and he said Jason Smith,” said Oilers’ coach Craig MacTavish.
“I asked Jason, when he left, and he said Ethan Moreau.”
While MacTavish threw out some teasers about maybe having rotating captains and suggesting he was going to be very open-minded about the whole deal, he knew who his captain was going to be.
“It was a little bit of a no-brainer.”
from Phil Sheridan of Philly News,
John Stevens had as grim a task as any Philadelphia coach in recent memory, taking over a doomed team after the stunning dismissal of Hitchcock. Stevens handled himself well, establishing his expectations for players and making sure there were consequences when those expectations weren’t met.
But do we know Stevens is a championship-caliber NHL coach? It is no insult to him to answer no to that question. Hitchcock had a pedigree of success and couldn’t get it done with the talent at hand here. Stevens might be the right man for this job. No one knows, including Stevens, Holmgren and the players.
In theory, Biron settles down the goaltender spot. He has a fine career goals against average of 2.55, but that shot up to 3.02 playing behind the Flyers at the end of last season. Niittymaki’s average was 3.38 last year - so the apples-to-apples comparison doesn’t tell us much.
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