Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George James Malik
It’s that time of year again—time to prognosticate and make grandiose claims about a team’s potential successes or failures based upon a few exhibition games, last season’s performance, and a “gut feeling” or five. Woo, yeah, party!
Seriously, Dave over at Gorillacrouch.com has kindly invited various bloggers from the Central Division to do team previews of the clubs they cover, and Bill (Mr. Abel to Yzerman), Christy Hammond (Behind the Jersey), John and Steve (Gloveside.net), Matt Saler, (On the Wings), and Dave himself have chosen this particular Monday to bombard you with all the Wings preview-y goodness that you can take.
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
The Cloutier demotion makes me wonder why the Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t giving all-but-banished netminder Andrew Raycroft the same treatment.
With second-line center Kyle Wellwood out for a month (at least) thanks to his second sports hernia surgery in nine months, you’d think GM John Ferguson could use Raycroft’s $2 million in salary cap space to help plug the pivot hole.
read on and more NHL notes…
from E.J. Hradek at ESPN,
As you know, Rangers GM Glen Sather turned a heck of an offseason double play, landing top pivots Scott Gomez and Chris Drury. When any team can add two talented centers with championship pedigree, I have to think they’ll be better—maybe, a lot better….
The Rangers certainly figure to better their 94-point total of last season. The expectations will be skyscraper high, though. If they don’t fall victim to the hype, they could make it a longer spring for hockey fans in New York.
from Scott Cullen at TSN,
When preparing for your fantasy hockey draft, it’s always beneficial to know the players that will provide better value than the round in which they are selected.
These players may provide better value for a number of reasons, be it good health, better linemates or just an increase in opportunities.
Tuomo Ruutu, LW, Chicago - Physical and talented player who has yet to reach his potential in the NHL, but Ruutu is likely to start the season with rookies Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane and the upgrade in skill for his linemates will help Ruutu start to realize his offensive upside.
from the OC Register,
Anaheim Ducks rookie hopeful Bobby Ryan wasn’t planning to take any chances after collecting four assists to spark Sunday night’s 5-0 victory over the Vancouver Canucks in the club’s NHL exhibition finale at Honda Center.
“The cell phone will be shut off and the room phone will be unplugged,” Ryan said.
The last thing Ryan wants to receive is word that he won’t be aboard tonight’s charter flight that will carry the Ducks to London for this weekend’s regular season-opening, two-game set against the Kings.
frrom Rich Hammond at Inside the Kings,
I saw a comment about how few NHL goalies had thrived when starting at a young age, and it made me think…how did some of the best start out? So I looked at the top 20 NHL goalies, in terms of regular-season victories.
TONY ESPOSITO—After three years at Michigan Tech and one year in the WHL, called up during 1968-69 season and played 13 games for Montreal at age 25. Played 63 games the next season.
from The Spin, the blog of Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
So the Leafs lose a key player at centre when they’re thin, and the Bolts lose their best defenceman off a relatively thin blueline. In a similar way, another Eastern Conference playoff hopeful, Atlanta, has to be terribly worried about early season groin problems being experienced by No. 1 goaltender Kari Lehtonen. If Lehtonen’s out, only Johan Hedberg stands between the opposition and big-time trouble.
The salary cap, of course, dictates that every team has to make decisions where to spend and where not to spend, leaving most teams with a part of their roster they just have to hope and pray won’t be hit by injuries. It’s a judgment call, but right now, for example, the Senators are looking pretty smart for hanging on to goalie Martin Gerber, with starter Ray Emery’s immediate future still cloudy due to ongoing post-surgical wrist issues.
from the Calgary Sun,
“I had a tough time with how the city was being perceived,” said Souray, who suited up against the Flames last night in their pre-season encounter. “I could also understand because they went through a situation where their best player took them to the finals—(Chris) Pronger—and him wanting to leave sets the stage and people could ask, ‘Why would he want to leave after having that great year?’
“I could understand and see how some guys would think that way, but I would never put myself in that situation.”
Don’t underestimate what Souray’s signing did for the team and its psyche.
from the National Post,
Nobody doubts Winnipeg is a great hockey town, the only questions that remain to be answered are: (a) will Winnipeggers fork over $100 a night for 41 nights to buy tickets; (b) are there are enough corporate dollars in town to maintain a franchise; (c) is the MTS Centre (at 15,100 seats) big enough; and (d) who will write the cheque for $180-million (or more) to bring an existing franchise or a potential expansion franchise to town?...
Here in the ‘Peg, the NHL debate will continue to rage. As as Gretzky and Laforge both know, compared to Tampa, South Florida, Phoenix, Atlanta or Nashville, Winnipeg isn’t a good hockey town, it’s a great one.
Of course, until someone is ready to write that big cheque, all the talk is meaningless.
from Norman Chad at the Washington Post,
For reasons unclear to anyone not born under a hockey rink, the NHL keeps lengthening its season. One might say the NHL overstays its welcome, except most of us are not even aware it’s in our living rooms.
The season now starts Sept. 29 and the Stanley Cup finals could go until June 9. This means—and I want all of you sitting down when you hear this, so you can fall off the sofa like me—that July and August are the only months the NHL does not play regular season or postseason games….
Anyway, the NHL regular season will open in London. That would be like “Othello” opening in Disneyland.
more (reg. req.)
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