Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
It’s hard to believe that, less than 18 months after stumbling to their worst record in 27 years and third-worst in franchise history, the St. Louis Blues have as much going for them as they do.
But they do, and Western Conference playoff bubble teams – I’m looking at you, Dallas, Minnesota and Nashville – should realize this particular object in their rearview mirror is definitely closer than it appears.
I’ll admit, I had my doubts about how quickly the Blues could turn things around.
The Blues reported selling 450 new season tickets in the week after signing Kariya, and 1,600 of their 2,500 new tickets have been sold since he joined the team. Also since the signing, the team has sold an average of 40 new season tickets per weekday and 200 per week. On that pace, with seven weeks left before the home opener Oct. 10, the ticket base could grow by 1,400. That would more than eclipse the 9,100 season-ticket holders in 2003-04, when the Blues had a record of 39-30-11-2 for 91 points.
“I hope he (Blake) works out. He had 40 goals last season. And playing alongside the playmaking centres that we have right now, obviously looks good for us,” Tucker opined.
The blue line corps boasts a mix of veteran stalwarts like Tomas Kaberle and Brian McCabe, as well as young up-and-comers like Ian White and Carlo Colaiacovo. There’s also a good balance between those blueliners with obvious offensive skills (Colaiacovo, Kaberle) and more stay-at-home physical defenders (Hal Gill, Wade Belak).
“We’ve got a really deep defence, that’s for sure,” Tucker said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that can play right now [in the minors] that aren’t playing. So it gives us an opportunity, even if we do have injuries, to have good, solid defence all year long.”
“We’ve got two solid goaltenders. I don’t know Vesa all that well. But for us, we’ve got to play solid in front of both of them, not matter who’s in there. Andrew’s a great guy, and we’re going to stick behind who’s in net every night,” Tucker said.
read on for Tucker’s view on the charity work he does…
from the News & Observer,
Rod Brind’Amour and his Carolina Hurricanes teammates had too long to work on their offseason tans.
Rested and ready, a few of them returned this week to drill and skate until they were red in the face.
The unofficial practices began Monday at the RecZone on Hodges Street and offered a welcome, on-ice reunion after the disappointment of last season.
With no playoff run to occupy his time, Brind’Amour spent his spring and summer helping to umpire his son’s baseball games and working out regularly on his own.
from the Toronto Star,
Whatever became of his original 1967 Stanley Cup ring?
Bitter that the Leafs traded him after he led all scorers with seven goals and 15 points during the 12-game playoff run that culminated in Toronto’s last Stanley Cup, Pappin wasn’t too sentimental about the golden bauble.
So after spending the 1967-68 season with the Leafs, Pappin gave the ring as a gift to his first wife’s father, Peter Kyrzakos, when he was dealt to the Chicago Black Hawks.
“I was traded to Chicago in ‘68. I hated (Toronto general manager and coach Punch) Imlach, I hated everything to do with the Leafs so I gave the ring to my father-in-law,” the 67-year-old Pappin told the Star last night.
But Kyrzakos, who had a home in Vero Beach, Fla., lost the ring at a beach sometime during the 1970s.
“He never told me he lost it,” said Pappin, who scored the Cup-winning goal in 1967 as the Leafs defeated the Montreal Canadiens in six games. “He hired people, got divers and everything, to look for it for two days.”
from Sovsport (roughly translated below):
The 25-year-old forward of “Tampa” Nikita Alexeev has signed a contract with Kazan’s Ak Bars. In Alexeev’s last season, he played for “Chicago” and “Tampa”. On the Ak Bars, he will wear #81, informs the website of the Kazan club.
from the Mercury News,
Sharks left wing Milan Michalek may be close to getting a lengthy contract extension, but the deal doesn’t appear to be done just yet.
A Web site in Michalek’s native Czech Republic is reporting that the Sharks are giving Michalek a six-year, $26 million deal. But while there were indications that an agreement could be imminent, both Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson and Michalek’s agent, Allan Walsh, stressed that none is in place.
Wilson did make it sound as if both sides were heading in the same direction.
“Have Milan and his agent expressed the desire to do something? Yes,” the G.M. said. “And are we very receptive? Yes.”
Here is the website report from a few days ago…
from Spector at Fox Sports,
Heading into 2007-08, however, a considerable number of teams have far more cap space and thus more flexibility should the need arise early in the season to bolster roster depth.
Twenty-five of the NHL’s 30 teams presently sit well below this coming season’s $50.3 million cap.
Of those, nine clubs — Atlanta, Buffalo, Carolina, Los Angeles, Minnesota, N.Y. Islanders, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Tampa Bay — have payrolls presently around the mid-point range ($42.3 million) between the cap’s $50.3 million maximum and the $34.3 million minimum.
However, those teams have self-established cap ceilings and aren’t expected to spend much more over what they’ve presently committed to this season’s payrolls.
Two teams, Columbus and Florida, are currently well below the mid-point but also aren’t expected to spend much beyond $40 million in payroll.
from the Vail Trail,
In a world where athletes are celebrities, Marc Philippon is the hip surgeon to the stars.
He gave Olympic gold medalist Tara Lipinski the ability to continue skating. Pro golfer Peter Jacobsen credited Philippon on national TV when he won the Senior Open.
A successful surgery on golf legend Greg Norman earned Philippon a good friend and a few free golf lessons. Operating on former NHL star Mario Lemieux was a thrill for the French Canadian who grew up playing hockey and — as they figured out once they met — grew up playing hockey against Lemieux.
continued... not much more hockey talk, but a very good read…
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Former Oiler defenceman Daniel Tjarnqvist, who battled injuries last year after an impressive start to the season, has signed a one-year deal for $1 million US to play for Ak Bars Kazan, one of the top Russian Elite League teams.
Tjarnqvist’s contract with Ak Bars is tax-free, which equates to about $1.5 million US in the NHL.
from the Ottawa Senators,
The Ottawa Senators Hockey Club today unveiled their new face of the future as they introduced their updated primary logo — a modernized version of the team’s former third-jersey logo. The familiar Roman soldier has been given a bolder, more determined “game face” — a symbol of the team’s strength and determination.
added 8/23/07, Erin Nicks, at her blog The Universal Cynic, attended the jersey party and has some pics and commentary of the event…
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.
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