Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Buffalo News,
Maxim Afinogenov is a terrible liar. The Buffalo Sabres winger was asked about the secret injury he suffered last spring in the playoffs.
“What do you mean in the playoffs?” Afinogenov replied with the awkward indignation of a nervous child standing next to a broken vase. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Unbeknownst to the devious Russian, his coach already had told the tale….
“Max, while warming up playing soccer in the playoffs, flipped over backwards and hit his head on the concrete before Game Three in Long Island,” Ruff said, “and I don’t think he was right for a little while after that.”
Afinogenov bonked his head early in the first round, and, in Ruff’s opinion, the injury hampered the speedster’s play well into the second round.
from the Vancouver Province,
The Canucks’ plans have taken a shot to the groin.
Five players have now been sidelined with sore groins. It’s an epidemic of injuries among the veterans that coach Alain Vigneault implied Tuesday could have been avoided under the old rules governing camp.
“There is no one who is sore who was at the prospects camp,“he said. “The prospects had seven full days of practice before we got into games. They had more time to prepare for game-like situations.
“Because of the CBA [collective barganing agreement] our hands are tied. Before [the current CBA] it was five to seven practices before you played an intrasquad game. Now, it’s three [for the veterans] and you’re right into it.”
from the Edmonton Sun,
Head coach Craig MacTavish says they’ll go the team toughness route again this year.
“Intimidation is a big part of the game, you have to have some toughness,” he said. “But we feel we have enough. Sheldon Souray is plenty tough, Matt Greene’s tough. Steve Staios will battle and fight when he has to. Zack Stortini, Ethan Moreau, Raffi Torres ... we have enough toughness.
“Do I envision having a team that’s going to be fighting guys like Boogaard every time we play them? Absolutely not. That’s the strength of his game. Why give him the ability to do what he does best? You have to be punishing on the other factions of their team, and we have plenty of guys to do that.”
more on the Oilers…
from The Record,
Add Cam Janssen’s name to the list of Devils who might need surgery.
The 23-year-old enforcer dislocated his right shoulder for the second time in less than a year during Monday’s 3-2 preseason loss to Philadelphia in Trenton. Janssen said Tuesday that his shoulder popped out of the socket while he was throwing punches during both of his first-period fights with Philadelphia’s Jesse Boulerice….
Janssen underwent an MRI on Tuesday and said he will find out “in the next couple of days” whether he will require surgery to fix the shoulder, which never healed fully after he dislocated it in a fight with Anaheim’s George Parros on Nov. 24. He missed 12 games last season because of it. Surgery would likely keep him out for at least two months this time.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
The question, needless to say, is how much failure can Gretzky stand, or withstand. He’s in only the second year of a five-year contract, but his buddy Mike Barnett was cashiered as general manager last season and the Coyotes ownership made it clear in hiring Maloney that they were avoiding any and all hockey people with direct ties to Gretzky.
Could he be fired if the Coyotes stink? Possible, but unlikely, particularly given that he still has an ownership stake in the team.
But it’s equally hard to imagine he’ll just hang in there if this season turns out to be utterly miserable. Perhaps there will be a resignation, or some other kind of face-saving way out.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Todd Bertuzzi is looking not for redemption, exactly, but for a fresh start in southern California. He’s in a market suddenly crazy for hockey again, playing for a manager, Brian Burke, who stood by him during the darkest days of the Steve Moore incident, with its resultant suspension and pending lawsuit.
He’s wearing the single digit No. 4 on his Anaheim Ducks jersey instead of the more familiar 44 because that number belongs to Rob Niedermayer, and fellow winger Chris Kunitz had dibs on 14.
Bertuzzi looks slimmer than he has in years, down to 230 pounds from the 245 that he played at for most of his career, seeking to get his career back on the rails again, after three mostly nightmarish seasons, played out in medical rooms and court rooms and just about everywhere but on the ice.
from the Mercury News,
Wilson then banged home the message that he will apparently stress this season: To be ready in the spring, the Sharks must consistently pay attention to details through the winter. He wants players to hold one another accountable. And being young, as so many Sharks are, is no excuse.
“We need people,” Wilson said, “who can look at themselves and say, ‘It’s time for me to grow up and act like a man when it matters most.’ “
At the coaching and front-office level, it seems, there will be another adjustment. This will involve more frequent communication among Ron Wilson, Doug Wilson and other Sharks executives - or as Ron Wilson puts it, “More feedback . . . conference call-type things.” The idea is to make sure Ron Wilson knows as soon as possible when the higher-ups have seen a detail slipping that he might have missed.
On July 1, Mike Sillinger was as disappointed as anyone in the Islanders’ organization to learn that his friend Ryan Smyth had signed with Colorado rather than accept a slightly better offer from the Isles. As one of Smyth’s partners in a British Columbia real estate development and as alternate captain, Sillinger had pushed for “Captain Canada” to become “Captain Islander.”
“Even with me, he kept everything inside,” Sillinger said. “He kept his private stuff private between him and his family and his agent. I had no idea he was going to sign with Colorado. When he did sign, he told me the Islanders were one of his teams to the very end….”
continued with more Islander talk…
Brian Biggane of Inside the Panthers at the Palm Beach Post responds to the latest story by David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail about expansion & the schedule…
David Shoalts, who covers the Toronto Maple Leafs for Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper and loves to bash the Panthers, was at it again Wednesday.
In a story about Wednesday’s Board of Governors meetings in Chicago, Shoalts noted that while expansion will be discussed, it isn’t likely to come about for a few more years. If and when it does happen, he said, Winnipeg is likely to be passed over in favor of American cities such as Las Vegas, Kansas City and Seattle.
Winnipeg’s best chance of getting a team, he continued, “remains relocating one of the league’s basket cases, such as the Atlanta Thrashers, Florida Panthers or Nashville Predators.”
added 9:30pm, Bob McKenzie at TSN also has some notes regarding the BOG meeting. A few people willing to pay up $200M-$300M for an NHL team!
Empty Netters tries to find out what happened to all the tickets for the Winter Classic.
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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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