Kukla's Korner Hockey
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The optimism that abounds with every team as the NHL season approaches does not fit with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
You cannot shake the feeling that this is the calm before the storm, the final days of the latest administration that failed to turn the Leafs into a champion. The signals are everywhere that the board of directors of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment has the plunger poised to blow things up come spring.
First, there was no sign of the contract extension supposedly promised to general manager John Ferguson. He is entering the final season of his contract. Making the playoffs is the only thing that will save him.
from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,
His recovery remains on schedule, he said, and a consultation with the doctor isn’t necessary. Emery will get input from athletic therapist Gerry Townend and team doctors before deciding when to go full out.
“(There’s) no setback. I know where I’m at. Things are going well. I’m getting stronger. I’m getting mobility back. There’s still some discomfort and it’s still not at the point where I think I should go all out yet,” he said.
“I want to be really strong so even if that means taking a couple more days (off), whatever the best way is to go about it, I’ll do that after I talk to Gerry and the coach and get everyone’s input on things. I know when I’m ready….”
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Funny how their careers have been intertwined, Joseph and Belfour. Two people, two goalies, who couldn’t have been more different in both style and substance.
One was technical, the other athletic. One was grumpy, the other friendly. One was a workout freak, the other, not so much.
And neither was considered a prospect when they were young. Both went undrafted more than once. Both spent one year playing U.S. college hockey. Both went from college to the now defunct International Hockey League. Both arrived as backups in the NHL.
Both have earned more than $50 million in what for Belfour is a certain Hall of Fame career and for Joseph one that is certainly worthy of consideration.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
Sources say the league is currently negotiating to place the 2008-09 regular season opener in one of three venues - either Prague, Stockholm or a German city from a group that includes Hanover, Munich or Frankfurt.
No word yet on which NHL clubs might get the call.
It would seem obvious that this London event is the first step in the league’s attempt to significantly heighten awareness of the NHL “brand” in Europe and that with each passing year there is going to be a greater emphasis on exposing the European market to the NHL product.
from Jeff Gordon at Fox Sports,
Blues defenseman Erik Johnson manhandled his peers at the Traverse City prospects tournament, to nobody’s surprise.
He dominated collegiate competition for the University of Minnesota. He ran roughshod over junior competition for the U.S. national team. He held up against international veterans at the World Championships.
But what can he do against NHL competition?
We’ll know soon enough, because Johnson, the first overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, is the cornerstone of the Blues rebuilding project.
read on about nine more NHL rookies…
from Pierre Lebrun of the CP via CanadaEast,
“Both Hitch and I have an urgency to get better and get better now but we want to be patient with our younger players,” Howson told The Canadian Press on Tuesday.
It starts with star winger Rick Nash, who has gone backwards since his scintillating 41-goal 2003-04 campaign, dropping to 31 goals in an injury-plagued 2005-06 season and then down to 27 last year.
“The challenge for Rick is to play the way he did in the last two and half months last season and through the world championships,” Hitchcock said Tuesday. “If he does that, I think he’s going to be a dominant player in the National Hockey League.”
from the AP via USA TODAY,
Those rowdy Caniacs couldn’t wait for last season to begin because they hoped the momentum of the Cup run would spill over. But the players say they’re more eager to get back on the ice this season, mainly because they’ve had five long months to rest, heal and stew over their shortcomings.
From the season-opening shootout loss to Buffalo to the too-little-too-late overtime win over Florida that ended the year - and the 80 other games in between - Carolina was only briefly fully healthy and as a result never seemed able to rediscover the magic of the previous season.
Now they’ve had plenty of time to heal their lingering injuries and are hoping for a fast start.
Scott Burnside at ESPN has his Western Conference training camp preview up….
Detroit Red Wings
• Does Hasek have another season left in him like last season, when he went 38-11-6?
• Can Kronwall stay healthy for an entire season and prove he’s the star material the Red Wings believe he is?
• Just how good can Henrik Zetterberg be?
• Were the no-shows at the normally sold-out Joe Louis Arena during the playoffs a symptom of deeper problems in one of the NHL’s most solid markets?
from the CP via TSN,
The Anaheim Ducks officially suspended Scott Niedermayer on Tuesday, a formality that was expected on the first day of camp with the star defenceman a no-show.
“Yes, he was suspended today,” Ducks GM Brian Burke said during an NHL media conference call. “I spoke with Scott to tell him he was being suspended, which Scotty expected.”
from the AP via Yahoo,
Two days before players report for training camp, the owner proclaimed “the rebuild is over” in an interview Tuesday with Associated Press reporters and editors. After consecutive last-place, low-payroll seasons following the 2004-05 lockout, Leonsis feels the strategy of building with young talent is heading toward fruition.
“Every person in the organization’s expectation is that we will make the playoffs,” Leonsis said. “Because we improved a lot ... and a lot of teams around us didn’t.”
The rebuilding project has centered around rising superstar Alex Ovechkin, who already has 98 goals in two NHL seasons and will turn 22 during training camp. Ovechkin was the lone star in his first season with the team—Washington’s worst in decades—but the Capitals have slowly but surely given him a better supporting cast that includes Alexander Semin and 2007-08 arrivals Michael Nylander, Tom Poti, Viktor Kozlov and Nicklas Backstrom.
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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