Kukla's Korner Hockey
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
After last summer’s Wild spending spree, Minnesota made a 20-point jump in the standings, finishing with a franchise-best 104 points. Obviously, that’s not that easy to do.
But the club’s impressive push up the standings might have been even more dramatic if star winger Marian Gaborik had been healthy. In Gaborik’s 48 games, Minny was a dominant 33-9-6. Without him, they were a mediocre 15-17-2.
Because of that interesting stat, I think there’s room for the Wild to better than that 104-point regular-season total. Gaborik staying healthy, however, isn’t a given. He hasn’t played more than 65 games in each of his last three NHL seasons. For the sake of my decision, I’ll roll the dice that he’ll be healthier in 2007-08.
from Eric McErlain at the NHL FanHouse,
If folks are lining up to purchase NHL expansion teams, something must be going right.
Whatever the business outlook for the NHL, one thing is clear for me as a fan of the sport: I’m sick and tired of hearing about what bad shape the game is in and how cultural irrelevance lies just around the corner. On more than a few occasions in the last few months as I read predictions about the league’s eventual demise, I couldn’t help but feel that there were elements in the sports press actively rooting against the league.
So yes, while I wish the questions would go away, and for the league to have nothing but a bright financial future, I can’t help but feel that those questions are divorced at some level with what’s happening on the ice.
By the amount of comments we get whenever a “negative” story is pointed to here at KK, I know the majority of fans feel the same way.
Maybe, just maybe things will change, but I doubt it, since it is so much easier for a writer to attack the NHL than it is to actually do some leg work and point out all of the positives since the current CBA started.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
They could have taken a page from baseball’s book and allowed anyone—within a certain degree of reason—to design their home rink with different configurations from the standard 85 feet wide by 200 feet long.
Remember the old Boston Garden? The Bruins used to create so much excitement there, with their narrow neutral zone and shallow corners, facilitating a hitting game whereby they could load up on size and do very well at home. Remember the old rink in Buffalo, that used to be smaller? Ditto the corners at the old Chicago Stadium, where the ice wasn’t quite as long. And in the Western league there was the old rink in Edmonton which was wider and 210 feet long instead of the 185 feet found in Chicago and Boston.
Each rink had its own set of factors visiting teams had to consider, whether it was really flexible boards with lots of give, lively boards, narrow corners or a short neutral zone or a little more or less room behind the net.
from the Montreal Gazette,
Now that Gainey and Robinson have joined the list, the question is: Who will be honoured next season as the Canadiens approach their 100th-anniversary celebrations.
Guy Lapointe, the third member of the Canadiens’ Big Three on defence beside Robinson and Serge Savard, is a possibility and there will be a heated debate over whether Patrick Roy is worthy of the honour. Roy retired as the all-time NHL leader in wins and won two Stanley Cups with Montreal, but his stormy departure in 1995 is part of his permanent record.
The one person who has been overlooked and I’m hoping it’s because the club is saving him for its centenary, is the late Hector (Toe) Blake. To the current generation of Canadiens fans, Blake is a distant memory, the coach who guided the Canadiens to eight of their record 24 Stanley Cup wins.
But many people forget that Blake was a Hall of Fame player.
from the Vancouver Province,
Q: Roberto Luongo was often treated like a piñata by crease-crashing forwards? How much can Aaron Miller help protect your starter at age 36?
A: It’s not just Aaron. He’s a physical presence and has a lot of experience and with that comes leadership. It has to be a team effort to protect Louie and we feel our six defencemen are as good as any in the league.
Q: How do you convince Luongo that he might want to take the odd practice off, let alone the odd game?
A: Louie is a special person and a special athlete. We like his competitive spirit and as much as I thought last year we needed to rest him, it sometimes became issues. With the overtimes, he played 96 games and his best one was his last one. Fatigue shouldn’t be a concern to anyone any more. We know he can take anything we throw at him.
from the Calgary Sun,
“I think Darryl added a little bit of grit, with Sarich and Aucoin and Owen. Darryl wanted a team that plays under his style, and I think we’re very happy with the additions,” said Tanguay, who was one of three current Flames to get married this summer along with Lombardi and Robyn Regehr.
“We didn’t need anything much. We’ve got one of the best goalies in the world. We’ve got a very solid and capable defence. Our offence scored a lot of goals.”
Iginla shared his left-winger’s positive outlook on the upcoming season.
from the Columbus Dispatch,
Vyborny, who returned to Columbus late last week after spending the summer in his native Czech Republic, reiterated his wishes.
“Two years ago, I wanted to go back home so my kids could go to school there,” Vyborny said.
“My wife,” he said, with a grin. “She really likes it here, the kids like it here, and they are in really good schools. The first language they will learn is English. But they can learn to speak Czech at home, from us.”
Vyborny, who lives in Gahanna, is the Blue Jackets’ franchise leader in games played, points, assists, short-handed goals and multipoint games.
from the Ottawa Sun,
Senators GM Bryan Murray said yesterday he’ll try to accommodate the veteran goalie’s request for a trade, but he’s told Gerber and his agent Gilles Lupien they’ll have to be patient because there are no trade talks going on.
ROSTERS ON HOLD
While sources say the Los Angeles Kings and Phoenix Coyotes both had a mild interest in Gerber—who has two years, $7.4 million remaining on his contract—rosters are on hold until teams figure out what they want to do after training camp is over at the end of the month.
“I’ve talked to some teams,” said Murray. “There is nobody at this point that has indicated they can take on a goaltender or needs one….”
Yesterday Chicago GM Dale Tallon participated in a NHL conference call with the media…
Q. Dale, you’ve done a lot of work to strengthen your team both with your off-season signings and last year’s draft choices. Looking at the Central Division, Detroit is still strong, St. Louis geared up, Columbus, almost like you can’t tell but they have the potential. How do you see this division going? Do you see Chicago in the playoff hunt this year?
DALE TALLON: Well, we’re anticipating we’ll be in the playoff hunt. We like the mixture of young players we have. We’ve bridged the gap with some of our veteran signings in the off-season, a couple of our trades.
You know, it’s a very difficult division. I think St. Louis has improved. Nashville’s got a good team. Detroit is obviously the favorite. But, you know, we feel we can compete with anybody. Obviously it will take a little time for everything to gel. We have enough offense now. That’s one thing we lacked in the last couple years. We were one of the lowest scoring team in the league, and we’ve tried to improve on the power play, get more depth on the offensive side as well as the experience that some of our young guys achieved and gained the last two seasons. It should bode well for them as far as their future. We’re pretty happy with our team. We’re never satisfied. But the direction we’re headed in, it looks a lot better.
from the Mercury News,
It takes just one four-letter word to sum up why the Sharks’ signing of Jeremy Roenick was such a good idea:
Doug Wilson, the team’s general manager, disagrees. He uses a different word. A five-letter word.
“Spice,” Wilson said. “You know what Jeremy is? He’s like adding a little spice to the recipe.”
Fizz, spice, crosscheck, canceled check, whatever. The signing of Roenick one week before training camp opens for our local ice hockey team was a needed development.
Maybe not mandatory. But needed.
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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