Kukla's Korner Hockey
via Bruce Garrioch at the Ottawa Sun,
Jason Spezza will be ready to roll in the season opener. The Senators centre has been skating for the last two weeks after having back surgery May 31 and he's confident he'll be fine when the puck drops. "It's feeling a lot better than it did at the end of the season and in the playoffs," said Spezza, who had disc surgery. "I should be fine. I'm going to go into camp and see how it feels. I think I'll be able to do everything everybody else does, but I can't make that prediction right now."
from the National Post,
The Washington Capitals' boy wonder sure doesn't look too happy. In fact, he looks like a cross between a clown and an acrobat from the Moscow Circus. His face is contorted in concentration, his tongue is hanging down to his chin and his feet are balanced, precariously, on a giant blue sphere. Elevating the irritation factor is a svelte and perfectly sculpted bundle of muscle named Tony Mark, who keeps lobbing a tennis ball at Ovechkin's midsection. The NHL rookie of the year keeps bunting it back with the blade of a hockey stick. "I'm a little bit scared of it," Ovechkin says of the almost daily balancing act he has been performing for the past four weeks at Balance Personal Training, Mark's boutique gym in mid-town Toronto. "I like more to play hockey. I don't like to practice."more
Former Detroit Red Wings forward Boyd Devereaux is expected to arrive at the team's training camp in Traverse City, Mich., next week as a tryout, a camp official said Friday night.
from Spector at Fox Sports,
The contentious contract talks between Columbus Blue Jackets GM Doug MacLean and forward Nikolai Zherdev show no sign of abating. MacLean's hard-nosed approach has spurred questioning of his tactics from the local media and fans. There's speculation MacLean may have made another offer to Zherdev's agent, motivated more perhaps by Zherdev's threat to play in Russia this season than from local criticism. Time is running out for MacLean to get the talented youngster under contract. If Zherdev plays one game in Russia after the start of the 2006-07 NHL season, he'd have to pass through waivers before he could report back to the Blue Jackets, where he would be plucked away by a rival club. That would effectively make him unable for the Jackets to bring him back this season.much more on they key RFAs...
from the Pittsburgh Penguins,
The young Russian star stepped on Mellon Arena ice for the first time Friday afternoon. It was a moment he had dreamed about since the Pittsburgh Penguins selected him second overall at the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. That’s because he grew up idolizing Penguins icon Mario Lemieux. “It is difficult for me to describe my feelings because it was like a dream came true,” said Malkin via translator Olga McQueen. “I felt very proud and excited and, at the same time, a bit nervous. But everything goes so great because everyone shows me so much support that I am really very pleased. The ice is great. I really enjoy my time here.”more
from the Traverse City Record Eagle,
We were the fifth best team of all-time last season during the regular season. We were good offensively, good defensively. It seemed we were able to play any (type of) game. But we were unable to score and unable to keep it out at playoff time — and we got beat by a better team at playoff time in Edmonton. We have to address those things (that went awry)." On Thursday, he touched on a number of other topics. • On who he expects will elevate their games: "Datsyuk and Zetterberg really took a step last year, and we expect them to take another step. People can say all they want about (Datsyuk) not scoring in the playoffs, but he was hurt and didn't play at the start. He's a dominant player. We're not concerned about that at all. He's a great hockey player and competitor. He and Zetterberg give us an unbelievable one-two combination."more
The Buffalo Sabres have agreed to terms with goaltender Ryan Miller on a three-year deal.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
As NHL training camps open next week, Blake will be one of more than a hundred players starting fresh, with new teams. Some moved on in blockbuster trades — Roberto Luongo is in Vancouver, Todd Bertuzzi in sunny Florida. Some signed as free agents — Blake, Zdeno Chara, Ed Jovanovski, Jason Arnott. There were changes at the top end of rosters and there were changes at the bottom. Just about every transaction was filtered through the game's new economics, which theoretically leveled the playing field for all 30 teams and left the chase for the Stanley Cup wide open again. "It's going to be very fluid," said the Nashville Predators' Paul Kariya, "and obviously, with the age for unrestricted free agency going down, it's going to be even more like this in the years to come. I think this is just the beginning."more
Tapeleg took me up on the Free Friday offer, allowing KK members to submit an article for publication on KK. A job well done and obviously written with great passion! Make sure to check out his own blog, Jerseys and Hockey Love. When the lockout was on, the prevailing attitude and phrase was, "There is no hockey." This was the biggest lie of the lockout (even bigger than never accepting a salary cap). No hockey is like saying there is no baseball without MLB, but there are a lot of people around the US who could tell you different. And during the lockout, the best hockey in the world was still going on in North America, it just had a worse television deal than the current one on OLN. While America moved on, or at least just fumed a bit, there were a lucky group of people watching the stars you got to see emerge this past season. Imagine seeing Cam Ward step in to save the day (oh, yeah, we all did, I just got to see it a year early), or Mike Commodore give a single knockout punch to a Bruin. I did, all in the same night. That was at a game between the Lowell Lock Monsters and the Providence Bruins. Ever seen a player reach out from the bench, and grab an opponents stick? I did, at a P-Bruins vs. Hartford Wolfpack game. Sheer comedy, as Brendon Walsh shrugged and argued when he was called for the penalty (there wasn't a person in the building who missed that one. I know, because they were all laughing). The game was more notable for the amount of fighting than the shootout, but I did get a game used puck. Yep, the Official Timekeeper tossed it over the glass to me, just before the shootout.. Because I was right on the glass. And I didn't pay $100+ to sit there. I got the best view of the shouting matches between the players in their boxes, wondering if they were going to go after each other as soon as the doors opened (they didn't). I was five feet away from Walsh as he asked Martin Grenier why he didn't really show up for the fight (Grenier just shrugged and laughed). Ever been to Glens Falls, NY? That is my favorite place to see a game. Why? I have no idea. But every seat is good, the 50/50 raffle is fun, the Chuck-A-Puck is fantastic, the beer is cold, and Barry Melrose signed my girlfriend's scarf. It has an outer ring that you walk around, (no upper level), with concessions in the corners, including baked items, and a really good beer selection. I saw the UHL Allstar game there, plus a few regular season games. Roanoke vs. Adirondack was a great game, with all the highs and lows you could ask for. Goals for, a squandered lead, goals against, and some last minute heroics. Best game I ever saw? No, but close. And now the Frostbite are no more. No hockey at the Glens Falls arena except for a preseason NHL game (which, if you are within 300 miles, you shouldn't miss). I was lucky enough to find Glens Falls on the hockey map.
from the Daily Herald,
When the Blackhawks open training camp Thursday at the United Center, they could be without Tuomo Ruutu. The Finnish winger remains an unsigned restricted free agent, and it’s believed the two sides aren’t close to an agreement. Ruutu is in Finland and not working out at a camp this week organized by his agent, Bill Zito, in Hoffman Estates.continued
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.
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