Kukla's Korner

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Young Dman Impressing Hitchcock

from Philly News,

When Lars Jonsson's name popped up on the Flyers' free-agent list this summer, there were only a few people who could say anything about him. At 24, the Swedish defenseman had never played a game in the NHL, despite being Boston's 2000 first-round pick. Jonsson is supposed to be a highly skilled, puck-moving, skating defenseman, but he is an unknown outside of Europe. "He brings an element that's necessary in the league, an element our team needs," Hitchcock said. "He's great on the power play, he does things not a lot of players can do, the way he keeps his head up and finds open people offensively. He does a lot of good things. "With so many special teams these days you're looking for someone that has potential. We've got so many left shots. You need a really good player on [the right] side of the ice to bring the puck off the boards to the middle of the ice."
more

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No Diving Allowed

from the Vancouver Province,

Even though Fitzpatrick was solid with a plus-1 rating in 22:24 of playing time, he wants to set the record straight on the phantom dive. "I haven't dove yet and I don't plan on diving at all," he said Thursday of his 12-year career. "I don't think anybody on a scoring chance is going to dive -- I'm in front of the net with the puck on my stick -- and a guy may have turned his stick in my skates. I guess the refs are trying to get a presence out there and get the calls going. So, I don't know if that would have been a call in the regular season or not -- I didn't think it was."
In the limitied amount of games I have seen this pre-season, the refs are attempting to call more diving calls. At times, the dive is evident, but it is also a judgement call. A Colorado player was called for a dive during the Wings game last night and I was shocked by the call. Diving is hard to decide at times and let's hope all the players get the message- stop the diving and get on with the game. We don't need any WWE actors in the NHL.

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The Other Side Of Laraque

from the East Valley Tribune,

As a team that sorely lacked a dominant physical presence and was often pushed around last season, the Coyotes are ecstatic to have Laraque on their side this season because “he puts the fear of God into the other team,” said forward Mike Comrie, also a teammate in Edmonton. “He’s a mountain that moves,” added right wing Shane Doan, who at 6-2, 216 pounds isn’t exactly a molehill. Laraque’s on-ice persona certainly precedes him, but he won’t let it define him. While the Montreal native has more than 100 NHL brawls on his resume, once he steps on the other side of the glass, one quickly discovers Laraque is more lover than fighter.
read on

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Preparing To Play In Puerto Rico

from Newsday,

A traveling squad of Rangers landed in Puerto Rico last night to prepare for tomorrow's game against the Florida Panthers - the first NHL-sanctioned event in the Caribbean. The steamy climate - high 80s and rainy at this time of year - is decidedly unfamiliar territory for a sport with roots in frosty ponds. Tom Renney, who was the coach of the Vancouver Canucks when the team opened the regular season in Japan 10 years ago, was looking forward to the trip as a way to engage new fans and build team unity with 22 players, about half of whom weren't with the Rangers last season. "It's an interesting venue for us, to say the least," Renney said, "given the cultural diversity in the dressing room," which is a blend of Europeans and North Americans.
continued

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Luongo Makes A Difference

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

Usually, when a team undergoes a two-thirds overhaul, the benefits take a while to appear — if they ever do. In the case of the Vancouver Canucks, the mandatory waiting period is likely to be waived, if only because one of the many changes involves the starting goaltender. Roberto Luongo came over from the Florida Panthers in a package deal in which he and Todd Bertuzzi were the headliners.
continued

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Avs In The Middle Of The Pack

from Fox Sports,

The Avalanche no longer are mortal locks for the playoffs as in years past. The Western Conference just has too many good teams and the Avs have some question marks now that elite players from their past have moved on. That being said, Colorado still has enough weapons to make some noise this season, especially if Theodore gets his act together. With a couple breaks injury-wise, the Avalanche have the makings of two good lines, a decent checking unit and a deep defense that will be a strongpoint for the season. A postseason berth is likely for the Avalanche, but it's not the sure thing it was in the past. Where they'll finish Division: Third Conference: Eighth
read on

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Watching From Above

from the NY Post,

Captain Alexei Yashin had arguably his best camp as an Islander. Relaxed, affable and appearing comfortable among his teammates, No. 79 has impressed the new coaching staff with his behavior on and off the ice. "I thought he did his part," Nolan said. "We talked about him coming into camp this year in pretty good shape, and he did that. Just his demeanor around the room ... what I see are some great things, and he's doing a good job for us." * Nolan doesn't say much to his players, and until yesterday had not been on the ice with them for a single practice, as he's evaluated from above. Players have said that while he doesn't say much, his words are educational and enlightening, "and we're like, 'Right on,' " one said..
more (reg.req.)

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Panthers Support Bouwmeester

from the Miami Herald,

Panthers defenseman Jay Bouwmeester was charged with a DUI in his native Edmonton, Alberta, earlier this summer, something he said he wasn't proud of on Thursday. ''Obviously it was a lack of better judgment,'' Bouwmeester, 22, said. ``You just don't do that. I'll deal with it and be done. What's done is done.'' Bouwmeester, officially charged with impaired driving and operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of more than .08 percent, was arrested on Aug. 12. ''As an organization, you stand behind your player,'' Panthers coach and general manager Jacques Martin said. "He realizes he made a mistake. You learn from it and you move forward. There's nothing we can do. If he needs help, the organization will support him. There is no judgment on him because of that. It can happen to most people.''

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Again, Zherdev Will Not Be Traded

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

Blue Jackets GM Doug MacLean, a big fan and regular reader of the Sun, called your humble hockey writer yesterday to take issue with a report about restricted free-agent W Nikolai Zherdev. While MacLean maintains another team held contract discussions with Zherdev's Ottawa-based agent Rolly Hedges -- despite Hedges' denials -- MacLean wanted to send a message. "I hold his free-agent rights for the next five years. The Zherdev camp seems to believe that he's going to get traded and I'm not going to trade him.
more...plus some Sens talk too...

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A Helping Hand

from the Nunatsiaq News,

Nunavik is gung-ho on a plan to use hockey as a way of keeping the region’s kids in school and out of trouble. Joé Juneau, a 38-year-old university-educated engineer, Olympic gold medalist and former NHL player, is giving the region a hand with its new, hockey-based “Nunavik Youth Development Plan.” Over the next few months, Juneau and the Kativik Regional Government’s recreation department will set up an ice hockey program for Nunavik that meets Quebec Ice Hockey Federation standards. They’ll qualify trainers and train local hockey players, five to 16, and then organize teams and tournaments.
continued

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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.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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