Kukla's Korner Hockey
OK KK members and guests, who are you expecting "big things" from this year? A breakout year, a rebound year, a rookie we have never heard from? Tell the KK readers who to keep an eye on this year. My pick is Niklas Kronwell. I expect more power play time for him and I see a 60+ point season. Hopefully he can avoid those freakish injuries...
from the News & Observer,
Whatever questions the Carolina Hurricanes face on defense, Jack Johnson still isn't the answer. The Hurricanes' top prospect's father, also named Jack, said Wednesday that the Michigan defenseman has no interest in leaving school, even with a roster spot open to him after Frantisek Kaberle's potentially season-ending shoulder surgery. "He's enrolled in classes, and he's going to play at Michigan this season," the elder Johnson said. "There's no way this kid is going to walk out on his team at the 11th hour. I understand Carolina's position, and he does, too, but he made the commitment to Michigan, he values the Michigan education tremendously and he's looked forward all his life to this. "Sure, he wants to be an NHL player, but he also wants to take this one step at a time."continued added 12:56pm, from TSN,
NHL sources tell TSN that in the wake of Johnson's latest decision to stay at school, Carolina GM Jim Rutherford has begun making calls to other GMs in an effort to trade the 6-foot-1, 200-pound, hard-hitting, fast-skating blueliner. "He's in play," a source said. "Carolina isn't going to give him away because he's a blue-chip asset, but if they get the right deal, he's gone."
from the Buffalo News,
The Buffalo Sabres are chalking up center Tim Connolly as lost for training camp. Now they're concerned with how much of the regular season he'll miss - perhaps two months, if not more. On the eve of training camp, Connolly still has lingering effects from the nasty concussion he suffered four months ago in the playoffs. "From my standpoint that's what I'm doing is anticipating him missing games now," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "It's no use running around and hiding and hoping. He's not feeling well. I feel bad for him. The doctors say it could take a little while longer. We're hoping that, eventually, he'll come out of it."continued
from the Ottawa Sun,
WILL THERE BE CHANGES IN THE WAY NHL GAMES ARE OFFICIATED? Director of officiating Stephen Walkom didn't hurt a back muscle trying to pat himself after so many positive reviews for free-flow hockey last year. But 70 referees and linesmen went to training camp in Fort Erie last week with a tough act to follow. "We have to remember how hard we worked last year, focusing on a standard and sticking to it until it became habitual," Walkom said of the obstruction crackdown. "By the end of last year, we'd found our comfort zone. Our guys were getting better at spotting things and reacting to them where historically, we'd been picking and choosing. Now, there will be more work on optimum performance as a four-man team. "I think you'll see a heightened awareness this year on embellishment (diving). If all participants in the game work on it, then it won't be a problem."read on...many more topics discussed...
from the Chicago Tribune,
The engine that drives this gritty, weather-beaten city of belching smokestacks and trolley lines is steel, but its heart and soul is hockey. The pro team here, Metallurg, polishes its prodigies from the age of 6. And it almost always fills its aging 3,500-seat stadium with screaming fans adorned in Metallurg red, white and blue. So when Magnitogorsk's favorite son, Metallurg forward Evgeni Malkin, suddenly disappeared from the team Aug. 12 in Helsinki, Finland, Russians here gasped and waited. Four days later, when the 20-year-old superstar turned up in the U.S. to embark on a career in the National Hockey League, they seethed.continued
from the Detroit Free Press,
Training camp will be much different this year, if only because veterans like Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan are gone. Longtime captain Yzerman retired in the off-season and Shanahan signed with the New York Rangers. Cleary, who took lots of ribbing from Shanahan last season and who was once kicked out of a team meal by Yzerman for mentioning former Colorado nemesis Patrick Roy, said camp wouldn't be the same without those two. "I'm going to miss both guys," Cleary said. "Not only on the ice but (their) personalities off the ice. I think this year, everybody's going to have a little more responsibility."more
from the Calgary Sun,
Iginla is as trim as he has been in ages. "It's been a while, probably three or four years," Iginla said just before a rain-soaked 9 a.m. shotgun tee-off yesterday for the annual Flames Charity Golf Classic at Country Hills. "Over the years, I probably put on a couple of pounds. You work out just trying to get stronger and stronger. This year the focus was a little bit different, not so much worried about strength and able to take a few pounds off. "Not pounds of fat," he added with a laugh. Iginla credits his metamorphosis to a new off-season focus on speed and agility in order to adapt to the new NHL rules which debuted last year. The 29-year-old right winger decided late last season to alter his workouts -- including the addition of once-a-week yoga sessions -- after a relatively disappointing 35-goal campaign.more
from the Vancouver Province,
Pressed on how he'd deal with hitting the club's self-imposed salary ceiling of $42.5 million US if Kesler is kept -- 21 projected roster players under contract for $42.570 million with a backup goalie and Josh Green still to sign -- Nonis was non-committal. "You always want the best team possible, but I'm not talking about it and I will talk about it at the appropriate time," he said. Nonis also wouldn't bite on who's to blame for the offer sheet. Is it Clarke who needs a third-line centre with Keith Primeau announcing that he will retire today due to post-concussion syndrome? Is it NHL commissioner Gary Bettman or the new collective bargaining agreement that is driving up the salaries of Group 2 free agents?read on
from Philly News,
Hitchcock said he has not identified or asked the successor, out of respect for Primeau. But reality being what it is, this is how it's going to go: Either the new captain is going to be Peter Forsberg, or Hitchcock is going to be spending an awful lot of his time explaining to people why not. In Primeau's absence last year, the first call was to Simon Gagne, who declined. Gagne has just signed a new 5-year contract, and he would have to be on the short-list of potential replacements. He says he was worried about stepping in last year when he thought Primeau's absence would only be temporary. He also said yesterday that just wearing the "A" as an assistant captain was a big step for him. If not Gagne, then who? One name you don't hear mentioned is Derian Hatcher, who ultimately took over the job last season, presiding over the collapse.more
from bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,
Just like that Carter has a place to play and the gaping hole in the Blue Jackets’ lineup has closed. The move leaves MacLean free to bleat like a billy goat at his former first-round draft pick and boast that he wasn’t kidding when he said he was prepared to let him stay in Russia. After a puzzling summer of negotiations, it was a brilliant move on MacLean’s part, because the team might actually be better this season with Carter in the lineup than it would have been with Zherdev. There’s no way to know, of course — as a rising young star, Zherdev might have scored 50 goals and Carter’s most productive offensive season was the 33 he scored last year for Vancouver — but Carter is big and strong and a nine-year veteran whose NHL game is more polished than Zherdev’s.more
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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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