Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Back Surgery For Lalime

via the Chicago Blackhawks,

The Blackhawks will need a new backup plan as training camp opens today. Goaltender Patrick Lalime will have back surgery Friday and is expected to miss 2-3 months of action with a herniated disc. A free agent acquisition this summer, Lalime was slated to backup Nikolai Khabibulin this season.

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Is That A Guarantee

from MSG Network,

If new defenseman Aaron Ward plays with half as much confidence as he speaks, the Rangers will be fortified on the blueline. File this away in your memory bank: When I was interviewing Ward on Tuesday for a segment on SportsDesk, I asked him why he chose New York over several suitors. His answer should make Ranger fans sit up and take notice. “This team is going to win the Stanley Cup,” Ward said.
more on the Rangers...

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Your Turn

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...

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Johnson Staying At Michigan

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."

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Connolly Could Miss Two Months

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

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Questions For The Season

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...

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Taking Sand - Looking For Gold

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

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Don’t Mention That Name

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

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The Skinny On Iggy

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

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Why Blame Anyone

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

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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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