Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Duvall of the Tonawanda News,
It’s football time again, and for Bills fans, that means it’s the time of year where we get our hopes up….
One thing I could do without, though, is the pomp and circumstance surrounding the NFL’s kickoff. Big-time musicians, fireworks, lasers — all to celebrate day one.
I greatly prefer the NHL, which usually starts its season under cover of darkness. Sportscenter keeps the game highlights to 30 seconds and about 45 minutes into its hour-long broadcast. Fine by me. This is hockey country and we don’t much mind skipping the Faith Hill performance before a largely meaningless game nine months before a trophy is handed out.
Besides, I don’t know a ton of hockey fans that would want to hear Faith Hill. The Tragically Hip singing “50 Mission Cap” is far more our style.
from the Times Colonist,
“Hockey is popular in Minnesota [where Mitchell spent more than three NHL seasons with the Wild], but being back playing in a Canadian city is a whole different ball game with the crazy amount of attention you receive,” says Mitchell.
And this isn’t just any Canadian team Mitchell finds himself with, but the home-province team he grew up adoring as a kid.
“It gets a little crazy, but it’s all part of it and I enjoy what I do,” said the product of the North Island Eagles minor hockey teams.
“I’m lucky to be doing it. But it can be a little overwhelming being a Canuck in B.C. and trying to balance that with personal and family time.”
from the Montreal Gazette,
Canadiens president Pierre Boivin angrily denied there was any truth to a La Presse story that suggested free- agent Daniel Brière turned down an offer from the Canadiens because general manager Bob Gainey would not guarantee that he would play on a line with Christopher Higgins and Michael Ryder.
“I was privy to the negotiations and I can tell you that this was never discussed,” said Boivin, who said the story was filled with “lies.”
from Carter Gaddis of the Tampa Tribune,
Year Three, A.L. (After Lockout) is dawning. Training camps are upon us.
The National Hockey League is about to begin its annual search for identity south of the 49th parallel. For every plus, there is a minus. For every slap, a shot.
In Canada, where folks are taught from birth the sanctity of the blue line and they know without being told that Don Cherry is not a flavor of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, there is no debate.
Hockey is king. End of discussion.
In the U.S., the debate rages. Well, perhaps not rages. Stirs with quiet desperation among those who care, maybe.
There is no escaping the debate, though, not after pro hockey shared a spot with men’s golf in the most recent annual Harris Poll to determine the favorite sport of Americans.
Hockey fans begin preparing for the new season…
from the Belleville News-Democrat,
Can NHL teams make money with such a relatively small national television contract in comparison to the NFL or Major League Baseball?
“There’s a lot of teams in the league now that are making money, especially the teams that are in the big markets with access to big local television revenues and big season ticket prices,” said Checketts, mentioning Philadelphia, Boston, Toronto, the New York Rangers and Montreal as examples.
“I want to get to the point where we’re not losing money, that would be the best thing for me,” he said. “People are supportive, they want to see us do well. They know that a good team and a good organization is important to the community.”
from the Toronto Sun,
Newcomer Brian Rafalski looks to be the one to play alongside Nicklas Lidstrom ... Niklas Kronwall, if he can remain healthy, is pegged to be part of the second pairing ... The Wings are considering splitting up Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg to give the club more offensive balance ... Surprising Valtteri Filppula is pegged to be second-line centre.
THE BIG QUESTION
Will this team ever show it’s age? Lidstrom looks like he can play another decade, Chris Chelios is defying the laws of nature and goalie Dominik Hasek had an outstanding bounce-back season. Time eventually will catch up to these key players, we just don’t know when.
read on for a breakdown of every NHL team…
fro Jim MAtheson at the Edmonton Journal,
• Former Calgary Flames goalie Jamie McLennan’s experience with Magnitogorsk in the Russian Elite League was a short one.
The club signed him over the summer but had a parting of ways before the season started.
• Former Flames winger Jeff Friesen could be off to Europe.
His agent, Jeff Helperl, dismissed talk a few weeks ago about his client going to Europe, but a Swedish newspaper says he’s signing in Leksand. That’s where former NHLer Eddie Belfour is hanging his mask these days.
more hockey talk…
from the Buffalo News,
While the Sabres will be minus a captain when they report to HSBC Arena for physicals on Thursday, they sound genuinely comfortable with who they are already.
“There’s that small bit of uncertainty surrounding the captaincy position,” Sabres goalie Ryan Miller said, “but I don’t think anybody around here should be worried about it.
“We have a young group, and we might even get younger this year, but I think the core group of guys has seen enough and been around long enough to understand what to expect and to know what kind of attitude you need to have.”
Can the Sens forget Cup debacle? Star hockey columnist Damien Cox tackles these and other scattershot questions about the coming season…
WILL OTTAWA BOUNCE BACK FROM STANLEY CUP FINAL PRATFALL?
Young stars Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza were so bad in the Cup final that the effects could linger. The Sens, however, have lots of depth, and if Wade Redden can bounce back and regain all-star form, Ottawa should be fine. The coaching change to John Paddock is no small factor after Bryan Murray did a bang-up job last season.
IS PHILLY REALLY BACK?
Providing Martin Biron is truly a No. 1 goalie, the answer is yes. GM Paul Holmgren has surprised the hockey world with his aggressive and sharp moves, from adding Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen to signing Daniel Briere to adding youth in Ryan Parent, Joffrey Lupul and Scottie Upshall, not to mention top pick James Van Riemsdyk. Key to success? Whether Mike Richards and Jeff Carter can re-establish themselves as rising young stars.
much more from Damien…
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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