Kukla's Korner Hockey
DId you catch the most recent chat with John Buccigross of ESPN? If not, read on and my personal favorite from John:
Keith Tkachuk! How 'bout this word -- Jog! How 'bout two words -- Push up! How bout this whole sentence -- "Oh, I couldn't possibly eat more … pudding."
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
More so than Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier, Jarome Iginla and Mario Lemieux, Ryan Smyth has become the face of Canadian hockey. Indeed, the gritty winger from Jasper, Alberta, has become the heart, soul and the very mullet of Canadian hockey on the international stage. Which is a good thing for Hockey Canada and its fans, but it's might not be such a good thing if you're Edmonton Oilers GM Kevin Lowe. And if truth be told, it's probably not such a good thing for Smyth, either. In the Canadian dressing room at hockey festivals like the World Championships, World Cup of Hockey or the recently completed Olympic orientation camp, other players refer to Smyth as Captain Canada. It's a nickname given to Smyth by media covering the World Championships a few years ago. The moniker has stuck even though Smyth is understandably reticent to discuss it, especially with Gretzky standing a few feet away and guys like Steve Yzerman and other Canadian heroes down the hall.
from Hockey Refs, The NHL has released its officiating roster for the upcoming season.
from The Hockey News,
Being clueless never stopped hockey writers from making asses of themselves via auto-erotic prognostication before. And so, in that proud tradition, Screen Shots kicks off Prediction Month with threadbare guesswork and transparent stabs in the dark regarding the teams that have improved most, and least, since the Lightning monkey-stomped the dreams of both Flames fans and Flames fans’ naked breasts back in 2004.An example of a team in big trouble:
Colorado Losing Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote and replacing them with Pierre Turgeon and Patrice Brisebois is like Desperate Housewives dropping Eva Longoria and Marcia Cross in favor of Roseanne Barr and Star Jones. That sound you hear is the other shoe dropping on a team that dealt away many of its prospects en route to a pair of championships.
from the St. Peterburg Times,
Here comes John Grahame. Hair slicked back and nipping at his shoulders. Scruffy two-day beard. T-shirt. Baggy shorts. Flip-flops. He already looks the part, so let's just get right to it. The guy has been known to be a goof-off. He has heard that before. He rolls his eyes, shrugs his shoulders, lets out a short laugh. It's hard to deny. He has been late on a few occasions, once for a team charter. Okay, so that was bad. But he didn't miss a game or practice because of it. "From my perspective, as long as you showed up on the ice, that was what was important," Grahame said. "But as you get a little bit older, you mature, you're not as wild. Your focus is more toward the off-ice things, staying sharp." Now he's about to enter a whole new world.
from the Philadelphia Inquirer,
It wasn't that the Flyers couldn't handle rowing. They did fine for a bunch of guys who spend all their time playing sports on frozen water. It's just that when you need your hands to make a living, having blisters on them gets in the way. And anyone who ever has handled a sweep oar knows that blisters come with the sport, not to mention the occasional splinters and sore backs. "When they told us we were going out for a warmup, we all thought we were going for a half-hour warmup and we ended up coming back an hour and 45 minutes later," captain Keith Primeau said. "By the time we got out of the boats, everybody's back was aching and they had blisters on their hands, blisters on their feet. We could have gone back out, but [head coach Ken Hitchcock] would have had to give us [today] off because it would have taken us that long to recover." And so the plan to spend yesterday morning learning how to row eight-man boats on the Schuylkill and then racing those boats in the afternoon changed. Instead there was a long learn-to-row session with various coaches from Boathouse Row and then sandwiches, beer and the Eagles on television.
from the London Free Press via Slam,
Those who don't believe the changes being made in hockey won't be better for the game didn't see the exhibition game between the Atlanta Thrashers and Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers defeated the Thrashers 8-6 at the John Labatt Centre on Saturday. Forget the 14 goals. The game provided a glimpse into how the game is supposed to look. Quick-paced with plenty of skating and skill, there were long passes, quick breaks. It had enough hitting to satisfy those who crave physical contact but it lacked the clutching and grabbing that slowed the game down. And for those who believe you can't teach an old dog new tricks, they would have been surprised to see players about to revert to the old hook-'em-and-hold-'em routine pull back when they realized they'd be slapped with a penalty.
from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun, Welcome to a year of uncertainty in the National Hockey League. With new rules, a new officiating approach, massive player movement, and the uncertainty that comes from a one-year hiatus, no one really knows what to expect. This is the year that your hockey pool could be won by your dog, your 4-year-old, or even Gary Bettman. But keeping in mind that what follows is speculation, not prediction, let’s hypothesize about some of the developments that might be seen in the 2005-06 NHL: Increase in injuries Cap controversy More boarding calls Mid-season retirements Shootout specialists
from the NY Post,
Lou Lamoriello is believed to be working feverishly to trade some veterans for draft picks. Failing that, it would appear that waiving — and probably waving goodbye to — several players is his most likely solution. Players in the minors don't count toward the cap, even if on one-way contracts. Unless Lamoriello delivers a miracle, he will have to cut his payroll some $1.77 million by Oct. 1 to come under the NHL's $39 million salary cap. He has promised to comply. Trading partners may be few, facing their own cap constraints while hoping to grab down-going players for the minimal waiver price instead of yielding draft picks. Should the Devils later recall any vets who went unclaimed at full salary on the way down to Albany, other teams could claim them on their way up and only have to pay half their remaining salary, with the Devils paying the other half. And — get this — the Devils' half of the claimed recall's salary would count against New Jersey's cap, this for a player they no longer own. Should a recall go unclaimed by others, the Devils, of course, would then have to pay all the remaining salary, which would all count toward the cap.
from the Toronto Star,
The best news? Even the losing team wasn't complaining about the rules. The basics of a much, much improved NHL game were on display for the first time in T.O. last night, and there was an awful lot to like and very few people prepared to complain. There was none of that lazy hooking and tugging, and a surprising amount of hitting for a pre-season tilt, won 5-2 by the Ottawa Senators over the Maple Leafs. "You could see tonight it doesn't affect the amount of hitting at all," said Sens coach Bryan Murray. Yes, there was a boatload of penalties, and 19 power plays in all, 10 for the hometown Leafs. But half of those were calls that would have been made the last time we saw the NHL, and it certainly didn't destroy the game. Both teams seemed generally prepared to play by the new rules, particularly the new standard of enforcement on what can and can't be done to a puck carrier. "The word of the league and the intent has been accepted by the players," said Leaf head coach Pat Quinn. "I think a lot of that has to do with the players wanting to put those standards in, and being part of the process."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org