Kukla's Korner Hockey
Garry Bettman was in Atlanta last night and answered a few questions regarding the game, the Thrashers, etc…
from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Q: What do you see ahead as far as TV deals?
A: We have great partnerships with NBC and [cable network] Versus. ... There have been reports that ESPN is interested in us. ... I do believe our current partners will be in the picture long-term. Whether or not there is an opportunity to have another partner is something we’re always open to looking at.
more from Bettman…
from the Courier-Post,
Tonight in Edmonton when the Flyers try to start the season 2-0 after Thursday’s 3-2 opening victory over Calgary, Pitkanen will face the Flyers for the first time in his career amid harsh criticism from the unlikeliest of sources: his former captain.
In a weekly column he is now writing for Montreal La Presse, former Flyers’ defenseman Eric Desjardins described Pitkanen as an immature player who refused help from his Flyers’ teammates.
“He has all the talent in the world, he’s strong as a horse and he’s as powerful a skater as Al Iafrate was, but he is also very immature,” Desjardins wrote.
from the Toronto Star,
One team, 18 Stanley Cups.
The Don Mills Flyers, a very unusual minor atom hockey team of 8- and 9-year-old boys, can trace their ties to all 18 cups through family connections.
There’s Blake. His dad, Paul Coffey, is the assistant coach for the minor AAA team and a four-time Stanley Cup winner with the Edmonton Oilers.
Over there is George; his granddad is Red Kelly, who won eight Cups with Detroit and Toronto. Then there’s Tyson, son of Doug Gilmour, a Cup winner with the Calgary Flames. And Callum; his great uncle Carl Brewer captured three Cups with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1960s. And don’t forget James, great nephew of former Boston Bruin Don Awrey, whose name is inscribed on Lord Stanley’s mug twice.
from the Calgary Sun,
The numbers along Dion Phaneuf’s name on the stats sheet nearly light up.
In the season opener, the Calgary Flames defenceman fired three shots on goal, recorded five hits and collected a pair of assists—including one when Daymond Langkow deflected his powerplay point shot.
But the eye-popping digits from the 3-2 loss to Philadelphia Thursday night fall under the category of minutes played: 31:20.
“Yeah, we see the sheets,” Phaneuf said. “You play when you’re asked to play. When you get tapped to go, it’s your job to go out and do your job.
“Some nights it may be more and some nights it may be less, but when you’re asked to go, you go out and do your job.”
from Tom Gulitti of the Record,
The more I think about it, however, the more I believe that the Rangers don’t have enough to win the Cup. The additions of Gomez and Drury clearly make them a better team up the middle. The Blueshirts did nothing, though, to address their biggest weakness, which is their defense.
The hope is that rookie Marc Staal will develop enough over the regular season that he’ll be a top four defenseman by the playoffs. That’s a lot to ask of a 20-year-old.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The Flyers took their lumps in the short term by plunging to the bottom of the NHL standings — something that also gave them a chance to draft James vanRiemsdyk second overall in June’s entry draft — and have reversed field nicely. Their opening-night roster featured five former first-round picks age 25 or under (Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Joffrey Lupul, Scott Hartnell and Coburn), plus two others on injured reserve (Upshall and R.J. Umberger), not to mention blue-chippers vanRiesmsdyk and Parent, plus the love-him-or-hate-him pest Steve Downie.
Sadly, the Leafs fall into the other category — of a team that perennially tries so hard to compete in the here-and-now that they are forever caught in between, with never enough assets to legitimately challenge for a championship, but never really bad enough to draft blue-chip youngsters or bold enough to trade “untouchable” core players.
read on & other NHL bits…
from Harry Hurt III of the New York Times,
I climbed into the driver’s seat of the Zamboni about 15 minutes after the end of the third period. The electronic screens suspended from the ceiling of Madison Square Garden still showed the final score of the season’s first National Hockey League exhibition game: New York Rangers 4, New Jersey Devils 3. But by now, almost all of the Garden’s 18,000 seats were empty, and the public address system speakers were blaring the last few bars of Billy Joel’s hit song “New York State of Mind.”
I felt a thrilling, teeth-clenching chill. The Zamboni was parked just inside a gate at the Eighth Avenue end of the rink. A vacant expanse of skate-scarred ice sprawled before me like a wrinkled cotton sheet awaiting an ironing. In a dubious effort to calm my quivering body, I mouthed the words Charlie Brown immortalized in a Peanuts cartoon, “There are three things in life that people like to stare at: a flowing stream, a crackling fire, and a Zamboni clearing the ice.”
From Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun via the Winnipeg Sun,
Almost 10 years after the Maple Leafs moved back to the Eastern Conference to rejoin the Original Sixers in Montreal, the Detroit Red Wings remained trapped in a Western time-zone warp.
But that is bound to change, says Wings vice-president Jim Devellano.
“There’s little doubt that Las Vegas is coming in (during expansion), it’s about four years from now,” Devellano told the Detroit News. “And I truly believe Gary Bettman will move us East at that changing.”
From Lisa Dillman & Lonnie White at the LA Times,
“I think this city is waiting for us to do something special,” said Robitaille, who acknowledged the franchise had lost focus. “For a long time we didn’t pay attention to our neighbors in Hollywood.”
The first significant move to rectify that was a red-carpet affair and party for the team at Wolfgang Puck’s CUT at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Thursday night, with TV and film producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who is a Kings season-ticket holder and potential future NHL owner in Las Vegas, serving as host.
more… (*link may require free registration)
From the CP,
The Edmonton Oilers have reportedly signed general manager Kevin Lowe to a multi-year contract extension.
According to a report on TSN’s website, the Oilers were expected to announce the signing at a media conference Saturday morning.
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