Kukla's Korner Hockey
From T.C. Denault at Habs World,
This year’s preseason offered no shortage of stories. [...] Strangely, lost in the shuffle was Alexei Kovalev.
What makes this even stranger is that this upcoming season represents a make or break year for Alexei Kovalev. The time for excuses is past. Now beginning his third full year in Montreal, one could argue that Canadiens fans have yet to see the best of Kovalev.
It’s hard to argue that we haven’t seen the worst of Alexei Kovalev already.
From Steve Gorten at the Sun-Sentinel,
Jacques Martin has never publicly said, and probably never will, that trading Roberto Luongo was a mistake, despite how it shook the Panthers’ organization.
Martin ultimately gave his approval of the trade to then-General Manager Mike Keenan not because he wanted to — Luongo was the reason Martin chose to coach the Panthers instead of the Coyotes — but because he felt he had no other choice after contract negotiations with the star goalie grew too contentious.
So Martin, the coach, made do with Alex Auld and Ed Belfour in goal. In June, Martin, the general manager, made a major move to stabilize that position and this franchise: He traded three draft picks to the Nashville Predators for goalie Tomas Vokoun.
From Aaron J. Lopez at the Rocky Mountain News,
For nearly three decades, Joel Quenneville has been wielding a stick and some blades in the NHL, first as a player, then as a coach. If all goes as expected, when he stands behind the Avalanche bench Jan. 9 in Washington, he will join Jacques Lemaire and Bob Pulford as the only people in NHL history to coach and play in at least 800 games (Quenneville played 803 games in 13 seasons).
While Quenneville takes pride in the personal milestone, his mind is focused on guiding the Avalanche to the playoffs after missing the postseason for the first time since the franchise moved to Denver in 1995.
continued… (*a short Q&A session with the Avs coach)
From David Shoalts at the Globe & Mail, the optimism of Paul Maurice:
The man is the epitome of grace under fire. A font of cool rationale as the centre of the hockey universe explodes into panic.
Lost Kyle Wellwood to another operation on his sports hernia? Relax, coach Maurice says. Chad Kilger and John Pohl are here to carry the second line.
Vesa Toskala looked more like Red Light Racicot than the second coming of Curtis Joseph in the exhibition season? Not to worry, coach Maurice says. He and Andrew Raycroft will make the Leafs better in goal this season.
The defence as a group looks every bit as bad as last season? Hey, coach Maurice says, we’re just working a few kinks out.
from the AP via the Red Bluff Daily News,
“Just knowing these guys and watching them skate every day, I don’t see how we can’t be the odds-on favorite,” Roenick said Tuesday. “But with that comes a lot of responsibility, a lot of pressure. We have to make sure that we don’t sit on those accolades. We have to go out there and make sure they come true.”
After making few changes to a roster that posted a franchise-record 107 points last spring, the Sharks are so loaded with largely homegrown talent that Roenick—the 495-goal scorer who signed on 10 days before training camp—probably will be a healthy scratch when San Jose opens its season in Edmonton on Thursday night.
“I can be a cheerleader, and this is a great team to cheer for,” Roenick said.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Dany Heatley is closing on a new deal.
Sources tell TSN the Ottawa Senators are taking another hard run at signing their star forward to a contract extension.
The Sens re-opened discussions with Heatley’s agent, J.P. Barry today and its believed the gap in salary between the two sides, roughly 1 million dollars has narrowed.
from the Windsor Star (Wed. edition),
The adjectives younger and quicker have been missing from the vocabularies of the Detroit Red Wings for more than a decade.
However, with 11 of 23 players on the roster for tonight’s season opener against the Anaheim Ducks being under 30, those adjectives were once again being dusted off Tuesday.
“The growth of our team isn’t about bringing new people here,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “It’s about the people within growing into their jobs.”
from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
The Thrashers named veteran forward Bobby Holik captain on Tuesday.
Holik replaces the retired Scott Mellanby to become the sixth captain in team history. Earlier in training camp, Holik talked about the daunting task of replacing Mellanby inside the team dressing room.
From Pat Hickey at CanWest (tomorrow’s Montreal Gazette),
Two weeks ago, Patrice Brisebois wasn’t able to skate.
A week ago, he stepped gingerly on the ice and hoped he wouldn’t feel a pull in his groin.
Tonight [Wednesday], the 36-year-old will be one of the Montreal Canadiens’ top four defencemen when they play their NHL season opener against the Carolina Hurricanes.
AHL President and CEO David Andrews announced Tuesday that Steve Downie has been ruled ineligible to play in the AHL for one month from the start of the 2007-08 season.
“The American Hockey League has established a strict disciplinary standard over the last several seasons relative to deliberate hits to the head,” said Andrews in a statement. “We strongly support the National Hockey League’s recent directives on these dangerous hits, and we want to send a clear message that actions such as Mr. Downie’s are unacceptable in our game.”
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 email@example.com