Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
The Kings general manager talked about the current approach from his players as they get ready for their Stanley Cup defense. It is, he noted, a subtle contrast from when they first won the Cup in 2012.
“They were on a mission when they left [for the summer],” Lombardi said. “We’ve never had so many players back this early. When I saw them, they looked really good. There seems to be a different focus … something better than even the first time.”
He later joked that the players were all trying to be like their teammate, the ultra-lean Jeff Carter.
Lombardi provided an update on goalie Jonathan Quick, who had offseason wrist surgery. Quick has suffered no setbacks, according to the Kings GM.
“He just started talking shots now … but he’s still got to go slow,” Lombardi said.
The regular season starts Oct. 8 against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center.
Will Quick get into any preseason games?
“It’s going to go right down to the wire, but we think we’re fine,” Lombardi said. “We’ve got [Martin] Jones if we have to go short-term.”
a bit more
from James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail,
“We’ve gone from very little analytical information to we have two guys we just hired that are considered two of the smartest analytical guys in the game of hockey today,” Leiweke said, likely referencing Dubas and Metcalfe, an engineer who built wildly popular analytics hub extraskater.com.
“Including one that owned his own website that every general manager used and we bought the website. When he came, that website came with us and we took it down. We don’t want anyone else seeing it. It’s called a monopoly. It’s good.”
Leiweke also made the point that the Leafs will continue to pursue “character” as well as players with good analytics, noting that “there are players we have in our organization today whose numbers are off the chart good and whose character is just terrible. I don’t care how good your numbers are, if you have bad character, you are doomed for failure.
“We are very convinced analytics make us smarter,” he added. “We are very convinced that analytics will reduce our mistakes. We are convinced that analytics at the end of the day will be key to getting this team back on track. But that said they will never ever replace our ability to determine one’s character and passion for the game of hockey. You have to be good at both, not just one.”
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
The Lightning should have a healthy Steven Stamkos and goaltender Ben Bishop, something that was not the case in the 2013-14 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Add some splashy offseason acquisitions -- defensemen Anton Stralman and Jason Garrison, and forward Brian Boyle -- and highly touted prospect Jonathan Drouin, and this could be the sleeper team of the NHL.
Former Lightning defenseman and Stanley Cup champion Pavel Kubina is hoping to see his old team emerge as one of top dogs in the East.
“I think it’s a great mix,” Kubina told ESPN.com in a recent telephone conversation. “[Jeff] Vinik really got behind them -- he’s one of the best owners I’ve ever played for -- and the team has a great future. They’ll definitely make the playoffs.”
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
The NHL announced several rule changes Thursday that will take effect this season, most significantly the expansion of video review "to allow broader discretion to Hockey Operations to assist the referees in determining the legitimacy of all potential goals (e.g., to ensure they are 'good hockey goals')," the NHL said in a statement.
"The revised Rule will allow Hockey Operations to correct a broader array of situations where video review clearly establishes that a "goal" or "no goal" call on the ice has been made in error. The new expanded rule will also allow Hockey Operations to provide guidance to referees on goal and potential goal plays where the referee has blown his whistle (or intended to blow his whistle) after having lost sight of the puck."
The league also said that in reviewing goals that have been kicked into the net, Hockey Operations will require more demonstrable video evidence of a "distinct kicking motion" in order to overrule a "goal call" on the ice, or to uphold a "no-goal call" on the ice.
continue for more discussion on additional rule changes...
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
The success Johnny Gaudreau has had the past many years has him believing even greater things can come.
But an engine behind his push is one big disappointment.
The accolades Gaudreau received over the last few years include winning the Hobey Baker Award last season as the top player in the NCAA, numerous all-star and MVP honours and even scoring a goal in his NHL debut.
But the Calgary Flames hopeful also remembers the sting of not making the U.S. world junior team for the 2012 championship, and he’s using it for motivation as he approaches his first NHL training camp.
“It’s just like growing up. As a smaller player, I got cut from a few teams, and it’s a terrible feeling to get cut. I hope I don’t have that feeling again,” Gaudreau said Thursday after he and the other team hopefuls reported for fitness-testing and medicals in anticipation of prospects camp.
“You try to make sure you don’t have that feeling again, get that feeling out of your stomach. I think that is what’s driving me to make this team this year.”
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
When the Toronto Maple Leafs make their way out West in March and play the Vancouver Canucks, the game is scheduled for 4 p.m. locally as usual, but that should change.
And for very good reason. While the following is a small, perhaps even niggling thing to some degree, it’s important.
Over the past few years, that game has always been at that time, but now things are different. Before this season, those Saturday television rights were owned by CBC, and as an independent party to the game and contractor with the league, the network was given the right to ask Vancouver to move the game from the traditional 7 p.m. start on a Saturday night to 4 p.m. to increase the audience in the East.
Why the Canucks ever agreed to it in the first place is a mystery, but it’s almost certainly been put into in the contract at some point.
But now Rogers owns those rights, and for those who may not have noticed, Rogers is also part-owner of the Leafs. If the game were allowed to go ahead at 4 p.m., which always takes the home-team Canucks out of their usual routine and is certainly an advantage for the visiting team, it would mean that the owners of the Leafs were able to demand that Vancouver change the start time to the advantage of their team. It gives them an unfair competitive advantage.
This is a clear conflict of interest which the league should not let stand.
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound St. John’s, Newfoundland native says he is “feeling pretty good” following the concussion that ended his season last March 31, but does not know yet whether he’ll be cleared medically for the start of camp. He plans to visit a concussion specialist again before he takes his training camp physical next Thursday and is hoping he’ll get the go-ahead from everyone to practice with full contact.
“I feel pretty good,” Clowe told me today. “I’m not going to say if I’m ready to go or not because I’ve got to get cleared to play and I’ve got to see the doctor again before the season starts. But I feel good. I, obviously, haven’t done any contact. I’ve been skating the last few weeks, just scrimmaging since I got back with the guys. I’ve been on the ice and stuff.
“The biggest thing with me is, when we start practicing, if I get some contact in then and just go from there. I’ve been feeling pretty good. I’ve been working out pretty normal the last, I guess, month.”
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher today announced the National Hockey League club has agreed to terms with RW Nino Niederreiter on a three-year contract.
Niederreiter, 22 (9/8/92), recorded 36 points (14-22=36), a plus-12 rating and 44 penalty minutes (PIM) in 81 regular season games during his first season with Minnesota in 2013-14. He established career highs in every statistical category and ranked second on the team in hits (175), tied for third in goals, fourth in plus-minus rating and fifth in shots. The 6-foot-2, 209-pound native of Chur, Switzerland, added six points (3-3=6) and led the team with 40 hits in 13 playoff games. Niederreiter tallied the game-winning goal in overtime of Game 7 at Colorado on April 30 to become the third player in NHL history to register his first two playoff goals in a Game 7 and the second youngest player in Stanley Cup Playoff history to record an overtime goal in Game 7. He also netted the game-winning goal in Game 4 vs. Chicago on May 9. Niederreiter skated in four games with Switzerland at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
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.
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