Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
“The right way is not cheating,” said Vancouver GM Jim Benning. “When you play the right way, you’re in position defensively to make the proper play. You’re not cheating to go on to the offence. Some guys are cheating for the breakaway, they’re not strong getting pucks out, it hurts you defensively. The right way means you’re in position to defend when you don’t have the puck.”
“I think it means the same thing to every coach, but I don’t think every team has it,” said Canucks captain Henrik Sedin. “To me, it means to be responsible. It’s playing a 200-foot game, taking care of the puck. Up by a goal, get the puck deep, don’t turn it over. You get a team that does that nine out of 10 times, you’re going to win a lot of games, doesn’t matter what lineup you have.”
“The right way? Don’t turn the puck over, get it deep, be in shooting lanes, finish your checks, do all the little things everybody knows how to do but you don’t get a lot of credit for them,” said Vancouver winger Jannik Hansen.
from Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post,
While his status as a legendary goalie is forever, the honeymoon period for Roy as the Avalanche's coach is over.
Another NHL season is here. At age 50, Roy has as much to prove as his young players. Was the Central Division title won by Colorado and a rookie coach two years ago more than a fluke?
"I've been learning a lot the last two years. I feel like I'm a much better coach today than I was then," Roy said. "And I'm probably never going to win the Jack Adams (Award as the league's best coach) again. It's kind of funny ..."
It would be a simplistic mistake to give Roy too much credit from the out-of-nowhere success enjoyed by the Avs, when he was named coach of the year in 2014 after the team won 52 regular-season games. It also would be wrong to drop all the blame on Roy for the flop that was last season, when poor puck possession and lack of grit at the blue line caused Colorado to sink near the bottom of the Western Conference.
But, heading into his third season on the Avalanche bench, the sample size will grow large enough to ask: How good is Roy as an NHL coach?
Grade on nothing except the scoreboard, which would merit an "A" for his first campaign and a "D" for his second season, then Roy has been only slightly better than average as a strategist and motivator.
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
Yes, the 114 days bookending hockey's off-season brought meaningful change all around - even for the Stanley Cup champions. Here are 10 questions to ponder heading into the NHL's 98th season:
1. Who will be this year's breakout stars?
Vladimir Tarasenko, Tyler Johnson and Victor Hedman catapulted into the "star" conversation with 2014-15 serving as their coming out party. Three early candidates to launch their career to another level this year are Valeri Nichushkin, Kevin Hayes and David Pastrnak. Nichushkin, 20, is flying under the radar a bit after an injury-riddled campaign of just eight games last year. He is 6-foot-4, he can skate, and he can pile up points no matter if he is on a line with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin or Jason Spezza. Hayes, 22, racked up 45 points in his rookie season with the Rangers but there is no shortage of opportunity to grab the scoring reins in New York. Pastrnak, just 19, turned heads with 27 points in 46 games last year, but could explode out of the game this fall on a line with a healthy David Krejci.
2. What will come first: a repeat Stanley Cup champion or the end of Canada's Cup drought?
No team has repeated as Stanley Cup champions since the Red Wings in 1997 and 1998, but that may happen sooner than Canada's 23-year drought ending. There have been repeats in all three other major sports since then (Patriots 04-05, Yankees 99-00, Lakers 09-10). The Blackhawks and Kings have traded Stanley Cups in the last four years - and the Eastern Conference may be due for a winner. Overall, Canada is likely to see fewer than the five teams ticketed for the big dance next spring. Vancouver and Winnipeg could take a step back. Ottawa broke through on the season's final weekend after a furious comeback. That leaves only Montreal and maybe Calgary as reasonably firm playoff bets. The Canadiens took Tampa Bay to Game 6 in the Atlantic division final last season. If they were to get past the Lightning this year, a stiff test may be waiting in Washington or the Islanders. Stay tuned.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
The hockey world is tilting on its axis as the puck drops on the 2015-16 NHL season, bringing about a collision of stars that comes around less than once in a generation.
Consider it a lunar eclipse even more rare than the blood moon.
You have generational talents in Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel — centres so enticing that teams were willing to lose for a year to get them — rocketing into orbit while the deities of the last decade, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, have neither burned out nor faded away.
There are obvious parallels to 2004-05 with a pair of future superstars arriving together, but the wider landscape is totally different. Back then Crosby and Ovechkin were desperately needed to inject excitement and sell a sport that was emerging from an ugly year-long lockout.
added 8:03am, from Victor Mather of the New York Times,
Every decade or so, hockey fans get excited over a “generational talent” coming into the N.H.L. Wayne Gretzky in 1978, Mario Lemieux in 1984, Eric Lindros in 1992 and Sidney Crosby in 2005 were all considered can’t-miss centers bound for immediate greatness and eventually the Hall of Fame.
This season there are two 18-year-old centers who are being heralded as the next great ones.
Sportsnet's Michael Grange conducted a thorough interview with Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan, and it reflects Shanahan's attention to detail:
The leather-bound appointment book lies in the centre of his desk, the edges perfectly aligned. There is a cell phone, parallel with two television remotes, not one a degree out of place.
Around Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan’s office there are some pictures you’d expect from a Hall-of-Fame player turned executive (lifting the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings) and some you might not (shaking hands with Bill Clinton and Stephen Harper).
There are books on business innovation: “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, and on sports innovation: “Big Data Baseball,” by Travis Sawchik.
But the 2015 edition of the brown, plush American Express appointment book takes pride of place. He fills it out himself, in ink, a habit he began when the high school graduate got his first real job, working alongside the league’s Ivy League trained lawyers at the head office in Manhattan. They go four years back now and the 2016 edition is already waiting at home.
He’s aware all this can be done digitally, but he likes the ritual and the permanence of the paper and pen.
“I’m more inclined to write stuff down, log things,” he says. “After you leave I’ll write down we spoke.”
Grange continues, and Shanahan also appeared on Prime Time Sports on Wednesday evening:
By Joe Sudberg,
A new jersey will hang from the rafters of the Prudential Center later this season. Beloved goaltender and future Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Martin Brodeur will become the fourth player in New Jersey Devils history to have his number retired when he is honored on February 9 prior to the Devils’ home game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Fans will be paying big ticket prices to get into the February 9 game. According to TiqIQ the cheapest February 9 Devils vs Oilers tickets are now listed for $288. The Devils are offering several “ticket packs” that start at $148 per seat to four home games this season, which include the game and a potential meet-and-greet with Brodeur. The current average price on the secondary market is $408.91.
from the CP at The Chronicle Herald,
Drew Doughty knows that opponents who go into Staples Center expect to get hit early and often by the big, physical Kings. Los Angeles won the Stanley Cup twice with that hard style of hockey.
Now, perhaps, more teams have the antidote.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are on the front lines of the NHL’s trend toward smaller, faster more skilled teams that hit and fight less and would rather win by holding onto the puck.
“If they can’t catch us, they can’t hit us,” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said.
Rule changes 10 years ago put the emphasis on skill over size, and in recent years more players like Tyler Johnson of the Lightning and Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames can thrive despite being well under six feet tall. While Martin St. Louis and Daniel Briere had to break the mould, players of their ilk are now far more prominent.
“It’s about if you can skate and play the game,” Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask said. “It gives more people the opportunity to play in the NHL. When you look at the kids, their dreams are not shattered if they don’t grow to be 6-2, 200 pounds.”
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Mike Babcock's voice is already gone and the puck hasn't even dropped yet on the 2015-16 season.
There's been a lot of teaching going on for the new Toronto Maple Leafs head coach.
And it's going to continue all season.
Win or lose -- and it's going to be much more of the latter in Year 1 of the Lou Lamoriello-Babs Don't Call It a Rebuild project -- Babcock is going to get his message through come hell or high water. That's going to be the biggest gain overall this season, changing the way things are done in these parts, re-engineering the DNA of a club that's gone about it the wrong way for a long time.
"We're going to get it so that we're organized; we're going to get it so that we're very hardworking and that we're in it together night in and night out and a hard group to play against," Babcock told a throng of media on the eve of the season opener against the Montreal Canadiens, the hoarseness in his voice in midseason form.
"We need to make it hard on teams. Now, how long is that going to take? I can't really answer that question. I just know we're working at getting better every day."
NEWARK, N.J. (October 6, 2015) – The New Jersey Devils announced today that the team will retire goaltending legend Martin Brodeur’s No. 30 jersey with a special pre-game ceremony, presented by Prudential, on Tuesday, February 9 at Prudential Center when the Devils host the Edmonton Oilers. The ceremony will be the highlight of an ongoing tribute to the Devils great and the culmination of a four-day celebration with Brodeur, starting February 6.
“I am humbled and honored to have this opportunity with the organization that drafted me over 20 years ago, and thrilled to share this moment with fans who have become like family,” said Brodeur, who was in Newark for the announcement.
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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