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Kukla's Korner Hockey

Evening Line- Bill Peters

“I think it’s going to be a lot easier going into year two, just the comfort level they have with me and also myself with them. Now, as a coaching staff, we know what they’re capable of and should be able to put them in positions to succeed. … With the players, I think the comfort level will be higher and that’s the most important thing.”

-Bill Peters, head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes.  More from Chip Alexander of the News & Observer.

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They Put Their Mark On The Game

from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,

In this, the second installment of our three-part series, we take at look at the seven living men who, each in his own way, have left a unique and indelible mark on the game.

Scotty Bowman, retired coach

Here’s the thing you need to know about Scotty Bowman. Few of his players over the years liked him. In fact, many actively despised him. But as Ken Dryden wrote in his seminal book, The Game, that didn’t matter.

“What [made] Bowman work is an understanding, the understanding that must exist between a coach and his team,” Dryden wrote. “He knows the most important thing to a team is to win; we know he does what he does to make us win.”

In fact, few men ever did that one thing better. Bowman holds the NHL record for career wins in both the regular season (1,244) and the playoffs (223). No coach has won more Stanley Cups than Bowman's nine: five with the Canadiens; one with the Penguins and three with the Red Wings. He's also earned five more as a front office executive, including one this past season as a special advisor to his son, Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman.

It all adds up to a legacy unmatched in the history of the game and one that's made him the professor emeritus of the hockey community. If there’s a question asked, there's no one who can answer it with more authority than Bowman.

Don Cherry, broadcaster

read on

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Anze Kopitar Contract Talks Not Close

from Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider,

Anze Kopitar has been eligible to sign a contract extension with the Los Angeles Kings since July 1, but don’t expect an announcement on an extension for the star center in the immediate future.

The Kings and Kopitar are are “not even in the ballpark” in their discussions, Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi told LA Kings Insider over email when asked whether the two sides were “close” to reaching an agreement.

Kopitar has one year remaining on the seven-year, $47.6-million contract he signed in September, 2009. The nine-year NHL veteran will be paid $7.7-million in the final season of a contract that carries a $6.8-million cap hit. In 683 career games, Kopitar has 218 goals, 610 points and a plus-45 rating. The two-time Stanley Cup winner was a finalist for the Selke Trophy in each of the last two seasons and was a Lady Byng Memorial Trophy finalist in 2014-15, when he was an NHL All-Star for the third time. In 70 career playoff games, Kopitar has 18 goals, 60 points and a plus-22 rating.

continued

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Would You Want Patrick Kane On Your Team?

from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,

... Simply put, the Hawks are the model franchise, on and off the ice.

Which is why Patrick Kane might be done in Chicago. And why maybe he should be.

It’s still uncertain if the Hawks are seriously considering trading Kane in light of an ongoing police investigation in Hamburg, N.Y. But if they are, they won’t have any trouble finding any takers.

At least five teams contacted the Hawks once the Buffalo News first reported the investigation — which involves Kane and a woman at his Hamburg home — and said they’d be willing trade partners should the Hawks decide to cut ties with their superstar winger, according to a league source. The 26-year-old is entering the first year of a record-setting eight-year, $84-million contract.

Kane has not been charged with a crime — and that can’t be said enough — for the events of Aug. 2, which are being investigated by both police and the district attorney’s office. But another source said that Hawks brass had sternly warned Kane not to put himself in any more bad situations — and put the team in a negative light — after his much-publicized Cinco de Mayo escapades in Madison, Wis., in 2012. That was supposed to be his last strike.

Now this.

So regardless of the legal outcome of the investigation, Kane’s future with the team is murky at best.

more

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  Tags: patrick+kane

Will Joe Thornton Get In The Hockey Hall Of Fame?

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

Joe Thornton is going to be an interesting test case for the Hockey Hall of Fame even though he clearly should be a no-brainer. But no question there are those who will hold his lack of a Stanley Cup against him. Of course, he still has time to win one before his career is out. But even if he doesn’t, it would be ridiculous to make that argument against him. His career screams Hall of Famer.

The Case For

Thornton, a consistent top-end point producer his entire career, currently sits 36th all-time in regular-season points with 1,259 (358 goals-901 assists), ahead of Hall of Famers Michel Goulet, Bernie Federko, Joe Nieuwendyk, Mike Bossy and Glenn Anderson, among others.

And he’s still got a few more seasons left in his career. For example, say the 36-year-old center plays three more seasons and I’m very conservative here in projecting 60 points a year. That puts him on pace for 1,439 career points, which would rank him 16th all-time, sandwiched between Teemu Selanne and Bryan Trottier.

As it stands, his 901 career assists are 19th all-time already, one assist away from passing Bryan Trottier.

continued

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A Shot At The Stanley Cup For Every Eastern Conference Team

from USA TODAY,

A clean slate at the start of a new season provides optimism for every team: A look at the Eastern Conference teams' reasons for hope in ending the drought.

Disclaimer: This is not to say that each item is created equal, or that each one is the only component to a deep run. This list does not account for injuries, which could cripple even the strongest teams. These are simply plausible reasons why your favorite team could be in store for a deep run. It's only fair after discussing the roadblocks to success last week.

Boston Bruins: Four foundation blocks. Boston fans can moan about the loss of Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic, but that doesn’t change the reality that the Bruins have a first-rate center combination in David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron, a former Norris Trophy winner Zdeno Chara on defense and in elite goalie in Tuukka Rask. If you presume that coach Claude Julien will insist the Bruins play stingy team defense and hope that David Pastrnak blossoms into a 20-goal scorer, you can make a case that the Bruins are still a contender.

Buffalo Sabres: Timing could be right for Cinderella remake. Unquestionably, the Sabres are going to be the most improved team next season. Their forward group will include Evander Kane, Ryan O'Reilly, Tyler Ennis, Matt Moulson, Brian Gionta, plus super rookie Jack Eichel and prized prospect Sam Reinhart. The defense will be significantly improved, and the Sabres are also courting free agent defenseman Cody Franson. Remember that the 1990-91 Minnesota North Stars once stunned the hockey world by reaching the Stanley Cup Final with a losing record. The NHL is overdue for a Cinderella playoff story.

read on

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Will Nazem Kadri Be An “Elite Player” This Year?

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

Kadri, perhaps in line for a higher-profile role at centre, looked sturdy on Monday during an informal team workout. Last year he was listed at six feet, 188 pounds, but what everyone wants to know, from club boss Brendan Shanahan, to new coach Mike Babcock to the patience-weary patrons in the purples, is will his maturity level keep a better pace? Babcock has said he expects Kadri to be "an elite player" this year.

"There was no playing around this summer, it was right to work," Kadri said. "I was just trying to improve on my weaknesses. I want to continue to start doing that, becoming more professional and kind of handling myself the right away.

"There have been ups and downs and that's just how it is. Obviously in Toronto there is a lot of speculation and a lot of scrutiny. Sometimes that's hard for young players, but as time goes on, the maturity comes into play. You start to realize this is what you really want."

After protracted talks, the RFA did get a million-dollar raise up to $4.1 million US, but not the multi-year pact he had been negotiating at mid-season.

read on

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  Tags: nazem+kadri

It Will Soon Be Hockey Season

from Adrew Gross of The Record,

It is September.

Seriously....

With that in mind, here’s a list of things that make this sports writer giddy with the opening of NHL training camps in a little more than two weeks (and with a large chunk of the league’s players already skating informally at their respective teams’ practice facilities):

* Getting reacquainted to the wondrous speed of the game. It always takes a few practices or preseason games to retrain the eye to keep up with the on-ice action, no matter how long you’ve been watching the sport. The breakneck pace of the sport is what gets lost in translation on television. Seeing the sport played live by the best hockey players in the world is truly a privilege....

* Watching the notoriously overbearing Toronto media lose its collective mind trying to deal with new Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello as he shuts down any leaks of information from within the organization.

read on

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Morning Line- Milan Lucic

"I honestly don't know what's going to happen moving on. I mean I have one year left on my contract, and there's a possibility that I can hit the [unrestricted free agent] market.

"It's obviously something that's been a dream of mine since I've been a kid, is to play in your hometown and play for the Canucks, but right now the main focus is going down to L.A. and trying to make the most of that."

-Milan Lucic of the Los Angeles Kings.  More from Mike Battaglino of NHL.com.

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  Tags: milan+lucic

NHL players’ summer training regimens aren’t all about strength training

This story from the Toronto Sun's Michael Traikos is particularly interesting, because it lifts the veil over a summertime's worth of NHL training that isn't all carrying kettlebells and circuit training--mostly because players tend to "lose their shape" over the course of an 82-game season:

Emaciated bodies need recovery time. So players are told to stay out of the gym for the first few weeks and get back to a normal sleep schedule. Eight months of staying up late to play games, traveling at all hours of the night, while eating post-game meals of chicken wings and pizza, not to mention the mental stress of competing at the highest level, takes its toll. The summer is about building the body back up, piece by piece.

“The first half of the summer, we’re just trying to get these guys into alignment,” said [Biosteel Sports' Matt] Nichol. “For some, training camp hits and they just ditch their strength training and just hold on. A lot of the guys will show up at the end of the season like they haven’t had a solid meal.”

The off-season is split into four parts. The first month involves transition and recovery. Depending on specific diets catered towards the age of the player and how long his season was. Gary Roberts, who trains Steven Stamkos, Mark Scheifele and James Neal, ships in his favourite spring food from Italy and has Nature’s Emporium prepare organic meals for his clients.

“I’m an extremist when it comes this nutrition part and the holistic part and the whole foods part,” said Roberts. “I’m not a big supplement guy. I don’t push four shakes a day, like guys say I did.”

Players usually don’t lift weights for the first month. But they might do gymnastics-based training, like rolling and tumbling and even head to a nearby playground to climb on the monkey bars.

“If you see all these guys in January or February, they’re all walking like ducks, because their IT band is fused. You need to recover from that,” said Beyond The Next Level’s Dan Ninkovich, who trains John Tavares and Sam Gagner. “People used to train for exercise. Now they train for the movement. A healthy player is the best player. Not the player who can squat 500 pounds.”

As the summer progresses, players go from recovery training to building strength, then turning that strength into power and speed. By the end of August, it is about conditioning.

Continued

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  Tags: biosteel, john+tavares

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com

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