Kukla's Korner Hockey
I’m definitely excited to have a fresh start. Talking to the coach [Bob Hartley], talking to management, they want me to have success, and that definitely makes your life easier. It keeps your mind free to just go out there and play as good as you can, instead of worrying about giving up bad goals and having to prove yourself every night – not just to the public, but to the coaching staff and everybody else. That’s definitely a nicer way to feel comfortable, if you know they have your back.”
-Jonas Hiller of the Calgary Flames. More on Hiller from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail.
The Calgary Flames are learning their lessons in truculence at training camp.
In a rare sight for an NHL club, the team devoted part of Thursday's practice to fighting technique, showing several players from their group of non-regulars how to drop the gloves.
"We're teaching the young players how to defend themselves," head coach Bob Hartley explained after practice.
The players - which included centres Paul Byron and Corbin Knight, right winger Ben Hanowski and left winger Trevor Gillies - were being taught on the ice by an outside instructor.
The Flames' regular roster already includes enforcers like wingers Brian McGrattan and Brandon Bollig and defenceman Deryk Engelland who signed a three-year, $8.7 million contract over the summer.
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
Far too often, the sports world forgets what it’s all about: Entertainment.
But what happened in this lakeside town of 13,000 over the last four days was a perfect illustration of two teams, a league, a broadcaster, a sponsor and every single player involved in getting it right.
The result: Pure magic for the residents of Sylvan Lake, who were privy to the very best the sport has to offer.
OK, so the hockey was ... well ... pre-season. But the packaging around it was sublime.
The ending: Perfection.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
“This is the first interview I’ve done, probably since the draft,” he says Tuesday afternoon, standing in a doorway on the dressing room level at the Saddledome. “Look — this (situation) works as long as the president of hockey operations doesn’t have a big ego. I want it clear to the fans: Brad (Treliving) is the GM here.”
Brian Burke’s next birthday will be his 60th, and his barber still charges by the acre. He is still one of the NHL’s prime interviews, even if Burke is out of practice.
It must be hard for a guy who used to hold court in the press box at Air Canada Centre to stay away from the cameras, no?
“I’ve never craved the spotlight,” Burke said. “It’s funny: Guys like you ask me for interviews, and then accuse me of wanting the spotlight. I never called anyone up and said, ‘Hey, let’s do an interview.’ But I gave colourful comments, and I think, thoughtful answers. But that was part of the job.
“I’m very happy to be in the background. The face of the franchise is, and should be, Brad.”
from Kristen Odland of the Calgary Herald,
Turns out, Mikael Backlund’s injury could be more serious than originally thought.
The 25-year-old centreman has been dealing with an abdominal strain he suffered during the final few weeks of training in Sweden before the Calgary Flames 2014-15 training camp. And although he’s been listed as day-to-day, Backlund has been missing from on-ice sessions since the beginning of training camp,
“I don’t have any news to tell you,” reported Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley when asked about the pivot’s absence from the ice over the past few days. “But I’m worried . . . he’s still not on the ice.”
Not a good sign, especially so early on and especially based on the strides he made last season, becoming one of Calgary’s most reliable pivots.
continue for more on the Flames...
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
“I think the one word that still comes with Calgary has to be patience,” McLennan told ESPN.com in a recent phone conversation. “They sold to fans a complete rebuild.”
What happened last season, in Brian Burke’s first year as team president and Bob Hartley’s first full season as coach in Calgary? The Flames were in a league-high 49 one-goal games. The Flames still finished sixth in the Pacific Division, but they competed every night.
“They were in every game, which was exciting for the fans,” McLennan said. “Bob Hartley did a great job, but the message still has to be, don’t expect too much. Allowing guys like Sean Monahan another year to see what he’s like, another year of experience for Sven Baertschi and Mikael Backlund. They have some young pieces.“
Johnny Gaudreau with a deek then the backhand goes top-shelf, far corner.
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 Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
With his family ties to the area and nearby ranch, it's been the perfect blend of his personal and professional life.
It's why in the summer of 2011 the Flames left-winger signed a below-market-value contract, a four-year, US$10.2-million pact.
But as Glencross readies for the coming campaign -- the final year of that contract, after which he's due to become an unrestricted free agent -- he's well aware what he's possibly facing. That includes in-season negotiations, being part of the rumour mill and maybe even having to approve a deal, since he has a no-movement clause.
However, the 31-year-old veteran is vowing he won't give another home-town discount.
"I love Calgary. I love the Flames organization. My last contract proves that I love this organization," he said after skating at WinSport at Canada Olympic Park with the collection of players in town. "But I've seen the contracts that are going out now and the comparables, and I'm not going to sell myself short.
"When it comes down to it, I'm an unrestricted free-agent come July 1st and I have a no-move clause in my contract. I'd like to get something done before the season started, but in the long run, the longer we wait, unrestricted free-agency's July 1st."
from Aaron Vickers at NHL.com,
Can the Flames take positive steps forward? -- The Flames finished 27th in the NHL standings last season with 77 points, but there were plenty of reasons for optimism. In the first year of a rebuild, the Flames fielded a competitive team which tied an NHL record for games decided by one goal (49).
Though new general manager Brad Treliving isn't necessarily measuring success in wins and points, progress remains a necessity.
"The expectation every day is we come out and we get better and we work," he said. "I think the demands that our coaching staff puts on the players is the expectation to get better. This isn't something we can sit here and say, 'Well, it was a great story last year and we did a lot of good things and we all felt good.' The fact of the matter is, we have to get better. It wasn't good enough last year.
"The expectation that we've put on ourselves internally and the demands we're going to put on people internally is not going to allow us to stand still because ultimately in this business, if you're standing still, if you think you're maintaining, you're going backward. If you're not moving forward, you're slipping."
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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