Kukla's Korner Hockey
Alan Ryder of the Globe and Mail has some advice for the coaches of the six Canadian teams…
I know you are new to Calgary. So I thought I might give you some insight into your Flames. You inherit a pretty good team, a playoff team. But the West is a tough conference, the Northwest is a tough division and it is important to get the most out of your guys to even ensure a playoff spot.
Something went wrong with the back end of the team last year. Goaltending is a fragile thing. Miikka Kiprusoff was not the same goalie as in prior seasons. I know this is a sensitive point, but he is no Roberto Luongo (who was the most valuable goalie in the NHL last season).
from the Calgary Herald,
...Anyway, they had an all-girl Western band playing. We’re having a few pops and enjoying ourselves.
“Well, by the end of the night, Mike’s up on stage, Burnsie’s up on stage. They’re both playing guitar and singing—Mike has a very good voice, I’ll have you know—with the band and the place is just going wild. That, to me, is Mike Keenan. “A funny guy. A personable guy. That other guy, the one you hear about all the time, he’s a stranger to me.’‘
The other guy, the one you hear about all the time, is the Mike Keenan of legend. The snarling, bullying, caustic martinet capable of eliciting either undying devotion or undying scorn from his players.
from the Calgary Sun,
“Dean is a friend of mine, but if it was Dean or somebody I don’t know, there’s no need for that.
“There’s nobody that can say, ‘I never hit anybody kinda cheap’ because you can get your elbows up or stick up, but you can’t hit somebody like that.”
Although the league has taken heat for being lenient on violent incidents, players were applauding Colin Campbell—the NHL’s disciplinarian—for taking a stand.
“It’s good the league did something,” Conroy said.
more on the suspension of Downie from Craig Conroy and other Flames too…
The Calgary Flames have signed free agent forward Mark Smith. The 29 year-old checker had spent his entire career with the San Jose Sharks organization after being drafted in the ninth round in 1997.
Smith was hampered by injuries last season and finished with 13 points in 41 games. He was invited to camp with the New York Rangers, but was released earlier this week.
fro Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
Stopping short of calling his team lazy, Mike Keenan delivered his first public tongue-lashing of the Flames, punctuating a tirade-filled practice with a frank critique of his squad.
“I am prepared to say the work ethic of this team can be upgraded considerably,” said Keenan, minutes after a spirited skate that had players rubbing one another out while Keenan screamed.
“We have to change the habits around here, maybe not the culture.”
From the CP,
The Iron Mike watch is underway in Calgary.
Will new head coach Mike Keenan alienate his players? Or will he give a club that underachieved last season the edge it needs to be a Stanley Cup contender?
Eyebrows disappeared into hairlines when Flames general manager Darryl Sutter brought Keenan on board in June, partly because Jim Playfair, handpicked by Sutter to replace himself as head coach prior to the 2006-07 season, agreed to stay on as associate coach to Keenan.
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail,
Halfway through training camp and the Calgary Flames have yet to win a game and no one seems unduly concerned — and why should they be? They are a mostly veteran bunch, led by a coach, Mike Keenan, who has been around forever and understands how ultimately meaningless exhibition play can be.
The goal, all along, has been for the Flames to hit the ground running for their home opener on Oct. 4 against the Philadelphia Flyers. In the meantime, Keenan has been installing a new system while trying to get a cursory look at a handful of the organization’s prospects, few of whom will be around when the puck drops for keeps.
from the Calgary Sun,
Having now sampled the new, high-tech togs unveiled by all 30 NHL teams this year for a handful of pre-season games, Flames players are understanding why the word sweat is in sweater.
“My undershirt is just soaked,” said forward Owen Nolan. “I find I’m changing them in between periods and a lot more frequently than before. I feel like I’m working out in a sauna.”...
“With the other ones, you had holes and got more of a breeze in there—maybe that’s why you got that drying out effect,” said blueliner Cory Sarich. “These seem to heat you up more because there’s not that two-way air flow.
“Besides, the jerseys don’t feel much different than the old ones. I don’t know if they’ve accomplished what they want. From talking to guys, I don’t feel they’re making a difference on the ice.”
Jarome Iginla participated in an NHL tele-conference today…
Q. You how important is it for you to get a few road wins under your belt right off the bat this year?
JAROME IGINLA: Yeah, I think last year was really, you know, it was tough on us to be at home and have the home record that we had, one of the top ones in the league; and then to go on the road and have one of the worst ones in the league. And then, you know, looking at it we were looking for answers the whole time.
And you know, I don’t know if we pinned it down, but I think as a group of players, I think we can all admit that we obviously have to find a way to be better. But you know, it’s not just ?? we also realize it wasn’t just bad breaks and bounces and things. There’s a lot of things to improve on. So part of it is confidence, but also it will be getting grittier and a little bit more determined and all those things. It will be nice to get off to a good start and get some good confidence and not to have to hear about the road record all year.
Cory Wolfe at Can West talks to Calgary Flames defenseman Cory Sarich,
CanWest: Does Flames defenceman Rhett Warrener own more cars or cowboy hats?
Sarich: I haven’t seen his collection, but I’m going to have to guess cowboy hats. I’ve only seen him bombin’ around in his truck and anybody who has a truck has gotta have some cowboy hats out here.
CanWest: What’s the best practical joke you’ve witnessed in an NHL locker-room?
Sarich: Slitting the coffee cups. Someone took two or three cups from the top of the pile and just made a slight cut under the edge of the rim. Guys fill up their coffee cups and when they go to take a drink, it pours all over them. They get frustrated with the first cup and they’re so busy trying to figure out who did it that they grab the next cup from the pile and it happens all over again.
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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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