Kukla's Korner Hockey
The Chicago Blackhawks announced today that for the 2008-09 season the organization has surpassed its previous franchise record of 13,425 season ticket holders established in 1994-95, during the inaugural campaign at the United Center. In addition, a near-capacity crowd is expected for tonight’s home preseason game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, marking the most tickets sold for a home preseason contest in franchise history.
“Chicago is a hockey city and this is a tribute to our great fans and their hunger for a return to the glory days of the Blackhawks,” Senior Vice President of Business Operations Jay Blunk said. “We would like to thank our fans for giving us their trust and support and remind them we never forget that excellence on and off the ice is what they richly deserve.”
Season ticket sales for the 2008-2009 Blackhawks season have increased 300% from October 2007 when the base was 3,400. The increase for the upcoming campaign marks one of the biggest one-year turnarounds in sports ticket sales history for a team that did not qualify for the postseason.
from Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily Herald,
A year ago some questioned whether Kane’s size would prevent him from being the dynamic player on the NHL level that he was in juniors.
But Kane answered those questions by scoring 21 goals, leading the Blackhawks in scoring with 72 points, and winning the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year.
“People talk about a sophomore slump, but for us we were playing against the best players all year, the (Nicklas) Lidstroms, (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Henrik) Zetterberg, so we have a year under our belt for that, and we have a lot of confidence,” Kane said of himself and second-year center Jonathan Toews. “People were keying on us all year. We just have to go out and play hockey.”
from Len Ziehm of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Keith Carney became the seventh player to accept a free-agent tryout Friday while the Blackhawks were taking their physicals at the United Center—a prelude to today’s first official on-ice workout of training camp.
Carney is the most interesting of the bunch invited by general manager Dale Tallon. He was a solid defenseman for the Hawks from 1993-98, getting 67 points and 275 penalty minutes in 271 games. He was a plus-26 in 1996-97 and a plus-31 the season before that.
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,
Center Kevyn Adams, who played 27 games with the Hawks last season, and left wing Geoff Sanderson, who appeared in 41 games with the Edmonton Oilers, have been invited to training camp, which begins Sept. 20. Tallon said “there’s a good possibility” Adams will be re-signed to add leadership and strong defense as a fourth-line center.
“It’s time to give our kids a good opportunity,” Tallon said. “We have Kontiola, Bolland and we can put [Patrick] Sharp [at center]. We have a lot of depth [and] we feel we wanted to go younger. Lang was good for us, but I’m confident those kids are ready.”
The departure of Lang, who has recorded at least 50 points in eight consecutive seasons, puts a dent in the Hawks’ offense, which will be counting on the healthy return of winger Martin Havlat from shoulder surgery. He played just 35 games in ‘07-08.
The Chicago Blackhawks today announced the team has acquired a second round draft choice in the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft from the Montreal Canadiens (via the Toronto Maple Leafs) in exchange for center Robert Lang.
“Robert is a quality guy and we appreciate that he gave us everything that he had but this move gives one of our great young players an opportunity to step up,” Blackhawks General Manager Dale Tallon said. “We are excited about adding a second round draft pick in 2010 as we continue with our philosophy of building from within.”
Update 6:05pm ET (alanah): From the Habs—
Canadiens General Manager Bob Gainey announced today the acquisition of forward Robert Lang from the Chicago Blackhawks, in return for a second-round selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft (acquired from Toronto along with Greg Pateryn, in return for Mikhaïl Grabovski, July 3, 2008).
The Canadiens also re-signed Patrice Brisebois today for one more year.
from John Sandberg of ChicagoBlackhawks.com,
After fans had a chance to meet current and former Blackhawks players during the Blackhawks Night festivities at U.S. Cellular Field Tuesday, one thing was abundantly clear: anticipation and excitement for the upcoming season has reached a fever pitch.
More than 1,000 season ticketholders came out in support for the event, the first of its kind for the team and professional sports in Chicago….
When Steve from Lisle, Ill., was asked to answer his ‘One Goal’ for the upcoming season, the life-long Hawks fan was quick with his response.
“It’s an easy answer… to bring home the Stanley Cup. I think we have the parts in place to definitely get to the Stanley Cup final, and though we have a lot of younger players on the team I feel they are extremely mature and ready for the challenge.”
from Ryan Dixon of the Hockey News,
Just as numbers alone could never sum up his on-ice contributions, to truly appreciate the span of Chelios’ career it must be set against the backdrop of a sporting and cultural timeline.
Consider the following:
• Chelios played his first season of Jr. A hockey (then known as Tier-II) with the Saskatchewan League’s Moose Jaw Canucks in 1979-80 at age 17. Jimmy Carter was the president of the United States, not a punch line on The Simpsons and The Beatles could have still held a reunion tour with Ringo, Paul, George and John.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
When the Stanley Cup arrives at Scotty Bowman’s comfortable home outside Buffalo, the greatest coach of all time is in the shower after an early-morning round of golf with his son, Stan….
Apart from the passing of Bowman’s beloved yellow Labrador retriever, Chumley, little has changed in the backyard—the hammock in the same place; the table on which the Cup will rest for much of the day is the same.
If the Cup were able to speak, it might offer a sigh of relief and say, “Ah, it’s good to be home.”
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
My look at the best players in each franchise’s history takes me to the Central Division…
ST. LOUIS BLUES
Best forward: Brett Hull. You can make a case for Bernie Federko, but I’m not buying. Hull was just too good.
Best defenseman: Al MacInnis. He was just as good in St. Louis as he was in Calgary. Yes, he gets my nod over Chris Pronger.
from Ace Burpee of the Winnipeg Sun,
It’s been a while since I’ve been dead-set on approaching someone for an autograph, but this past Wednesday I was in the same room as Bobby Hull for the first time in my life. I was actually nervous, which hasn’t happened since I first met Bob Irving.
A five-pack on meeting Bobby Hull:...
3. How charitable is Bobby Hull? He signed two autographs for me ... one “To Ace, All the Best, Bobby Hull” ... the other dedicated to nobody in case I wanted to sell it on eBay. That’s not my thing, but I do now possess a 20-dollar bill signed by Bobby should the right charity angle come along.
1. If I had scored over 900 goals between the NHL and WHA, I’d wear a rug too. He’s earned the right.
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