Kukla's Korner Hockey
The Chicago Blackhawks walk the red carpet before their home opener last night. A photo gallery of the entrance can be viewed here (nice suit Dustin Byfuglien).
from Len Ziehm of the Chicago Sun-Times,
‘‘We’re getting used to all the hoopla and off-ice shenanigans and stuff like that,’’ center Jonathan Toews said. ‘‘There’s always a lot going on around us.’‘
‘‘It’ll be nice to see what kind of suit [Adam] Burish has on, or if he wears a stupid hat to make a fool of himself,’’ Sharp said of his former road roommate who is recovering from knee surgery. Burish, who isn’t expected to play until March, was back at the United Center on Friday clamoring to be part of the opening night excitement.
‘‘It is pretty cool,’’ Toews said. ‘’[The red carpet] gives you the Hollywood feel. It’s as close as we get to being a [movie] star, and it’ll be good to set the stage for the season. I’ll wear my nicest suit, for sure.’‘
from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,
We had puck possession time, quality chances, we had zone time,” Quenneville said. “The only place we got beat tonight was on the board.”...
“I don’t know how the media perceives it, we don’t think there’s a gap,” said Versteeg, whose power play goal pulled the Blackhawks within one in the third period. “We think we’re right there with every team in the league. But we’re not the only team that thinks that.”...
“This was a good opportunity to take down a great team,” Sharp said. “I think we let one slip away here.”
added 8:50am, The key moment of the game- Wings kill a long 5 on 3.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
I began my phone conversation with Wings coach Mike Babcock by saying I was trying not to get too caught up in the third game of the season, but that’s where he cut in.
“I’m caught up in it, you may not be, but I am,” Babcock said. “We’re 0-2.”
Babcock isn’t fun to be around when his team isn’t playing well. Dropping a season-opening pair to Central Division foe St. Louis in Stockholm did not sit well with him. So, yes, he’s jacked up for tonight against the young-and-rising, Cup-contending Blackhawks, who grabbed three out of four points from Florida in Helsinki.
“I watched their games because they played before us and, to me, they got up and down the ice really well,” Babcock said of the Hawks. “They’ve got tons of offense. I was impressed with their young players.”
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Monitoring each NHL team’s proximity to the NHL’s $56.8 million salary cap has become a daily routine.
The Chicago Blackhawks are a great example of a team whose payroll indicates that moves are coming and good players could have to go.
The Blackhawks have 13 players under contract for 2010-2011 and a committed payroll of $43 million. Assuming the cap stays the same, that leaves roughly $15 million for Chicago to re-sign ten restricted free agents and two potential unrestricted free agents in John Madden and injured forward Adam Burish.
Star forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, along with defenceman Duncan Keith are among the Hawks’ free agent class.
Early indications suggest Keith can expect $5 million or higher, while Toews and Kane may come in around $6.5 million each on an annual average. That’s $18 million for just three players.
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,
“Hopefully what we did this summer, in training camp and over this season is going to be enough work and we’re going to beat them when it really counts,” Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. “This game is a test for us. Every game is going to be one to look forward to when we’re playing the Wings. It’s one of those games we’re definitely going to pick up our game and speed for.”...
“It’s going to be a great test. I’m sure they’re going to be sour after how they came back from their trip,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “We know how competitive our division is going to be and certainly they’re a team that always has been at the top. It’s a good measuring stick for ourselves knowing we’ll have to be at our best.”
from Len Ziehm of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Now the Wings don’t look so scary without Marian Hossa, Jiri Hudler, Mikael Samuelsson, Tomas Kopecky or Ty Conklin. They all changed teams in the offseason. Hossa and Kopecky signed as free agents with the Hawks, though shoulder surgery has kept Hossa off the ice.
The two games with the Blues suggest the Wings have goaltending problems.
from Steve Rosenbloom of RosenBlog at the Chicago Tribune,
Patrick Kane has been getting time on the penalty-killing unit. Yes, the most offensively magical Blackhawk is hopping over the boards on the most thankless unit.
Here’s what gives: This is Kane’s career at a crossroads.
I don’t care if it’s early in the professional life for the kid who’s still not old enough to drink (even if he’s old enough to allegedly beat up a senior cabbie). And I don’t care if Hawks coach Joel Quenneville is underplaying the move by saying it’s just a “way of getting him a little bit more ice time in the course of games.’’ This is a career-defining opportunity that Kane needs to master. Adult skate, kid.
At least, it has been that way with players Kane grew up watching, if not idolizing: Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Steve Yzerman, Mike Modano and Joe Sakic. The greatest offensive forces took shifts on the most defensive unit.
via Len Ziehm of Inside the Blackhawks at the Chicago Sun-Times,
The Blackhawks might regret spending the last days of training camp and first two games of the regular season in Europe. It’s been a taxing trip on the players, what with the eight-hour time change between Chicago and Helsinki. It was a good project for team bonding and good for the NHL to expose its product beyond North America, but now the Hawks have to adjust their body clocks all over again for the return to the U.S. and still another road game in Detroit on Thursday. This little stretch of three games is the first good measure of the Hawks this season.
added 2:08pm, from Mike Kiley of Blackhawks Confidential,
Shut up about the Stanley Cup finals being within reach. Shut up about One Goal. Shut up about Cup or Bust.
Once again, the Blackhawks have to learn a hard lesson from the Detroit Red Wings. Drop the puke and play.
from Spector’s Hockey,
Pierre LeBrun reports agent Pat Brisson, who represents Chicago Blackhawks stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, has quietly begun contract talks with Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman. Toews and Kane are slated to become restricted free agents next summer and would be tempting targets for offer sheets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As LeBrun points out the Blackhawks have too many good players and not enough cap space. The ‘Hawks already have over $42 million committed to twelve players for next season, and Toews and Kane will be seek considerable raises after this season. A conservative estimate is it could cost the Blackhawks between $10-$12 million per season to retain those two. Something’s gotta give in Chicago after this season and it won’t be Kane and Toews.
more plus additional player talk…
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.
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