Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the AP via USA TODAY,
Hundreds of mourners from the world of hockey and sports gathered Monday for funeral services for Wirtz, 77, who died Wednesday of cancer.
Befitting Wirtz’s place in Chicago’s sports landscape, those in attendance included Blackhawks greats such as Stan Mikita and Chris Chelios, as well as NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Chicago Bulls and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, and Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch.
“I came here as a young boy, to Chicago, and to be fathered and grandfathered by Mr. Wirtz was a privilege,” said Darryl Sutter, a former Blackhawks player and coach and one of several former players who recalled Wirtz’s role as a father figure.
Listening to the Wings/Leafs game online, the Toronto announcers stated Brent Sopel was signed by Chicago today.
added 9:20pm, TSN link now available, believed to be $1.5M for 1 year.
from the Chicago Sun-Times,
Martin Havlat, their leading scorer last season, felt pain in his groin in the first period of Tuesday’s exhibition game against the Florida Panthers and skated off the ice. He didn’t return in that game and didn’t take the ice when the Hawks resumed training camp Wednesday in Bensenville.
‘‘He’s day-to-day,’’ Savard said. ‘‘I’d like to have him play Sunday in the last exhibition game [at Minnesota]. I’d like the whole team to be available then.’‘
That won’t likely happen. Rookie center Jonathan Toews, who broke an index finger in the second preseason game Sept. 19, remains doubtful for the Oct. 4 opener at Minnesota, and Tuomo Ruutu, also listed as day-to-day, is nursing a sore knee.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Physically, personality-wise, and in their backgrounds, the two could not be more diverse.
Toews is a solid, quiet, Canadian boy from Winnipeg, Manitoba, who played on the backyard rink until he was too cold to go on. He honed his skills at the University of North Dakota and was selected with the third overall pick in 2006. Although he just turned 19 in April, there is nothing about Toews that says “boy.”
Kane is not quite scrawny, but definitely slight. Later, he’ll describe with a grin how he “bulked up” over the summer, jumping from 163 pounds in July to 170 at the start of camp.
from Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
General manager Dale Tallon has been trying to trade for a veteran defenseman for weeks, and he still might be able to pull off such a deal using his surplus of forwards and prospects as bait.
There have been whispers of Tallon inquiring about Ottawa’s Wade Redden, who could be available because of his $6.5 million salary and impending free agency, but the price would be steep. You’d have to figure the Senators would want back another defenseman such as Seabrook or Keith, and maybe a pick and a prospect, or perhaps both.
Tallon might be better off keeping Seabrook and Keith and continuing his search for a top-four defenseman elsewhere.
added 12:57pm, Chicago claims Thrashers Dman Pilar…
from the Chicago Blackhawks,
It is with deep sorrow that the Chicago Blackhawks announce that team President, Mr. William W. Wirtz, 77, passed away early Wednesday morning at Evanston Hospital after a recent battle with cancer.
Mr. Wirtz is survived by his wife, Alice, five children, Rocky, Gail, Karey, Peter and Alyson, and seven grandchildren.
added 8:31am, from Chicago Business,
Wirtz often said his goal was for the team to win another Stanley Cup, but he was not known to spend lavishly on the team.
His steadfast refusal to get into bidding wars to acquire the services of the game’s best players earned Wirtz the nickname “Dollar Bill.” That image changed somewhat when the club signed goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin to a four-year, $27 million contract in 2005.
from the Chicago Tribune,
The obvious reason Blackhawks coach Denis Savard has taken Patrick Kane under his wing is to groom the 18-year-old into the marquee player the franchise craves. But the NHL Hall of Famer has a personal reason as well.
“I’m going to keep my promise — I told his dad I would take care of him,” Savard said. “He’s a great kid.”
from the AP via Sports Illustrated,
Rookie center Jonathan Toews, Chicago’s first-round pick in last year’s draft, broke his right index finger Wednesday night during the Blackhawks’ 4-3 preseason loss to Columbus and is expected to be sidelined two-to-three weeks.
from the Chicago Daily Herald,
Maybe the Blackhawks will score more goals on the power play.
Maybe the pieces will fall into place on defense.
But for the Hawks to make the playoffs for the first time since 2002, it’s likely going to come down to whether they get consistently good goaltending from Nikolai Khabibulin.
Now halfway through his four-year, $27 million contract, the richest in team history, Khabibulin hasn’t lived up to expectations - though in his defense there hasn’t been a good team in front of him for those two seasons.
from the Chicago Sun-Times,
Rookie Patrick Kane did nothing in his first scrimmages with the Blackhawks to hurt his chances of making the team. The 18-year-old No. 1 pick in June’s NHL draft scored two nifty goals in leading his Black squad to two wins Saturday at the United Center.
Kane’s second goal was especially eye-catching—a spin-o-rama move against three defenders, just like coach Denis Savard was noted for in his Hall of Fame playing days, before scoring top shelf.
also from the Chicago Sun-Times,
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane haven’t played an NHL game. Still, the rookie forwards are already being used to promote ticket sales on the team’s Web site and model the new sweaters the Hawks will wear this season. Realistic or not, general manager Dale Tallon predicted Toews and Kane would become ‘‘the cornerstone of our franchise’’ before they had even completed a day of training camp.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org