Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
from the Chicago Sun-Times,
‘We want to be a puck possession team,’’ said Savard, who was promoted to replace fired Trent Yawney last November. ‘‘With the changes we made, we can do a lot more stuff. We’re a different team than last year. Our skill level has really improved.’‘
Robert Lang, Yanic Perreault, Sergei Samsonov, Kevyn Adams and promising rookies Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are on board now, causing Savard to think differently about his team.
‘‘We’ll change a lot of stuff,’’ he said. ‘‘Our forecheck will be a little more under control. Though we still want to continue to be aggressive, we want to play smart. Our neutral zone is going to be changed, and we’ll change our D-zone coverage.
‘‘There’s a lot we want to accomplish in 21 days, but we’re going to be ready.’‘
From the CP via TSN,
It might be time for hockey fans in Chicago to come out of hiding.
The Blackhawks have consistently been among the NHL’s lowest-ranked teams in attendance in recent years, but they believe that could start changing this season thanks to a revamped roster.
“We get plenty of walk-ups for our games,” said GM Dale Tallon. “They’re there. They’re wanting us to succeed. They’re waiting for an excuse to come to the United Center.”
Yesterday Chicago GM Dale Tallon participated in a NHL conference call with the media…
Q. Dale, you’ve done a lot of work to strengthen your team both with your off-season signings and last year’s draft choices. Looking at the Central Division, Detroit is still strong, St. Louis geared up, Columbus, almost like you can’t tell but they have the potential. How do you see this division going? Do you see Chicago in the playoff hunt this year?
DALE TALLON: Well, we’re anticipating we’ll be in the playoff hunt. We like the mixture of young players we have. We’ve bridged the gap with some of our veteran signings in the off-season, a couple of our trades.
You know, it’s a very difficult division. I think St. Louis has improved. Nashville’s got a good team. Detroit is obviously the favorite. But, you know, we feel we can compete with anybody. Obviously it will take a little time for everything to gel. We have enough offense now. That’s one thing we lacked in the last couple years. We were one of the lowest scoring team in the league, and we’ve tried to improve on the power play, get more depth on the offensive side as well as the experience that some of our young guys achieved and gained the last two seasons. It should bode well for them as far as their future. We’re pretty happy with our team. We’re never satisfied. But the direction we’re headed in, it looks a lot better.
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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