Kukla's Korner Hockey
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…
from Len Ziehm of the Chicago Sun-Times,
There’s no doubt in my mind the Blackhawks will make a run at the Stanley Cup this season. They certainly should, given their surprisingly strong finish with a young, inexperienced team last season and the offseason additions of Marian Hossa, John Madden and Tomas Kopecky.
Hossa, Madden and Kopecky all played on teams that were big winners last season. They don’t just bring necessary experience; they also bring the mind-set necessary for the Hawks to take their next step forward…
Here are the five biggest potential pitfalls the Hawks must overcome if they are to make a run at their first Stanley Cup title since 1961:
Nikolai Khabibulin was pretty good in goal last season, but he was no world-beater in his four seasons with the Hawks overall. The Hawks should be successful without him.
Cristobal Huet? He just needs to play—virtually all the games, not just every other one.
from Shawn P. Roarke of NHL.com,
Less than two hours after the Blackhawks completed an eight-hour post-game flight from Chicago to this picturesque European capital, the team was on the ice, going through a spirited practice that featured a lively scrimmage and some drills.
“It was just getting the bus legs out a little bit, so to speak,” Hawks captain Jonathon Toews said.
Despite the rigors of flying overnight to Europe and arriving in Zurich in the late afternoon Saturday, the Blackhawks welcomed the opportunity to hit the ice for an hour—even if many of them were slipping on equipment that was still slightly damp from Friday night’s 4-3 win against Minnesota at the United Center.
“I definitely felt a little tired,” said Patrick Kane, who had two goals Friday night. “It was a good practice, though, to get the kinks out.”
Joel Quenneville talks to the media after the Blackhawks’ first practice in Zurich. Watch the video below…
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,
“It was getting really bad,” said Hossa, who played with the injury last season and scored 40 goals with the Red Wings. “The smartest idea was to do it at the time.
“When I lifted something light, I couldn’t ... raise my arms. It was that bad. Right now the rehab is going well, [and] I can’t wait to start working out with the heavier weights on the upper body. When I’m 100 percent, I’ll jump on the ice and not worry about anything.”
Hossa said the injury worsened during the Wings’ run to the Stanley Cup finals last season as he was limited to three assists in the seven-game series the Penguins won. That performance drew the ire of many Wings fans who didn’t realize Hossa was injured.
“That’s part of our business,” Hossa said. “We can’t talk about injuries during the playoffs. People can say whatever they want. They don’t see what’s happening inside.”
Lyle Richardson for Fox Sports says Chicago, Detroit and Columbus will battle for first in the division with Chicago taking the title.
from Gareth Edwards of the Edinburgh News,
He is a sporting legend who is still virtually unknown in his hometown of Edinburgh.
The first Scotsman ever to win a place in Canada’s Hockey Hall of Fame, Charlie “Chuck” Gardiner is still regarded as a local hero in Winnipeg, where he first made his name in the sport….
He went on to become one of the game’s pre-eminent goal tenders during the 1920s and 30s and was known as the “Wandering Scotsman” as he used to charge down strikers.
He rose to NHL stardom with the Chicago Blackhawks and his greatest achievement came in 1934, when he led the Blackhawks to their first triumph in the Stanley Cup.
Just a few weeks later, however, on 13 June, 1934, he died of a brain hemorrhage brought on by a tonsil infection he had been fighting. He was only 29.
from Mike Brophy of Sportsnet,
Another huge concern is the team’s goaltending. With Nikolai Khabibulin departed for Edmonton, the starter’s job falls to Cristobal Huet. Yikes! Huet has enjoyed a certain level of success in his five-year NHL career with Los Angeles, Montreal, Washington and now the Blackhawks, but he has done absolutely nothing to suggest he can be the No. 1 goaltender on a winning team.
Finally, the Hawks got more bad news this week when it was announced agitating winger Adam Burish would be lost to the club for six months after blowing out his knee. His loss will most certainly be felt.
There is every chance in the world the Blackhawks will be a very competitive team this season and they could challenge for another berth in the Western Conference final. But it would be foolhardy to ignore an unhealthy number of concerns facing this team.
The following statement was issued today by Chicago Blackhawks Head Team Physician Dr. Michael Terry:
“Adam Burish went into the boards on Sunday night in Minnesota and injured his right knee. When a player like him leaves the ice it is always concerning, and unfortunately he suffered an ACL tear. He will undergo a reconstruction as soon as possible and we anticipate a complete recovery. His return will take approximately six months.”
Patrick Kane held an online Q & A with the fans today at ESPN,
Patrick, most of the nation has high hopes for this Blackhawk team considering you guys exceed all expectations last season. How has this team responded in the locker room, and can you guys channel that into a long run at the Stanley Cup?Go Hawks and have a great season!
Patrick Kane: I think it’s the same group. The same atmosphere. I think last year was one of those years that you didn’t want to end. Unfortunately it did end. This year, we’re a year older and we added a guy like Hossa who will help us out a lot. Really, it will propel us to the next level. WE want to bring home the cup. It hasn’t happened in a while. We don’t want to leave this year to chance.
from Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
“At the end of the year in the playoffs, I thought I had a really good run so that’s something I’m going to draw off of. That’s the way I can play and know how to play. There were ups and downs, but I did a lot of good things, too. Was it my best year? No, I wouldn’t say that, but it’s a learning experience as well.”
Being more consistent, especially in his own end, starts with skating for Campbell.
“I wasn’t moving my feet at some times last year and that just makes the biggest difference for me,” Campbell said. “I’ve always wanted to be a consistent player and felt I did that in the past. There were a few too many peaks and valleys.”
Campbell found himself trying to do too much on occasion last season to live up to his contract, which is no longer the biggest on the Hawks. Marian Hossa’s 12-year, $62.8 million deal now sits at No. 1.
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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