Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Cris Kuc of Icing at the Chicago Tribune,
First, veteran goalie Nikolai Khabibulin will not play tonight. He had been scheduled to see his first action of the preseason. Savard’s explantation for the switch was the team wanted to get a good look at free-agent signee Antti Niemi.
With rumors of the Hawks looking to move Khabibulin since the signing of Cristobal Huet, there’s always cause for a pause when a change is made without a definitive explanation. If something is going on, it makes you wonder if it wouldn’t be better to see Khabibulin in the lineup so teams can take a look at him.
more on Chicago…
from Tim Sassone of he Chicago Daily-Herald,
(Denis) Savard appears stressed during the first week of camp, thinner and more gray, and he hasn’t been his normally enthusiastic self with reporters. It could be he’s simply preparing for an incredibly important season. Or he could be wondering what more he must do to get that new deal….
Is it possible there are some people in the front office that think the Hawks should have made the playoffs last spring?
Be serious. Savard didn’t get enough credit for the job he did, bringing the young players along like he did while managing the goaltending situation nicely by calling on Patrick Lalime at key times and getting results.
Now there’s Joel Quenneville sitting in the stands and watching practices, working for the organization as a part-time scout and consultant, which is how general manager Dale Tallon explained it.
from Brad Boron at ChicagoBlackhawks.com,
“They’re both number ones,” Tallon said. “They’re both excellent; they’re both qualified and it gives us a chance to win every night. In the discussions we’ve had with them, they seem to want to battle for the job. That will be a positive.”
While they may be fighting for minutes in the crease, Huet and Khabibulin share a mutual respect for one another.
“Cristobal seems like a really nice guy,” said Khabibulin. “I think it’s going to be fun to work with him.”
“I think [Khabibulin’s] a great goalie and it’s great that we have this tandem,” says Huet.
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.
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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