Kukla's Korner Hockey
By Nick Tranfaglia of TiqIQ,
Hockey fans shouldn't blink, -training camp is right around the corner and that means the start of the regular season as well.
If the Chicago Blackhawks are done celebrating their 2nd championship in 4 years, they'll notice they have 82 tough matchups on their way to a 5th.
What that translates to is not only a frenzy in Chicago, but also more expensive seats at the United Center, where ticket prices are up 56 percent since the Hawks' victory. Team execs will bank on a hangover from fans who are still drunk with excitement from last season, because at $369 for a seat this season Hawks fans will need to shell out. Last year the Hawks' season average at the United Center was $236, which must seem paltry in comparison.
from James Neveau of NBC Chicago,
The truth of the matter is that when you combine the flair with which he plays the game, the quality of his playoff performances, and the emerging maturity that is redefining his image in the minds of Chicago fans (and is catching nationwide notice, for that matter), then there is no other conclusion than to say that Kane is the face of hockey in the United States.
Guys like Parise and Quick may be able to match Kane if this were a question simply of ability, but when you factor in the star power, as well as the allure of playing for one of the game’s most storied franchises, then Kane is without equal in this discussion. At only 24 years of age, Kane is (hopefully) far from finished in this league, but when all is said and done, then he may end up usurping guys like Mike Modano and others as the most legendary American to ever lace up a pair of skates.
from Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press,
Team Canada coach Mike Babcock said Monday he had some thoughts on who his captain would be in Sochi, but he hadn't made a final determination. Toews figures in that slight reservation. Sidney Crosby is the consensus pick to be captain, but maybe Toews is better suited for the role.
In seven instances wearing a Team Canada jersey, Toews has won gold six times. He has the knack of being able to do whatever his team needs him to do at the right moment.
Many will argue -- and I'm firmly in this camp -- at this moment in time, Toews is the best player in the world. Durable, clutch and complete. He is The Franchise in Chicago and maybe Canada too.
Crosby is an offensive genius, but his defensive game is lacking. And while he leads with his play, he's not exactly Abe Lincoln when it comes to oratory skills.
Toews took a strong stand during the lockout and is never afraid to speak his mind. It's not hard to imagine him getting up in the dressing room and setting things straight.
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
You can say Patrick Kane’s hockey career has been a wild ride, so it’s fitting the South Buffalo native opted for a trio of crazy rides Saturday.
To celebrate his day with the Stanley Cup, the Chicago Blackhawks winger toured Western New York in a limousine bus and emerged from a military humvee and a Zamboni holding hockey’s holy grail aloft for adoring fans to see.
“Any time you can come back to Buffalo and bring the Stanley Cup, it’s a great thing for me,” Kane said Saturday morning during a visit to the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.
From No. 1 overall draft pick to two-time Stanley Cup champion to Olympic silver medalist to Conn Smythe Trophy winner — and all by age 24 — Kane has become one of the biggest names in the NHL. Each player on the winning team gets the Cup for a 24-hour period and Kane made a big entrance with it at Hangar 907 in Niagara Falls.
"I think it would be naive to say that there's no one in the NHL that is trying to get the edge in that fashion. But at the end of the day, whether you get caught now or not, down the road at some point those sort of things come out as we've seen in Major League Baseball and cycling.
"Eventually ... someone is going to save their own butt and throw you under the bus. And that's your legacy. That's what people remember: that you're a cheater and you took performance-enhancing drugs.
"I think guys that apologize and plead that they didn't know what they were doing, I think they know exactly what they're doing. So the more tests the better. It protects the guys that are being fair and are putting good things into their body. So I have no problem with (more testing)."
-Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks on the steroids issue, via the Toronto Sun.
from Dirk Hoag of On The Forecheck,
The controversial aspect of this plan involves bundling each single-game ticket for a Chicago Blackhawks matchup (Saturday November 16, Tuesday December 17, and Saturday April 12) with the purchase of a ticket to another game. So if you're planning a trip from the Windy City, you can either make another trip to Smashville during the season (a great idea, obviously) or find a way to dispose of that ticket.
Is this a ploy to keep Blackhawks fans from invading Bridgestone Arena en masse, as they have done on a few occasions since they returned to prominence with their 2010 Stanley Cup championship?
Maybe, maybe not. My impression is that it's more about making those out-of-towners open their wallets a little bit extra to make the trip to Smashville.
The Central Division should be a cakewalk. The Pacific Division has one weak team in the Calgary Flames, but the rest are all on the nasty side, particularly the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks and the Vancouver Canucks.
Even though it’s a month before the start of training camp, the Blackhawks can already start printing playoff tickets.
They are in and will almost certainly win their division.
A repeat Stanley Cup performance will be difficult, but the Blackhawks have the best chance of any team in the last 15 years.
-Steve Silverman of CBS Chicago. Read more about the Blackhawk's chances of winning the Stanley Cup again this upcoming season.
"Terrible Ted" turns 88 today so how about watching a Legends of Hockey feature on him below.
Ted Lindsay, Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio
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