Kukla's Korner Hockey
From George Johnson at the Calgary Herald,
“Everything has changed so dramatically in the last 10 to 15 years in regards to handling players. I don’t know about Mike, but I’ve had zero success trying to make players do things. It just doesn’t work.
“You have to explain things to them now. You have to make them think what you’re trying to get across is their idea. The dictatorial days are over.
“I don’t think. There’s so much more pressure on players than before.’’ He gestured around him, to a small army of scribblers, cameras and microphones milling around. Used to be, there were half a dozen of you guys here on game day. Now there’s 20. Or more. There are appearances, community commitments.
“So much more of their time is taken away by the game. So if they show up at the rink and you suffocate them, there’s a danger of sucking the life right out of them.’‘
*MacTavish coached his 500th Oilers’ game Saturday night and shares some memories of opposing coach Mike Keenan and the Battle of Alberta)
From Eric Duhatschek’s Globe & Mail blog,
Officially, the Edmonton Oilers have another week or so before deciding whether to keep rookie Sam Gagner on their NHL roster. But coach Craig MacTavish implied Saturday that the decision had been mostly made already – and that there would have to be a radical reversal in fortune in the next few days for the Oilers to send Gagner back to his junior team, the London Knights. And this was before Saturday’s game against the Calgary Flames, in which Gagner scored the first goal of his NHL career, to go with the four assists he picked up in his first six games.
“There will be a point of no return and we’ve probably reached that point already,” MacTavish said. “The way he’s played and what he’s contributed so far, there’s every reason to expect him to stay here.”
Edmonton Oilers’ defenceman Sheldon Souray is out indefinitely after suffering a separated shoulder.
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
Fernando Pisani is a private person who doesn’t like talking about himself when things are going great, so you can imagine what it was like telling a bank of reporters and cameramen about something as personal and painful as his struggle with ulcerative colitis.
About losing 30 pounds and six pints of blood in a matter of weeks. About not being able to climb a flight of stairs without gasping for air. How 15 or 20 trips to the bathroom every day left him weak and dehydrated.
from the Edmonton Journal,
Roli the Goalie, a member of the Minnesota Wild from 2001 to 2006, joined the ranks of St. Paul’s finest when he was named “an honorary policeman.” “Extremely honoured to be part of the ceremony ... very nice that they did it,” said Roloson, who got a framed plaque and a badge.
Roloson was saluted along with five other people. Only about 10 people have been honoured by the police, he said, and he is the only athlete.
from Damien Cox at ESPN,
Are teams in the NHL business partners above all else? Or are they competitors first and foremost, and thus perfectly within their rights to take advantage of an opponent’s soft spots if they become evident?
This, really, is what the much-publicized Brian Burke versus Kevin Lowe verbal slap fight is all about.
Make no mistake about it, this is one entertaining confrontation, albeit one that has taken place mostly with Burke in California and Lowe in Edmonton, Alberta….
These days, if you take Burke at his word, he wouldn’t even speak to Lowe if the Edmonton GM walked into his office looking for a stapler. He wouldn’t stop for Lowe at the side of the road if Lowe’s motor vehicle were on fire.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Minnesota Wild winger Derek Boogaard is out to inflict some pain, which is exactly what the six-foot-seven, 260-pounder did last year when he scored a hat-trick of sorts—knocking Oilers’ Ales Hemsky, Ladislav Smid and Marty Reasoner out of action for a spell.
All three were staggered by Boogaard hits—the Oilers would say with some malicious intent in the case of Hemsky—although Boogaard claims he was only out only to create mayhem and Hemsky got caught in his train tracks.
“Speaks to his effectiveness that we’re speaking about him right now,” said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish. “He hasn’t fought, either. You don’t want to play to his strengths, obviously. He’s a helluva fighter….”
From Jim Matheson at the Edmonton Journal,
“April 17. At 8:30 in the morning,” said [Rob] Daum, who was hired by the Oilers this summer when Craig Simpson left to work for CBC as a commenator on Hockey Night in Canada.
“I was told to bring two weeks worth of clothes. I was told I’d be working with the farm guys in practice,” said Daum. “I was back on the plane to Houston at 10:30 (a.m.).”
Daum realizes that NHL clubs can hire or fire whomever they want. He was glad for the chance to coach at the pro level after being with one of Canada’s best college teams, but didn’t expect to part company with the Wild the way he was. It was a shocker.
from the Edmonton Sun,
“This is fun, it’s refreshing,” said defenceman Steve Staios, adding that wasn’t always the case in previous seasons. “This team is adapting to the league, the way the game is played now.”
Stoll says it’s as much about the new-look Oilers as it is about the new NHL.
Nobody’s ever going to mistake this bunch for Gretzky, Messier, Kurri and Anderson, but GM Kevin Lowe added a mess of speed and talent in the likes of Andrew Cogliano, Geoff Sanderson, Robert Nilsson, Sam Gagner, Sheldon Souray and Joni Pitkanen.
They’ve got defencemen who can move the puck and forwards who can really move when they get it.
from the Courier-Post,
Tonight in Edmonton when the Flyers try to start the season 2-0 after Thursday’s 3-2 opening victory over Calgary, Pitkanen will face the Flyers for the first time in his career amid harsh criticism from the unlikeliest of sources: his former captain.
In a weekly column he is now writing for Montreal La Presse, former Flyers’ defenseman Eric Desjardins described Pitkanen as an immature player who refused help from his Flyers’ teammates.
“He has all the talent in the world, he’s strong as a horse and he’s as powerful a skater as Al Iafrate was, but he is also very immature,” Desjardins wrote.
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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