Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
The Sunshine Boys of hockey are sitting behind a glass, watching ancient Jaromir Jagr tutor some of the young Florida Panthers, kicking around the dynasties and semi-dynasties each has built.
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him,” said Dale Tallon, 65, talking about his 81-year-old sidekick Bill Torrey.
“He brought me here and I only came because of him. And now we have stability up top — a blueprint from Chicago, Bill had a blueprint with the Islanders. We know what we want to do and we’re on the same page with everything we do — and it’s a blessing to have him around so I can run things by him.”
And finishing each other’s sentences, like the hockey couple they are, Torrey said: “And to get this right, you have to have somebody with an eye. Dale has an eye.”
We sat for 20 minutes.
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
Little word has leaked out from last week’s NHL executive committee meeting in New York, but deputy commissioner Bill Daly said via email Monday that “work remains ongoing” in the expansion process. Daly refuted a report in Sunday’s Seattle Times that the 10-member executive committee “recently shelved expansion decisions until March, maybe April,” citing concerns about the Canadian dollar. The NHL has reiterated over and over again that Seattle - which still has done nothing to bring their arena situation into focus - is not part of this expansion process, despite claims the league is stalling to wait and see what develops there.
Jaromir Jagr is $1.5 million richer after playing his 45th game of the season on Saturday, triggering a games-played bonus in his contract. That brings his guaranteed salary for 2015-16 to a total of $5 million and his career earnings north of $130 million. He can earn an additional $200,000 this season for hitting set point plateaus and $205,000 if the Panthers win two playoff rounds - the latter of which seems infinitely more possible now than it did when he signed the deal last April. Florida romped on both of last year’s Stanley Cup finalists by a combined score of 9-2 on back-to-back nights over the weekend. Contract talks have not begun yet between Jagr and the Panthers on an extension. Jagr, who turns 44 in three weeks, told reporters Saturday that he plans to attend this week’s All-Star festivities in Nashville. Whether he plays in the actual All-Star Game remains to be seen, amid speculation that Jagr preferred to bow out.
from George Richards of the Miami Herald,
The Panthers bandwagon was filling up quite nicely earlier this month as they set a franchise record with 12 consecutive wins.
Some fell off during the four-game losing streak which followed, of course, but after this weekend, the Panthers may have picked up a few more believers.
That will happen when you become the first team in over 25 years to beat the Stanley Cup finalists in consecutive nights.
The Panthers did so in impressive fashion, too, beating Chicago and Tampa Bay by a combined 9-2 score.
"We know we cane beat any team in the league,'' said Jonathan Huberdeau, who opened the scoring and assisted on Florida's second goal in Saturday's 5-2 thrashing of visiting Tampa Bay.
"We’re a really good team and we can show we’ve had a struggle lately and we came out this weekend and showed the league that we’re a good team against a really good team, too.”
First up, Erik Gudbranson on Teuvo Teravainen...
Below, Erik Karlsson on Nick Leddy...
from David Hyde of the Sun Sentinel,
You could start with the 10-pound weight on Jaromir Jagr's hockey stick for training, the eight-pound medicine ball he shoots against the wall or the 45-pound weight vest he straps to his body.
"He does stuff I've never seen," Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo says.
You could start with the 1,000 daily squats he began as a child, the keys he had to open the ice rinks in Dallas and New Jersey, or how he skated on the ice, alone and hard, after a personally frustrating win against the New York Rangers recently.
"I learn just watching him," center Aleksander Barkov says.
Let's start with a Saturday night phone call, though. Maybe this explains the timeless riddle of Jagr. Maybe it shows why three weeks from 44 and more than four years older than any other NHL player, Jagr continues playing at such a high level to lead the first-place Panthers in points.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
And has the return to South Florida been what you imagined? Can you, in fact, go home again?
Luongo: You know, it's been great. It's tough to make a full assessment on it because the main reason I came back here was to bring the team back to the playoffs and be a contender. One of the reasons that I did come back is (agent Pat Brisson) made sure before he said it was OK for me to go back here (that) we wanted to make sure ownership was on board with bringing a winning team.
Obviously, the young talent was here, but sometimes you've got to add veteran pieces, and (I) wanted to make sure ownership was on board with that stuff. Once Pat had the green light, I think it was great. Right now, we're sitting in first place. You can feel that it's right there, we've just got to go get it.
Did you wonder if you could deliver on his end of the bargain in helping elevate the Panthers to relevance in South Florida?
Luongo: Not really. It crosses your mind sometimes. It's weird, because now I'm 36. Something weird's happening where you're, like, thinking, 'How many years do I have left?' You think that all the time. It's something I think about a lot. Because you don't know, right? I'd love to play til I'm )Jagr's) age, but who knows? There's so many things in between, so it's something that I think about a lot. Probably more than I should. I don't know if that's good or bad. Maybe it's a good thing, it makes me more aware.
from George Richards of the Miami Herald,
After skipping through life for a month without much of a care, it’s now time for the Panthers to start worrying.
Although flaws in their game were buried under a 12-game winning streak, Florida wasn’t able to hide its weaknesses in Monday night’s 4-2 loss to the visiting Oilers — its fourth consecutive defeat.
“When we had the streak we felt like we were scoring on every chance,” said Sasha Barkov, whose team scored two quick goals to open the third period to give itself hope.
“We weren’t playing great, but we were scoring when we needed. Now we’re not. You have confidence when you’re winning. Everything works. It’s not going that way right now. We’ll work harder and start playing 60-minute games.”
Last season, Florida lost six consecutive games after its long road trip to western Canada and won’t get a chance to end this slide until Friday, when the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks come to town.
Watch the game highlights below...
We want that emotion; we want some of that savagery that makes pro hockey pro hockey — don't you kids try this at home — but when it crosses a line, as it occasionally does when the engines get revving really high, we fall all over ourselves tut-tutting the behaviour of this guy or that guy or debating the law of the jungle.
It was the same thing with the end of the Florida-Vancouver game and the Thornton-Sedin stuff. On one hand, we want there to be some limits on player decorum, what they can or can't say to each other while trash talking, but the pure entertainment value of the end of that game — Daniel's goal, his fly by, the wild melee, Potvin's comments and the Sedin's post-game remarks — all made for a game that was talked about far and wide that night and the next day, too.
Those two games were a welcome departure from so many of the technically excellent games I've seen this season. Many of us who feel that way can't wait for the next time those teams play each other again, which tells you something right there.
-Bob McKenzie of TSN where you can read much more on this topic.
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.
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