Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Wes Goldstein at CBS Sportsline,
Remember when one of the big jokes in the NHL was a division referred to as the “Southleast?”
Well those days are gone, as much because two of the last three Stanley Cup winners have come from the Southeast Division as the concentration of electrifying talents like Alexander Ovechkin, Vincent Lecavalier and Marian Hossa who reside in the neighborhood.
But heading into the new season, there really is not one team here with more than an outside shot at adding something to the division’s trophy case.
from the Palm Beach Post,
Can the Rangers’ “D” get it done? The additions of Chris Drury and Scott Gomez give New York the league’s most potent offense and Henrik Lundqvist is solid in goal. But a defense that wasn’t very good last year looks even more shaky after losing Tom Poti and Karel Rachunek.
“It’s brutal,” said Panthers broadcaster Denis Potvin (who, truth be told, never will be accused of being a Rangers fan). “They’ll be OK in goal, but the defense is a big issue.”
“There seems to be an imbalance there, but some people in the know say it’s not as bad as people think,” national broadcaster Bill Clement added.
more NHL talk... including the Panthers, Flyers, Thrashers, Ducks and some Calder talk…
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
After near identical back-to-back seasons (they finished with 85 and 86 points, respectively), the Panthers seem ready to make a little more of a jump forward. They finished six points out of a playoff spot last season. If they can avoid another bad start to the season, maybe they can finally end their postseason drought.
I figure they’ll have more points and challenge for a playoff spot. I hope they get there. It would be nice to see one of the game’s most underrated players—Panthers captain Olli Jokinen—get a chance to show his stuff in the postseason.
Florida Panthers defenceman Jay Bouwmeester pleaded guilty to drunk driving charges in an Edmonton Provincial Court on Tuesday.
He was given a one-year driving probation and a $1,000 fine.
Bouwmeester was arrested on Aug. 12, 2006 near a Whyte Avenue bar in Edmonton’s nightclub area, and was charged with impaired driving and operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of more than .08.
from the Tennessean,
Only a couple weeks ago, Gelinas and about 10 other NHL players accompanied Florida Panthers strength and conditioning coach Andy O’Brien to Vail, Colo., where they underwent a regimen of three-hour workouts per day — half the time on the ice.
“We did a bunch of different things — you’re just trying to challenge yourself in the summer time and find ways to push yourself,’’ Gelinas said. “Vail is high altitude, so one day we went for a two-hour hike that was a little bit of a challenge. We finished up about 10,000 feet above sea level.’‘
Gelinas believes those kinds of offseason workouts will allow him to battle younger foes once again.
“You know the young guys are only getting bigger and faster and stronger, so you need to do more to keep up,’’ he said. “I do love to work out and stay fit. I love to compete. And to be able to compete against younger players, you have to put in more effort off the ice.’‘
from Ryan Kennedy at the Hockey News,
Markov, a solid contributor to Detroit’s conference finalist team last season, balked at the Wings’ $2.5 million contract offer, revealing he was thinking of something more in the range of $3.5 million. Is he asking too much?
Have you seen this guy play? He’s a pitbull. He doesn’t back down, he was a plus-25 last season and he doesn’t take a lot of penalties considering his physical game. I’m cool with the Wings passing, but the fact no one has picked him up is rather stunning.
And you know where Markov should go? Florida.
from On Frozen Pond,
The Panthers locked up another of their young stars Thursday, signing center Stephen Weiss to a six-year deal.
Terms were not immediately available, although winger Nathan Horton recently received $24 million over his six-year contract. Horton’s six-year contract was the longest awarded in franchise history.
from Tripp Mickle at Sports Business Journal (paid sub.),
Some teams struggle to get their players to meet sponsors at all, but this week Florida Panthers captain and center Olli Jokinen not only will meet with team sponsors, he’ll invite them into his home.
Jokinen and his wife, Katerina, will host close to 60 executives from the Panthers’ top corporate partners on Saturday at their Heron Bay home in Parkland, Fla. Ten to 12 other Panthers players are expected to attend, as well.
“We want to pull these partners in and have them feel like part of our family,” said Panthers Chief Operating Officer Michael Yormark. “What better way to do that than to invite them into our captain’s home?”
More than 95 percent of those getting invitations committed to attend, the club says.
On a side note… A make-up a rumor guy has mentioned Jokinen’s name in trade talk, which just doesn’t make sense now, does it?
from the Sun-Sentinel,
The 1995-96 Panthers team was back on the ice Saturday, and so were the rats that symbolized that group and their magical run to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The announced crowd of 11,817 fans, many of whom waited beforehand in long lines that snaked through the arena’s concourse for autographs and pictures with the players, tossed the rodents with glee onto the ice — the first time they’ve been able to at a game since the league banned it after the 1995-96 season.
“I was amazed at the amount of people in the building and the excitement,” retired winger Dave Lowry said. “It was overwhelming.
At the event, the Panthers also displayed their new uniforms (video).
from Inside The Panthers,
News that Nathan Horton’s contract was used as a comparable by the Buffalo Sabres in working up a contract proposal for center Derek Roy borders on the amazing. Ultimately, Roy was given the same six-year, $24 million package Horton got.
Let’s see who turns out to have the better career. The betting here is it’s Horton.
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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