Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
Jake Dowell shows up to the Wild locker room every day and sits in a far corner. As he joins his teammates and gets ready for practice, you’d never know the incredible weight he shoulders.
“Sometimes … you get choked up by the thought of what he’s going through,” coach Mike Yeo said.
Dowell’s father and only brother are dying. They’re both in the final stages of Huntington’s disease, a neurological disorder that over the course of a decade or more debilitates a person physically and cognitively until they die.
There is a 50-50 chance that Dowell, 28, a Wild checker who has played 156 NHL games, has inherited the same gene. In the next year or two, Dowell plans to go with his wife, Carly, and his champion of a mother, Vicki, to have a blood test and learn what his future holds.
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
“Rugby players beat the heck out of each other for 60 minutes. Punch each other in the face, kick each other with spike shoes, rip each other’s ears off,” Cooke said. “The only rule, when the whistle blows, the game’s over, and you go have a beer together.
“It’s about the game. I was always taught, ‘Don’t let him get you; get him before he gets you.’ It’s you vs. him, like survival of the fittest. But somewhere along the line, our game has changed, and I had to change with it.”
Cooke knows because of his previous indiscretions, it’s impossible to change everybody’s opinion. He’ll have to continue to keep it clean; every shift all eyes are on him. He learned that last season when he was accused of intentionally slicing Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson’s Achilles’ tendon with his skate.
“That’s asinine to think anyone can time that and be that precise with your skate and be that malicious, too,” Orpik said. “That’s not who he is.”
Shero said, “Matt Cooke has changed, and it didn’t happen overnight. It took a lot of hard work. You won’t get a lot of sympathizers for Matt Cooke, but if you know the person, what he does to give back to the community and see what he’s been through personally and professionally, this is a great story. It’s amazing where he’s come in two years.”
Mike Yeo is on the final year of his contract and addresses that in the Q & A with Micahel Russo...
As Mike Yeo heads into his third season, the Wild coach sat down with the Star Tribune for a Q and A:
Q: Will there be any system tweaks this season?
Yeo: Our fans will really enjoy this. We’re going to be more aggressive off the rush. We want to be more of a puck possession team, so it’s as simple as asking, ‘Who gets the puck after you have it?’ We’re going to have to execute better on the wall coming out of the defensive zone, execute better on our entries, but at the same time, with that, you’ve also got to make sure that you’re not just turning into a high-risk team and turning pucks over. So if you turn a puck over at the offensive blue line and they go down and score, then that’s not helping us. That’s not making us a better team. But we want to keep the puck. We don’t want to just give it up.
from QMI AGENCY at the Toronto Sun,
Clayton Stoner, deep in preparation for the start of NHL action next month, has something else on his plate.
British Columbia’s Coastal First Nations (CFN) group is not pleased with the 28-year-old Minnesota Wild defenceman’s actions on its land last spring after Stoner allegedly gunned down a five-year-old grizzly bear named Cheeky.
The B.C. native is pictured with the bear’s severed head and paws on the Vancouver Sun‘s website.
Cheeky was ”skinned and left to rot” and “his head and paws were carried out past a sign declaring trophy hunting closed in the Great Bear Rainforest,” the CFN later claimed.
Press release from Coastal First Nations...
added 4:03pm, Watch a CBC report on this topic below...
We were fortunate to sign both Zach and Ryan. Looking back now, in hindsight with a year removed, I can't even say how lucky we are that we did sign them. You hear horror stories of all these big free-agent signings that don't pan out, and we signed arguably the best defenseman in the League and one of the best goal scorers in the League. Both players lived up to expectations. They're great people."
-Minnesota Wild GM Cliff Fletcher. More on the Wild from Brian Compton of NHL.com.
As pointed out this morning on Twitter by Adrian Dater...
Reports are out that the Minnesota Wild have recorded a $30 Million loss this past season; according to Charley Walters of TwinCities.com out of St. Paul.
Is the State of Hockey at risk of losing their second National Hockey League Franchise?
from Tom Powers of the Pioneer Press,
Keith Ballard is a crusty, old, no-excuses defenseman. Matt Cooke has been a borderline psycho.
Together, they bring a much-needed dose of attitude to the local hockey team. As a result, the Wild might have improved this offseason, even though the front office's main goal has been to reduce payroll.
One of the Wild's great strengths last season was being appropriately sad after a loss. Well, that and shooting into the opposing goalie's chest protector.
"Obviously, we have to play better," captain Mikko Koivu droned night after night while the team was becoming unglued down the stretch.
In reality, the Wild should have done better, but they simply could not handle the pressure. With few exceptions, they were wide-eyed and ineffective when it counted. The bigger the game, the more tentative they were. And after a $200 million infusion of talent, it took a deadline trade -- shipping off a No. 1 draft choice and a solid prospect for veteran Jason Pominville -- for them to crawl into the playoffs by the slimmest possible margin.
from Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune,
The last time a Wild general manager acquired a goon who drove his fan base to take up pitchforks and tuck away checkbooks, he might as well have put his house on the market.
Chuck Fletcher’s signing of Matt Cooke is not a direct equivalent to Doug Risebrough bringing in Chris Simon, but both moves were made for the same reason and raised the same question: Did the GM know what he was doing?
Risebrough brought in Simon to toughen up a soft team, and his reaction to fan and media outrage over the move suggested he hadn’t fully investigated Simon’s bad acts.
Simon wound up playing little and poorly, and his history of comic-book-villain violence stained the reputation of a franchise that, to that point, had turned marketing and brand-building into an exact science. Simon didn’t make that Wild team any better, and his arrival became Risebrough’s perceptual Waterloo, a Mossy Cade on skates.
Fletcher, like Risebrough, is desperate to find tough players who don’t, like Zenon Konopka, go directly from the bench to the penalty box. Fletcher, like Risebrough, may have underestimated his fan base’s hatred of a goon.
Cooke is a cheap-shot artist. He is a dirty player.
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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