Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Michael Russo at the Star Tribune,
In the real world, Brian Rolston is a young man at age 34. In the hockey world, he’s a dinosaur.
“But I feel young, which is all that matters. If I was on the Red Wings, I’d be really young,” a laughing Rolston joked.
Plus, if you’ve paid attention to his first two years in Minnesota (or Sunday’s scrimmage in White Bear Lake), you realize Rolston, despite a few gray hairs, isn’t some breaking-down, old veteran.
(Gotta love a Red Wings joke at the end of the day…)
SAINT PAUL/MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The National Hockey League’s (NHL) Minnesota Wild announced today that three regular season home games sold-out in 10 minutes as more than 500 fans lined up at the Xcel Energy Center Box Office to purchase single-game tickets when they went on sale at 9:00 a.m. this morning. The Wild’s home opener against the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 4, the Oct. 30 match against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Jan. 18 contest versus the Anaheim Ducks are all sold-out.
In all, fans purchased more than 27,400 regular season single-game tickets through the Xcel Energy Center Box Office and Ticketmaster locations this week. St. Paul’s Pat Vos was the first in line, setting up camp Wednesday at 5:00 p.m.
via the Minnesota Wild,
SAINT PAUL/MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The National Hockey League’s Minnesota Wild announced today that 96% of its season ticket holders have renewed their seats for the 2007-08 NHL season. In addition the team announced today that all 66 annual suites are sold-out for the 2007-08 season.
from Michael Russo of the StarTribune,
Q So Gaborik says he’s confident his groin troubles are a thing of the past. If healthy, what’s Gaborik’s ceiling?
A High. Nobody in the NHL has a second gear as fast as Gaborik, and when it comes to his wrist shot, few are better. Health is the only thing keeping Gaborik from contending for the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal-scorer. In the past two seasons, only Ottawa’s Dany Heatley (.610) has averaged more goals per game than Gaborik (.602). If sidekick Pavol Demitra is also healthy, Gaborik could be on the verge of his first 50-goal season.
from Wes Goldstein at CBS Sportsline,
One man’s competitiveness might be another’s mediocrity, but it makes things intriguing in the Northwest Division, where most teams start the season with as good a chance of finishing first as missing the playoffs entirely.
Not much actually separates the top from the bottom in this cutthroat division, where the best two teams last season were playoff outsiders the year before and the last-place club was a Stanley Cup Finalist only months before. Things can and do change quickly in the Northwest, even in the middle of the season as the Colorado Avalanche proved last year when they were given up for dead around the All-Star break.
From the Minnesota Wild team website
The Minnesota Wild announced a new, yet familiar look on Friday when it unveiled its 2007 version of the RBK Edge uniforms. While all 30 National Hockey League teams will be playing with newly-designed uniforms, some have made drastic changes. The Wild has remained true to its original design with several minor changes.
The most notable change appears on the team’s Iron Range Red home sweater, which will move up in status from the “third” jersey to become the team’s primary home sweater, replacing the green from years past. That change comes in the form of a new wheat-colored shoulder yolk and the removal of the forest green striping at the waist.
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
After last summer’s Wild spending spree, Minnesota made a 20-point jump in the standings, finishing with a franchise-best 104 points. Obviously, that’s not that easy to do.
But the club’s impressive push up the standings might have been even more dramatic if star winger Marian Gaborik had been healthy. In Gaborik’s 48 games, Minny was a dominant 33-9-6. Without him, they were a mediocre 15-17-2.
Because of that interesting stat, I think there’s room for the Wild to better than that 104-point regular-season total. Gaborik staying healthy, however, isn’t a given. He hasn’t played more than 65 games in each of his last three NHL seasons. For the sake of my decision, I’ll roll the dice that he’ll be healthier in 2007-08.
from the Star Tribune,
During an interview with Gaborik last week, the Wild’s chief game-breaker used the word confident or a semblance of the word, such as confidence, no less than a dozen times.
He’s confident with the overhauled training program he engaged this offseason. He’s confident his abdominal muscles are as strong as they’ve ever been. He’s confident his groin problems are history. He’s confident he’ll be able to put in a full season and score 50 goals for the first time. And he’s confident he can guide the Wild during a long playoff run.
All this talk about Gaborik’s confidence has General Manager Doug Risebrough extremely confident.
When it comes to Gaborik avoiding his annual early-season groin injuries, Risebrough believes it has as much to do with Gaborik’s mind as it does with his body.
from Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune,
Citing an unnamed source, ESPN.com reported that “plans are in the works for [Leipold] to step into an ownership role with the Minnesota Wild after cutting ties with the Preds and when current Wild owner Robert O. Naegele Jr. decides to step away from the business.”
Naegele declined to comment to the Star Tribune through a team spokesman. A source close to Naegele said he’d be shocked if Naegele, the lead investor of an ownership group with 21 principals, would sell all his shares to Leipold.
The source said there have been no meetings to discuss ownership changes.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
A source close to the negotiations told ESPN.com that Leipold wants to remain in the NHL and that plans are in the works for him to step into an ownership role with the Minnesota Wild after cutting ties with the Preds and when current Wild owner Robert O. Naegele Jr. decides to step away from the business.
Both Leipold and Naegele declined to speak to ESPN.com about their future plans and Leipold did not respond to a specific e-mail query about his plans with the Wild.
Fair enough. But if such a plan is in the works, it would go a long way in explaining Leipold’s reticence to do anything to tick off Bettman, who continues to rule the board of governors with an iron fist, threatening millions of dollars in fines if team officials speak on the record about the ownership debacle unfolding in Nashville.
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