Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune,
Wild coach Todd Richards admitted after Monday night’s 5-1 exhibition loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets that he’s worried about how he’s going to get his new team to perfect a brand-new system with a half-dozen or more injured players missing every day.
Wild forwards Mikko Koivu, who practiced Monday, Andrew Brunette, James Sheppard, Derek Boogaard and Craig Weller, and defenseman Shane Hnidy are all “dinged up,” and against the Blue Jackets, the Wild lost Benoit Pouliot because of a strained groin.
The ice was so bad at Nationwide Arena (two Blue Jackets were hurt Monday morning), Richards benched Antti Miettinen and Kyle Brodziak for most of the third period to protect them.
from Tom Reed of Puck-rakers,
Jason Chimera does not care that Eric Belanger’s rap sheet had been clean before Friday night’s hit from behind that sent the Blue Jackets winger off the ice on a stretcher.
He believes Belanger’s check was dirty and that it merits a suspension.
Chimera returned to Columbus on Saturday after he was held overnight in a St. Paul. Minn., hospital for observation. Belanger, a Wild center, rammed Chimera from behind—driving his face into the glass—as Chimera was trying to help teammates clear the puck from the defensive zone. Chimera’s face was driven into the ga
Chimera, who’s seen a replay, attached a graphic analogy to the hit and Belanger’s reputation as a clean player.
“It was a cheap hit, it was a dirty play,” Chimera said.
Ken Hitchcock on how visiting teams are ushered around Xcel Energy Center: “It’s quicker getting through Canadian customs.”
via Michael Russo’s Twitter....
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
The NHL’s longest active sellout streak is in danger of ending.
The Wild has sold out all 365 home games in franchise history, including the preseason and postseason, but as the Wild opens the preseason tonight against Columbus, there are tickets available for every game this season.
“We have struggled to renew season tickets in the same way we always do, which is 95 percent plus,” Wild Chief Operating Officer Matt Majka said.
from Bruce Brothers of the Pioneer Press,
So, while rehabbing after shoulder surgery this summer with Jeremy Clark, whose organization in Eagan provides instruction in core strength training, judo and other martial arts, Boogaard seized the chance to go to Russia and work with Detroit Red Wings all-star forward Pavel Datsyuk.
He accompanied Clark, the strength and conditioning coach for Datsyuk’s hockey camps in Yekaterinburg, formerly known as Sverdlovsk, and spent 18 days soaking up tips from one of the NHL’s best two-way players.
“The stuff he can do is just unbelievable,” Boogaard said, noting that Datsyuk also worked with kids ages 10-12 who were able to produce what he labeled “mind-boggling” moves on the ice.
Datsyuk freely dispensed advice to Boogaard, as well, and the native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, said the whole experience was “an eye-opener.”
Will it make him a better offensive hockey player?
Boogaard said in the understatement of the century, that he and Datsyuk “are different players.” Nevertheless, he added, “I feel really relaxed. I seem a little more confident.”
via Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,
The Wild signed winger Petr Sykora today to a one-year contract for $1.6 million. The signing leaves the team $800,000 from salary cap, meaning it’ll be much harder for forwards Colton Gillies and Andy Hilbert to make the team.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The news that Petr Sykora will attend the Minnesota Wild camp on a tryout basis is symbolic of the dilemma facing all the veteran NHL players that didn’t get a contract offer this summer, and opted not to play overseas in Russia:
Do they swallow their pride and - with no guarantees - try to earn a roster spot for the first time in forever? Or do they sit at home and await a firm deal and bide their time that way?
from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants at the Star-Tribune,
I’ve been sitting on this for a couple days for a variety of reasons, but it’s starting to get out there now and not in an accurate way.
As I reported here Sept. 4, the Wild was interested in signing Petr Sykora. After back and forth negotiations last week, Sykora said no. Now Sykora will indeed fly to Minnesota on Tuesday.
But if he passes his physical, he’ll be placed on a pro tryout like unsigned free agent Andy Hilbert. He is not signed, and GM Chuck Fletcher made it very clear to me just now that there is no guarantee to sign him.
He’s got to make the team.
Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants does an extended Q & A with the Wild GM.
Q: Have you thought about whether Havlat will play with Koivu or maybe Bouchard? Also, Havlat’s biggest problem might be his willingness to go into the gritty areas. Is there a way to help keep him healthy by putting him with a digging winger like Clutterbuck or Owen Nolan?
A: We’ve talked about lots of different scenarios if the roster looked like this and that, but it’ll be important to see who he finds chemistry with right off the bat. But you’ve hit the nail on the head. Havlat’s a competitive player. He’s a player who plays hard every game and because of his skill level, he attracts the attention of other team’s best defenders. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do. It’s no different than Gaborik or Crosby or Malkin or Ovechkin. These high-skilled guys compete hard every night and get into situations that lead to injury.
Let’s Play Hockey does a Q & A with Minnesota Wild Owner Craig Leipold…
LPH: There have been media reports of a possible lockout/strike when the current CBA expires which stems from the unrest within the NHLPA ranks, what are your thoughts?
CL: We have a great relationship with their union. There may be some unrest within the NHLPA. The NHLPA cannot do anything for two years when the existing CBA expires. The current issues with the Players Association have nothing to do with the current CBA or ownership.
LPH: The Phoenix Coyotes’ situation seems to be ever changing, do you believe they will play in Glendale, AZ all season?
CL: Yes. I believe they will be playing NHL hockey in Glendale, Arizona, this year.
LPH: Any news on the National TV front?
CL: The NHL and VERSUS made a commitment to each other. The NHL likes VERSUS. Other opportunities may come up in the future and we will take a look at those broadcast opportunities at that time.
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 email@example.com