Kukla's Korner Hockey
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … Grand Rapids Griffins defenseman Brendan Smith has been ruled ineligible to play in the AHL until Oct. 18, 2011. Smith was suspended by the National Hockey League for the remainder of the preseason plus five regular-season games for an illegal check to the head of an opponent during a game vs. Chicago on Sept. 28. According to the AHL’s by-laws, a player who is under suspension in another league or organization who seeks to play in the AHL while under that suspension will have the relevant disciplinary matter independently reviewed by the President of the American Hockey League, who may in his discretion deem the player ineligible.
Smith’s AHL eligibility does not affect the terms of his NHL suspension.
The talk of the town of late has been the health concerns of defenceman Ryan Whitney and winger Ales Hemsky. Robin Brownlee posted an article on Oilers Nation titled “Hemsky and Whitney: Not Ready Yet.” The title of that piece should say it all. What that of course did was generate a lot of discussion. Whitney has been out since December and Hemsky since March.
From Craig Custance at Sporting News:
Considering its proximity to Canada, Michigan is the battleground for a fight that’s not new, but grows hotter each year. It’s one the NHL is also watching.
On one side is Berenson—an All-America player at Michigan—and his fellow college coaches, trying to convince North America’s best young players to commit to college hockey. On the other side is Canada’s major junior powerhouse, the Canadian Hockey League, where elite Canadians—and a growing number of Americans—parlay junior careers into NHL careers.
Berenson looked at the young players in front of him and offered a warning against choosing junior hockey.
From Jim Reyno at Metro London:
There’s been a lot of talk in hockey lately about concussions and their lingering effects, and whether it’s time fighting be banned from the game.
“I don’t know about that,” said Dale Hunter, owner and coach of the London Knights. “It’s in the rules — fighting has been part of hockey for 90 years.”
For 19 of those years, Hunter was a willing participant in that part of hockey in the NHL. Just 5-foot-10 but 200 pounds, in many ways Hunter was a concussion on skates, throwing his weight around (as well as a few lefts and rights) on his way to accumulating 3,563 penalty minutes — second all-time behind Tiger Williams. Consider him an expert on rugged play.
continued… with discussion specific to OHL matters and head shots
Finding August lacking in hockey just a little too much? You’re not alone. The Edmonton Oil Kings have started their fifth training camp today and are inviting WHL and hockey fans in general to put on some socks and shoes, maybe grab a sweater and step out of the sun.
I suppose this means that Olivier Roy may not be at the Oklahoma City Barons camp this fall afterall. Eric Rodgers of Copper and Blue has discovered that David LeNeveu formerly of the Springfield Falcons, Columbus Blue Jackets, The Phoenix Coyotes, the Hartford Wolf Pack, the San Antonio Rampage and the list goes on has signed with the Barons. This Fernie B.C. born goaltender was drafted in the second round of the 2002 draft has seen his share of teams, but the Oklahoma Barons must see something in LeNeveu that they needed or had to have, or he was someone who was willing to sign a one way contract with an AHL team. Either way, Barons fans rejoice! Your second season of AHL hockey is closer than you think.
From Vicki Hall at the Calgary Herald:
“I think they’re going to do that parachute jump. So they’ll be looking forward to it. And I guess they’ll be carrying backpacks and stuff like that. But the army is in charge of that stuff, so it will be fun to watch.”
St. Louis Blues prospect Ty Rattie respectfully waffled on the “fun” concept - especially when it came to the notion of the parachute jump.
“I’m on the ground, so it interests me now,” he said. “I think if I get up there, it might not be so interesting. But I think I would do it.”
Vancouver Giants forward Brendan Gallagher expressed similar misgivings, but also opted to stay positive about the ordeal ahead of him.
“I’ve heard we’re repelling down walls, which I’ve never done before,” said the fifthround (147th overall) draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens. “I’m obviously not used to being in a military camp.”
From Adam Kimelman at NHL.com:
Former Ottawa Senators coach Cory Clouston has been hired as coach of the Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings.
He’s replacing Kelly McCrimmon, who resigned after seven seasons to focus solely on his role as general manager.
Clouston had spent the previous three seasons coaching the Senators, but was fired at the end of the 2010-11 season.
Better known to most NHL fans simply as “Minnesota’s Farm Team”. The Aeros actually have a rather deep and rich history in the hockey world. They were originally founded in 1994 as an expansion team in the now defunct International Hockey League (IHL). However, some could argue that this franchise has really existed since 1972, when they were one of the World Hockey Association’s (WHA) original teams, after the “Dayton Aeros” franchise folded, before they ever played a single game (due to lack of an arena and little interest from the community) and moved to Houston.
From Justin Bourne at Puck Daddy:
After July 1, there’s a slow and steady trickledown effect in pro hockey, and it’s not as simple as “sign the best available player, then the next best available player, then the….”
“Next best available player” gets a little blurry when one guy is 26 and played for El Mira and the other is 23 and skated with Victoria. Sometimes you need to get them on the same ice to compare.
NHL teams are set in stone (well, 97 percent anyway) before a single player shows up to camp, but at the AHL and ECHL levels, it can work a little differently.
Lower down in the system, you have a better chance of actually taking someone’s spot, especially if they aren’t some prized prospect.
more about job hunting for the “free-agent stragglers”
*I accidentally credited this story to “Jason Bourne” when this first went online. Apologies. The blame belongs fully to Robert Ludlum…
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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.
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