Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
The Canadiens’ decision Monday to bestow the A on four players, and no C, has ignited a wee tempest in our nation’s most excitable NHL market, as loyalists of one player or the other ask why their favourite wasn’t the obvious choice.
But what if it makes perfect sense?
What if it’s just the formal acknowledgment of an observation every NHL coach makes: that no good team can have just one leader — that if you aspire to be a contender for the Stanley Cup, you’d better have a half-dozen of them?
Anyway, the mystique of the C may not be entirely based on imagination, but its importance is grossly overestimated.
Case in point: Dustin Brown of the L.A. Kings. Brown is, without doubt, exactly the kind of pain in the ass to play against that coach Darryl Sutter loves, but he is also an accomplished diver and, logic tells us, the person no referee has any interest in hearing a protest from, when a call needs to be argued.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
... the Habs may not be alone in this kind of decision this season. Just down the highway in Ottawa, the Senators are mulling over the exact same situation after trading captain Jason Spezza to Dallas this summer.
"That’s the thing we’ve talked about a lot so far," veteran Senators GM Bryan Murray told ESPN.com Monday. "We’ll [go] through a big part of training camp anyway before we decide. But our thought certainly has been that we’ve got two alternates right now in Chris Phillips and Chris Neil, and probably just add a third "A," not sure who it will be yet, rather than name a captain.
"But that’s not final yet. We may still decide at the end of the day a captain is necessary. We’ll see. We’ve got young guys like Erik Karlsson and Kyle Turris who are certainly coming [leadership-wise]. Having three "A's" is a not bad thing, though."
Karlsson, one would think, will be captain of this team one day. But he’s probably not yet ready for that responsibility. So the Sens need a bridge decision here, too.
Sometimes it can last more than a year. The Columbus Blue Jackets haven’t had a captain since trading away Rick Nash in July 2012 and they aren’t making apologies for it, either.
"It's already an honor just to be in the conversation, but I know I have to step up and help lead this team no matter if there's a letter on this sweater or not. I feel like I'm ready for it. When Gorges and Gio were here, you don't want to step on any toes, you want the leaders to lead and want them to be able to do their thing. But now that they're gone, I think there's a big gap to fill right now. I hope to be able to do so. Whoever does have the 'C' on their sweater, he's going to have a lot of help. We know a lot of guys in the room that can lead, guys who have been on Stanley Cup teams. So I think whoever gets the letter, he'll get help."
-Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadians on his name being mentioned as one of the possibilites of being named captain. More from Pacioretty by Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.
The Montreal Canadiens showed some interest in free agent goaltender Martin Brodeur over the summer, according to RDS hockey analyst and former Canadien Vincent Damphousse.
Damphousse appeared on the season debut of the RDS program l'Antichambre on Monday, saying that Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin met with Brodeur's agent Pat Brisson in July to discuss the possibility of the future Hall of Fame goaltender as a fit.
"He's a good veteran," said Damphousse, noting that the Canadiens are looking to fill the leadership void with the departure of Brian Gionta and Josh Gorges. "He would be able to surround the captain and assistants. He could keep things calm. He's always smiling and jovial."
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
Canadiens icon Jean Béliveau is recovering at home from a recent bout of pneumonia.
Élise Béliveau, the 83-year-old Hall of Famer’s wife of 61 years, was surprised in recent days to be informed by a friend of at least one French-language Internet report last week stating Béliveau was in critical condition.
A post on Twitter two days earlier had described Béliveau’s dramatic weight loss in graphic detail, adding he was “very ill.”
“I just thought: ‘What the heck is that?’ ” Élise Béliveau said Sunday. “Jean has been sick. He’s had pneumonia, he’s recuperating from it, he has his good days and his bad days and that’s it.”
Typical of the Internet, one report sourcing an unnamed person “close to the Béliveau family” quickly gathered steam. Rumours and further unsubstantiated reports soon suggested Béliveau was in his final moments and that his wife, their daughter, Hélène, and granddaughters Mylène and Magalie were at his bedside.
Élise Béliveau said Sunday while her husband rests and continues to recuperate, receiving a number of close friends to visit, the family is going about its normal routine.
from QMI AGENCY at the Toronto Sun,
Goaltender Martin Brodeur says he'd be willing to finish his Hall of Fame career with his hometown Montreal Canadiens.
The 42-year-old has previously said he's “80% sure” he’s coming back for a 21ST NHL season and told QMI Agency this week that he would have no problem backing up Carey Price in net.
"I would like to play one last season before retiring and I want to have fun doing it," said the three-time Stanley Cup winner.
"If the Canadiens made me an offer, it goes without saying that I would listen to what they have to offer me."
Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin is not among the NHL executives who has contacted Brodeur this summer.
from Caitlin Thompson of the Coast Mountain News,
The gymnasium of the Anahim Lake School was packed last week as community members turned out to honour one of their own: superstar NHL goalie Carey Price.
In town to promote his new role as First Nations Ambassador for the Breakfast Club of Canada, Price was excitedly received by his biggest fans: the Ulkatcho community.
Price’s remarkable story is well known by now. Of both Ulkatcho and Nuxalk descent, Price was raised on the ice of Anahim Lake, which was little more than backyard creeks and outdoor rinks, with his goalie father always by his side.
“It was just me and my dad a lot of the time,” Price said. “We would spend hours out on the creeks, in the cold.”
At age nine his dad decided he should join a team, so they made the nearly 700-kilometre round trip to Williams Lake a few times a week. It got so taxing that Price’s father Jerry, who had his pilot’s license, bought a small plane and the commute was cut to a more reasonable 45 minutes.
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
... as the Canadiens move inside a month of training camp for the 2014-15 season, they are without a captain for the first time in four years.
That, according to the legendary Yvan Cournoyer, isn’t something that necessarily needs be remedied before the puck drops Oct. 8 in Toronto for the Canadiens’ season-opener vs. the Maple Leafs....
A lot of guys liked Gionta and he was a leader here and in New Jersey before that. So the players elected him at least a little bit,” Cournoyer said.
“Being captain is something among the guys. It’s a little bit of everything, on the ice and off for the players, off it for the organization.
“I think they could start the season without a captain and let the chemistry build, naming him after that. Maybe the players and management can have a meeting together.
“I don’t know what any one guy can do, it’s hard for me to say this guy should be captain,” Cournoyer said, not going out on a limb with his choice for the coming season.
“I might know that he’s a good player who can do something on the ice, but what can he do to bring the team together? That’s my main thing about the captain. In my day, if things were going bad, or if the players were having problems, it was up to the captain, and the guys together, to figure it out.”
Just in case you don't know who Yvan Cournoyer is or maybe you just want to see the 'Roadrunner' in action, watch the Legends of Hockey feature on him below...
from Arpon Basu of NHL.com,
Entering this season, as much as Bergevin and Therrien might try, it will be difficult to temper expectations in Montreal.
The Canadiens are built around a young star at each of the three positions in goaltender Carey Price, 27, left wing Max Pacioretty, 25, and defenseman P.K. Subban, who is also 25 and signed the richest contract in franchise history over the offseason at eight years and $72 million, making him the defenseman with the highest salary-cap charge in the NHL.
All three of those cornerstone players are signed at least through the 2017-18 season, when Price is due to become an unrestricted free agent, and they are supported by emerging young forwards Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk.
The Canadiens' clock to contend, while far from expiring, has begun to tick.
"I like the progression of our team, I like the direction our team is taking," Therrien said. "We had an enormous challenge when we arrived here two years ago, but I like the commitment and the way things have gone so far. But we haven't reached the goal yet."
Watch below as E.J. Hradek and Don Rosen of NHL.com take a look at the Canadiens...
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.
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