Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants,
Following this morning’s roster cuts, the Rangers worked on the power play (which they’ll also do on Thursday).
And one thing that jumped out was that Marty St. Louis was in the middle on one of the units, taking draws. St. Louis says, other than faceoffs, playing center on the power play is not really that big of an adjustment.
However, coach Alain Vigneault said today that St. Louis will be tried at center for not just power plays but five-on-five play in at least one of the last two preseason games.
A couple of factors at work here:
1. As Vigneault constantly stressed today, salary cap considerations are going to impact the makeup of the Opening Night roster. It sounds as if there’s a good chance Derek Stepan (out until likely late October with a broken left fibula and still on crutches) will have to be included rather than put on long-term injured reserve. If that’s the case, the Rangers’ roster may be just 22 players (rather than the 23-player maximum) including Stepan, again meaning if the Rangers carry 13 forwards, there will really only be 12 healthy ones.
COLUMBUS, OHIO -- Columbus Blue Jackets forward Boone Jenner underwent surgery today on a broken hand and is expected to be sidelined approximately five weeks, Blue Jackets General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced.
Jenner suffered the injury when he was struck by a puck in practice on Sunday. The surgery was performed by Dr. Gary Millard at OhioHealth’s Grant Medical Center.
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
Biggest story line to watch: While it will be interesting to see if so many of the core Lightning players coming off career seasons—Palat, Johnson, Bishop, Hedman, Valtteri Filppula—can continue their upward trajectory, the greater topic of conversation will surround the one guy coming off a nightmare campaign. Despite coming back toward season’s end and producing, Stamkos admitted his displaced right leg was still not quite at 100 per cent power in April. Can hockey’s most dangerous sniper return to his 60-goal form and give Sidney Crosby a run for the NHL scoring title?
2014-15 prediction: A surprising runner-up to Boston for the Atlantic crown last season, don’t be shocked when Cooper’s crew learns from its playoff humbling, plays a more balanced game and goes as far as the Eastern Conference final.
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
Is Johansen ready to say, “I’m a Blue Jacket. The regular season starts in a week. My teammates need me. Do a deal.”?
Or, is Johansen hurt enough, and angry enough, to sit out until Dec. 1, at which point he must sign or miss the entire season?
Is he ready to turn his back on $3 million plus, on principle?
Such questions must be considered in a worst-case scenario.
Maybe Johansen caves and comes back out of shape and has an awful season. Or, maybe he demands a trade. Why play for a team that is stubborn enough to make an example out of its best offensive player? What star, or future star, would want to play for such a team?
The Blue Jackets are saying, “We’re adhering to small-market budget practices to ensure our long-term health. We have other centers. Joey can sign for whatever we put on the table or he can sit for as long as he wants, and we’re not trading him.”
Of course, none of this will have any impact on the team’s on-ice fortunes. The players don’t even talk about it in the locker room. Naaaah, of course they don’t.
I’m definitely excited to have a fresh start. Talking to the coach [Bob Hartley], talking to management, they want me to have success, and that definitely makes your life easier. It keeps your mind free to just go out there and play as good as you can, instead of worrying about giving up bad goals and having to prove yourself every night – not just to the public, but to the coaching staff and everybody else. That’s definitely a nicer way to feel comfortable, if you know they have your back.”
-Jonas Hiller of the Calgary Flames. More on Hiller from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail.
from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,
- One exec, watching to see what Chicago does, on Stan Bowman: “Just like Scotty, he believes you’d rather trade a player a year early than a year late.”
- Boy, that Stars’ power play. It had some sensational moments Monday against Florida. There were times we saw three right-hand shots on the left (Ales Hemsky, Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza) and two left-hand shots on the weakside (Jamie Benn, Trevor Daley). Seguin scored once on a one-timer from the middle of the ice and a second when he went backdoor as Benn moved higher in the slot, taking the defence with him. Benn barely missed another after a ridiculous pass from Spezza to the crease. Coaches say you have to decide which two things you want to take away from your opponent’s powerplay. Good luck with that.
- One scout on Stephen Weiss: “The biggest question will be his stamina. He’s played 43 games in two years. I’ve seen him start strong and slow down in later periods. Can he get up to speed?”
from John Kreiser of NHL.com,
Who will replace Jarome Iginla's 30 goals? -- Iginla was a perfect fit in his one season with the Bruins, tying Patrice Bergeron for the team lead in goals. Ironically, his success wound up triggering his departure; Iginla earned more than $3 million in bonuses that cut down on the space available under this season's salary cap. He wound up in Colorado, and general manager Peter Chiarelli had to do a lot of juggling to get Boston under the cap. Loui Eriksson, who averaged more than 29 goals in his last four full seasons with the Dallas Stars but struggled in his first season with Boston, could get the first chance to take Iginla's spot with David Krejci and Milan Lucic.
Where do they go from here? -- The Sabres brought back Matt Moulson, and added Brian Gionta and Josh Gorges, but any future success rests with their core of talented young players and the slew of high picks they'll have in the next two drafts. However, after finishing a distant last in the overall standings in 2013-14 and scoring fewer goals than any team since the mid-1950s, the Sabres have a long way to go. The Sabres hope top draft pick Sam Reinhart can make the jump to the NHL and young players like Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons are ready to become impact players. There's nowhere to go but up, and though the Sabres figure to be improved, they're still likely to be a lottery team.
from Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
The injury keeping Evgeni Malkin out this preseason is one the franchise center suffered in the United States — not Russia — according to Penguins coach Mike Johnston.
And with four scheduled practices left before the Penguins' first regular-season game Oct. 9, Malkin doesn't have a lot of time left to prepare....
On Thursday, Sept. 18, the day before the first camp practice, Johnston said he expected Malkin's absence from an undisclosed injury to be “fairly short.”
Johnston said a week later that no additional tests or evaluation had been required; they're simply “waiting it out.”
On Friday, Johnston amended the original timetable, setting it another four to five days.
It has now been five days since that point, and Malkin is showing no signs of a return.
read on plus more on the Penguins...
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
The Columbus Blue Jackets resumed negotiations with restricted free agent center Ryan Johansen on Monday and they were "very polite, well mannered," Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson said Tuesday after the NHL Board of Governors meeting.
Davidson said negotiations were expected to resume Tuesday between the Blue Jackets and Johansen's agent, Kurt Overhardt, but Davidson did not have an update because he was in meetings here. Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekelainen and assistant general manager Bill Zito were handling the negotiations from Columbus' side....
Asked Tuesday if the organization favors a shorter term deal at this point, Davidson said, "A deal would interest us.
The NHL Board of Governors has approved the sale of the Islanders from Charles Wang to Jonathan Ledecky and Scott Malkin, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced Tuesday.
The deal, which Bettman said has not been finalized, calls for Ledecky and Malkin to own a minority stake in the team once the deal is complete. They will assume majority control of the team in two years, with Wang remaining a minority owner.
Bettman told reporters the deal "provides an orderly transition, which was important to Charles."
NEW YORK (Sept. 30, 2014) -- The National Hockey League’s Board of Governors today unanimously approved the purchase of a minority stake in the New York Islanders by Scott Malkin and Jonathan Ledecky. The purchase remains subject to completion of documentation and further League review before the transaction can be closed.
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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