Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
Not only was it the first extended layoff he’d experienced during a five-year pro career, but it’s also the longest he’s ever gone between games since taking up the sport. Seven months is an agonizing absence for a rink rat. And with NHL training camps set to open this week, there might not be another player in the league more excited to get back to work than Tavares.
“Oh I’m ready,” he said.
There is certainly reason for optimism on Long Island, where the acquisition of goalies Jaroslav Halak and Chad Johnson should make an instant impact on a team that was dead last in save percentage last season. Adding forwards Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin will provide some much-needed depth up front.
This could also be the year that Tavares challenges for the NHL’s scoring title.
A lot of signs have him trending in that direction. He is already among the league’s elite offensive players after producing the fifth-best points per game average over the last three seasons — trailing only Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Steven Stamkos and Claude Giroux. Tavares is the youngest member of that group and should just be entering his offensive prime with his 24th birthday coming on Saturday.
NEWARK, NJ – September 15, 2014 – The New Jersey Devils today will unveil “We’re All Devils Inside,” a new brand and marketing campaign for the 2014-15 hockey season. The campaign will kick off this morning as season ticket holders pick up redesigned ticket packages and have their photo taken with Devils players at a special event at Prudential Center.
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
“I think the one word that still comes with Calgary has to be patience,” McLennan told ESPN.com in a recent phone conversation. “They sold to fans a complete rebuild.”
What happened last season, in Brian Burke’s first year as team president and Bob Hartley’s first full season as coach in Calgary? The Flames were in a league-high 49 one-goal games. The Flames still finished sixth in the Pacific Division, but they competed every night.
“They were in every game, which was exciting for the fans,” McLennan said. “Bob Hartley did a great job, but the message still has to be, don’t expect too much. Allowing guys like Sean Monahan another year to see what he’s like, another year of experience for Sven Baertschi and Mikael Backlund. They have some young pieces.“
"We're comfortable with the character of the group -with the group coming back and the players that we added. If we had questions about their character they would've been gone in the summer."
-Dave Nonis, GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs. More on the Leafs from TSN.
from Gare Joynce of Sportsnet,
Biggest storyline to watch: Poile was a voice in the wilderness — a league executive who stood by his coach through thick and mostly thin. Laviolette is the face of a Nashville reboot as much as James Neal. If Laviolette enjoys early success, many will suggest Poile waited too long to change the culture in the organization. If Laviolette is only modestly successful but his teams play a more entertaining brand of hockey than most of Trotz’s teams, Nashville fans will consider themselves winners in a small way. If it’s more of the same, the franchise is at risk of losing its fragile hold of its fanbase.
2014-15 prediction: Though the Predators finished only three points behind Dallas for the No. 8 slot in the Western Conference last season, it’s hard to see how the Predators have gained any ground. Once more into the lottery.
via Rich Chere of NJ Advance Media,
In yet another late surprise, the Devils have invited defenseman Mike Komisarek to training camp as an unsigned tryout.
Komisarek joins Scott Gomez, Ruslan Fedotenko, Tomas Kaberle and Jordin Tootoo with PTO deals.
Gomez will wear No. 28 in training camp; Komisarek was given 72; Tootoo 74; Fedotenko 76 and Kaberle 47.
Komisarek, who played 32 games for the Carolina Hurricans last season (no goals, 4 assists, 14 penalty minutes), is a 6-4, 235-pound defenseman from Wes Islip, N.Y. He is 32.
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
Here's the Avalanche's biggest problem as veterans prepare to report for physicals Thursday: It's difficult to come out and declare that you don't want to be as successful in the regular season as you were a year ago.
You can't really say that to your players, to your fans, to the media, to anyone.
But if an adoption of a collective veteran mind-set personified by one of the game's top leaders, Jarome Iginla, makes Colorado better suited for a deeper postseason run in 2015, a regression in the regular-season standings is more than acceptable.
In the first season of Joe Sakic being atop the hockey hierarchy and Patrick Roy behind the bench, the Avs stunningly rebounded. They rang up 112 points and, thanks to the St. Louis Blues' collapse down the stretch, won the Central Division. They also posted the second-best record in the Western Conference and third-best overall in the NHL.
This is a huge compliment, not a slight, but there's no way the Avalanche truly was the third-best team in the league. It was one of the more monumental single-season turnarounds in the history of the league. But then came the first-round loss in seven games to Minnesota, which went down as failure despite the fact that the Wild's payroll was $11 million higher.
from Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald,
Winger Reilly Smith and defenseman Torey Krug are still both unsigned. General manager Peter Chiarelli said he hoped they’d be in camp, but he would not comment on negotiations. And while that situation plays itself out, there’s the likelihood of a trade happening. Chiarelli all but said he’ll be moving one of his nine defensemen.
“I’ve always tried to get the team together signed and get them in place and give them a level of security. I always feel that with that, they will perform,” Chiarelli said between periods of a rookie tournament game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. “Of course, I’ve got to see the performance to get to that point. They’ve seen that we’ve tried to keep this team together as much as we can; we’ve had a lot of success with this group of guys.
“Around the fringes, guys have to go . . . I think they understand that we always want to ice a Cup-winning team, and with that comes some casualties. This year, I’m looking forward to it, to a certain degree; there’s a lot of competition, there’s a lot of spots, including — you don’t wish one of these (defensemen) to be traded, but we just have too many. At some point, I’m going to have to do it, and all the teams in the league, most of the teams in the league would like one.
“And I know everyone’s waiting, ‘What move will (he) make? What move will (he) make?’ Well, I have to see what’s going to happen, see who fits well with whom, but the uncertainty is something this year that is a byproduct of the cap and a successful team and locking up those guys, and eventually there’s other guys that are just going to get too expensive. I don’t cast any aspersions on them for being at that level, but that’s what it’s at.”
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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