Kukla's Korner Hockey
"But I couldn't give somebody me, I couldn't give them 100 percent of me. I wasn't into the game anymore and I didn't think it was fair to give somebody 60 or 70 percent of me.
"I had just built up a lot of anger towards the game. I wanted to get away. I didn't know that I would ever play again, to be honest. … I fell out of love with the sport and didn't have any passion for it. But sometimes you have to lose what you have to realize what you had."
-Chad LaRose who is trying to make a comeback in the Carolina Hurricanes organization. More on LaRose from Chip Alexander of the News & Observer.
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
The Flyers have questions about their Kimmo Timonen-less defense; questions about Claude Giroux's health and who will replace left winger Scott Hartnell; questions about whether young players such as Sean Couturier, Luke Schenn, and Michael Del Zotto can take their games to another level.
But for the first time in a while, there are few questions about the team's most important position.
That's because goalie Steve Mason rediscovered his mojo last season, and even outplayed the great Henrik Lundqvist in the Flyers' seven-game playoff loss to the New York Rangers.
"There's not one person in the organization that doesn't believe in Mason," forward Brayden Schenn said after the Flyers opened camp Friday in Voorhees. "You see what he did last year. When he's on his game, he's one of the better goalies in the league. Just shooting on him in practice, there's no holes. And the thing about him is that he never quits on a play, even in practice."
from Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun,
I asked Byfuglien a simple question about his expectations for the season.
"Um, be back on defence anytime, right away," quipped Byfuglien, before getting serious again. "No, just have a good start and do what I do and bring to the table what I usually do. Provide a little bit of everything. Focus on defence first and the offence will come."
Just how productive Byfuglien can be during a full season in the hybrid role of playing forward at five-on-five and defence on the power play and in other situations like four-on-four on occasion is anyone's guess.
But Byfuglien's blend of size, skill and strength obviously has Maurice believing it can lead to some impressive things.
"There's really nothing this man can't do on the ice," said Maurice. "He's a Top-six forward and he can play defence, if you need him to. He's big, he's strong, he's exceedingly smart -- in terms of his reads on the ice."
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
Consider a simple dump-in. For a video coach, it’s far from simple.
A defenseman retrieves the puck while an opposing forward forechecks. The defenseman turns it over. The opponent gets a chance.
In this scenario, which takes seconds to unfold, there are multiple events to log: retrieval, pressure situation, turnover, defensive-zone coverage, scoring chance against.
A good video coach logs all those events and identifies the players involved. He grades the quality of the chance. He notes the locations where mistakes happened.
During intermission, an assistant can call up the play, identify what went wrong, and make the corrections. A bad video coach misses those events. What might have been a teaching clip between periods is lost.
The work continues after games and during offdays. Coaches can view clips and write comments on plays and players. They can rate players’ shift quality.
The point of all this is that when a staff can’t figure out why a 30-point player only has five after 20 games, they fire up their laptops. If the quality of the data is good, coaches can run a filter and compile, for example, every even-strength shift the player has taken that’s resulted in a chance.
more plus additional hockey topics...
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Apparently, hiring all of the hockey analytics people west of Toronto wasn’t enough to save the Oilers from signing Group II free agent Justin Schultz to the single most illogical contract of the summer and, by extension, to save every other NHL front office from Edmonton.
But what else is new from this dysfunctional operation that for year upon year has whined, whined and whined some more about the collective bargaining agreement, but apparently doesn’t have the barest insight as how to apply the NHL’s governing document?
The Oilers sign unrestricted free agents to contracts that appear cockamamie (Benoit Pouliot, five years for $20 million; Nikita Nikitin, two years for $9 million) because they have to pay players more in order to entice them to move to Edmonton. They’re not the only team in that situation, cough, cough, Charles Wang’s Islanders. Fair enough.
But for no discernible reason whatsoever, the Oilers under Kevin Lowe’s watch have doled out a flurry of questionable second contracts to players straight out of Entry Level lacking any leverage, including the twin seven-year, $42 million deals with Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
continued plus more NHL topics....
from Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun,
Evander Kane believes he could be on the verge of a breakout season.
Rarely short on bravado, Kane was mostly playful as he met the media and made a bold proclamation on Friday that should generate the type of headline that would have Winnipeg Jets’ fans dancing in the streets if it comes to fruition.
In past years, Kane has often kept his personal goals to himself but that wasn’t the case this time around.
“I said when I got drafted that I can score 50 and I know I can score 50,” Kane, chosen fourth overall in 2009, said matter-of-factly. “Playing with the right guys and playing with those guys consistently and obviously staying healthy is a big part of it too.
“The sky is the limit.”
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
His eyes welled, his voice shook.
We don’t normally see Ryan Suter emotional, but the Wild’s rock of a defenseman fought back tears Friday as he talked about the loss of his father and best friend, Bob Suter, 10 days earlier.
“My dad, we were pretty close, so …” Suter said, needing a few moments to gather himself. “Just a really good guy, a hard-working guy. I’m going to miss him.”
Suter always goes about his business effortlessly on the ice. It doesn’t matter if he logs 30 or 35 minutes, his pulse never seems to rise above 30, his breathing never seems to get heavy.
It was the same thing Friday. It was obvious how much he’s hurting, yet Suter somehow located the ability to battle through and stand in front of reporters following the first day of training camp.
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
Speaking with the group of current and former GMs, a couple of themes emerged:
• They were unanimously on board with the Blue Jackets offers to Johansen and all agreed they were more than fair. For the record, the Blue Jackets have offered deals of $6 million for two years, $32 million for six years and $46 million for eight years.
• While the majority felt the Jackets tactic of going public runs counter to their style, they could certainly understand Davidson’s and Kekalainen’s frustrations.
• None of them would trade Johansen.
While most of them said the public flogging of Overhardt, in particular, is counterintuitive to their negotiation style, they acknowledged their might be some behind-the-scenes dynamics of which only they know. And they all sympathized with the Blue Jackets. All GMs spoke to thn.com on the condition of anonymity.
Katie Strang of ESPN held an online chat today...
Who will win the Connor McDavid sweepstakes and finish at the bottom this year?
Katie Strang I don't think it will be Buffalo. That team made significant strides. Don't see it being Calgary or Buffalo, either. Both teams have talented youngsters and solidified their goaltending. I'm really not sold on Ottawa this year, but that would be a pretty precipitous decline. Edmonton, perhaps? Shoot, even Arizona could really take a tumble if Mike Smith has a bad year.
Rebound year for Letang - is he arguably the most important piece for Pitt to make a deep run?
Katie Strang His performance is key, especially with the loss of Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik, but he'll have help along the blue line from Paul Martin and Christian Ehrhoff. Two most important pieces? Crosby, duh. And Marc-Andre Fleury. Quite the test with him entering the last year of his contract without an extension. Has to prove himself to earn that.
The most important question tonight:Who will win Lord Stanley?
Katie Strang Hard to pick against Chicago, but I like the Lightning as my sleeper team in the East.
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.
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