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Category: NHL-Teams

Eric Belanger, Political Pawn?

Many Canadiens fans seem to be perplexed, and some outraged, with the fact the Habs signed Jeff Halpern last week for $600,000 and this week Eric Belanger signed in Phoenix for $750,000. Despite the fact that Belanger apparently had a deal that fell through with Washington, and therefore wasn’t really shopping himself until this week, Habs fans are furious that GM Pierre Gauthier would sign Halpern at such a salary when Belanger was technically available for the meagre sum of $150,000 more. Further complicating the issue in public forums, a politician in Quebec this week suggested, and I am paraphrasing here, that Anglophones were taking over the club, phasing out the Francophone players. Apparently, the Habs are a “tool of Canadian federalism.” The reasoning? Federalists and English Canadians see the Habs as a symbol of Francophone Quebec - apparently, if English Canada can make the Habs English enough, the separatist cause will fail for good.

Yeah, because that makes sense.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: belanger, halpern, parti+quebecois

Kotalik Wants To Be A Big Part Of The Team In Calgary

from John Down of the Calgary Herald,

Given all that’s happened, even Kotalik had to admit he’s a wee bit astonished to be here for Friday’s official start to training camp.

“To be honest, I am a little surprised,” he said. “That’s the situation. I feel like I can be a big part of this team and I can measure with anybody up front. The case of the bad season, that can happen to anybody . . . I think there’s more guys than just me who have something to prove from last season.

“One season like that is not going to finish my NHL career.”

And, yet, after clearing waivers he wondered if he wasn’t finished.

“When I ended up on waivers, I waited to see what was going to happen,” he said. “If the Flames would make me a free agent with a buyout, I might stay in Europe. I didn’t know what the situation was at the time.

“I’m still part of the team, I still feel like that and like it around the guys. I think we can have a really good team and I truly believe I’m going to be a part of it.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ales+kotalik

What Is Sid Thinking?

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

What’s Crosby thinking this season?

“I felt like I improved my shooting last season, but I know this year it’s going to be even tougher,” Crosby says. “I know in the first 30 games I’m not going to be surprising anyone by pulling up and shooting.”

He says if defenders start to overplay his shot “that I may have to lean more on my playmaking this season.”

The other possible change for Crosby is he could end up with newly acquired Mike Comrie as one of his linemates, though that is far from certain.

“He has a lot of skill,” Crosby says. “I remember when the (Ottawa) Senators made their long run (in 2007), he was a tough guy to play against. He is not the fastest guy, but he is really smart. His skills are really underrated.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sidney+crosby

Goalie Battle In San Jose

from Mark Emmons of the Mercury News,

In five-plus NHL seasons, Niittymaki, 30, has posted an 83-79-28 record. Last season, he went 21-18-5 with a 2.87 goals-against average with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He is best known for leading Finland to a 2006 Olympic silver medal and earning tournament MVP honors. Niemi, 27, became a starter for Chicago as a rookie last season and went 26-7-4 with a 2.25 goals-against-average. Then he went 16-6 in the playoffs, defeating the Sharks along the way and helping Chicago win its first Cup since 1961.

Sharks coach Todd McLellan said it will be an open competition in training camp, and he was quick to add the name of last year’s backup, Thomas Greiss.

“Ultimately, a goalie decides his own fate when it comes to how many games he plays,” McLellan said. “Whoever is playing well and doing what they’re supposed to do is going to get to play.”

It seems probable, though, that the Sharks will be an all-Finnish goaltending tandem—adding to that country’s growing reputation as a goalie factory. They could be one of Finland’s leading exports.

“Right after Nokia, I guess,” Niittymaki joked

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Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Canucks Have Their Objectives

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

The Vancouver Canucks are this fall’s trendy choice, and will be made the favorites to win the Stanley Cup this season, by more than a few of us pundits.

A guy who’s been there before, Sharks GM Doug Wilson, has this advice for the Canucks: “The things that matter are the things that take place … inside your dressing room. The outside noise really has no impact on what you do.”

That’s easy to say when you’re in San Jose.

But in Vancouver, a hockey market that rivals Toronto for its voracity and the size of the media herd, GM Mike Gillis will be watching for any signs that anyone in his organization — and we mean ANYONE — is planning the parade too early.

“Absolutely,” Gillis assured us Wednesday evening in Penticton. “The first objective is, get into the playoffs. Second objective, try and win your Division so you’re a Top 3 seed. The third objective is to win the Stanley Cup.”

“We’re not putting anything ahead of the initial objective. We have to be as diligent as we can to ensure that everyone in our organization — not just players, but everybody —understands that getting into the playoffs is our first objective.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Evening Line

“I’m skating full-out right now. It’s feeling really good.  Now it’s just a matter of getting conditioning where I want it to be and just go out there and compete.’’

-Niklas Kronwall of the Detroit Red Wings.  A bit more from Ansar Khan of Mlive.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: niklas+kronwall

Ten Questions Before Camp

from Tim Wharnsby of CBC,

The curtain will be raised for NHL training camps with medicals on Friday and the first on-ice sessions on Saturday. Here are 10 questions to consider as the 30 teams prepare for the 2010-22 season:

10. Can Ovechkin and the Capitals get over the hump?

There is no denying that Ovechkin is the most dynamic player in the NHL. But playoff success has been another story. In his first five NHL seasons, Ovechkin and his team have won only one postseason series.

To boot, there is the Russia’s Olympic bust in Vancouver and its stunning loss to the Czech Republic final in the world championship last spring. The 24-year-old Ovechkin needs to find some team success in the NHL or he will be hindered by the same reputation that Thornton deals with.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

How It’s Done

from Steph Greegor of The Other Paper (Columbus),

The first time I ever met Columbus Blue Jacket R.J. Umberger, he was half naked in the locker room. Same goes for Mike Commodore and Jared Boll.

The sheer willpower it took for me—initially—to maintain eye contact while trying desperately to focus on what I was supposed to ask them (because I was new, not because they were half-naked) was impressive.

I’m a professional reporter, but I’m also a woman. The shirtless men in my presence after a hockey game most certainly did not go unnoticed. I had interviewed many people in my lifetime that were in varying degrees of nakedness and compromising positions, but I had never interviewed a man in his Under Armors, shirtless, while 20 other men mingled around me similarly attired.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Another Side To The Belanger/Capitals Situation

from Mike Vogel of dump ‘n chase,

I spent some time this afternoon gathering some intel, and this is what I can tell you.

Tacopina (Belanger’s agent) and Caps’ assistant general manager Don Fishman began discussions on a Belanger contract in June. No surprise there, as Belanger had stated his intention to get a deal done before he became an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

One of the most fundamental parts of an agent’s job is to know the market and know how his client’s worth fits in with that market. Tacopina, who never spoke with McPhee at any point during the process, told Fishman that Belanger wanted a three- or four-year deal, minimum. The Caps countered with a two-year pact worth a total of $3 million. Remember, this was before Belanger was officially an unrestricted free agent, before he could negotiate with all 30 NHL clubs.

The Caps were told that Belanger would not accept a two-year deal, that at his age (32), he was looking for his one big contract, the one that would set him up for his years beyond hockey. Belanger wanted term, and he wouldn’t take less than $2 million per season.

As best as I can tell, Belanger is the lone NHL player on MASE’s client roster. So if Tacopina were able to get him that home run contract, I have to think it would look pretty good to potential clients.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, d, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: eric+belanger

The Latest On The Phoenix Ownership Situation

from Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen,

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman acknowledged Wednesday there is a limit to the league’s patience in propping up the troubled Phoenix Coyotes franchise.

“We’ve been at this now for a year and a half,” Bettman told The Citizen when asked about the league’s attempts to find a new owner for the Coyotes.

“At some point, just like if you think back to Quebec and Winnipeg (relocating to Denver and Phoenix, respectively), you run out of options and you don’t have a choice. We fight as hard as we can to avoid being in that situation, but at some point, you deal with the realities.”

If the city of Glendale, Arizona — the Coyotes’ home — can’t work out a lease agreement with a buyer willing to keep the franchise in Phoenix by Dec. 31, the NHL will accept an existing offer from a purchaser aiming to move the franchise.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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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.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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