Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,
(Jason) Blake was not a stranger to new coach Ron Wilson. Wilson had coached him on U.S. national teams and knew the level at which he should be performing. Wilson also watched him on TV last season and it was a different Blake than the one he remembered. He spoke to the winger about it during camp.
“The Jason Blake that I knew on national teams and when he was scoring went hard to the net and competed,” said Wilson.
“Last year, I thought he kind of circled the wagons all the time and took a lot of perimeter shots that were a waste of time. They looked good on paper. He’d come of the game with five shots, but they’re all 50-foot wrist shots. He’s going hard to the net and he’s starting to score now.”
I still think he’ll come back around December. Where? To be determined. His heart remains in Toronto, but if the Leafs are already out of it come that time, he’ll need to cut the cord. Keep an eye on the Rangers and Flyers.
-Pierre LeBrun of ESPN on Mats Sundin. More from LeBrun and Mats, but we have heard it before…
from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,
Ondrej Pavelec, the top prospect in the Atlanta Thrashers organization, will not be reporting to the AHL his agent told Sporting News….
Allan Walsh, Pavelec’s agent, said the Thrashers organization didn’t keep promises given to the young goalie when he signed with the team, so he wants out….
Walsh said he wouldn’t have had a problem if Pavelec had been given an honest opportunity to make the team and gotten beaten out. But he said the young goalie was never given a fair chance to the roster, something he said was part of the agreement with Atlanta.
from Paolo Boivin of the Arizona Republic,
Maybe it’s the Zamboni fumes clouding better judgment, but postseason inclusion no longer sounds far-fetched thanks to a blueprint that hints this team has a much better sense of direction. By trading Nick Boynton and Keith Ballard for Olli Jokinen, the Coyotes acquired a No. 1 center without giving up their best offensive talent. Other decisions, including nurturing young talent instead of banking on fading stars, should begin to pay dividends this season.
No storyline is more intriguing than the potential of top line Mueller, Doan and center Jokinen.
from Jason Kay of the Hockey News,
In places such as Chicago, Anaheim, Atlanta, Columbus, Boston, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Washington (and all of Canada, of course) there is a belief among our correspondents that excitement is high in the markets they cover, never mind this is prime time for MLB playoffs, the NFL season is in full swing and the global economy is in a free-fall.
However, a couple lines in one of the stories triggered alarm bells for me. Call it my DEW (Distant Early Warning) sensor going off, but I have a modicum of concern for a team in hockey’s heartland: the Buffalo Sabres.
“Buffalo just doesn’t seem as psycho about the Sabres,” writes our contributor John Vogl.
from Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune,
Marian Gaborik’s long-term future with the Wild never has been more uncertain.
General Manager Doug Risebrough told the Star Tribune on Friday that he does not expect to sign Gaborik, who is one season from unrestricted free agency, to a contract extension by the start of the season.
“Not making any headway,” said Risebrough, who last month said it would be prudent to sign Gaborik, the team’s all-time leading scorer, to an extension by next Saturday’s season opener. “I was trying to do something before the season. It’s not happening. ... It’s not going to happen by the start of the season.”
Asked if he’ll react by putting Gaborik on the trading block, Risebrough said, “That, I’ll have to determine.”
from Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters,
Coyotes fans will wonder if Olli Jokinen can get their team over the hump while Chicago fans are hopeful Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews has finally gotten their team on the right track.
Will Joe Sakic lead the Avalanche back to another Stanley Cup title?
Can Alex Ovechkin hit 60 goals again? What about 70?
Will the Patrick Marleau and the Sharks ever get to a Cup final?
from David Staples of The Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal,
“Pittsburgh was smart to pick up Miro Satan because he’s a more complete player than Marian Hossa,” Adler says. “Hossa is a scorer, but so is Satan, except Satan knows even how to backcheck, AND he’ll know how to get Crosby into scoring positions and get the puck to him.
“Satan slowed down at the Island last season (just 16 goals in 80 games), but that doesn’t mean he he hasn’t got it any longer ... The Islanders stunk last season, that’s all.”
So two veteran hockey observers think Satan can do it. I’m not so sure, and I’ll get into that in a moment. It’s worth noting now, though, that Satan has defied negative expectations in the past.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Brian Burke has some words of warning for NHL opponents trying to ape the success of the Detroit Red Wings, the team that followed his Anaheim Ducks as Stanley Cup champions on a steamy night in Pittsburgh last June.
“To me, if you want to play Detroit’s style, you better have some players that can do it,” said Burke, the Ducks’ garrulous general manager. “A lot of teams don’t.
“That’s why I think it’s easier to fix the snarl on your team than it is to fix the skill. If you put players in your lineup like [Henrik] Zetterberg, [Pavel] Datsyuk and [Nicklas] Lidstrom, then, yeah, you can play Detroit’s way. But those guys are hard to find.”
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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