Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Erik Erlendsson at Bolts Report,
I’m currently up in Toronto for two purposes. The first was to have the chance to meet Steven Stamkos and his family, which I did on Thursday night. The other was to swing by the combine today for the physical testing of the top prospects, including Stamkos, to find out about this VO2 bike test they put the prospects through, which has barf buckets right next to the bikes. Look for that story in Saturday’s paper.
As far as Stamkos goes, he certainly seems like one of the nicest high-profile teenagers you might ever meet. Spent just over two hours at the family house outside of Toronto and had some great conversations. Very humble family and you can see how that has carried over to Steven. Despite all the heavy marketing the Lightning have already done with Stamkos, they still answer everything with “if Tampa Bay drafts’’. They are taking nothing for granted, and that’s just how they are, they don’t want to get ahead of anything.
more on Stamkos
Q. Holmstrom may or may not play. What does that change, if he’s not in the lineup?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: They still have a lot of quality players. And it’s not going to change anything for us. It might change something for them, but for us our focus will remain the same.
Q. The numbers with Fleury on home ice are pretty staggering. Is there something that you’ve noticed, something in his play, like is there something that changes for him in this building?
Q. There’s been a lot of attention in terms of the Red Wings, maybe their top 5-man unit, particularly with the defense, people focus on Lidstrom. But can you talk about what Brian Rafalski means. He played with a tremendous Hall-of-Famer in New Jersey, and just kind of gets the short shift of attention in Detroit.
SIDNEY CROSBY: He’s a good puck moving defenseman. He skates well. He’s not the biggest guy, but I think he’s smart and plays his position well. So I think he probably makes up with his size with how well he plays his position, and probably helps anybody he plays with to be that much more solid.
Q. This is a time to kind of celebrate the game, but there’s some sad news yesterday with Luc Bourdon. I know you new him a little from Atlantic Canada Midget Hockey, can you talk about how you’re getting set to play the biggest game of your career and there’s some sad news like that?
From Damien Cox at the Toronto Star,
One of the worst kept secrets in hockey is expected to become public in the next few days as Barry Melrose returns from TV exile to take over the coaching reins of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Melrose, who last coached in the NHL with the Los Angeles Kings 13 years ago, is expected to get the Tampa job, replacing John Tortorella, who has yet to be replaced or reassigned.
More at TSN.
Update 8:42pm ET: Melrose responds on ESPN‘s SportsCenter—
“This is no different than any of the last 10 years,” Melrose said in response to a report in the Toronto Star. “I’ve been contacted by a handful of clubs every year since joining ESPN. My desire to coach again has never been a secret, but I love what I do at ESPN.”
Melrose’s return to NHL coaching has been speculated upon several times in recent years but, when asked about the report on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” on Friday, Melrose added: “I want to coach again in the NHL. But nothing’s going on. Uh, I work for ESPN and I’m very happy working for ESPN.”
From Daniel Malloy at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Away from the ice, though, the ferocity disappears, replaced by an aggressive philanthropic spirit.
Mr. Laraque doesn’t turn down a request for his time—“There are no bad charities,” he says—and spends about four days a week during the season working in the community, mostly with children.
“A lot of athletes will talk about doing good things, a lot of them do good things, but Georges takes that to an entirely different level,” said Cliff Benson, who has collaborated with Mr. Laraque on various charitable initiatives around town.
“He makes that a purpose in his life. That makes him different from most.”
from John Dellapina of the NY Daily News,
With desperation setting in, the three parties who must work out the complex logistics associated with the event - the NHL, the Yankees and the Mayor’s Office - plan to sit down next week for a Stadium hockey summit.
“This is not dead yet,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Daily News yesterday.
Although reports yesterday stated that the NHL will play its 2009 Winter Classic at Wrigley Field - with the Detroit Red Wings visiting the Blackhawks - the preferred option is to have the Rangers play host to the Boston Bruins in what would be the final sporting event at the current Yankee Stadium.
“The only two options at this point are Yankee Stadium and Wrigley Field,” Daly said. “Wrigley Field is not done.”
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,
Sobbing uncontrollably just hours after losing her son, Luc Bourdon, in a tragic motorcycle accident, Suzanne Boucher said she had tried desperately to stop him from buying a bike.
Her plea worked last year when her fears changed his mind. That’s when Bourdon, the promising Canucks defenceman, first told his mom he dreamed of riding, and was spellbound by the “power and beauty” of motorcycles.
“I was scared when he told me that,” Boucher said yesterday through tears from her home in Shippagan, N.B. “I disagreed with it so much. I said, ‘You can’t do it.’ It was too risky, too dangerous. His girlfriend helped me reason with him. But this year was different. This year he wasn’t going to listen….”
from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
As was the case for Yzerman during his 19 seasons as Red Wings captain, Crosby is focused only on that next hockey game.
That steely focus is one of Crosby’s many attributes Yzerman finds appealing.
“I’ve watched how he conducts himself, and I like the way he plays,” said Yzerman, who retired in 2006 as the sixth-leading scorer in NHL history and a three-time Cup champion. “He’s an extremely talented kid, but he competes hard.
“I’ve been very impressed watching from afar.”
from Loose Change at the Hockey News,
I hear the snickers. I read your signs.
You pick on me and you pick on Sidney because I don’t live up to your lofty expectations.
You have this notion in your head that playoff beards have to be wild and unruly. Where does it say a “true” playoff beard has to look like the Cookie Monster’s back hair?
A “beard,” according to my Large-Type Whisker-Friendly Dictionary, is “hair growing on the chin or lower cheek of the face.” Nowhere does it have a thread count or a topographical map.
from Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press,
The NHL limited player access Thursday, providing only four Red Wings to answer questions at a news conference, even though Game 4 isn’t until Saturday. The Penguins’ four players, believe it or not, did not include Sidney Crosby. It was downtime, an extra day to rest, extra time to heal. Such conditions provided the ideal opportunity for the NHL to further build a mainstream fan base.
The Wings are entitled to an off day. It’s a long grind, physically and mentally, going this deep into the playoffs. But a sport’s championship series remains its greatest marketing tool, and when you’re blessed with an exceptional second-day talking point like Game 3, you must milk it for every ounce of publicity.
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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