Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider,
Nicklas Backstrom suffered a sprained ankle yesterday when he collided with the goal, General Manager George McPhee confirmed moments ago. Backstrom stayed down for a few seconds, then skated off the rink gingerly.
Backstrom was seen walking with a pretty pronounced limp later in the day and he didn’t skate this morning.
from John Glennon of the Tennessean,
When the Predators’ season ended last April, owner David Freeman looked forward to an offseason in which the organization could hone its marketing skills and cement local business ties….
“This is going to be a year where our goals are higher and our expectations are higher,’’ Freeman said. “Just hitting 14,000 is not going to put a smile on our face and neither will losing in the first round of the playoffs. This is the year we hope to take that next step.
“We’re trying to build a franchise with long-term stability and long-term prosperity. We know that winning is important and we know that having a full house is important.’’
Craig Custance of the Sporting News did an interview with… any guesses?
SN: So what else do you have in the mix?
Current Player: What don’t I have going on? I’m thinking of starting a NASCAR team with my buddies, or starting one up myself or buying into an existing team. I like to dabble in a lot of different things. I enjoy life, I like meeting new people. I’m an action junkie.
read on to find out who it is and a very interesting interview too…
From Mike Toth at Sportsnet.ca:
With Cliff Fletcher at the helm, the Leafs have suddenly become Ontario’s answer to the Calgary Flames, as no fewer than six members of the 1989 Stanley Cup squad have switched their allegiances from “The ‘C’ of Red” to the Blue & White. In addition to Fletcher, the architect of that Calgary triumph, Toronto’s management and coaching line-up includes Al Coates, Joe Nieuwendyk, Tom Watt, Doug Gilmour and Tim Hunter, with all of them expected to play a key role in Fletcher’s long-range plan to transform the lousy Leafs into serious contenders.
And can you really blame Fletcher for being so attracted to Flames?
After all, when Cliff exited Calgary to take over the Leafs for the first time in the early-90’s, he immediately fleeced his former team by pulling off the “Killer” trade that made Gilmour’s gang the toast of Toronto.
from Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun,
“We lost some very good players that were big parts of our team—and they’re going to help the teams they went to, no question—but the people we brought in are very good also,” said Iginla of the new-look Flames.
“I’d say that we’re probably a little grittier, and maybe a little bigger, but I think we still have that skilled side.”
Too many goals against was what plagued the Flames last year, so the team hopes the grittier, defensively conscious additions will make the difference after a third consecutive first-round playoff exit.
“You’ve got to be able to play more than one-dimensional,” said Iginla.
“I think it’s gonna be great, and I’m really looking forward to it.”
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
But if you think the seriousness of the injury has made the power forward shy away from the heavy going, think again.
“You learn to play the game a certain way, and if that style’s been successful and you’ve come all this way, it’s hard to change,” Cole said earlier this week as he skated with several other NHLers at Kinsmen Arena, preparing for the opening of the Oilers’ main training camp on Friday, Sept. 19.
“I’ve always played a hard-nosed style.” Cole was apprehensive in his first playoff game after breaking his neck. His Carolina teammates had unexpectedly lost Game 5 of the final in overtime on Fernando Pisani’s short-handed goal and had to fly clear across the continent after coming tantalizingly close to winning the series on home ice.
“It wasn’t an ideal situation to play my first game,” confessed Cole.
from Jeff Marek of Upon Further Review at CBC,
You can pretty well take it to the bank that Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos will be a standout (the surrounding cast he has to work with pretty well guarantees that fact) and is easily the front-runner in the early race for the Calder trophy.
But who else?
I’m putting my money on Phoenix’s Kyle Turris winning the Calder and playing as a second-line centre behind Ollie Jokinen, not unlike the role Stamkos will occupy playing below Vincent Lecavalier.
more rookies to watch…
from Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters,
Which brings us to Jordan Staal who, according to rumors, is related to Eric in some fashion.
He’s a restricted free agent after this season. How does he get his first big pay day?
Does he need to hit the 30 goal/60 point mark? Does he essentially need to be Ryan Malone’s replacement on one of the first two lines? Does he need to ride shotgun on the wing of Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin? Does he need continue his sterling defensive play?
If you ask us, the answer is yes to all these questions. This is why we expect a big season out of Staal.
from Kevn Allen of Mucking & Grinding,
Staal said he understands why Therrien plays him on the third line, “he believes it’s a better fit at center for me and we were winning games.”
He hasn’t even talked to Therrien about moving up permanently to the wing. “But for my future I believe I’m a top six guy and I want to play up there,” he said. “I want to fit somewhere in that puzzle. Hopefully I can stick around in Pittsburgh and find a good spot.”
from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,
Fletcher tossed around words like “patience” and “development” as he examined the upcoming campaign.
“Unfortunately, there’s no fast-track system. There’s no miracle cure out there,” he said of rebuilding the Maple Leafs.
The message was clear: Brace yourself. The Leafs are going to struggle early and often. But with Ron Wilson behind the bench, proper tutelage in the organization, and the continued acquisition of young talent, Toronto could eventually have the base for sustained success. Once there, they’ll even get back in the business of signing big-name free agents.
from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,
Along with a player like Sean Avery (who topped the SI poll) of the Stars, Ruutu sets the standard when it comes to agitating in the NHL.
“I guess you could say so. That’s why I get paid a lot, I’m sure,” said the 33-year-old. “I don’t think they want me to score goals. I have to play with my strengths and not try to do too much other stuff. Obviously, you want to score when you get the chance.
“I have to prove myself every night. That’s the key. Whether you have a 10-year contract or not, it doesn’t matter. You have to put yourself in situations where you can make the difference in the game. That’s what’s fun about the game in Canada. You can’t get away with stuff like taking a night off.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org