Kukla's Korner Hockey
via the Buffalo Sabres,
Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier announced that forward Paul Gaustad had a torn ligament in his right thumb surgically repaired today. He is expected to be out a minimum of 3-4 weeks.
from Sam Weinman of the Journal News,
No one understands the enormity of the trip better than the Rangers’ equipment staff, led by Acacio Marques. The Harrison resident already works marathon days shuttling the team’s gear between the MSG Training Center in Greenburgh, Madison Square Garden and various road sites. But Europe has been an entirely different endeavor, beginning with something as simple as incompatible electrical outlets for essentials such as skate-sharpening machines and video equipment.
Other challenges have run the gamut from hot to cold - literally.
In the NHL, teams rely on heated rooms to make sure players’ sweaty gear has dried from one skate to the next. At the rinks in both Bern and Prague, there’s no such thing, so the Rangers have been forced to bring over their own space heaters. On the other end of the spectrum, when Marques asked both rinks for 300 pounds of ice a day for the team, he was met with a quizzical response.
from Lightning Strikes,
Eric Assimakopoulos always has been generous with his employees. The owner of the HC Slovan hockey team, which faces the Lightning tonight in Bratislava, Slovakia, said he is trying to become the first league owner here to offer his players workman’s compensation. He has bought thousands of dollars in equipment for local kids, and he said his team was the first in Slovakia to give its players championship rings.
Now, Assimakopoulos, 38, a native New Yorker and real estate investor who said he still dreams of owning the Rangers, told the St. Petersburg Times that if HC Slovan beats Tampa Bay, he will give each of his players a 10,000 Euros bonus. That is roughly $15,000.
“I think he’s a little bit on a mission himself. Here’s a guy who got  points two years ago and then he gets hurt and he misses the last half of the year and the team succeeds without him. He’s come in here and said, ‘I am a good hockey player. I am one of the elite guys in the NHL,’ and he was two years ago when we signed him.”
-Washington coach Bruce Boudreau on Michael Nylander via the Washington Times.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
The job is LaBarbera’s for now. If he can’t decisively claim it, the Kings—for so long so inept at grooming young goalies—have several good alternatives and won’t hesitate to use them.
Unlike last season, when Bernier was stuck with his junior team after the Kings returned him in mid-October, he can be summoned from Manchester any time. General Manager Dean Lombardi tends to be too cautious with his young players but is doing the right thing in letting Bernier regain his timing and rhythm in a low-pressure setting.
“It’s the best place for his development. I’m convinced it’s the best thing for him and the franchise,” Lombardi said.
from Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun,
Last season, a lack of grit among some of his Flames teammates led to Regehr bluntly calling them out more than a couple of times.
That sentiment hasn’t softened after a longer-than-expected summer.
“We moved out some really skilled players, but they were players also that didn’t fit our new philosophy as a team,” the big blueliner said yesterday, before the team took off to Edmonton for tonight’s pre-season matchup against the Oilers.
“They were also players that were a little soft sometimes, and that didn’t really bode well for us in the tough games and also in the playoffs.”
from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,
Alfredsson’s expiry date has become a topic because his contract expires at the end of this season.
There are three option years attached to the deal with this kicker: as revealed in the Sun, if Alfredsson plays 70 games and gets at least 70 points this season, he has the option to accept $3.8 million (all terms US) for next season or declare himself an unrestricted free agent.
If he doesn’t hit the 70-70 combo, the Senators have him for $3.8 million, a bargain. But the Senators certainly don’t want to run the risk of having their captain become a free agent.
Talks between Senators general manager Bryan Murray and J.P. Barry, Alfredsson’s agent, are in the preliminary stages.
from Empty Netters,
When Ray Shero re-signed Mark Eaton back on July 1, many questioned the decision to bring back a player who spent much of his previous two seasons on injured reserve. With some of the Penguins other needs in free agency at the time, why devote a decent chunk of change to an oft-injured defenseman?
Two months later, Shero’s looking like a genius. Granted, he couldn’t have foreseen what would happen to his two most prolific defensemen before the season started, but he saw the value of having depth. With Eaton and Brooks Orpik back in the fold, the Penguins ensured they would have nine NHL-caliber blueliners in the organization. Without Gonchar and Whitney, the Penguins still seven solid reliable players they can dress on the blue line.
from Michael Arace of Puck-rakers,
The Jackets’ A team played the Blackhawks’ B team in an exhibition at Nationwide tonight. The Jackets won, 7-1 But they lost left winger Raffi Torres to a separated shoulder. Torres will miss six weeks.
“Very costly. Disappointing,” Jackets coach Ben Hitchcock said. “It works every time. Every time you play against a (largely minor-league) team like that brought in here, something bad happens.”
At 14:29 of the second period, Torres backed away from the faceoff circle and squared off with Ben Eager. Torres apparently called out Eager, a noted pugilist, because Eager had slashed Jackets rookie Jake Voracek across the hands during the previous shift.
from The Good, The Bad And The Duthie,
While we can conclude very little from any pre-season, it’s clear we have ourselves an Ottawa Senators team with more question marks than the Riddler’s outfit, and an Eastern Conference as wide open as Saskatchewan….
That leaves it wide open for….take your pick…Montreal, Philadelphia, the Rangers, Washington…
The early line on the Sens is Sesame Street simple. If Martin Gerber is really good, they finish somewhere between 4th and 7th in the conference. If Martin Gerber is…uhh…what Martin Gerber was most of last year, then they’ll be golfing by mid-April.
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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.
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