Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Here is a primer for the Flyers’ preseason camp, which starts today at the Skate Zone in Voorhees.
B is for goalie Marty Biron. Which Biron will we see? The one who had an up-and-down regular season, or the one who was scorching hot in two of last season’s three playoff series?
N is for no-star lineup. Despite reaching the NHL’s final four last season, the Flyers aren’t getting much national respect. The Hockey News picks them to finish fourth in the East, and it lists just two Flyers, Briere (No. 42) and Richards (No. 49), among the league’s top 50 players.
from Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters,
While Stamkos, the first overall pick in this year’s draft, is easily the biggest and most intriguing name to watch out for on Tampa Bay’s roster tonight, Koci could provide the most entertainment. He’s a fighter and he’s battling for a roster spot on a team with a ton of NHL-caliber forwards. Plus, he’s the guy who bloodied the knuckles of Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara last season with… well… uh… his own blood.
So should Koci cross paths with Godard, a guy who’s not afraid to tangle with anyone, things could get interesting.
more on the game tonight…
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
The reading when Todd Bertuzzi stood atop the scale was 226 lb.
It’s been a few years since the Calgary Flames forward played at that weight.
“Uhh, I think in midget or pee wee,” he said. “I had a good year then, so ...”
New city. New team.
New Bertuzzi? At least physically.
from Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun,
“Being around the game as long as I have, I know enough to know that we have a really good chance to do some great things this year,” MacTavish said….
“That’s why we’re all excited. Everybody is healthy, the young players have developed, we have lots of depth in virtually every position. We’re all very curious to see what we’ve got.”
In Erik Cole and Lubomir Visnovsky, the Oilers have brought in a couple of players capable of generating the same impact Peca and Pronger had.
more on the Oilers…
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
Numminen went through the physical process again Friday in HSBC Arena. This time, he didn’t skip a beat.
“It’s special to be back. It’s an exciting day,” Numminen said. “I’ve been waiting for this. I feel good. I feel strong. I feel comfortable. I feel healthy. I feel normal. So everything’s going well.”
The defenseman had no problems with either the physical or the rigorous on-ice testing he and the Sabres underwent on the opening day of training camp. He knew he’d be fine. He recently visited his doctors at the Cleveland Clinic and passed their tests, too.
Next up is proving that a 40-year-old can return to the NHL after nearly a full year away.
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
Defencemen Willie Mitchell and Mattias Ohlund, as well as centres Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler, were frequently alternates towards the end of a non-playoff season. All are candidates to ascend to captain this year.
Mitchell previously wore a ‘C’ with the Minnesota Wild, a team that rotated its captain every month or so. But both Mitchell and forward Pavol Demitra, a free-agent addition from the Wild, said a permanent captain was preferred.
“I wasn’t a big fan of it,” Mitchell said. “You have your group of leaders and, it’s just my personal opinion, but I don’t think it gives the letter [the] respect that it deserves if too many people wear it.”
from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,
“Not one minute have I worried about who the captain is or whether that’s an important issue right now. It’s not. This team has to learn how to play. It’s not about the captain or all this other stuff,” said Wilson, holding court after his players had gone through testing and medicals.
“We’re going to do it as a group. I don’t think the team is looking for one guy to lead them out of the mess the last few years have been.”
The C, in concept anyway, will instead stand for committee. Wilson said a possibility is to have a pool of four to eight players from which the captaincy is awarded on a rotating basis. It might also stand for confidential, since there’s no guarantee the fans will know who’s been designated as the captain for a particular game.
from Ben Wright of Blueland Blog,
The prospects and younger players arrive later and spend more time sitting around waiting for turns in tests and in the photography line. That’s where you overhear the best stories and comments.
Several younger players were concerned about their complexions for the pictures. Makeup wasn’t offered since we have great graphic artists who can clean up just about anything, but it was still the cause of stress for some guys. One player who I won’t name had a pretty big blemish on his forehead and was cracking jokes about it. As he was getting his picture taken half a dozen other players gathered around the monitor to see just how bad it looked in the pictures. Let’s just say it’s a good thing our graphics guys are world class.
more on the Thrashers…
from Rick Sadowski of the Rocky Mountain News,
Based on predictions by a number of hockey pundits, the Avalanche’s chances of even qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2008-09 are pretty much non-existent….
“They said that last year, too,” forward Ian Laperriere said. “OK, let’s not play. Who won the Cup? They said Detroit again? We’ll throw the season away and not play then. Those magazines, it drives me nuts. So let’s not play. Let’s go home.
“We’ve got a good mix of young guys, older guys, grit and skill. Not everybody can be like Detroit. But with the skill and the mix of grit, we’re the closest thing to a team that can beat a team like Detroit.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
A focal point for NHL teams going into training camps is always, how does a player recovering from off-season surgery look? How long will it take for him to return to form? And in the case of a major injury, can he even get back to normal in one season?
There are a number of prominent players who fit the category – everyone from Vincent Lecavalier, the newly appointed captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning, to Carolina captain Rod Brind’Amour, both of whom will figure prominently in their respective teams’ bids to make the playoffs after missing post-season play in the Eastern Conference last season.
more plus othe NHL topics…
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 email@example.com