Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
I had a chance to catch up with Flyers center Daniel Briere over the weekend. I let him know I had joined ESPN.com, which he thought was cool.
Briere, meanwhile, talked about how different he feels going into this season, knowing fully what to expect with his team. He put so much pressure on himself last season after signing that big contract with Philadelphia. He put up 72 points in 76 regular-season games—not bad, but down from the 95 he had in Buffalo the previous season. He was tremendous in the playoffs with 16 points, including nine goals, in 17 games as the Flyers surprised many en route to the Eastern Conference finals.
from Richard Lawson of the Nashville City Paper,
The Preds this morning launched a major marketing campaign to ramp up ticket sales. The campaign covers the radio, TV and billboard aspects and also reaches into the world of Facebook and MySpace. Our Team Nashville, which organized a successful one-day season-ticket push last year, also will be back in action with another rally Sept. 23.
Predators officials aren’t being as open with ticket sales figures as they were last year. They don’t want to get into another running tally. But they will say the team maintained a solid season-ticket base this summer, one that was more normal, more like the summer of two years ago without all the save-the-team hoopla.
Still, officials note that it is critical to build on that base.
The grumpy economy, however, will be a challenge. Potential buyers worried about job security are more likely to delay their decisions.
via Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
Nonis told Canucks’ ownership he would add three forwards and let Markus Naslund go through free agency. Swedish free agent Fabian Brunnstrom was committed to signing with the Canucks. Nonis was also going to trade the Canucks’ first-round draft pick this summer, which probably would have landed the Kings’ Mike Cammalleri. And he was going to move a defenceman, likely Kevin Bieksa, and/or prospects for another proven scorer. Hello, Olli Jokinen.
Gillis, for his part, has improved the Canucks’ fourth line and added Pavol Demitra and Steve Bernier while losing Naslund and Brendan Morrison.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
“(The players are) kind of on pins and needles themselves wondering what it’s going to be about, but to me we want to make sure people understand that there’s going to be an identity and type of game that we want to play,” said Hartsburg.
“Everybody is going to be asked to play within that structure. A guy like Jason Spezza, who is a gifted offensive puck handler, there’s room for that. Cody Bass and (Shean) Donovan, there’s room for them in our structure and a need for both type of players. There’s going to be good structure and the team is going to take a lot of pride in the work part of the game. We want a mentality that we can defend and we can attack.”
from SnapShots of Mlive,
Well, surprise, surprise, in addition to boosting the prices of single-game tickets in a state that continues to lose jobs at an astonishing race based upon a Stanley Cup win, they’ve also introduced “premium” game pricing. If you want to go see the Wings raise their Stanley Cup banner against the Toronto Maple Leafs on October 9th, you pay from $45-125 in the upper bowl, and from $125-235 in the lower bowl.
Want to see the Wings play an Original Six rival in the Rangers on Saturday, October 18th? It’ll cost you from $35.00-$95.00 in the upper bowl, and from $95-195 to sit in the lower bowl.
from Bruce MacLeod of Red Wings Corner,
I’m not sure that I like the arguments why Steve Stamkos isn’t playing at the prospects tournament for Tampa Bay. I’ve heard things ranging from it’s the Lightning trying to protect Stamkos from a tournament where prospects try to prove themselves, including fighting. I’ve also heard that the Lightning didn’t want Stamkos to miss any of their main camp which begins a day after this tournament ends.
First off, don’t worry about Stamkos protecting himself.
from Ross McKeon of Yahoo,
Everyone knew what was coming when general manager Dean Lombardi jumped aboard with marching orders to get the ship righted, much like he did in San Jose. That meant rebuilding, and rebuilding means stripping away what’s not working by selling off assets for picks, drafting well, development, patience with your blue-chip prospects, trying to keep key young players together as they climb the ladder and hope they’re ready when they get their crack.
But two seasons have passed and the Kings are still facing an uphill battle not only to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in six seasons but also toward respectability. Two years is probably not nearly enough time to accurately assess whether rebuilding is a success, but this is business and the L.A. market – surprisingly loyal throughout so many frustrating years – is losing interest and crowds are waning.
from Adam Kimelman of NHL.com,
Now the picture is getting a bit grayer. How do you quantify toughness? Is there one particular stat to look at? And where does talent fit into the equation?
NHL.com wasn’t quite sure, so we found someone with a little more knowledge – Jay Feaster, the former general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning who assembled the 2004 Stanley Cup championship club. Here are Feaster’s opinions on who are the most talented tough guys in the Western Conference:
Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames – There’s nothing that Iginla doesn’t do well. He’s an elite scorer, a good passer, a strong skater, and he never backs away from a physical challenge.
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
As with most Ruff-coached teams, the concentration will be on solid defensive play. But Ruff doesn’t want the phrase “defense first” to scare anyone. The Sabres were fourth in the league in scoring last year and led the NHL the year before, so he knows he has to let his firepower flame.
“I didn’t like our play away from the puck, and that’s going to be an area of focus through camp,” Ruff said. “We want that area stronger, and at the same time still play the style that’s made us successful. I don’t think we want to get away from that.
“I think that can be done, but that’s going to take a little more commitment from different individuals on this team.”
from Bob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Q: What did you learn last year about your core players?
A: They’ve very resilient, and I didn’t just learn that. We’ve shown that the past two seasons, especially last season with all the injuries and adversity, including the slow start. These players know how to handle tough spots. I look at our game in Ottawa last season on Thanksgiving: We were three games under .500 and down, 0-2, on the road to a team that had the best record in hockey at the time. We won that game, and it was the start of getting it going on the right track
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.
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