Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bryan Gruley of the Wall Street Journal,
As the NHL season gets underway, Mr. McDonough discussed his plan to get the Blackhawks back on top.
WSJ: Do you have a benchmark in mind? The Detroit Red Wings?
Mr. McDonough: I really don’t want to talk about other elite franchises. At the end of last season, when we missed the playoffs by three points, we gathered the hockey team and the front office together over a luncheon. The message I sent was, we are no longer going to have a hockey operation and a business operation. There is going to be one Chicago Blackhawks. There is going to be a certain type of player that is going to play.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
There was a changing of the guard over the summer, with 50-year-old Steve Tambellini stepping into Kevin Lowe’s shoes as the Edmonton Oilers general manager….
Q: Your last NHL playing days were in Vancouver. How did you get into management?
A: At the time, I was going back and forth between playing in Europe and if I was quitting, I thought I’d end up in private business, because the opportunities in the National Hockey League or pro sport are very limited. But (Canucks GM) Pat Quinn called me and asked if I’d join the club.
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
And if the pre-season is any indication of how well Mike Cammalleri, Todd Bertuzzi, Curtis Glencross and Rene Bourque will fit into the lineup, Sutter may just have remedied the club’s biggest ailment last year.
“The biggest two gaps in our team last year was the (inconsistent) performance of some of those skilled players and what we got out of our third and fourth line guys who play nine to 12 minutes,” said Sutter, who has totally reloaded his third and fourth lines to include some scorers. “They were warriors but scored two or three goals. All these guys here can score 10 or 12 goals. It makes a big difference.”
from Bolts Report,
...the Carolina Hurricanes have turned down the Lightning’s request to move the start time, so Saturday’s game will start at 7:30 p.m. as scheduled. Because Carolina plays at home on Friday, and Saturday’s start time falls within the same 24-hour period, the Hurricanes have to agree to the time change. They haven’t, so it’s status quo.
As far as my feelings on that, well, at some point Carolina might be asking the Lightning for a similar favor and all I can say is, what comes around goes around.
more on the Lightning and the Tampa Bay Rays playing at the same time on Saturday…
added 12:07pm, from Luke DeCock of the News & Observer,
The Hurricanes said no, and it’s hard to blame them. With a home game Friday night — the opener against the Florida Panthers — the Canes would be at a huge competitive disadvantage playing earlier.
But there’s a subtext here. In the summer of 2006, the Lightning added an ice-level club to their arena and closed off the tunnel that connected the visiting locker room to the visiting bench.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
So now, while hope may spring eternal in 28 markets, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s new/old coach Barry Melrose is already calling for more sweat from his skilled players; and the Pittsburgh Penguins are wondering what the heck is going on with their power play, in the absence of Sergei Gonchar and Marian Hossa.
The lesson: Grim reality can set in awfully fast, even in the early days of October, where 15 burning questions will be asked and answered between now and next June.
1. Will the so-called “new” NHL eventually feature more scoring?
It sure doesn’t look promising. The Lightning, Penguins and Senators collectively boast some of the best pure scoring talent in the league, with a total of seven players capable of finishing in the top 10. For all that, they produced a total of 17 goals — one in overtime — for an average of just more than four a game in last weekend’s openers in Prague and Stockholm.
from Tracey Myers of the Star-Telegram,
Tom Hicks was ready to talk hockey. The Dallas Stars’ owner sat in his downtown Dallas office on Tuesday, excited about the possibilities of the new season.
“In the last month we’ve been hearing from [co-general managers] Les [Jackson] and Brett [Hull], and Brett kind of clearly says the players think they’re going to win it all this year. They have a lot of confidence, and that’s a great starting point. You go back 10 years, I think we had that feeling we were going to win it all that year. We’re not as experienced a team as that one was, so you have a lot of unknowns that creep into it. But we have an opportunity to be special.”
from Katie Carrera of the Washington Post,
His shoulder feels strong. His timing is coming back as evidenced by Nylander, 36, finishing as the team’s second leading scorer in the preseason with seven points (two goals, five assists).
“He’s playing a lot younger and a lot more determined” Boudreau said. “At the end of last year when we were playing pretty good, he was almost an afterthought in people’s minds. Not in my mind, but in other people’s minds. . . . He’s out to prove he’s an elite player again.”
from Rick Chere of the Star-Ledger,
“I know what kind of player I am,” Elias said. “I proved it to myself in the second half of (last) season and in the playoffs. I like to be in situations when the game is on the line.
“I like to think I can still be the go-to guy. I believe I have some great years ahead of me.”
Sutter said he senses a difference in Elias.
“I just think it’s different for Patty this year,” the coach explained. “It’s more settling to him. What transpired last year is done and over.”
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province via the National Post,
Teams on the eastern seaboard would clearly have a greater advantage and by the end of a long season their fatigue-level advantage would make players in Vancouver envious.
Given this new landscape, any free agent worth a hoot would turn up his nose at all West Coast locations unless he was significantly overpaid to put his body through the travel mill. The Canucks would be hard pressed to sign Byron Ritchie as a free agent let alone Alexander Ovechkin when he gets free.
from Dave Caldwell of the New York Times,
Most hockey coaches wear a whistle on a lanyard around their necks. Not Scott Gordon, the Islanders’ new coach. His whistle is clasped to his left glove, so Gordon does not have to fumble around for his whistle to stop practice.
And Gordon stops practices often. He usually skates within a few feet of the players whose techniques needs to be corrected, softly but firmly, but he is not above slapping his stick on the ice or hollering at his players from the other end of the rink.
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