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Category: NHL-Teams

Is Ovechkin Losing His Luster?

from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,

The Great Eight is flashing his trademark gap-toothed grin when he says it. Yet it seems that somehow, someway, that famous smile does not carry the same intoxicating spell over the masses as it once did.

For some of us, he is still the most electrifying, riveting talent in the game, the one player that is worth the price of the NHL’s at-times inflated admission.

At the same time, it is evident that the bloom, in the eyes of some, has come off the rose.

Maybe it’s because they remember how Ovechkin’s so-called powerful Olympic team was humiliated 7-3 by Team Canada at the Vancouver Winter Games.

Maybe it’s because the image of Ovechkin’s controversial hit on Chicago’s Brian Campbell remains etched in their minds, an incident that landed the Caps’ sniper a two-game suspension.

Maybe it’s because the critics claim he hasn’t, at least from a team standpoint, won anything, pointing to the Caps’ first-round exit to the underdog Montreal Canadiens this past spring as a prime example.

Weighing all the factors, is it really fair to put all these things on the shoulders of Ovechkin, whose team has won just one playoff series during his time in Washington?

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alexander+ovechkin

Captain Kangaroo?

As you’ve probably heard by now, François Gagnon of La Presse exclusively broke the story late last week that Brian Gionta was to be named the 28th captain of the Montreal Canadiens. While I don’t doubt the veritability of the news there is still no official announcement from the Habs, and they insist a decision still has yet to be made. If it is Gionta, it will be the safe choice, the expected choice and a good choice. A quiet leader who excels in big game situations, Gionta is respected by his teammates and willing to take the team on his back. That said, such a decision will be a disappointment to some who hoped that veteran rearguard Andrei Markov would get the nod, given his tenure with the Canadiens and his own ability to lead through on ice performance.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andrei+markov, brian+gionta, captaincy, carey+price, mathieu+darche, ryan+o'byrne

Depending On Jokinen

from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,

As Olli goes, so will the team.

Same goes for Sutter, who has tied his fate as GM to the 31-year-old Finn.

If Jokinen can mesh with anyone on the top two lines — on Saturday, he opened between Tanguay and Iginla as expected — the Flames are likely to boost the offence to get them in the playoffs.

If he continues to flounder, as he did last year before being traded, the Flames will miss the playoffs again, and Sutter will most likely be replaced by Jay Feaster.

It’s really that simple.

Arriving a few weeks early to register his kids in school, Jokinen appears fit and sports a good attitude.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: olli+jokinen

Are The Canucks A Better Playoff Team?

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

With a torn Achilles tendon, Salo may be out until January. But counting him among the Canucks Top 7 defencemen, Gillis has $23.9 million invested in seven defencemen. Add Luongo’s $5.5 million cap hit on to that, and eight players eat up just shy of half of the club’s payroll—and none are forwards.

They are better on the back end with Hamhuis and Ballard, but this team was never low on puck movers.

Are they tougher, any more difficult to play against, or in any way better equipped for playoff hockey that has tripped them up these past two years?

That, good Canucks fan, is something we’re going to have wait a full 82 games to see.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Facing a Decade Without the Playoffs, Florida’s Rebuild Goes On and On

Futility in Sunrise has persisted for far too long, with the Florida Panthers on the brink of a dubious record after nine consecutive non-playoff seasons. Incoming general manager Dale Tallon has moved quickly in putting his stamp on the team with several transactions since taking over, but nothing to this point appears bold enough to turn his club from last season’s Southeast Division cellar dwellers into a postseason participant.

Sadly, more patience may be in order for long-suffering Panthers fans.

Even so, all is not lost for the NHL’s southernmost franchise, with several key pieces already in place for the future (and others right around the corner) and it isn’t as though the current roster is without talent as is. Still, a couple of major stumbling points remain for the Panthers. The 24 games they will play versus fellow Southeast clubs, three of whom look to be vastly improved and the fourth being the stalwart Washington Capitals, certainly won’t help and the expiring contracts for defenseman Bryan McCabe and goaltender Tomas Vokoun will have to be dealt with (and quite possibly dealt altogether), without either situation becoming a distraction.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andrew+peters, bryan+allen, bryan+mccabe, chris+higgins, dale+tallon, david+booth, dennis+wideman, dmitry+kulikov, erik+gudbranson, gregory+campbell, jacob+markstrom, jason+garrison, kamil+kreps, keith+ballard, marty+reasoner, michael+grabner, michael+repik, nathan+horton, nathan+paetsch, scott+clemmensen, shawn+matthias, stephen+weiss, steve+bernier, tomas+vokoun

At This Point,  No Deadline For Coyotes Sale

from Jim Gintonio of the Ariizona Republic,

With the exception of the team’s dramatic on-ice turnaround and the attached optimism for a return to the playoffs this season, not much has changed in terms of the off-ice uncertainty.

Although there are widespread media reports that Dec. 31 is the drop-dead date for an owner to be in place, the NHL would not commit to that. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in an e-mail that everything depends on the circumstances at that time, adding there are “no deadlines for anything at this point in time.”

Mike Nealy, the Coyotes’ first-year chief operating officer, is confident that talks will produce an agreement before the end of the year.

“The discussions that are going on between the potential owner and the city first of all and then directly with the NHL . . . they are proceeding on a positive front, and I can tell you that I’m confident that a new ownership will be in place in the next couple months,” he said. “Negotiations are continuing, and they’re going well.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

#1 Goalie Talk In Los Angeles

from Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider,

The words are practically tied together. When coach Terry Murray says the name Jonathan Quick, it’s almost always followed, in the next breath, by the words “No. 1 goalie.” Murray wants to establish, early and often, that Quick is the Kings’ clear-cut goalie, and eliminate any suggestion of a competition between Quick, Jonathan Bernier and Erik Ersberg.

How long will that last? It’s hard to say. Quick set franchise records for wins and games last season, but Bernier was the top goalie in the AHL last season, and there’s a lot of eagerness to see what he can do at the NHL level. Quick has put himself in a good position, showing up to camp in what one team executive called the best shape of Quick’s career. And a reduced workload should also help. Quick never complained when his game total soared to 72, even when he clearly appeared to wear down late in the season.

Today, Murray talked about his plans for the goalies this season, and Quick talked about his preparation and the upcoming season.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Devils Could Actually Be An Exciting Team

from Chris Stevenson at the Toronto Sun,

It remains to be seen who will depart from the Devils roster in order for the club to get under the salary cap and what they will get in return, but dumping salary to get under the cap is not going to yield a positive return for the Devils other than the needed cap space.

In the meantime, the Devils, who used to produce hockey as mind-numbing as the scenery along the southern stretches of the New Jersey Turnpike, actually have the potential to be somewhat, well, exciting. And not just while we wait for the other skate to drop.

The players liked what they saw from MacLean’s playbook on the first day of camp. The emphasis was on the defence getting the puck moved quickly to the forwards.

“Our game used to be too simple. We used to just jam it up the wall,” said Parise. “Now there’s more puck control and bringing it up with speed. We’re getting it with more speed and in better spots.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Stamkos Taking Nothing For Granted

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

In an offseason that has brought significant change to the troubled franchise, one wonders how Stamkos will follow up his breakout season.

But when you talk to Stamkos, you get the sense that this season isn’t so much about riding the wave, but making sure he proves he didn’t just stumble into the NHL hardware department.

“You definitely have to go out and prove that wasn’t a fluke. At least I think I’ve got to do that,” Stamkos told ESPN.com. “I’m pretty fortunate to have players like Vinny [Lecavalier] and Marty [St. Louis] who have been in situations like that before and have still found a way to be consistent, especially Marty. He gets on my case all the time to keep working hard.

“And that’s something I definitely take to heart and I’m proud of and work hard every night. And just because you had a good season last year, you don’t want to take anything for granted.”

After the team’s first day of on-ice workouts Saturday, St. Louis joked that it’s not necessarily his tutelage that’s helped Stamkos, but the kid’s lightning speed (there it is again) and rocket shot.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

Kuba Hurts Leg During Senators First Practice

via Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

The Senators could start the season without Filip Kuba.

The Senators defenceman is being sent for further tests on his right leg after he hit a rut in the ice only 15 minutes into the club’s first workout Saturday.

Coach Cory Clouston didn’t sound optimistic.

“He’s going for x-rays this afternoon. We’ll know more later. Right now that’s all we can say,” said Clouston. “We had to play a lot without him last year. Obviously we may start the season without him again. I guess if you’re going to do it, do it at the start of the season.”

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: filip+kuba

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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