Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Ron Cook at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
My money is on Michel Therrien. It’s been on Therrien since he took the Penguins coaching job in December 2005 and immediately showed he wasn’t afraid to rattle the cages to shake the losers he inherited out of their country club ways. No matter what, the players were going to do it Therrien’s way. It’s no coincidence they soon turned into winners, big winners, nearly Stanley Cup winners last season.
Now, I’m betting Therrien will break one of the most astonishing records in Pittsburgh sports history.
I’m betting Therrien will become the first coach in Penguins history—41 years and counting—to start and finish four consecutive seasons.
Steven Ovadia at Puck Update provides a contrary opinion on Therrien:
Therrien is a dangerous combination of narrow-minded and panicky. You could see it during the finals when he didn’t change anything against the Wings until he suddenly moved Ryan Malone to the top line, only to put things back the next game. I suspect we’ll see more moves like that from Therrien, and as he loses people in the locker room, which is rumored to be the case, these knee-jerk switches will be less and less effective.
I was surprised the Penguins gave Therrien a three-year extension. Watching him coach has often felt like watching someone drive a car that’s too fast.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
With the exception of future Hall of Famer Brendan Shanahan, Mats Sundin (the ponderous one), Joe Sakic and Teemu Selanne, all the big-name free agents have been snapped up, and the complexion of the vast majority of NHL teams is well-established heading into the dog days of summer.
Here’s a look at our Summer Power Rankings with less than two months to go before the start of training camp:
15. Atlanta Thrashers
The Thrashers, Leafs and Isles look to be in a heated battle for the No. 1 pick in next summer’s draft and the chance to land super prospect John Tavares. That’s about as good as it gets for the Thrashers, whose spotty lineup promises to make rookie coach John Anderson’s first season a long one.
From Childs Walker at the Baltimore Sun,
A new arena is a poor risk for Baltimore if the city is counting on attracting an NHL or NBA franchise, sports business experts say, but some agree with city leaders that a proposed 18,500-seat venue could be profitable without such an anchor tenant.
Neither the NBA nor the NHL offers many relocation or expansion prospects, analysts said, and the presence of basketball and hockey teams in Washington make the odds even longer for Baltimore. [...]
NHL spokesman Frank Brown said the league has no plans for expansion or relocation, though several cities have expressed interest. He said questions about the Capitals’ sharing a market with another team are “way too hypothetical for me to answer.
from Ryan Dixon of the Hockey News,
For one of the few times since they moved to TD Banknorth Garden from ‘The Gah-den,’ the Black and Gold are emitting signs of long-term progress.
Everybody knows about the Bruins’ commitment to defense. It starts with coach Claude Julien’s teachings, filters down through Zdeno Chara’s wingspan and touches every corner of the dressing room.
That Boston will play a stingy game is a given. Where I see the B’s branching out, though, is on the attack. Only New Jersey and the Islanders celebrated fewer goals than Boston’s 212 last year, a number that’s sure to improve with the return of one player, the addition of another and the natural progression of two youngsters.
Reports indicate center Patrice Bergeron is on course to return healthy and hungry after a hit from behind by Philadelphia’s Randy Jones limited his season to 10 games last year.
more on the Bruins…
from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,
The franchise’s most marketable player lauded the offseason roster makeover but made no declarations about his long-range future here other than to express his continued affinity for his adopted hometown. He labeled the coming season a “huge year” in terms of franchise growth.
“It’s always in your head obviously about (where) your following years will be,” said Nash, who scored 38 goals last season. “I’m happy in Columbus; I love it in Columbus. I would stay here if everything lined up right.”
Reaching the playoffs for the first time in franchise history might make Nash’s decision easier and possibly curb speculation that he plans to bolt for a larger market such as Toronto.
“I’m there to win a cup — that’s the most important thing on my mind,” said Asham. “Last year with the Devils, we came up short in the first round and that’s definitely disappointing, but this is a new start and I think we have the guts to do it.”
“I think it’s going to be good, I think Philly definitely fits my game. They’re a rough-tough hockey team. I’m definitely going there excited. They had a great run last year in the playoffs and my goal right now is to win a Stanley Cup before my career is over, and I’m running out of years. I think Philly is my best chance.”
-more from Aaron Asham at the Portage Daily Graphic…
from Greatest Hockey Legends,
Now, on to Doug’s question. Is Nicklas Lidstrom better than Doug Harvey?
I think history tends to nicely accept that Doug Harvey is the second best defenseman of all time, behind Bobby Orr, of course. In fact, most of the so called experts tend to place Harvey in top ten players of all time, regardless of position….
Doug Harvey was the epitome of hockey grace, and one of the few players in hockey history that could truly take control of a game all by himself.
Now that is awfully hard to compete against. Lidstrom is catching up, with more seasons ahead. He’s got 4 Stanley Cup championships and 6 Norris Trophies. His career offensive numbers dwarf Harvey’s, mind you that is due much to the very different eras each played in. Both are classic and near flawless defenders and both are dominant at both ends of the ice.
from Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal,
Cole and his wife had just made a quick trip to Edmonton from their home in upstate New York.
They will return in August with their two children, aged seven and four.
“This is more about opportunity. There’s going to be a tremendous opportunity for me to play with two tremendous hockey players, and that’s not to say I wasn’t in Carolina, but I’m looking to play a bigger role, more of a leadership role,” said Cole.
“I’m going from a team where I was maybe in the middle of the road, maybe even one of the younger guys, to being the old goat in the room. I’m excited about everything.”
from the Register Pajaronian,
Tuning his mandolin and setting up microphones for his evening show at the Bargetto Winery in Soquel Thursday, Mark Smith — better known to San Jose Sharks fans as simply ‘Smitty’ — hardly resembled the player fans had come to love during his six years with the team.
Gone is the teal-and-purple-dyed Mohawk he once proudly sported. Gone is the mean streak that earned him 97 penalty minutes one season. Gone is the blue-collar, tough-as-nails fourth-line center who earned his way into the NHL with more black eyes and bruises than goals and assists….
This is the new Smitty — the version 2.0 Smitty. And it’s who he wants to be now.
“I think moving to California and being in the lifestyle and the surroundings, you kind of take that on yourself,” he said behind a pair of red-rimmed sunglasses. “It impacted me in a big way. I’ve always liked the acoustic guitar and being able to just take off and go to the beach and play. But yeah, it definitely contradicts the way I play the game of hockey.”
from Terry Frei at ESPN,
When bought-out players hit the market this June, potential “bargains” became available.
Among those with severance packages, so to speak, Todd Bertuzzi signed with Calgary, Darcy Tucker and Andrew Raycroft went to Colorado, and Marc Denis agreed to a deal with his hometown Canadiens….
The X factor is how ruthless or passive the player and his agent are when negotiating the next deal, given the buyout money coming in. The emergence of Russian hockey as a financially viable alternative also has changed the picture.
The contrasts involving the goaltenders who fell out of favor: Denis’ two-way deal with the Canadiens was a two-way street without much risk, but Emery will be getting about $2 million from Atlant Mytishchi next season.
By definition, the bought-out players have been judged to underachieve and not deliver sufficient bang for the bucks.
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.
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