Kukla's Korner Hockey
The Chicago Blackhawks announced today that for the 2008-09 season the organization has surpassed its previous franchise record of 13,425 season ticket holders established in 1994-95, during the inaugural campaign at the United Center. In addition, a near-capacity crowd is expected for tonight’s home preseason game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, marking the most tickets sold for a home preseason contest in franchise history.
“Chicago is a hockey city and this is a tribute to our great fans and their hunger for a return to the glory days of the Blackhawks,” Senior Vice President of Business Operations Jay Blunk said. “We would like to thank our fans for giving us their trust and support and remind them we never forget that excellence on and off the ice is what they richly deserve.”
Season ticket sales for the 2008-2009 Blackhawks season have increased 300% from October 2007 when the base was 3,400. The increase for the upcoming campaign marks one of the biggest one-year turnarounds in sports ticket sales history for a team that did not qualify for the postseason.
from Elizabeth Payne of the Ottawa Citizen,
According to the local grapevine, children have beaten a path to his front door hoping to catch a glimpse of one of their hockey idols, or, even better, to nab an autograph. And, apparently, Mr. Spezza has charmingly complied in many cases, handing out autographed hockey cards to awe-struck neighbours….
I have no idea what Mr. Spezza, a young hockey star in a country that idolizes hockey players, thinks about the attention his move to the neighbourhood is getting. The fact that he bought a house in a part of the city that is full of children and answers the door when some of them come calling tells me that he sees himself as part of the community, and that is probably as important to the future of the Senators in Ottawa as how the team does this season.
from Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun,
Mike Keenan isn’t an easy man to impress.
So, when he praised his players yesterday as being the fittest team he’s ever coached in the NHL, the statement carried some serious clout.
“I’m very happy. It’s the highest levels that I’ve seen in my NHL experience, as far as a team average is concerned,” Keenan said yesterday. “And, individually, the number of players in the elite is impressive and significant.
“It’s a tribute to their preparation.”
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
The cost of paying so much to so few, as Tampa Bay found out with its now disbanded Big Three, will be instability and yearly turnover with the other 60 per cent of the roster. This summer, the Pens lost unrestricted forwards Gary Roberts, Ryan Malone, Jarkko Ruutu, Marian Hossa, Georges Laraque and Adam Hall, as well as goalie Ty Conklin.
In their place, the club brought in forwards Miro Satan, Ruslan Fedotenko and Eric Godard and will give some farmhands a chance.
The Penguins can expect similar roster churn next summer, with nine more unrestricted free agents.
Still, many have anointed the Pens as the No.1 team in the Eastern Conference. But Crosby and Co. do have some speed bumps ahead.
from David Pollak of Working The Corners,
A team rep has said that (Kyle) McLaren is 100 percent healthy and the veteran defenseman has practiced every day. But he did not take part in any of the three scrimmages.
McLaren and I exchanged pleasantries today. He was his usual cooperative, totally friendly self. But when I asked about why he had skipped the scrimmages, he smiled and offered up only a two-word response: “Ask Doug.”
Before I could do that, Coach Todd McLellan held his post-practice chat with the media so I also asked him about McLaren’s status. McLellan called it “an organizational decision” — and also referred me to the GM.
from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,
It seemed to Nill that the club was in constant need of defensemen. At the 1999 trading deadline alone, the Red Wings parted with two first-round picks, along with a second- and third-round pick, to add defensemen Chris Chelios and Ulf Samuelsson.
Being a blueline buyer at the deadline is a costly habit, one that Detroit management decided to change.
“We focused on drafting defensemen and acquiring defensemen (as free agents),” Holland said.
Since March 23, 1999—the date of those deadline deals—the team has drafted defensemen like Niklas Kronwall (2000 first round), Jonathan Ericsson (2002 ninth round), Derek Meech (2002 seventh round), Kyle Quincey (2003 fourth round) and Brendan Smith (2007 first round)—a group that could help form the core of the Detroit defense in the coming years.
I usually stay away from game updates, etc., but this is great not only for the Bruins but for the NHL too…
from the CP via Yahoo,
It was a productive return to the NHL on Monday night for Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron.
The 23-year-old, playing in his first game since suffering a severe concussion almost 11 months ago, had a goal and three assists as the Bruins pounded the Montreal Canadiens 8-3 in NHL preseason action before 7,792 fans at the Halifax Metro Centre.
Bergeron, the game’s first star, picked up a pair of assists early in the second period, then scored with 10 seconds left in the frame as he tipped home a shot from linemate Marco Sturm.
from Russo’s Rants,
The Wild met this afternoon again with Gaborik’s agent, Ron Salcer. I don’t know if it’s still going on.
Risebrough said things are “crystallizing.”
He also said, “It’s time to make a decision,” but he still doesn’t know what the results will be.
Risebrough said it all will come down to guaranteed money, and once that is agreed upon, everything can work itself out.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Iginla, in short, represents the one constant on the Flames. The issue is what happens when Iginla is not on the ice? How will the second line look? Is there any more secondary scoring than there was a year ago, when half-a-dozen regular forwards contributed five or fewer goals?...
Right now, coach Mike Keenan is looking at a second line that features newcomers Mike Cammalleri and Rene Bourque, playing with 19-year-old rookie Mikael Backlund.
from Darren Eliot at Sports Illustrated,
I had the chance to sit down with the Thrashers’ superstar as training camp opened in Atlanta.
SI.com: There are many who say this is your team—yours to lead. How does that make you feel?
Kovalchuk: I’m ready. I want that pressure. We need to win. Everyone just has to do their jobs and not try to do too much.
SI.com: What was your first impression of coach Anderson?
Kovalchuk: Very positive. He wants to skate and have scoring from everywhere. It was a good meeting.
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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