Kukla's Korner Hockey
Rod Oracheski of 411mania recently interviewed Mke Green of the Washington Capitals…
RO: Now that the Capitals surpassed some external expectations by reaching the playoffs last year, what is the feeling around the team going into next year? How close do you believe you guys are to contending for the Stanley Cup?
MG: Well, just getting off to a good start. Last year we had to fight so hard to even make that playoffs it was like we were dead when we got there. If we can get off to a good start and be in the running halfway through the season, not make it so hard on ourselves, I think we’ll be a lot better for going on a run.
RO: A lot optimism in Washington revolves around last year’s 65-goal scorer, Alexander Ovechkin. What is it like playing with him? Exactly how much does he impact the culture of the team both on and off the ice?
MG: It’s ... I mean you know, everyone knows. He’s the best, or one of the best players in the league. Yeah, anything can happen when he’s on the ice. He’s one of those players that can win you games and it’s just a good thing he’s on our team.
more, plus Rod also interviews Georges Laraque and some other NHL topics too…
from Chip Alexander of the News & Observer,
Asked if he is a bit calmer and—how best to put it?—a bit more mature than when he left Raleigh in 2005, O’Neill smiled.
“Oh, yeah, that’s for sure,” he said.
(Jeff) O’Neill also said he’s in better shape. He said he began working out this spring at a fitness center in Toronto that specializes in training hockey players.
“I skated and worked out last season,” he said. “Obviously, that’s nothing compared to an NHL season. But [the training] helped me prepare for coming down here.”
from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,
Nudged by coach Alain Vigneault, (Willie) Mitchell is committed to setting an example this offseason, trying to take a step forward into the leadership void created by the departure of Canuck mainstays Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison and Trevor Linden….
Mitchell hasn’t had much time for leisure this summer. He said he took just one fishing trip. He started skating regularly in July in Minnesota, his earliest ever start, and already has ramped up his off-ice training to five days a week.
“It’s not easy and it’s not fun,” Mitchell said. “This isn’t exactly the most enjoyable time of year for hockey players—you’re running stairs and doing things where you’re almost passing out. That’s not fun.
“But No. 1 for me is to get ready to have a great season and if I do that it’s really going to help this team. I’m not happy with how last season turned out. No one can be.”
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Luke Richardson wants to play one more season in Ottawa.
But whether the Senators can accommodate the 39-year-old defenceman remains to be seen….
Richardson, who made $500,000 (all terms US) last season, is ready to go to camp without a contract, but with the Senators already committing more than $48 million under the $56.3-million salary cap for 2008-09, there might not be much left in the kitty for the 19-year NHL veteran.
Richardson pondered retirement in the off-season, but wants to give it one more shot.
from Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen,
One minute late Monday morning, the 13-year-old house league goaltender was laughing with his friends, taking off his equipment in the dressing room after a hockey camp session at the Bell Sensplex.
The next minute, he was back on the ice, facing shots from the Ottawa Senators’ Chris Kelly, Chris Neil, Chris Phillips, Shean Donovan, Anton Volchenkov and Jason Smith and several other National Hockey League players.
“I was undressing and a guy just came running in and said, ‘We need a goalie,’” Christian said after his 90-minute whirlwind taste of life in the big leagues. “There were three other (goalies), but their stuff was already off, so, I guess, well, they picked me.”
from Kevin Allen at Mucking and Grinding,
Former Atlanta Thrashers defenseman Mark Popovic became the latest NHL player to be lured away by the new Russian Super League, agreeing to play for St. Petersburg next season for approxately $1 million….
Bryan Berard, unable to secure a contract from any NHL team, has agreed to attend the Philadelphia Flyers’ training camp on a tryout basis. Berard, whose career was derailed several years ago when he was blinded by an errant stick, played last season for the New York Islanders
added 4:36pm, from the Delco Times,
“Bryan has been around a number of years now (and) he has been a good defenseman for quite some time,” said Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren. “I’m excited about Bryan’s willingness to come here on a try out. It will certainly pick up the competition level of what is going to take place in training camp anytime you can add a player like him.”
via Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but the Tampa Bay Lightning will name Vincent Lecavalier their captain sometime in the coming weeks, a Bolts official told The Hockey News.
“You would not be in the wrong to expect that kind of announcement,” said the official, who requested anonymity. “There’s no doubt this is Vinny’s team and we’re going to recognize that officially.”
added 1:36pm, from Damian Cristodero at Lightning Strikes,
Caught up with Vinny Lecavalier the other day, and the Lightning’s superstar center, coming off arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder, said he is skating in his native Montreal and has no doubt he will be ready for training camp. As for being cleared for contact and being ready to start the regular season, he said, “I’m sure I’ll be ready to play.”
from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,
If the Blue Jackets must lose players to injury, they would prefer it happen during the season—and while they are representing, you know, the Blue Jackets.
The franchise has asked first-round draft pick Nikita Filatov to stop playing exhibition games with the junior club of his former Russian hockey team. The Jackets made the request to ensure that the 18-year-old forward does not get injured before arriving for rookie training camp, which starts Sept. 12, general manager Scott Howson said.
Earlier this summer, second-year forward Jared Boll suffered a broken right hand playing a pickup game in Toronto.
“We knew (Filatov) was working out with the (Russian) team, but we were not aware he was playing,” Howson said. “When we became aware of it (last week), we asked him to stop and he said he would.”
from Kevin Allen of Mucking and Grinding at USA TODAY,
As an antidote to Sundin rumor fatigue, I offer my pre-labor special power rankings, fully acknowledging that they will undoubtedly change dramatically once Sundin decides whether he loves this game or not.
1. Detroit Red Wings: The Red Wings are the New York Yankees of the NHL. You can hate them if you want, but they have more talent than other team by far. The only caution is that there was another pro sports team in Detroit that was supposed to march to the title this summer and that didn’t go as planned.
2. Montreal Canadiens: This team may score 280-plus goals this season. Mike Komisarek is one of the more underrated players in the league. I didn’t like Bob Gainey’s decision to turn over the goaltending to Carey Price last spring, but I think he will be ready this season.
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said today that Vishnevski has cleared waivers and that the 28-year-old defenseman will play in Russia in 2008-09.
“He expressed a desire to go back to Russia for personal reasons and I respect that,” Lamoriello said. “We didn’t want this to develop into a situation September, so we placed him on waivers now and this will allow him to go play there.”
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