Kukla's Korner Hockey
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
Numminen went through the physical process again Friday in HSBC Arena. This time, he didn’t skip a beat.
“It’s special to be back. It’s an exciting day,” Numminen said. “I’ve been waiting for this. I feel good. I feel strong. I feel comfortable. I feel healthy. I feel normal. So everything’s going well.”
The defenseman had no problems with either the physical or the rigorous on-ice testing he and the Sabres underwent on the opening day of training camp. He knew he’d be fine. He recently visited his doctors at the Cleveland Clinic and passed their tests, too.
Next up is proving that a 40-year-old can return to the NHL after nearly a full year away.
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
Defencemen Willie Mitchell and Mattias Ohlund, as well as centres Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler, were frequently alternates towards the end of a non-playoff season. All are candidates to ascend to captain this year.
Mitchell previously wore a ‘C’ with the Minnesota Wild, a team that rotated its captain every month or so. But both Mitchell and forward Pavol Demitra, a free-agent addition from the Wild, said a permanent captain was preferred.
“I wasn’t a big fan of it,” Mitchell said. “You have your group of leaders and, it’s just my personal opinion, but I don’t think it gives the letter [the] respect that it deserves if too many people wear it.”
from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,
“Not one minute have I worried about who the captain is or whether that’s an important issue right now. It’s not. This team has to learn how to play. It’s not about the captain or all this other stuff,” said Wilson, holding court after his players had gone through testing and medicals.
“We’re going to do it as a group. I don’t think the team is looking for one guy to lead them out of the mess the last few years have been.”
The C, in concept anyway, will instead stand for committee. Wilson said a possibility is to have a pool of four to eight players from which the captaincy is awarded on a rotating basis. It might also stand for confidential, since there’s no guarantee the fans will know who’s been designated as the captain for a particular game.
from Ben Wright of Blueland Blog,
The prospects and younger players arrive later and spend more time sitting around waiting for turns in tests and in the photography line. That’s where you overhear the best stories and comments.
Several younger players were concerned about their complexions for the pictures. Makeup wasn’t offered since we have great graphic artists who can clean up just about anything, but it was still the cause of stress for some guys. One player who I won’t name had a pretty big blemish on his forehead and was cracking jokes about it. As he was getting his picture taken half a dozen other players gathered around the monitor to see just how bad it looked in the pictures. Let’s just say it’s a good thing our graphics guys are world class.
more on the Thrashers…
from Rick Sadowski of the Rocky Mountain News,
Based on predictions by a number of hockey pundits, the Avalanche’s chances of even qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2008-09 are pretty much non-existent….
“They said that last year, too,” forward Ian Laperriere said. “OK, let’s not play. Who won the Cup? They said Detroit again? We’ll throw the season away and not play then. Those magazines, it drives me nuts. So let’s not play. Let’s go home.
“We’ve got a good mix of young guys, older guys, grit and skill. Not everybody can be like Detroit. But with the skill and the mix of grit, we’re the closest thing to a team that can beat a team like Detroit.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
A focal point for NHL teams going into training camps is always, how does a player recovering from off-season surgery look? How long will it take for him to return to form? And in the case of a major injury, can he even get back to normal in one season?
There are a number of prominent players who fit the category – everyone from Vincent Lecavalier, the newly appointed captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning, to Carolina captain Rod Brind’Amour, both of whom will figure prominently in their respective teams’ bids to make the playoffs after missing post-season play in the Eastern Conference last season.
more plus othe NHL topics…
from Dan Wood of the OC Register,
“I have spent a good deal of time, as have (senior vice president of hockey operations) Bob Murray and (assistant general manager) David McNab, working on our cap situation,” Ducks general manager Brian Burke said. “Obviously, most of the activity is centered on Mathieu Schneider.
“Our goal would be to resolve this within 72 hours, maybe four days, max. We think to make Mathieu stay out longer than that wouldn’t be fair to him and his preparation as a hockey player.”
The Ducks are in “active” discussions with five teams regarding Schneider, and another club is on the “back burner.
From the CP via TSN,
Keenan, who coached Bertuzzi when the two were with the Vancouver Canucks in the late 1990s, said he’s excited to see what the six-foot-three, 226-pound forward can accomplish this season.
‘‘He’s more experienced than when I coached him,’’ Keenan said. ‘‘He’s in a good space mentally. He’s positive about himself and about his opportunity here he views this I’m sure as a good new start.”
Keenan confirmed he’ll test out Bertuzzi on Calgary’s top line to start training camp.
‘‘I was questioned a lot when I signed (my contract) two years ago about why I did it and why I stayed. I said that I’ve seen the ups in the mid-nineties when we had a good team, but the late nineties wasn’t a lot of fun.
‘‘The reason why I stayed was because I saw the potential and the fun that is possible here, and I want to be here if the team wins the Stanley Cup in the next couple of years.’‘
—Saku Koivu of the Montreal Canadiens, speaking about his hopes for this season at the opening of training cap Friday. Koivu is entering his 10th season as captain of the team.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Slowly but surely, GM Darcy Regier got himself off the mat after the Drury/Briere nightmare (he also lost Brian Campbell, forced to trade the star blueliner after failing to sign him last February) and began to lock up the rest of the team’s key players.
“I was talking to [coach] Lindy [Ruff]. The environment that we live in is very different than the pre-lockout CBA,” Regier told ESPN.com. “With the offer sheets and unrestricted free agency at the latest at 27—it forces teams to make decisions earlier and to make them for a longer period of time….”
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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