Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
Basically, just to bring back the exact same roster, the team already has added about $4.5 million in raises for Eriksson (who makes $1.6 million this season) and Robidas (who makes $1.5 million this season).
Now, mix that with the fact that they still have unrestricted free agents in: Marty Turco, Mike Modano, Jere Lehtinen, Steve Ott, Alex Auld, Toby Petersen, and Krys Barch as well as restricted free agents in: James Neal, Fabian Brunnstrom, Nicklas Grossman, Matt Niskanen and Tom Wandell, and you have some interesting decisions to make.
from Gary Graves of USA TODAY,
As Knuble’s role takes shape with the defending Southeast Division champions — he was projected to play on the top line with Ovechkin when he signed July 1, but his first two games were with the second unit — he has made inroads. The club named him an alternate captain, the first time the 6-3, 223-pound Toronto native recalls starting a season with that title.
“That’s part of the deal of coming in, being an older player and (the team looking to) a more veteran guy,” he said. “It’s still a young core group, but there are leaders all over and guys lead by experience by their play on the ice. It’s an honor, though.”
Of his Philadelphia homecoming, he added, “It’s going to be weird.”
His true value might be defined in the playoffs, when the Capitals hope Knuble influences their younger players the same way since-departed Sergei Fedorov did last season. Knuble is coming off a 27-goal season, so there’s no doubt his stick carries as much weight as his voice.
When Mike was a rookie with the Wings, we happened to live in the same city and would run into each other on occasion. I remember Mike had that “deer in the headlights” stare with him at the time and it is nice to see the progress Mike has made in the NHL.
from Dmitry Chesnokov at the Washington Examiner,
How comfortable are you playing on the first line. A lot of people thought that Mike Knuble would join Ovechkin and Backstrom on the first line.
It’s not about being comfortable or not comfortable. We just have a great chemistry with Alex and Nick and no one is selfish. No one is taking it all on himself. It’s simply a pleasure to play when you have such chemistry. We just know each other all too well: where each of us should be, when to expect a pass, which position on the ice each one of us should take.
Because of this chemistry, your line will now be looked at differently by other teams, who will study the way you play. Are you ready to face the best defensemen in the NHL? Are you ready for more personal attention and closer play?
Let the rest be scared of us, than for us to be scared of how someone is going to play against us. Let them study our game. What is it to us? We will just go out and play our best, just like we have been playing. I don’t think it makes sense to change your game for anyone—especially when it comes to our line.
from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
A couple hundred fans were awaiting the Blues, and as the team entered the hotel lobby the crowd began chanting the names of players, coaches and management.
“When we got off the bus, one of the employees said, ‘There’s a lot of people in here,’” Blues defenseman Erik Johnson said. “It was awesome. Obviously we won two big games, but it seemed like we won something a lot more with the fans doing something like that.”
Entering the lobby to the chant of “J-D! J-D!”, Blues President John Davidson said he was overwhelmed. “It was like being part of the Olympics,” Davidson said. “It was an emotional experience for us. That was totally unexpected.”
Unexpected, too, for a pair of Detroit fans who found themselves in the middle of the fray.
“Two guys got out of a cab behind us and they had Red Wings jerseys on,” Davidson said. “They were about to walk through, and Andy Murray said, ‘Excuse me, do you guys have a lot of life insurance?’”
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
So what we think we might know about the Leafs after two games – Lee Stempniak looks much improved, added toughness doesn’t mean much if the other team won’t engage, Viktor Stalberg clearly does belong – really doesn’t mean much.
Nothing, you see, can be known until the goaltending is sorted out.
When you allow only 51 shots in two games and give up 10 goals to lose twice, you know you have a problem.
By comparison, Detroit is admitting it may have a problem between Chris Osgood and Jimmy Howard after losing twice to St. Louis in Stockholm, and the Wings goalies gave up only nine goals on 53 shots.
Some of it is about goals-against averages and save percentages, but goaltending is also a feel, something that creates an atmosphere around the team. If the netminding is sound or even better, excellent, players compete in a comfort zone, knowing they can make an error here or there, and they tend to relax and gel better as a unit.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
“Since May 5, we haven’t had any real control over what’s been going on,” Doan said before the Coyotes opened their season here on Saturday night. “Starting with tonight, we had some control again – to provide some positive energy and positive news, instead of always hearing the negative.”
The Coyotes were positively impressive in their 2009-10 debut, rolling to a 6-3 win over the hometown Kings, who left the ice to a chorus of boos, largely because of a dominating performance by a Phoenix team many thought were destined for the bottom of the NHL barrel.
Tellingly, coach Dave Tippett’s pressure fore-checking system led directly to three goals by forcing turnovers from the Kings’ young defenders. It won’t always be this easy – the Coyotes move on to Pittsburgh to play the Stanley Cup champion Penguins Tuesday – but their overall level of organization was apparent right away.
from John McGourty of NHL.com,
Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez were hoping they still had the chemistry that made them Stanley Cup winners in 2003 with the New Jersey Devils and produced a 48-goal season by Gionta in 2006.
It was there Saturday night in Buffalo when the Canadiens won their second-straight overtime game, 2-1, on Gionta’s tip in past goalie Ryan Miller. It was an airborne rebound off the boards of Gomez’s shot.
“That wasn’t the way we drew it up, but we’ll take it,” Gionta said. “I was going to the net trying to find it and it bounced real nice for me. Any time a wrist shot goes off the back boards, there’s a little bit of luck.”
I searched for this late last night after watching it live, then of course forgot about it until just know when a tweet from Erin Nicks reminded me about it again.
GGOWER has a brief write-up on the event too and I suggest you take some time and enjoy.
from the Carolina Hurricanes,
Tests today revealed that Erik Cole suffered a fracture in his lower left leg from last night’s collision with Boston’s Dennis Wideman and will miss 4-6 weeks of game action.
Not exactly what the Canes wanted to hear after an 0-2 start to the season, and certainly some added injury to the insult of the lopsided loss in Boston. A little more adversity than the team had hoped for by the third game of the season, but they’ve had to overcome similar circumstances in the past. Cole had missed Sunday’s practice with the injury, with Tuomo Ruutu moving to Eric Staal’s wing.
via Katie Strang of Isles Files at Newsday,
First and foremost, Rick DiPietro absolutely did not decline to be a part of last night’s introduction ceremony.
Essentially, it was an oversight and here’s what Islanders President Chris Dey had to say on the matter:
“We made a mistake and left Rick out of the introductions. It was nothing intentional, but we are glad to hear that fans wanted to hear him introduced by the team,” Dey said. “We are all looking forward to his return to the lineup.”
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