Kukla's Korner Hockey
from SlapShot at the NY Times,
We’ve recruited a new passel of independent bloggers to join our crew from last spring, and here they are, just in time for Thursday’s N.H.L. season openers. Below, the Western contingent of our Hockey Night in Blogdom gang takes a team-by-team, snide-remark-by-snide-remark look at the season ahead. Entries appear in order of their clubs’ finish in the regular season. Behold the future!
Sean Payton of Anyone but Detroit
Will the Avs be better or worse than last year, and where will they finish?
The Avalanche will be better — they finished 15th in the West last year so there is nowhere to go but up. I’ve got them finishing 13th, ahead of Nashville and the mess currently known as the Phoenix Coyotes.
What team would you most like to see fail this year, and why?
The name of my blog is “Anyone but Detroit” for a reason. The reason I want to see Detroit fail this season? Todd Bertuzzi is now a Red Wing.
Richard C. Powers is the associate dean and executive director of MBA and Master of Finance program at the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
from Richard Powers at the Toronto Sun,
As we await the decision on the fate of the Phoenix Coyotes, there is an interesting angle to the story that should be front and centre—why does the NHL continue to push its southern U.S. strategy when everything seems to suggest it hasn’t worked?
More to the point, how has NHL commissioner Gary Bettman managed to keep his position despite numerous problems and fiascos south of the border? In just about any other job, he would have been turfed out with last week’s salad.
Let’s examine the facts. Phoenix is just the tip of the iceberg.
from Jeremy Rutherford of the Morning Skate at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
After many hours and lot of manpower, the ice surface at the Globe Arena is ready for Friday and Saturday’s game between the Blues and Red Wings….
The one difference is the height of the glass on the side boards. They are roughly two feet shorter than the regular glass at Scottrade Center. That could come into play if a team is penalized for shooting the puck over the glass in the defensive zone, which requires a delay-of-game penalty.
more plus a video Jeremy shot of the Globe Arena…
All-time shootout goals courtesy of TSN.
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
Yesterday, less than a week before the season opens, Howson got his man. The Blue Jackets acquired Stralman, 23, from the Flames for a thirdround draft pick in 2010.
“Anton fits a critical need on our roster,” Howson said. “He’s got puckmoving ability and power-play potential. He’s a right-(hand) shot, too, which is a nice bonus.
“He’s still a young player in the league, so he has a lot of upside, too.”...
“I was kind of shocked by the trade. I was really surprised,” Stralman said. “But it feels all good. I feel it’s a great opportunity for me.
“I’m not really aware of the situation in Columbus, other than to say it’s a really young, talented team and Rick Nash is a superb player.”
from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,
He’s just a kid to some, but Stastny is the Avs’ highest-paid player and the one the Avs will most rely on in the 2009-10 season, which starts Thursday. That’s OK. Stastny is used to growing up fast.
“It comes with the territory. I know what’s expected of me here, but I expect as much or more from myself,” he said. “We’ve got a younger team now, and I know I need to be an example to some of the younger guys. But I’m excited about it. I got to learn from some great players before me, so I hope to do some of the same things to other guys.”
Stastny will start the first year of a five-year, $33 million contract this season. He is eager to prove he’s worth the money and to make people forget about last season. Injuries limited him to 45 games, and he had the worst point production (11 goals, 36 points) of his three-year career.
“I think everyone wants to kind of throw away last year, but at the same time remember how bad it was and use it as a reminder we don’t want it to be that way again,” he said. “I learned a lot last year, even though I didn’t play much.”
from Bryan Mullen of the Tennessean,
Jordin Tootoo has been a fan favorite since he made his debut with the Predators during the 2003-04 season.
But if he is to remain with Nashville, he will need to seriously step up his game, the team’s decision-makers said….
“I just want to see some improvement,” Coach Barry Trotz said. “He took a step back last year in terms of his overall play. I know he can step forward again. I was hoping last year he would take another step forward because the year before he took a step forward.”
Tootoo poses an interesting challenge for Trotz and General Manager David Poile. This is a contract year for Tootoo, who is scheduled to make $975,000 this season. It is a steep price for someone who plays on the third or fourth lines and doesn’t produce many points
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
In the short term, we can expect to see plenty of him via a book tour, a jersey retirement and likely associations with the Flames organization and a local recovery facility.
What follows should be an emotional ceremony in Toronto, where he can thank everyone from his wife/saviour Jennifer and his Cup-winning teammates of ‘89 to current and past Flames management types, including Al MacNeil, who threw his pen at the draft table and cursed the decision to draft “a frickin’ jockey” 166th overall in ‘87.
Hall-of-Fame president Jeff Denomme confirmed yesterday Fleury was eligible for induction last year by virtue of the fact it had been three years since he last played pro in Belfast.
Voters who lost track of Fleury while he spent years in New Mexico drinking and golfing can’t be faulted for overlooking the Little Big Man whose battles in life also included bouts with Crohn’s disease.
It’s time he be re-introduced to the discussion as his numbers and accomplishments dwarf those of several previous inductees.
from pucksandbooks of On Frozen Blog,
He just doesn’t fit in D.C. in Bruce Boudreau’s system, and he’s terribly expensive at a transitional time in his career (nearing the end). Initially his production slipped precipitously as he struggled to try and fit in Gabby’s get-up-and-go gallop, but more recently he’s been unable even to crack the lineup. And so he’s doubly or triply tough to move—he has a no movement clause in his contract as a bit of an exclamation point in this impasse.
If Michael Nylander held out any hope of contributing to the Caps this season, Capitals’ management threw seriously cold water on it with the acquisition of Brendan Morrison over the summer, and that just days after suggesting that Brooks Laich would be seriously auditioned at center on the Capitals’ second line. Then Bruce Boudreau quashed the notion of Nyls contributing altogether this preseason. Figuratively and literally Michael Nylander has been divorced from the competitive portion of training camp, failing to dress for a single preseason game. I can’t ever recall such isolation of an individual player in a Capitals’ preseason before.
“There is an expectation on my part and I think in the community at large that we share the same goal. My ambition is to win a Stanley Cup. I think we’ve got the personalities in place from management, coaching and players, so I look for a great season.
“I’ll be disappointed in anything less than that.”
-Bruins Owner Jeremy Jacobs via Rich Thompson of the Boston Herald.
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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