Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,
Let the kid play.
That’s what I’d do if my name was Joe Sacco or Greg Sherman or Pierre Lacroix or anybody else with decision-making abilities around the Avalanche.
The kid is Matt Duchene, and he should not be allowed to go back to junior hockey this season. The betting line is that Duchene, the third pick in this year’s NHL draft and only 18, will be an Av all season.
But you never know with the Avs. They’ve often taken the cautious path with players, including the return to junior of previous first-round picks Alex Tanguay and Wojtek Wolski.
Those Avs teams were different, however, in that they weren’t relying on younger players as much. They had superstar veterans, so they could take their time.
from Jeff Haney of the Las Vegas Sun,
In a reflection of how challenging it can be to make significant improvements in a single year in professional sports, the over/under on Toronto opened at just 85.5 points — a step up, but a total that would likely leave the Leafs out of the playoffs again.
The San Jose Sharks, who compiled the most points in the 2008-09 regular season (117), top the board at the Hilton with an over/under of 107.5 points for 2009-10, followed by the Detroit Red Wings (106.5), Chicago Blackhawks (105.5) and Washington Capitals (104.5).
The Bruins, who led the Eastern Conference with 116 points, could be due for a drop-off. They opened at over/under 101.5 points.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, the defending Stanley Cup champs, opened at 102.5 — a figure that would place them among the league’s top playoff teams. They compiled 99 points last season.
Hockey bettors represent a loyal but small subset of Nevada sports gamblers. The Nevada Gaming Control Board tracks NHL betting in a category called “other” — encompassing all sports besides the big three of football, basketball and baseball.
from Frank Deford at NPR,
The Phoenix Coyotes, largely unnoticed by the inhabitants of Arizona, have now gone bankrupt. A wealthy Canadian wants to pay almost a quarter of a billion dollars to buy a franchise that is worthless in the desert, and move it to Hamilton, Ontario, where it would be positively adored.
But the NHL is fighting in bankruptcy court to hold on to the Coyotes.
What a shame. Look, it’s no insult for a sport not to be appreciated everywhere. Pride and television are no match for love and cheers, and hockey is too good a game to be held up to ridicule just because its vainglorious patrons’ reach exceeds their grasp.
The NHL should render unto Canada what is Canada’s and let the Coyotes go where they are wanted.
from Jim Baumbach of Newsday,
The Islanders came here hoping to be barreled over with support from a city supposedly desperate for its own NHL team. And how did the people of Kansas City react? With one huge, collective yawn.
The support for the preseason game against the Kings was so poor that every upper-deck section was blocked off by huge black curtains. You know, to block the many, many rows of empty seats.
Some threat, eh?
You know what this half-empty arena looked like? Any other Islanders home game.
from James Schmehl of Mlive,
Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard might be out of minor league options, but Detroit coach Mike Babcock said that excuse won’t guarantee him a backup role behind Chris Osgood.
Babcock told told WZAM’s Sports Pen that Daniel Larsson, who was drafted by the Red Wings with the 92nd overall pick in 2006, is giving Howard a run for his money.
“(Larsson) is knocking on the door,” Babcock said. “Howard and he both played in the AHL last year and his numbers were every bit as good as Howard.
“(Larsson) has been the goaltender of the year before in Sweden. It’s not like he’s a kid – we thought he played real well for us the other day and made some big plays.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
And while the Oilers had nothing but good things to say about the man that Khabibulin replaced, team captain Ethan Moreau concurred with the basic premise, suggesting: “Having Khabibulin here allows us to compete with Kiprusoff, Luongo, Backstrom – the elite goalies in our division and conference.
“It’s a daunting task every night because if you don’t get equal goaltending, it’s very hard to win. Goaltending is one of the only positions in hockey, where you can’t cover up your weaknesses. You can have smaller forwards, or if you don’t score enough, you can cover up your weaknesses with other strengths. But goaltending is a must and we have a guy that’s played at an elite level for a long time, so that does give us some comfort.”
Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside of ESPN sit down with Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins.
via Adrian Dater of All Things Avs at the Denver Post,
The Tom Preissing Era is off to a crummy start. One of the two D-men who came over from L.A. in the Ryan Smyth trade, Preissing had arthroscopic surgery on a knee today and is out 4-6 weeks.
He apparently suffered the injury at some point early in camp, as he never took part in any scrimmages.
from Tom Reed of Puck-rakers at the Columbus Dispatch,
The Blue Jackets top four defensemen are all sidelined with nagging strains to the groin or hip flexors and management wants to determine if that’s more than coincidence.
Add Rusty Klesla (hip flexor), Mike Commodore (groin) and Marc Methot (hip flexor) to a growin list that already includes Fedor Tyutin (hip flexor) and forward R.J. Umberger (hip flexor)....
General manager Scott Howson is seeking answers. With the help of the coaching staff, medical staff and players, he’s trying to figure out what’s at the root of the problem. Howson even has taken to calling around the league to see if other teams are sustaining similar injuries. He said Phoenix and Minnesota are dealing with the same issues.
Among the possibilities:
—Ice quality in various rinks, including the Dispatch Ice Haus.
—The high pace to the start of camp, which included intra-squad games on the first two days and an exhibition game in Pittsburgh on the third.
While on the Blue Jackets topic, Doug MacLean on Fan590 today mentioned Columbus is trying to find a dman to run the point on the power play. Both Raffi Torres and Jason Chimera are being offered, but no takers so far.
from Naoko Funayama of NESN,
Just telling hockey people you’re going to Quebec City triggers a delightful reaction. But even better was the reaction the people of QC had to us.
“You come for hockey game?” asked our waiter at a quaint corner bistro in Old Quebec City.
“Claude Julien?” he continued in his broken English, asking us about Boston’s head coach and the former Quebec Nordiques defenseman….
Inside Le Colisee, the aura of the old NHL team still remained. Its NHL banners were proudly displayed, with wooden seats high in the “endzones” that were so vertically lined they looked like a wall.
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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