Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette,
Only 10 of the players who will start the season in Boston were on last year’s season-opening roster, reflecting the wholesale changes that have occurred in the last 12 months under general manager Peter Chiarelli.
“This is the group we’re going forward with as it stands (now),” Chiarelli said during a conference call. “But if there’s an area where we can improve and an opportunity to improve, we’re still going to look at it.”
The 13 new faces include winger Shawn Thornton, who was signed as a free agent this summer, and versatile forward Glen Metropolit, who made the team after being invited to camp without a contract. Chiarelli said he expects to have Metropolit signed within a day or two.
from the Windsor Star,
Can the Finn finish?
“I don’t think too much (about the increased expectations),” said Filppula, who had 10 goals and seven assists in limited playing time last season. “I think the biggest expectations are coming from myself.
“For me, what I’m expecting, is to continue what was going on at the end of last season. Getting more ice time and getting better and better. I think I improved my game as the season went on. “I haven’t really thought about the number of points I should be producing.”
A year ago, Filppula wasn’t even on the Red Wings’ opening night roster.
from the Edmonton Sun,
MacTavish said the players can sense there is something special happening here.
“It brings the optimism up, for sure,” he said of having four high-end skill players making the team together as toddlers.
He said the players can all sense “there’s the making of something real memorable here. If you get that skill with players willing to play hard and sacrifice, we’re going to have something special.”
He said there’s suddenly a foundation here which gives you that feeling of deja vu - “something we’ve seen here in the past when a young team comes together collectively.”
from the Calgary Herald,
...Anyway, they had an all-girl Western band playing. We’re having a few pops and enjoying ourselves.
“Well, by the end of the night, Mike’s up on stage, Burnsie’s up on stage. They’re both playing guitar and singing—Mike has a very good voice, I’ll have you know—with the band and the place is just going wild. That, to me, is Mike Keenan. “A funny guy. A personable guy. That other guy, the one you hear about all the time, he’s a stranger to me.’‘
The other guy, the one you hear about all the time, is the Mike Keenan of legend. The snarling, bullying, caustic martinet capable of eliciting either undying devotion or undying scorn from his players.
from the Columbus Dispatch,
Sergei Fedorov will center the Blue Jackets’ first line in the opener between Rick Nash and David Vyborny. Fedorov did not play between the wingers during the preseason.
Hitchcock said Fedorov, 37, earned the right with his performance over the last three exhibition games. The coach said Fedorov will not kill penalties in an effort to limit his minutes.
Nikolai Zherdev will play extensively on the penalty-killing units, Hitchcock said. He believes the winger is a smart player who doesn’t get enough credit for his work on the defensive end. Nash also will be a penalty-killing regular.
more on the Blue Jackets…
from the Ottawa Sun,
Senators coach John Paddock will have captain Daniel Alfredsson back on the right side with centre Jason Spezza and winger Dany Heatley when the Senators open the season tomorrow in Toronto.
With the Senators playing seven games in the first 11 days of the season, Paddock believes it’s crucial the team begin the year on the right foot.
“The last two or three days I’ve looked at the schedule and, obviously, you want to get off to a good start because then the schedule becomes extremely light (for the rest of October),” said Paddock. “We go from one extreme to the other.
from the Tennessean,
The leader of a local group trying to buy the Nashville Predators said Monday that he doesn’t expect the deal to work out.
The group on Saturday asked for new tax money and several improvements to the Sommet Center, where the Predators play. According to leader David Freeman, the city has rejected the requests.
from the Mercury News,
The Sharks will open their season in Edmonton on Thursday with Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Jonathan Cheechoo on the same line.
And Coach Ron Wilson is ready for any critics.
“When I hear, ‘Oh, they’re putting all their eggs in one basket.’ . . . If those are the only two eggs we have, people haven’t even watched our team,” Wilson said after Monday’s two-hour practice. “We’ve got eggs on every line.”
From Erik Erlendsson at the Tampa Tribune
The training room inside the Lightning locker room resembled a corner coffee house during the preseason - it’s where everyone seemed to assemble.
And it wasn’t all just for social hour.
Tampa Bay’s media relations staff found itself dealing with daily injury reports as much as any other request since training camp opened Sept. 13. It got to be so epidemic-like that by the end of the second exhibition game - and on more than one occasion since - Lightning coach John Tortorella informed his players not to discuss anything related to injuries with members of the media.
From Brian Murphy at the Pioneer Press,
Playing wire to wire is all that remains for Gaborik, 25, to prove he belongs in the same company with Heatley, Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin and Marian Hossa, next-generation superstars with equal talent but more durability.
“I think that’s fair,” Wild general manager Doug Risebrough said. “The true picture of him persevering for 80 games and being productive in all situations, he’s just got to play the 80 games.”
Pierre McGuire, a former NHL coach and current TSN and NBC hockey analyst, said it is time for Gaborik to elevate his stature.
“When you’re talking about great players like Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, Steve Yzerman, no matter what they did individually, over time, you have to prove you can do it for an entire season,” McGuire said. “Very few players can do what (Gaborik) does. But it’s longevity, durability. Do they have the determination? Are they willing to pay the price? It’s a huge recognition year for him.”
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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