Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Paul Hunter at the Toronto Star,
His biggest worry at the start of the season wasn’t hockey, it was wondering whether he would see his three children grow up.
“My heart wasn’t 100 per cent,” he said at the NHL awards gala last night. “It took me a while to figure out that everything was going to be okay.
“It was a tough year, coming to a new city and new team. When you come in you have high expectations. When you get hit hard like that – it’s like walking down the street and you get hit by a semi, blindsided – it was a frustrating year, it was a disappointing year. I’m excited to start fresh next year. I know I’m going to have this the rest of my life and I know I’m going to be okay.
“I have something to prove.”
From Tony Gallagher of The Province via the Ottawa Citizen,
What can occur is that officials in either sport who faithfully follow directions are traditionally given the best games to work and that’s all that need be done to assure that impropriety is possible.
Take the recent Stanley Cup playoffs. This is not to suggest there was anything improper going on in any way, but this is how it could have gone off the rails and how things can happen when the best interests of the commissioner or the league are well known.
As the Detroit Red Wings-Pittsburgh Penguins series progressed, it became apparent with the TV ratings coming out daily and obviously building with every game, it was in the best interests of the league that the series go as long as possible, no matter who won.
*this appears to follow a recent theme of Gallagher’s
From Bob DiCesare at the Buffalo News,
The Buffalo Sabres recently were honored as the NHL’s “Professional Sports Team of the Year” in Sports Business Journal’s annual awards. They were cited for increasing their season ticket base from about 5,800 to 14,800 since the lockout, with a waiting list of 6,000. They were hailed for maintaining reasonable ticket costs, instituting variable single-game pricing and enhancing the attractiveness of their product to sponsors.
Who can quibble with any of those distinctions? Outside of some dubious hockey personnel decisions, the franchise has done right by its fans and given Sabres hockey a local presence unequaled since the team’s nascent years. The recognition is well-deserved.
My gripe is with a stand-alone quote that appears with the SBJ story. Under the headline, “What People Are Saying,” comes this bold-typed snippet from John Cimperman of Cenergy Communications: “The fact that they have turned Buffalo from a football town into a hockey town is well recognized.”
From Ben Leeson at The Sault Star,
Soo Greyhounds coach Craig Hartsburg will be introduced Friday as the head coach of the Ottawa Senators, well-placed and reliable sources have told The Sault Star.
The 48-year-old Hartsburg flew to Ottawa Thursday to meet with Senators owner Eugene Melnyk and will be introduced to the media as the team’s next head coach as early as this morning.
A report Wednesday by the Ottawa Sun had Kitchener Rangers bench boss Peter DeBoer getting the job in Ottawa but that report now appears to have been premature.
“They (media) overreacted yesterday,” a source told The Star. “Everybody assumed that because he (DeBoer) went down there, it was a done deal.”
When reached Thursday, Hartsburg declined comment, limiting his remarks to an assessment of the Senators’ on-ice potential. He would neither confirm or deny whether he was in the Ottawa area.
Update 9:21am ET: Apparent confirmation from TSN—
Former Canadian World Juniors and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds head coach Craig Hartsburg will be introduced as the head coach of the Ottawa Senators on Friday. The Senators have called a news conference Friday morning to make the announcement.
*hat-tip to TSN for providing the original source
From Rob Rossi at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
[Evgeni Malkin] said the prize he really covets—a long-term contract extension with the Penguins—is on its way.
“I’m thinking maybe five or six years,” said Malkin, set to enter the final season of his three-year entry-level deal. “I’m an easy guy to deal with. I’d love to stay in Pittsburgh.”
The NHL’s collective bargaining agreement forbids the Penguins from signing Malkin to an extension until July 1. Malkin said he expects the extension will be signed “soon” after that date.
From David Shoalts in the Globe & Mail,
“I want to make speech longer but my English short,” he said, drawing a big laugh.
In his news conference later, [Pavel] Datsyuk had a couple more zingers when he was asked how he enjoyed the Wings’ Stanley Cup party.
“I remember going to the party but I don’t remember coming home,” he said. “I have to ask my wife because I don’t remember.”
From Rick Sadowski at the Rocky Mountain News,
The agents for defensemen Adam Foote and Kurt Sauer have had preliminary contract talks with the Avalanche and expect to resume discussions shortly before or during the June 20-21 NHL draft.
Foote and Sauer will be eligible for unrestricted free agency on July 1.
In other not-particularly-fascinating-but-still-suggestive Avalanche news, Adrian Dater mentioned (in his Denver Post blog yesterday) that Joe Sakic has recently been spotted in a local gym. He added this note:
That has to be a good sign, right? If I had said “Joe Sakic has been seen at the all-you-can-eat Pizza Hut lunch buffet for five days straight”, that wouldn’t be such a good thing, right?
From Stan Fischler at Game On,
If I’m Glen Sather, I tell Jaromir [Jagr] that he will be paid something in the range of a 20-25-goal scorer; what the going rate will be for that. Thus, the captain will have to demonstrate that he REALLY wants to stay in New York and is willing to accept a diminished role suitable to his age; otherwise he will not be a good fit on the club. If Jagr is not willing to accept this, then it may be a case of au revoir, old buddy.
And, guess what, it would not be the end of the world for the Blueshirts.
more… plus thoughts on Sean Avery
From Michael Rhode at Nanaimo’s Daily News,
The life of a professional hockey player is pretty routine. Sure, there’s the notoriety of playing at the top level of your sport, and it takes plenty of hard work and determination to get to the level they play at.
But aside from the so-called stardom it’s just a lot of repetition. Their days—from autumn to late spring—usually begin and end at the rink. Their summer months, save for a few weeks away from the rink, are usually spent training, at the gym and on ice, for their next season.
Vancouver Canucks’ forward Trevor Linden’s retirement announcement brings into focus the realization of life after hockey. After going to the rink on a regular basis for more than 20 years of professional and junior hockey, come September he’ll have to try and find something constructive to occupy his time.
continued… with words from a few ex-players
Slow news day for the moment as the NHL’s mainstream press enjoys their 3-martini lunches in Toronto before tonight’s fun.
Meanwhile, The Onion takes over:
LOS ANGELES—Sources within the Red Wings organization confirm that goalie Chris Osgood, who is currently engaged in accompanying the Stanley Cup on a victory tour of talk shows and publicity events, has repeatedly and insistently claimed to have gotten as far as third base with hockey’s championship trophy during the past week.
*thanks to Jennifer for dropping us the link earlier!
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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