Kukla's Korner Hockey
Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov, Chris Pronger, Phil Housley and Angela Ruggiero will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as the Class of 2015.
Bill Hay and Peter Karmanos were also inducted as builders.
Lidstrom’s election was a matter of inevitability. One of the most dominant defenders of his era, Lidstrom is a seven-time Norris Trophy winner, including six wins in seven seasons between 2001 and 2008. Lidstrom won four Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings, earning the 2002 Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP. He became the first European to win the award and in 2008 became the first European to captain a club to a Cup title.
His international resume is equally impressive as Lidstrom won World Championship (1991) and Olympic (2006) gold representing Sweden. He became the 17th member of the “Triple Gold” club at the 2006 Turin Games.
In 1,564 games with the Red Wings Lidstrom scored 264 goals and 878 assists.
added 4:30pm, HHOF release is below...
from Connor Gordon of Vavel,
April 5th 2015- a date of no regular significance to the average person but to the Sheffield Steelers, this was a day of great importance. The league leaders took on the Coventry Blaze in a close contest which partly determined the destination of this year's title. The event sold 50 short of 7,000 seats. What's so significant about a city the size of Sheffield packing out an arena for a sporting event? Well, Sheffield Steelers aren't a household name football team- they actually play in the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL).
Ice Hockey is the sleeping giant in Britain and Ireland with arenas in the largest cities of the country close to sell outs. A sport boasting a massive following in other populous countries such as Canada, USA, Sweden, there is a lot to ponder why the UK hasn't taken to it. Ice Hockey has many elements, which is similar to the most popular sport, football.
The Elite Ice Hockey League spans the entire United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. The latter has one representation in the EIHL, Belfast Giants- one of the strongest teams in the league.
England is represented by Coventry Blaze, Hull Stingrays, Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers- joint most successful team. Wales, like Northern Ireland, is represented by one team- Cardiff Devils.
Meanwhile in Scotland there are many more: Dundee Stars, Edinburgh Capitals, Fife Flyers and finally, Braehead Clan- one of the newest franchise teams in the EIHL.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Hockey announced today that Ron Wilson (Riverside, R.I.) has been named head coach of the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team. Wilson, who directed Team USA to the silver medal at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and ranks eighth all-time in National Hockey League history in wins, will lead Team USA in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship for the first time.
"We're extremely pleased to have Ron guiding our National Junior Team," said Jim Johannson, assistant executive director for hockey operations at USA Hockey, who will also serve as general manager of the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team. "His resume speaks for itself, both as a player and a coach, and we know he'll do an outstanding job."
"It is always an honor to serve as head coach for the United States," said Wilson. "The World Junior Championship has evolved into one of the great events on the hockey calendar and with so many highly-skilled players in USA Hockey's player pool, expectations have never been higher.
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
Taking a magic pill — one not mentioned under NHL banned substances — is going to be dicussed at this week’s scouting combine in Buffalo where 30 teams are interviewing prospective draft picks.
It’s a hypothetical pill that the glory-seeking teens are asked to digest, if it ensured they’d win the Calder Trophy, Stanley Cup, make $5 million in endorsements, but — here’s the downer — they’d have a 50/50 chance of dying at age 30.
Paul Dennis, former team psychologist with the Leafs and Team Canada juniors, came up with the pill question a couple of years ago. It’s designed to circumvent any coaching by agents or advisors, who often urge players to give a stock answsers to all queries to placate inquisitors.
“With the Leafs, we had 300 to 400 potential draft picks,” Dennis told York Univerity Magazine, where he was a professor at the school after leaving the NHL team. “We went through every one with the scouts and had debates about it. The magic pill question was a part of that (process).
“In some ways there was a ‘correct’ or at least a better answer than saying ‘yes, I’ll take it’ and that would have been ‘I think I can accomplish the things you put in front of me without the use of a pill.”
Watch as a perceived series of missed calls resulted in Quebec Remparts fans littering the ice with cans, bottles and other items at the MasterCard Memorial Cup.
from the CP at TSN,
Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel's presence alone at the NHL's pre-draft scouting combine next week is enough to spur league-wide buzz.
There's more. Aside from having two highly touted players included among the 120 prospects scheduled to attend, the combine is finally entering the 21st century.
After spending the past 25 years in stuffy and carpeted hotel and convention centre ballrooms in suburban Toronto, the weeklong event is moving for the first time into an actual hockey facility in downtown Buffalo. Starting Monday and running through June 6, the combine will be held at the newly built hockey/entertainment HarborCenter complex connected to the Sabres home arena.
"This is taking the combine to a whole other level," Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning said. "I'm looking forward to getting in there and seeing how it's run this year and, maybe going forward, that's the way it's going to continue to be run."
Anything would be an upgrade after last year, when the hotel air conditioning didn't work during the team-player interview portion of the combine.
"I felt bad for the kids, because it was like we were sweating them out," Benning said, laughing.
The $200-million facility, funded by Sabres owner Terry Pegula, opened in November. It features two NHL-sized rinks, a training centre, meeting rooms, a bar and restaurant, and will eventually include a 200-plus-room hotel.
from Brett Popplewell of Sportsnet,
Used to be the warrior was the noble, set apart from those he swore to protect by his acceptance of violence and by a code of conduct that kept him honourable. Medieval knights called this chivalry; to the samurai it was the way of the warrior. It didn’t matter what he accomplished day to day, all that mattered was that when the time came, he entered the battle and fought like he was already dead. That’s what made him noble. That’s what made him selfless.
Kevin Westgarth knows this. Not because he is a student of history and war but because he is one of hockey’s discarded enforcers. A wandering samurai who now finds himself alone and bleeding in a Belfast arena.
Barely a minute has passed since he threw his last punch, cracked a man’s helmet and ripped the skin from the mangled remnants of his reconstructed knuckle. The residual sounds of the brawl—bloodthirsty shouts and chants—echo through the stands, bouncing off the boards and rafters and finding their way into the corner of the dressing room where Westgarth sits, chest heaving, blood pumping out of that knuckle.
from Craig Button of TSN,
Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel started the season as the top ranked NHL prospects and they finish 1-2 on the final Craig's List of the season. The NHL can only hope No. 1-ranked McDavid and No. 2-ranked Eichel develop a rivalry similar to the one Crosby and Ovechkin launched 10 years ago.
Two Ontario Hockey League rivals are next on my final list: Erie centre Dylan Strome at No. 3 and London right winger Mitch Marner at No. 4. Why Strome over Marner at three? The answer is simple. When players are so close in ability, I choose the centre over the winger. While Marner may eventually score at a higher rate than Strome in the NHL, top line centres are instrumental to team success. Strome has a complete yet unspectacular game in the style of Ron Francis. Strome is an elite complete player.
Marner is a unique and creative player who brings people out of their seats. Arizona is interesting at No. 3 in the draft order because either Strome or Marner would add significantly to an already deep prospect pool that includes Marner's London teammate, Max Domi.
The NHL Central Scouting Service has Boston College defenceman Noah Hanifin ranked third among North American skaters, behind only McDavid and Eichel. But Hanifin is No. 12 on my list. He's a fantastic skater, but I'm not yet convinced he will make an impact in the NHL worthy of investing such a high pick.
from Bill Beacon of the CP at MetroNews,
Junior hockey was the high point for Esposito, who had 39 goals and 98 points in his first season. His stock dropped when he fell to 79 points in his draft year. He slipped again to 69 the following season, but had his moment at the world junior championship in Ottawa where he scored the game winner in the final for Canada.
Since then, a succession of injuries, including two torn ACL ligaments, a torn MCL and a hip problem, have stalled his career and dropped him into obscurity. Last season, he played one game for Fort Wayne of the ECHL and then was waived and didn’t play again.
“It was a tough year mentally and physically,” the 26-year-old said. “I’ve been through a lot over the last few years, so I took the year off.
“I started training about two months ago and I’m looking to go back and play in Europe again next year.”
Pittsburgh traded him to Atlanta and he spent time in the Florida and Dallas organizations before he was released in 2012. He played a year in Finland, another in Italy and another in the Austrian league, not scoring many goals on any stop.
“You have to learn to accept things,” he said. “Everyone’s destined for something in life.
“It’s too bad I never got to step on the ice in the NHL. You never want to say never, but you have to be realistic and come to terms with it. There’s something else waiting out there and hopefully I get to achieve something else.”
from Today's Slapshot,
Marc Crawford, head coach of the ZSC Lions of the National League A, took some time to email with Sean Tierney and had some interesting thoughts on the process of coaching, Auston Matthews and analytics. His answers are presented as-is.
ST: Rumours have swirled about the possibility of Auston Matthews playing in the NLA next season, possibly for your ZSC Lions. In your opinion, what are the advantages of playing internationally for a draft-eligible star like Matthews? Could a teenager succeed playing against men in the Swiss league?
MC: Auston Matthews is an outstanding young Hockey player and everyone involved with the ZSC Lions is so excited about seeing him play in Zurich.
There is no doubt that he can play and excell [sic] in the Swiss NLA and I believe it is the perfect training ground for young athletes. He will be coached by an NHL coach he will be challenged by playing against men in a fast skating, highly skilled league. He will learn what it is like to play the systems that will be utilized as he continues to rise up the hockey ranks.
He is a wonderful young man who wants to improve and we have an excellent record of development.
Ron Kenins developed with us and this year Jonas Sigenthaler and Denis Malgin both will get drafted because of our program.
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 email@example.com