Kukla's Korner Hockey
The hockey season is here again!
Free agent signings are almost complete, as NHL teams finalize their rosters for training camp. The rookie training camps are currently underway, with players such as Taylor Hall and Nazem Khadri lighting it up for their respective teams, curious fans and diligent poolies who are looking for a jump on their competition. Hockey is also in full swing in Europe, where Germany’s DEL league team; Eisbaren Berlin, upset some rival powerhouse European clubs to win the inaugural European Trophy Championship. Previously called the Nordic Trophy (featuring teams from Sweden and Finland only), the eighteen team tournament has been expanded to include other European domestic leagues, with Russia’s KHL being the notable exception. The breakdown of teams by country is as follows:
from Justin Bourne at PuckDaddy,
When players show up at training camp after a summer of lifting, as they will this weekend in the NHL, they’re as jacked-up as they can possible get. Hell, even I usually felt pretty good about my situation. So it rarely ever crossed my mind that anybody may have used performance-enhancers in the off-season. It was possible that a guy or two worked a little harder than me.
Then I walked into a teammate’s bedroom one day and saw his “medical kit.” It didn’t blow my mind, but it definitely caught me off-guard. It would be the first and last time I ever saw steroid paraphernalia, but it was just the beginning of my awareness that the occasional player in professional hockey cheats.
That blind pursuit of a better opportunity or better contract was something I came to understand and grudgingly accept. But I stopped being so understanding when guys like him started climbing up our organization’s depth chart.
from Robert Cribb of the Toronto Star,
From their earliest stick-and-puck beginnings, Stuart Hyman’s sons have played on hockey teams owned and operated by their dad.
When the two oldest reached the junior level, they suited up for the Hamilton Red Wings of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, another Hyman-owned club.
Now, with the two senior brothers in their late teens, their father has purchased a scouting company that ranks prospective draftees for a client base of general managers, coaches and scouts.
It’s a cradle-to-National-Hockey-League development strategy unheard of in the hockey world.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Talk about hockey lineage.
When the Shattuck-St. Mary’s School girls’ high school prep hockey team opens its season this weekend, there will be a Lemieux and a Crosby on the ice—Stephanie Lemieux, the 15-year-old daughter of Penguins owner Mario Lemieux, and Taylor Crosby, the 14-year-old sister of Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby.
“They’re just regular teenage girls. They’re hard working and dedicated,” Shattuck coach Dan Koch said Wednesday. “They just go about their business like any other kids here. They’re very focused in both hockey and academics.”
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
No matter the kaleidoscopic jersey, Metropolit is having a blast in Switzerland on his 16th professional team, having signed on for two years.
He’s earning probably half the face value of last season’s $1-million Canadiens salary, but consider: not a euro of his pay is going into escrow, two of his three children are enrolled without cost in a prestigious English-language international school, he and his wife, Michlyn, are driving new BMWs provided for free, parking them in the driveway of a comfortable rent-free condo, and he pays no taxes.
“What a decision I made, coming here. I’m glad I didn’t stick around in North America and wait,” Metropolit said. “It’s the best choice I’ve probably made in my life.
“It’s caught me by surprise, what guys are signing for over there,” he added, watching from afar as the NHL’s dwindling pool of free agents agrees to salary-cap-squeezed contracts.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
You go to an NHL rookie camp game and you really wonder, my goodness, what’s next?
A pre-combine before the main scouting combine? A best-of-seven Winter Classic series? Fully televised meetings to draft the best executive prospects?
“Yep, 15-year-old Johnny sure looks good in a suit,” would be the broadcast analysis. “He looks like a young Gerry MacNamara.”
But that’s hockey, right? Kids as young as six- or seven-years old are now told they must play 12 months a year just to “keep up.” NHL teams, more desperate than ever for talent in a 30-team league in which there just isn’t enough to go around, now have post-entry draft workouts, research and development camps and unofficial, late August scrimmages, all of which attract media coverage.
The answer to everything is more. More levels of development, more coaches, more exhibitions, more entry and exit interviews.
from Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Sun,
Ryan Duncan had heard the hype, but he wasn’t convinced this kid was much different than any other aspiring hockey star.
That is, until a CBC reporter showed up in snowy Minnesota to interview his bright-eyed roommate—a 15-year-old phenom named Sidney Crosby—at the famous Shattuck-St. Mary’s prep school.
“To look back on it now, he was just a normal kid in my eyes,” said Duncan, a former Hobey Baker Award winner from Calgary now employed on Austria’s professional hockey circuit.
“I didn’t quite understand how big of a deal Sidney was going to be. For me, personally, when I heard he was going to Shattuck, my first impression was, ‘OK, I’m going to outscore this kid. I want to prove I’m better than this guy.’ Then, you go out there and you see what he’s all about and it’s like, ‘Alright, maybe I have some work to do.’
First off, I would like to thank Paul for the opportunity to blog for Kuklaskorner. This is a great hockey site with excellent bloggers and extremely knowledgeable and passionate hockey fans.
I’d also like to thank all of the members who welcomed me to the blog. Thanks everyone, it means a lot!
To answer the question about former Red Wings prospect; Igor Grigorenko, from KK Member; OlderThanChelios
Hello friends. My name is not really Twig, but it’s what I go by. I’ll be covering all forms of Minor League and European League Hockey for Kukla’s Korner. The blog will be called ‘The Affiliate’. I thought that was a fitting name considering the content of the blog and it didn’t appear to be taken by anyone else.
A little about me: I’m from Grand Haven, Michigan and would never have left but I joined the Army in 2003. After getting out in 2007, I decided I would have an easier time finding work in Seattle. I was wrong, so I moved to Houston. I’m currently enrolled at Sam Houston State as an English Major and I stay pretty busy writing essays about Japanese Quinces and stolen Pies, but I will find time to blog about hockey. My sanity depends on it.
What I would like The Affiliate to provide is a way for you to know more about what’s happening in the world of hockey. I hope that someday down the road, when you’re buying the jersey of your teams new rising star, you can look back and remember reading about him here.
And thank you, Paul for the opportunity to blog on your site.
So says KHL President Aleksandr Medvedev.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org