Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Phil Sheridan of Philly News,
John Stevens had as grim a task as any Philadelphia coach in recent memory, taking over a doomed team after the stunning dismissal of Hitchcock. Stevens handled himself well, establishing his expectations for players and making sure there were consequences when those expectations weren’t met.
But do we know Stevens is a championship-caliber NHL coach? It is no insult to him to answer no to that question. Hitchcock had a pedigree of success and couldn’t get it done with the talent at hand here. Stevens might be the right man for this job. No one knows, including Stevens, Holmgren and the players.
In theory, Biron settles down the goaltender spot. He has a fine career goals against average of 2.55, but that shot up to 3.02 playing behind the Flyers at the end of last season. Niittymaki’s average was 3.38 last year - so the apples-to-apples comparison doesn’t tell us much.
AHL President and CEO David Andrews announced Tuesday that Steve Downie has been ruled ineligible to play in the AHL for one month from the start of the 2007-08 season.
“The American Hockey League has established a strict disciplinary standard over the last several seasons relative to deliberate hits to the head,” said Andrews in a statement. “We strongly support the National Hockey League’s recent directives on these dangerous hits, and we want to send a clear message that actions such as Mr. Downie’s are unacceptable in our game.”
from Ed Moran at Philly News,
Downie did not have it easy as a kid, and it impacts him the way his story impacts everyone that gets to know him. His father, John, was killed in a car accident driving him to hockey practice when Steve was 7.
At 13, the hearing in his right ear began to fade and he now wears an aid off the ice.
When he was drafted by the Flyers 29th overall in 2005, he broke down and cried. He told reporters of the sacrifices his mother had made and how he was saddened that his father was not there to be part of the day.
He said that he remembered the day his father died. “I remember every minute of it. It only makes me play harder,” he said.
From the CP,
Paul Holmgren might be the only person in Philadelphia with a framed photo of the 2006-07 Flyers in his office.
The team otherwise known as the worst in Philadelphia’s 40-year franchise history. And what does the Flyers general manager think when he looks at that picture?
“Uh, well,” he chuckled. “It was a very difficult year for our franchise. It was bizarre for sure. A lot of things went wrong.”
Colin Campbell was involved with a tele-conference call today discussing the Downie suspension.
Q. Can you characterize what Steve Downie did to Dean McAmmond? What you saw?
COLIN CAMPBELL: Characterize? We had requested this be put on the agenda for the board of governors. As a result, the general managers looked at a number of hits. We had 52 hits from last season that were not suspendable hits, but hits where shoulders were delivered to the head.
And from that meeting on, the general managers in June, it was in Ottawa in the finals, the Competition Committee met and reviewed the same hit.
We convened a group of coaches in late July, early August as well as having talked about the draft to a number of coaches, assistant coaches as well. We had six coaches that were brought in here and we discussed what we had found.
At the end of the day, there were a number of criteria that the groups didn’t like, and any of those criteria could get you suspended. At the same time, we wanted to keep hitting in the game of hockey. And legal shoulder checks to the head would be allowed if they were delivered in a legal fashion.
The National Hockey League has handed down its verdict on the Flyers’ Steve Downie. Colin Campbell, the NHL’s executive vice-president and director of hockey operations has suspended Downie a 20-game.
Downie was punished for his vicious hit on Ottawa Senators forward Dean McAmmond in Thursday’s exhibition game.
from E.J. Hradek at ESPN,
In goal, Biron will team with returning stopper Antero Niittymaki. After spending the last several seasons as a backup in Buffalo, Biron relishes the opportunity to be the No. 1 guy in Philly. He’s a solid, competitive goaltender, and his likeable nature should help the day-to-day dealings in the dressing room.
Holmgren clearly improved this team during the offseason. But, with so many new faces, it’s hard to know just how much better the Flyers can be. I figure they’ll be battling for a playoff spot. If I’m pressed to make a pick, I say they find their way into the second season.
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren announced on Wednesday that four of his players were hurt in the contest.
Forwards Joffrey Lupul and Scottie Upshall both suffered left wrist injuries.
“Lupul sustained a left wrist injury and we will know more once he is examined by a specialist tomorrow,” said Holmgren.
“Upshall sustained a fractured left wrist, which will require surgery. He will have the surgery tomorrow (Thursday) and will be out of action for four to six weeks.”
from 640am in Toronto,
The NHL has suspended Flyers rookie Steve Downie following a vicious hit on Senators forward Dean McAmmond last night.
Downie was handed a match penalty for attempt to injure. He is now indefinitely suspended by the NHL, pending a review of the hit by the league. Downie was the victim of a clean hit from Christoph Schubert before he immediately got up and sought revenge on McAmmond in the Flyers zone.
See the hit in this post...
added 6:54am, from the Ottawa Sun,
“There’s no place in the game for that stuff,” a seething McGrattan said after the game. “That was a dirty hit and he’s a dirty player. He’s known for that and he’ll get what’s coming to him next time we play him, for sure.
“You don’t want to see stuff like that. We’re not out there to kill each other. At this level, he’ll get what’s coming to him.”
Update September 27, 7:40pm ET:
Just a note that Downie contacted McAmmond to offer an apology. From The Star,
A phone call of apology from Steve Downie has earned the Philadelphia Flyers prospect some understanding from Dean McAmmond but not from the rest of the Ottawa Senators.
Ottawa Senators forward Dean McAmmond left the pre-season game against the Philadelphia Flyers on a stretcher in the second period after a vicious hit to the head by Flyers forward Steve Downie.
McAmmond had just passed the puck and was skating behind the Flyers net when Downie leveled him with a shoulder to the head. Downie, who was hit into the boards earlier in the shift by Christoph Schubert was given a match penalty - which means he is suspended indefinitely pending a review.
McAmmond has been diagnosed with a concussion, but he is moving his extremities and has been sent to a hospital for further examination.
Update 12:35am ET:
From Allan Maki at the Globe & Mail,
Dirty. Cheap. Needless. Despicable. Those words don’t just describe Tuesday night’s hit on Ottawa Senators forward Dean McAmmond. They describe the man who delivered it – Steve Downie of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Update 1:08am ET:
Thanks to a reader in the comments of this post, here is the video of the hit on McAmmond:
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