Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post,
There used to be a guy named Rick Nash who came to the Rangers with huge expectations, and who was shy, soft-spoken and gave canned answers.
At some point last spring, that Rick Nash was officially put out to pasture, and the man who took over is still a bit shy, but far more open with his emotions, with his self-criticism and utterly transparent about what he’s trying to accomplish.
“It’s the way sports works, you have to be honest with yourself, be honest with the media and with your fans,” Nash told The Post after practice on Friday as the team prepares for a preseason game against the Devils in Newark on Saturday. “I think that’s all you can do and everything else kind of takes care of itself.”
The “everything else” that Nash referred to is, in part, getting the Rangers over the hump and winning their first Stanley Cup since 1994. For the 31-year-old Nash, his 12 seasons in the league have produced an ample amount of individual accolades, and now his face pressed up against that shiny silver chalice is all he cares about.
a Globe and Mail editorial,
Hockey training camps are in full swing, and jobs are on the line. The rewards for cracking an NHL roster are great, but the long-term consequences may be dire. How many players take to the ice with full knowledge that, when their talents are exhausted, they could be facing a lifetime of pain?
A lawsuit brought against the NHL by former players, now working its way through the U.S. court system, is a reminder of the lingering harm that can come from excelling in a fast, tough sport. The group of 60 players, which includes Bernie Nicholls, Gary Leeman and Reed Larson, alleges that the league did not do enough to protect them from neurological damage caused by repeated blows to the head. Icons we remember as dominant masters of the ice now suffer from memory loss, depression and anger issues – the result, they say, of concussions that were overlooked or underplayed.
It’s tempting to see this lawsuit as a relic of the past, given the medical community’s much-improved understanding of sports concussions, and the care with which they should be treated. The NHL, in tandem with its players’ union, has crafted protocols that require anyone who exhibits signs of a concussion to be examined and tested immediately by trained personnel. This wasn’t the rule 30 years ago.
In reality, competitive players (meaning pretty well everyone who’s made it to the NHL and wants to stay there) will do everything possible to return to the ice after a big hit. In the heat of the moment, no athlete is inclined to think 20 or 30 years down the line, when memories (however foggy) are all that remain.
from Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen,
Ottawa Senators General manager Bryan Murray really isn’t one to ever mince words so it was no surprise that he had a blunt take Friday on the departure of Swedish defenceman Mikael Wikstrand for home.
“I told him (Wikstrand) he can go home and be a grocery clerk and play in a beer league.”
The training camp competition between Matt Puempel and Shane Prince for a spot on the wing appears to have titled in Prince’s favour after Puempel left the ice with an injury to his left arm or shoulder. Prince already had an advantage in that he would have to clear waivers if returned to Binghamton.
Wikstrand too has suffered a shoulder injury and had yet to play in an exhibition game.
Watch Bryan Murray below as he talks about Wikstrand...
added 1:52pm, Well this changes things...
from the Buffalo News,
At a news conference held in his office Friday morning, Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III addressed allegations of evidence tampering in the Patrick Kane rape investigation.
Sedita said the forensic evidence in the case was not compromised or tampered with, including the brown paper bag that was allegedly left at the home of the accuser’s mother.
“The rape kit was never in any kind of bag, Sedita said, “and it has never left the custody of ... the laboratory since.”...
edita said it was time to break his silence, stating that “the issue here is the integrity of the criminal justice system and the public’s confidence in the criminal justice system.”
“This office is not responsible for this circus,” he said.
When asked by a reporter when he thinks this case would go to the grand jury, Sedita responded: “The question in my mind is not when this case will go to a grand jury but if this case will go to a grand jury.”
added 1:07pm, via Sportsnet, watch below as the DA talks about the next step...
The Erie County District Attorney has scheduled a press conference for 11:00am ET today.
Watch it below via CSNChicago.
MONTREAL – Following a successful 15-year career in the NHL, including 11 as a member of the Montreal Canadiens, defenseman Francis Bouillon made his retirement official Friday.
For Francis Bouillon, size has never been an issue. He always played big and throughout his career he made sizeable contribution to the success of every team he played with, thanks to a perfect blend of work ethics, commitment and tenacity. A leader on and off the ice, he was the backbone of Michel Therrien’s team when the Granby Predators captured the Memorial Cup back in 1996. Overlooked by all clubs at the NHL Entry Draft, Bouillon was not about to give his dream and began his professional career in the ECHL and moved on to the Quebec Rafales in the IHL the following year before joining Therrien with the Canadiens farm team in Fredericton in 1998-1999.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
He has worked hard at his conditioning and he has challenged himself to become a go-to guy on the ice and in the dressing room.
"I think it's not only putting up points and being an offensive guy," explained Letang, who suffered a stroke during the 2013-14 season and missed 10 weeks before returning to action.
"I think what I want is to make sure the coach behind me is never going to have a question mark in his head [about playing me in any situation]. ... I want to be the guy that he knows that I'm going to do the job and I'm going to do it right."
With Martin signing as a free agent with the San Jose Sharks and Ehrhoff now in Los Angeles, the Pens' blue line is in a state of flux. Youngsters Brian Dumoulin and Derrick Pouliot look to be slotting in somewhere in the top six. There's veteran Rob Scuderi, Adam Clendening and 41-year-old Sergei Gonchar, who's on a tryout.
General manager Jim Rutherford acknowledged they will have to keep an eye on the blue line and the implication is that he might look to add depth via the trade market. But it's better, obviously, if he doesn't have to. And how this plays out will be determined in large part by how Letang and Maatta shoulder the burden of leadership.
As for Letang, Rutherford shook his head when asked if anyone outside of the Pens' room knows how good Letang was for the Pens last season.
"Nobody knows," Rutherford said.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
If there's a story line that jumps out for the 2016 NHL draft class -- outside of 10 out of 10 scouts surveyed by TSN identifying American Auston Matthews as the pre-season favorite to go No. 1 overall -- it's the dearth of Canadian born-and-bred high-end talent.
Americans? No problem. No. 1 ranked Matthews leads a group of four Top 10 prospects from south of the 49th.
Finns? You bet. Big goal-scoring wingers Jesse Puljujarvi and Patrik Laine are Nos. 2 and 4 on TSN's Pre-Season Top 15 rankings for the 2016 and London Knight defenceman Olli Juolevi is No. 13.
Canadians, at least those born and developed in Canada, are nowhere to be found in the top six pre-season prospects and there are only five in TSN's Top 15.
That doesn't mean there is any need for panic or a hockey summit. Given the quantity and quality of high-end Canadian talent in recent drafts -- most recently Connor McDavid -- this looks more like an anomaly or something that is cyclical in nature.
“Shootouts are exciting, but this is going to be unbelievable — nobody is going to leave.
“It’s going to be slingshot hockey — it’s going to be just like a saloon door. It’s going to be back and forth, and it’s going to be great.”
-Bob Hartley, head coach of the Calgary Flames. More 3-on-3 OT talk from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun.
from Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post,
In his debut NHL season, MacKinnon was a teen sensation. He scored 24 goals and added 39 assists as a rookie. While goalie Semyon Varla- mov was rock-solid between the pipes, MacKinnon was the X factor that made Colorado the league's most surprising team, claiming a division championship and earning a berth in the playoffs.
In his second NHL season, however, the teen spirit no longer was enough for Mac- Kinnon, and everything became work. He said for the first time in his young life, playing hockey was difficult. With the Avalanche sinking toward the bottom of the Western Conference standings and his confidence shaken, MacKinnon's scoring touch disappeared early in 2015, and for the first time, he dealt with the frustration of enduring a month-long drought without a goal.
"That's not fun," said MacKinnon, poking through the ashes of his sophomore slump. "I worked pretty hard in the summer to get ready. Then you don't have a good start and it just kind of carries over through the whole season. You get down on yourself."
These were the words MacKinnon had to keep repeating: "You're 19 in the NHL. It's not easy."
Hey, I was as guilty as anyone in expecting too much too soon. MacKinnon's talent is undeniable and obvious. He has the right stuff to uphold the grand Avalanche tradition of Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic. But actually doing it on the ice? It's way harder than it looks, and can be a heavier burden than most players are willing to admit.
"Being part of the Avs, it adds to the pressure. I wanted to follow in the footsteps of guys I looked up to, guys like Forsberg and Sakic and (Patrick) Roy," Matt Duchene said.
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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