Kukla's Korner Hockey
My plan for the next two and a half days is to take it slow, real slow. I am even thinking about taking the ice in a glass challenge, filled with a little adult beverage.
I need to step away from the computer, email, twitter, etc. to recharge my battery and catch up on a little R & R.
George Malik will try to fill in when necessary while I am away and I will return on Monday.
Have a good weekend and the countdown for hockey will begin soon enough.
via Ryan Toohey of the Naples Daily News,
Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby and a handful other NHL players wrapped up a week of training at Germain Arena on Friday.
Rookie of the Year Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche, John Tavares and Kyle Okopso of the New York Islanders, and David Clarkson of the Toronto Maple Leafs also have been in town.
The star-studded group of players traveled to Southwest Florida to train with performance coach Darryl Belfry.
“The environment here is nice – it’s relaxed,” Crosby said. “You’re able to recharge a little bit here before the season starts."
Below, watch Crosby talk about the training the players went through. Of course, if the video does not play, just click the Naples Daily News link.
Many of you know I am not into the advanced stats part of the game which continues to grow these days.
I just don't have the time and am probably a little old school on the topic, but I know many of you are and Rob Vollman has come out with his 2014 edition of Hockey Abstract.
One of the great reviews of the book is here...
from Dimitri Filipovicat The Sporting News,
... There'll surely be some noise in the form of Snake Oil salesmen that attempt to sneak in on a burgeoning product, but as long as you're looking in the right areas there should be plenty of reliable conduits of hockey analysis around. One of those is Rob Vollman , one of the first pioneers to mull all of these ideas over online back in the day, paving the way for those such as myself to dive headfirst into it.
For the second straight summer, he has released his version of the ' Hockey Abstract ' (playing off of Bill James' Baseball versions), which attempts to continue and bolster the intelligent discussion being had as opposed to claiming to provide any sort of dubiously earth-shattering revelations. He says it best in the introduction of this year's book, describing it as " a book that's not about what we know about hockey, but what we don't know. Most topics begin with a question, which is then explored without any preconception of what the answer should be. Virtually everything I have ever done in this field began with the words 'I don't know' .”
I've already parsed through the text with great pleasure this past weekend, and decided to share some of my favourite segments entrenched in the 300+ pages of work with the hopes that I don't spoil anything overly central to your own personal future enjoyment of it.
from Mark Herrmann of Newsday,
Al Arbour, the coach of the Islanders during their Stanley Cup run in the early 1980s, is experiencing health problems, former general manager Bill Torrey told Newsday.
"Al has had some health problems of recent vintage, but the family hasn't released anything and I respect the family," Torrey said. "I've talked to some of the former players who have called him, and they say the conversation doesn't last very long."
Torrey did not expand on Arbour's condition or mention any symptoms.
Bryan Trottier, who won four Stanley Cups playing for Arbour, said Tuesday on a Buffalo radio station that Arbour is suffering from dementia.
from Risto Pakarinen at ESPN,
You will hear New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist before you see him.
Or, rather, you will hear the roar of his black Maserati as it winds through the streets of this west coast city.
As a father of a 2-year-old daughter, he also has other cars, but there are no baby seats in the Maserati, so when he's driving solo, it's the Maserati with the matte finish that rolls out of the garage.
After the longest season in his career, Lundqvist took time off to recharge his batteries, but in the first week of August he was back on the ice, skating with local players in the Frolunda Indians practice facility, Frolundaborg, on the south side of town.
He arrives in the Maserati, stops at the parking lot meter, feeds it with a few kronor, grabs his ticket and parks his car around the corner, closer to the entrance. His famous hair is tucked under a baseball cap adorned with his own logo that combines his No. 30 with a crown.
from E.M. Swift of Sports Illustrated,
For SI's 60th anniversary, we asked readers to vote on the most iconic cover in the magazine's history. The winner was the March 3, 1980 "Miracle on Ice" cover, which featured the U.S. hockey team's joyous celebration after its improbable victory over the Soviet Union at Lake Placid. Below is the cover story from that issue.
For millions of people, their single, lasting image of the Lake Placid Games will be the infectious joy displayed by the U.S. hockey team following its 4-3 win over the Soviet Union last Friday night. It was an Olympian moment, the kind the creators of the Games must have had in mind, one that said: Here is something that is bigger than any of you. It was bizarre, it was beautiful. Upflung sticks slowly cartwheeled into the rafters. The American players--in pairs rather than in one great glop--hugged and danced and rolled on one another (see cover).
The Soviet players, slightly in awe, it seemed, of the spectacle of their defeat, stood in a huddle near their blue line, arms propped on their sticks, and waited for the ceremonial postgame handshakes with no apparent impatience. There was no head-hanging. This was bigger, even, than the Russians.
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
"They have the pieces and the personnel, it’s just a matter of whether it will come together," said Modano, who helped bring Dallas its first Stanley Cup in 1999.
Trades for top playmaking centers like Seguin and Spezza don't come by often and they aren't easy to make, but Modano wasn't surprised Nill was able to pull it off in consecutive offseasons.
Modano, regarded as one of the best American-born centers to play the game, has known Nill for a long and knows him to be a savvy hockey mind. Nill knows the game, how to treat his players and understands the business side.
"I think it says a lot about Jim Nill. Good GMs around the league have a way of luring good players to play for their organization," said Modano, who amassed 561 goals and 1,374 points in 1,499 NHL games. "That comes with his history with the [Detroit Red] Wings, working with Kenny Holland, [Mike] Ilitch.
"You create some opportunities for individuals getting a second chance or reinventing themselves as players. He's kind of got that asset to him that he's able to do that and get them excited about being here. The stability with ownership here, that does a lot too."
via the Toronto Star,
The Maple Leafs have made available “thousands” of tickets to the public for the team’s four pre-season home games.
While the number is uncommon for a franchise with a decades-long waiting list for tickets, the club targeted a large ticket offering to help make the club more accessible to fans.
According to team officials, the Leafs gave season ticket holders the opportunity to turn down some or all of the pre-season games, specifically to open up the opportunity for fans who do not normally attend games.
Some 40 per cent of the season ticket holder base turned down the tickets, resulting in about 15,000 tickets being made available for the four pre-season games.
from Rick Sadowski at NHL.com,
Did the Avalanche do enough to improve their weakest link? -- Colorado's defense allowed 40-plus shots on goal in 10 games and between 35 and 39 shots in 18 others. The Avalanche added a much-needed physical presence in Brad Stuart, who was acquired from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft and a sixth-round selection in 2017. He'll be paired with Erik Johnson, whose 39 points matched a career high.
Colorado signed Zach Redmond to a two-year, $1.5 million contract, believing he has the potential to develop the way Nick Holden did last season. Holden, who played in seven NHL games in five previous professional seasons, blossomed into a top-four role. He played a physical style and had 10 goals and a plus-12 rating in 54 games. Redmond, 25, played in 18 games with the Winnipeg Jets in four years with the organization. The Avalanche have yet to re-sign restricted free agent Tyson Barrie, who is expected to be fully recovered from the knee injury he sustained in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Can Vezina Trophy finalist Semyon Varlamov build off last season, and will Reto Berra be a capable backup? -- Varlamov's work with goalie coach Francois Allaire worked wonders for his game and his confidence, and he should be entering the prime of his career at age 26. The Avalanche think so, having signed him to a five-year, $29.5 million contract extension that begins this season.
Berra, who replaces Jean-Sebastien Giguere as the No. 2 goalie, remains a question mark. He had an 0-1-1 record in two starts with a 5.83 goals-against average and .781 save percentage after the Avalanche acquired him March 5 from the Calgary Flames in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2014 draft. Colorado signed Berra to a three-year, $4.35 million contract and is hopeful Allaire's magic will pay off the way it did with Varlamov.
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