Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ice Chips at the Arizona Republic,
As players battle on the ice, there’s a battle of wits going on elsewhere in the arena between coaches who probably haven’t watched more than a handful of live hockey games in years.
Video replay coaches, who observe from off-ice areas, are in constant communication with assistant coaches. They try to pick up trends and nuances, and their suggestions and observations often translate into success on the ice seconds later. It could be a tweak in a power play that leads to a goal or player who is able to find a little crease to squeeze through and help set up a breakaway.
Technology has reached a point where almost every sequence in a game can be broken down with the right equipment and a trained eye.
From Jim Gintonio of The Arizona Republic,
Two things fans know about Shane Doan: The Coyotes’ captain had a slow start, and then he cranked up his offense to the point where he was the third-leading scorer in the NHL during January.
What was not known: He did it with a broken hand.
Doan just smiled when asked about the injury, which is healed.
“He plays the same way all the time,” coach Wayne Gretzky said. “He played hard at the beginning of the year; he just wasn’t scoring any goals.”
From Bob McManaman at The Arizona Republic,
Rick Tocchet is calling himself an unlucky rabbit’s foot, noting that the Coyotes are 0-3 since his return behind the bench after a two-year suspension for his involvement in a gambling investigation.
Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky went golfing with Tocchet on Tuesday and said their golfing buddies are calling Tocchet something even worse.
“Schleprock. Bad Luck Schleprock,” Gretzky said, referring to a character in the Flintstones cartoon series.
But Gretzky is as thankful as anyone that Tocchet is back and serving on the Coyotes’ coaching staff again. Tocchet is not only an extra set of eyes in practices and games, but his personality helps the team.
from the Columbus Dispatch,
“Ulfie coaches like he played, and he played hard,” said Gretzky, who’s now coach of the Phoenix Coyotes and has Samuelsson as his associate coach. “Ulfie brings a lot of passion to the game.”
Samuelsson, 43, again finds himself an anomaly, one of only three Europeans who are coaching in the NHL. All are assistants, all are former NHL players, all are Swedes (Dallas’ Ulf Dahlen and New Jersey’s Tommy Albelin are the others).
The meager sum is in contrast to a player base comprised of nearly 30 percent Europeans. It includes some of the game’s top performers such as Alex Ovechkin and Daniel Alfredsson and emerging stars such as the Blue Jackets’ Nikolai Zherdev.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
It’s the Wayne Gretzky Fantasy Camp, and participants have paid $9,999 each for the pleasure of watching Gretzky coach three games with the Phoenix Coyotes and playing six games themselves on the same ice surface. During a span of six days, the Great One also is host of opening and closing banquets, golfs with them, signs their stuff and hangs out with them like a regular guy in the lobby bar.
from the Arizona Republic,
...Players on both teams endured the frustration of at least a dozen broken sticks, a situation Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky called “ridiculous.”
“I have no idea why we don’t go back to wooden sticks,” he said. “These sticks just break continuously. If I was a player, I would step on all those sticks out there. I wouldn’t let anybody use them.
“If a stick would ever cost me a goal in a hockey game, that would have been it. I would have never used that kind of stick ever again. We need to look at it from a hockey point of view, not just our team. From a hockey point of view, it’s ridiculous. I was teasing the guys on the bench - we got to go back to using wooden sticks. They said they don’t make them any more. That shows you how much I know.”
Coyotes equipment manager Stan Wilson said the composite sticks, composed mainly of carbon fiber, were stronger when they first came out.
from the New York Times,
Shane Doan, the effervescent Phoenix captain and the team’s leading scorer, said he held hopes at the outset of the season that success was possible.
“Everyone thinks you’ve always got a chance,” he said. “I thought our blue line was phenomenal, and if we could have some guys have some big years that you might not expect, then you have a chance. I don’t know if you necessarily think that all that’s actually going to happen, but that’s the way you’re thinking — that’s not out of the realm of possibility.”
via the Arizona Republic,
It might be tempting, but General Manager Don Maloney is not wavering from the basic premise that even though his young team may stumble at times, it will provide the core for future success. The only exception would be if an incoming player can fit in beyond just one season….
“So right now what I’m finding out is teams are so close, so tight, so any team that’s unloading players really doesn’t make sense to us. There’s nobody for us. We’re constantly looking, (it’s) very hard to say when we get on the deadline how active we’re gonna get. Right now I’d say not very active at all. I like what we have, I like the mix, I like the chemistry, but you never know what comes down the pike. So we’ll keep working at it, but it’s quiet out there.”
The NHL Network across the U.S. and Canada will be simulcasting the press conference covered by FSN Arizona at 3:00pm ET today.
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail,
And so, the prodigal will return, starting with Thursday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Tocchet, like Gretzky, is an NHL lifer, which suggests that his two years away from the game must have been difficult for him.
“It killed him,” agreed Gretzky. “You go through various stages — being disappointed, being embarrassed. But for him, now, his mom and dad are older people and they’ve been through a lot. It was tough on everybody — for him and his family, but you know what? He’s come through it. He’s grateful to the league for giving him a second chance. He’s grateful for how the league handled the investigation. There’s no animosity. He’s just looking to move forward.”
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.
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