Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun,
By skipping out on the World Championship, Hall was able to add a month to his workout regimen this off-season.
“That was probably the main reason why I didn’t go to Worlds, I wanted to give myself a really good summer to train,” Hall said. “It seemed like every summer I either had surgery or World Championships or an ankle to heal, so this summer was good for me in that regard. I got some good training in, I got on the ice a little bit earlier than I usually do, and hopefully, that helps out. I’m feeling good, I’m feeling healthy, I’m ready to go and I can’t wait for camp to start.”
Playing for the same head coach for two consecutive years should also benefit Hall heading into the year. In his four previous seasons with the Oilers, Hall has played for three different coaches, all seemingly wanting different things from him. This year, Dallas Eakins will be back behind the Oilers bench.
“That’s a really nice way to go into a year,” Hall said. “There is no awkward handshake at the start of the season (with new coach), it’s a business-like attitude now. I think Dallas feels really comfortable that way and I think all of us players over the course of 82 games got to know what Dallas expects from us and now we can hit ground running at camp.”
"I'll be a depth guy (with the Avs), hopefully they're looking at me as a role model-type, someone who takes care of himself off the ice."
"I'm still committed to doing the little things to keep me where I'm at, having a job in the best league in the world."
-Jesse Winchester of the Colorado Avalanche. More on Winchester from Todd Hambleton of the Cornwall Standard Freeholder.
from Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun,
Are the Winnipeg Jets better right now than they were at this time last year?
Although there’s still nearly a month to go before main training camp, it’s a question that is generating plenty of discussion these days, whether it be around water coolers or in dressing rooms all across Manitoba....
While realizing the game is played on the ice and not on paper, let’s take a closer look at how the Jets are shaping up right now, position by position.
Returnee: Ondrej Pavelec
Candidate for promotion: Michael Hutchinson
The wild card: Connor Hellebuyck
Who’s out: Al Montoya (Florida Panthers)
The verdict: Worse
Given how well Montoya played as the backup last season and the fact Hutchinson has only three NHL games on his resume, it’s tough to argue the Jets aren’t in a worse position between the pipes. Granted, they’re expecting improvement from Pavelec, believe that Hutchinson is ready to make the jump to the NHL after an excellent season in the minors and the future looks bright for Hellebuyck, who is turning pro after a brilliant college career but needs some seasoning. Pavelec understands the importance of the upcoming season and it’s time for him to take the next step in his progression.
David Branch, commissioner of the OHL, joined Jeff Blair and Elliotte Friedman on Sportsnet's Prime Time Sports Show yesterday to discuss the stance the OHL has taken on staged fighting.
Below, read some of the changes the OHL recently announced...
from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Dan Bylsma hasn't gone anywhere. He has no plans to anytime soon. Pittsburgh is home and will be through hockey season, unless an NHL job opens.
Better be the right job, though.
Running the Penguins' bench for 478 games imparted the importance of stability upon Bylsma.
“I think we were a model,” Bylsma said over a wide-ranging conversation that lasted more than four hours. “We had stability, great stability. From ownership, from within the organization, with our players. I was fortunate to coach in a stable situation, and I shared that vision with my general manager — and I coached for a great general manager.
“If Ray Shero wasn't the best GM in hockey, he was definitely top three. That's what I believe.”
Penguins ownership stopped believing in Shero long before CEO David Morehouse fired him May 16. Different sides have different details about what happened and where it went wrong. The only consensus to emerge after the confounding crash is that nobody was happy with where things were.
Shero and Bylsma always figured last season was one of transition. They had a plan for this offseason. It was an intriguing one, but that job belongs to others now.
from Tal Pinchevsky of NHL.com,
Will Bishop show last season wasn't a fluke? -- Bishop was one of the League's true breakout players last season, establishing career bests with 37 wins, a 2.23 goals-against average, a .924 save percentage and five shutouts. He missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs with an arm injury, but was rewarded for his efforts when he was named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy.
After signing a two-year extension earlier this month, it's now time for Bishop to show 2013-14 wasn't an aberration and he is indeed a franchise goalie.
"He was arguably the MVP of our team last year. We really leaned on our goaltender heavily," coach Jon Cooper told NHL.com. "I truly believe he's coming into his prime. With his work ethic and the way he approached the game as the year went on last year, I'm fully confident he'll be a rock back there for us."
Can the Lightning make it count in the playoffs? -- Outside of their run to the Eastern Conference Final in 2011, the Lightning haven't won a playoff series since hoisting the Stanley Cup in 2004. After being swept last season by the Montreal Canadiens, this team is expected to take the next step in the postseason.
"We know the standard that is set, what's expected. We set a really high bar for ourselves and I'm really excited about that," Cooper said. "It's so hard to make the playoffs in this League. We know what it takes now. If we want to not only make the playoffs but try to advance, we know the work that has to be put in."
Below, watch E.J. Hradek and Dan Rosen discuss the outlook for the Lightning...
from Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea,
From the outside, particularly from some media that aren’t regularly in the dressing room or coach’s office, the team has been on the receiving end of some pretty harsh criticism. Some of it is certainly warranted. The Sharks were unable to trade either Thornton or Marleau, and signing the pair to three-year contract extensions with no trade clauses now seems like a mistake. At the very least, Wilson should have left himself with some flexibility there, or made them prove they had what it took to lead a team to another deep playoff run before re-upping them.
There’s more. If a guy like Joe Pavelski is eventually named captain (and he’s probably the best bet), it might cause an awkward situation in that he’ll have two former team captains sitting just a few feet away from his locker stall. The team didn’t add anyone of note other than bruiser John Scott, who likely won’t even be in the lineup half the time. A strong argument can be made, too, that the Sharks only needed to add a few pieces to a team that pushed the eventual Stanley Cup champs to seven games.
But much of that condemnation tends to conveniently forget or gloss over the issue in the dressing room, and that really is the biggest issue of all. Had there not been some sort of change, there’s no reason to believe that the Sharks wouldn’t flame out in the playoffs again, as they have so many times in the past.
DENVER – Colorado Avalanche Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Sakic issued the following statement today regarding the retirement of goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
"On behalf of the Colorado Avalanche, I would like to congratulate Jean-Sebastien on an outstanding hockey career. His achievements speak for themselves, from winning the Stanley Cup to winning the Conn Smythe, Jiggy was always a top-notch goaltender. He was also a very important part of our team during the past three seasons, providing veteran leadership and stability in net. We wish him and his family the best of luck."
from Dareh Gregorian of the New York Daily News,
An ESPN anchor has filed suit against an upstate hockey arena after a promotional appearance there went bad.
"Listen Closely" host Linda Cohn — a former goalie at SUNY Oswego — was at the Brewster Ice Arena in March to face off against the AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack when she says she suffered "severe and disabling injuries" in what the team described as a "freak accident."
The accident took place off ice, when "a heavy, large coin change machine fell upon her," her Manhattan federal court suit says.
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
The Rangers’ sturdy back end was a huge component in their playoff success last spring, when they made a run to the Stanley Cup finals against the Los Angeles Kings. Anton Stralman signed with Tampa Bay in free agency, but Leetch would like to see much of that defensive corps remain intact.
Priority No. 1, of course, is signing Staal to a new extension (his agent, Paul Krepelka, told ESPN.com via email that “all quiet on that front right now”). Though Staal has been hampered by a string of serious injuries in recent years, he returned to form with a strong performance in the 2014 playoffs.
“I think it’s really important to have that group of guys back there. I add Girardi in the mix as well, just the stability and familiarity, and the personalities. They're very good teammates in locker room, good people, and they have that continuity, plus the ability to perform on the ice in front of Henrik Lundqvist,” Leetch said.
“My fingers are always crossed that Marc can stay healthy because he’s on the verge of getting to that next level. Obviously, that’s my hope for him and I think he’s an elite player with the ability to be a top D in the league if he can continue to play and get those reps.”
more including comments from Leetch on working for the NHL disciplinary department...
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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