Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Joe McDonald of ESPN,
Nathan Horton has his good days and his bad days.
On Friday, he’s celebrating his 30th birthday with family and friends, and his wish is to some day be healthy enough to resume his NHL career.
Horton has been dealing with a degenerative back injury that has kept him sidelined since April 2014. He missed all of last season and the Columbus Blue Jackets traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 26 in exchange for forward David Clarkson.
“Yeah, I’m doing all right. I’m living my life,” he told ESPN.com. “Obviously, my back’s not great but I have my good days, and some OK days. I’m just taking it easy. Eventually it’s going to go away -- I hope. I’m just enjoying my life. I’m healthy and I’m happy. It’s obviously tough because I want to play. It’s only my 30th birthday today, so I know I’m still young. Life gives you curveballs and I’m just trying to be positive and that’s pretty much all I can do.”
from Craig Button of TSN,
Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel started the season as the top ranked NHL prospects and they finish 1-2 on the final Craig's List of the season. The NHL can only hope No. 1-ranked McDavid and No. 2-ranked Eichel develop a rivalry similar to the one Crosby and Ovechkin launched 10 years ago.
Two Ontario Hockey League rivals are next on my final list: Erie centre Dylan Strome at No. 3 and London right winger Mitch Marner at No. 4. Why Strome over Marner at three? The answer is simple. When players are so close in ability, I choose the centre over the winger. While Marner may eventually score at a higher rate than Strome in the NHL, top line centres are instrumental to team success. Strome has a complete yet unspectacular game in the style of Ron Francis. Strome is an elite complete player.
Marner is a unique and creative player who brings people out of their seats. Arizona is interesting at No. 3 in the draft order because either Strome or Marner would add significantly to an already deep prospect pool that includes Marner's London teammate, Max Domi.
The NHL Central Scouting Service has Boston College defenceman Noah Hanifin ranked third among North American skaters, behind only McDavid and Eichel. But Hanifin is No. 12 on my list. He's a fantastic skater, but I'm not yet convinced he will make an impact in the NHL worthy of investing such a high pick.
via a press release from the NBC Sports Group...
STAMFORD, Conn. – May 29, 2015 – NBC Sports Group goes coast-to-coast this weekend to present two NHL Conference Final Game 7 showdowns in a 24-hour span tonight and tomorrow on NBCSN and NBC, respectively. Coverage begins tonight on NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET, when Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers host Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.
NBC presents live coverage of Game 7 of the Western Conference Final on Saturday night in primetime at 8 p.m. ET, when Ryan Getzlaf and the Anaheim Ducks host Jonathan Toews and the Chicago Blackhawks. NBC Sports Live Extra – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets – will provide streaming coverage of both Game 7s.
Three-time Emmy Award-winning play-by-play commentator and Sports Illustrated 2014 Media Person of the Year Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member and analyst Eddie Olczyk, and Emmy Award-winning Inside-the-Glass analyst Pierre McGuire will have the call of both Game 7 matchups.
via Dave Hodge of TSN,
Obviously, Dan Bylsma was Buffalo's first choice to succeed Ted Nolan as coach of the Sabres….er, well, second choice…..so the matter of draft pick compensation owed to Pittsburgh wasn't about to get in the way.
But what if Bylsma and another candidate had similar credentials, Bylsma was favoured narrowly and the other prospective coach came with no strings attached? And what if the Sabres decided to take a pass on Bylsma as a result? After all, a third-round draft pick is something of value in every other sense. Teams don't give them away with a shrug of the shoulders.
If the issue of compensation meant that Bylsma did not get the Buffalo job, he'd be justifiably upset. The Penguins would still be paying him, and the Sabres, while having to live with their decision, would wonder why they couldn't sign the best coach available free of charge. In that case, I'm guessing Bylsma and every other coach would push for a rule change, and so would the Sabres. That ought to happen, anyway. Thumbs down to draft pick compensation for fired coaches.
from Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post,
Before he hit the road, McKenzie (BM) took time to answer 20 Questions from National Post, talking about minor hockey grudges, giving the finger to newspapers and the time a Canadian hockey legend wanted to drop the gloves in the visiting dressing room.
1. Where do you think you would have landed had The Hockey News not offered you the job as editor-in-chief in 1982?
BM: I probably would have been a cop. When I graduated Ryerson, all I wanted to do was be a hockey writer for one of the Toronto dailies … I was desperately trying to get hired full-time by the Globe, the Sun or the Star, to cover hockey. I wasn’t having a lot of success, and I was getting frustrated. I used to leave the Globe and Mail after a rewrite shift and I’d walk out the front door, and I’d turn around and give the Globe the finger. Then I would get in my car, I would get on the Gardiner and, as I was going by — the Star on the right-hand side, the Sun on the left-hand side — I’d give each of them the finger every night because they hadn’t hired me.
2. What would have made you a good police officer?
BM: Oh, I don’t know. It’s a good question. I don’t know if I would have been.
SNEAK PEEK AT FRIDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Tampa Bay @ NY Rangers, series tied 3-3, 8:00 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, TVA
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RANGERS, LIGHTNING DECIDE EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL IN GAME 7
A berth in the Stanley Cup Final is on the line when the Rangers play host to the Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden. Both clubs are contesting their second Game 7 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs – the Rangers defeated the Capitals (in overtime) in the Second Round (2-1 W), while the Lightning eliminated the Red Wings in the First Round (2-0 W).
The Rangers have won six consecutive Game 7s dating to the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals vs. OTT. That is tied for the longest such streak in NHL history, a mark set by the Red Wings from 1949-64 and equaled by the Bruins from 1983-94. The Rangers also have won each of their seven all-time Game 7s at Madison Square Garden; they are the only team in NHL history that has played at least four Game 7s at home and won each contest.
Press release is below...
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
“I’ve done quite a bit of growing the last year looking at the game, so I plan to bring that to the coach I’ll be with the Sabres,” Bylsma said in First Niagara Center. “There is, I think, a bright future ahead for this team.”
The Sabres insist they are better already because of Bylsma. They conducted on-and-off chats with him for a month before finalizing a reported five-year, $15 million contract.
“We improved today by hiring him,” General Manager Tim Murray said. “His record as an NHL coach speaks for itself.”
Bylsma arrived in Buffalo as the most accomplished coach since Scotty Bowman brought his five Cups to town in 1979. Bylsma went 252-117-32 during six seasons with the Penguins, accumulating a points percentage (.668) that is the best in NHL history among coaches with at least three years of experience.
It takes outstanding players for a team to be that good, and Bylsma had them with the Penguins. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are in the argument for best player in the world, and Pittsburgh’s lineup had other All-Stars while Bylsma was on the bench.
The Sabres believe their young prospects will be just as good. Having someone who knows how to coach and handle elite talent is a plus for the organization.
“I’ve coached star players in Pittsburgh, and that’s going to be the case with the young talent that’s coming to the Buffalo Sabres,” said Bylsma, who repeatedly said it’s just as important to develop a winning environment. “It wasn’t something you had just because you had certain players on your roster. That’s something that we have to immediately get into the Buffalo Sabres’ organization, get into our DNA, get into who we are and how we play, and develop that culture with this group.”
from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,
It would be one of the all-timers.
If the Lightning beat the Rangers tonight at Madison Square Garden, where the Rangers never lose Game 7s, it would be the greatest victory in franchise history this side of June 7, 2004, the night the Stanley Cup was held high over Lightning heads.
If the Lightning beat Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist tonight at the Garden, it might be like that night in Philadelphia in 2003, when Ronde Barber silenced Eagles fans and demons as he ran that interception back to seal a Bucs trip to the Super Bowl. It would be a moment that would live forever in Tampa Bay.
It’s the kind of challenge the Lightning need to embrace with heart and soul if their season is to continue on to the Cup finals. The task is not impossible. It will just take 20 men with an idea that they just can’t shake: This is our time.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
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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