Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
But this season’s Pittsburgh Penguins have a better shot of repeating than any team in the salary cap era, including the Kings or Blackhawks.
It’s not that they are a mightier team than the Kings or Blackhawks were during their championship run. It’s that these Penguins have a history of stepping up when faced with formidable challenges....
The perception of the Penguins is that they are a warp-speed skating offensive team, but their speed aids their defensive play more than it probably helps their offensive game. Defenseman Kris Letang is an example of that.
“His offense speaks for itself. … I don’t think (Letang) gets the credit he deserves for his defensive play,” Sullivan said. “He’s got a quick stick. He’s ultra-competitive. He can be physical when he needs to be. He defends hard. To me, that’s why he is one of the top defensemen in the league.”
Nothing seems to bother the Penguins. They lose Crosby, the world’s best player, to a concussion, and they came roaring out of the gate last week playing like they did in June when they won the Stanley Cup.
The Penguins lose players, they change lines and keep hurtling toward their destination. To the Penguins, it is one small step each day with the hope it becomes the giant leap toward becoming the first NHL team in two decades to be a repeat champion.
In all its glory.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Crosby’s latest concussion happened on Friday at practice. It wasn’t a big open-ice hit — those observers who were there noticed nothing — but of course we realize that it doesn’t have to be a Scott Stevens hit anymore. When two NHL players collide in a battle drill, or even during line rushes, the impact can be enough to bounce one’s brain off the inside of one’s skull.
So we are left to wonder: Did whatever happened to Crosby in that Friday practice have a worse effect because of his concussion history? And will the next one require incrementally less force, and less force, until contact sports are no longer an option for Sid?
Is it possible that Crosby and concussions become in 2016 what Bobby Orr and bad knees were in the 1970s? We surely hope not.
“They happen, in a lot of different sports,” Crosby said Tuesday, having skated alone and shot some pucks before the Penguins practiced as a team. “Guys have multiple concussions and they’re fine. You just have to treat them the right way, and make sure that they handle it right and that you’re honest.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
There are lots of other storylines — P.K. Subban in Nashville, Carey Price’s return, Taylor Hall in Newark — but nothing earthshaking. Indeed, the Subban for Shea Weber off-season deal was enormous, but now the flamboyant Subban will be tucked away in Nashville, rarely to be seen on national broadcasts in either country. Ditto for Hall.
Having all seven Canadian teams miss post-season play last spring delivered a punishing blow to NHL interest in the Great White North as illustrated by television ratings, and right now you’d be hard-pressed to guarantee a playoff berth for any of the seven this season. Certainly none go into the season appearing to be challengers for the Cup.
Six of the seven acquired a top young player in the entry draft last June, which bodes well for the future. Toronto got Auston Matthews, Winnipeg got Patrik Laine, Edmonton took Jesse Puljujarvi, Calgary landed Matthew Tkachuk and Montreal selected Russian blue-liner Mikhail Sergachev, who will start the season with the Habs.
But it will take time for these players to establish themselves and become fan favourites, and all the Canadian teams, to different degrees, are still paying the price for questionable management over the past decade. As an example, look at the Oilers, forced to dump former No. 1 pick Nail Yakupov to the Blues for 20 cents on the dollar last week just to be rid of him.
A healthy Crosby can’t be expected to compensate for all of this, of course. Indeed, last year he started the season in terrible fashion, making “What’s Wrong With Sidney?” a popular game to play at home with friends and loved ones, and the NHL didn’t all come tumbling down.
But the way the season finished re-established him, without a doubt, as the best player on the planet, as did the World Cup. He is in his absolute prime, able to drive attention to the league, not by force of personality but by sheer drive and ability.
via the Pittsburgh Penguins,
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has been diagnosed with a concussion, it was announced by Executive Vice President and General Manager Jim Rutherford.
Crosby sat out Saturday's preseason game vs. Columbus because he was not feeling well, and missed practice today to undergo concussion testing.
Crosby's status will be updated when more information is available. The Penguins open the regular season Thursday night against Washington at PPG Paints Arena.
PITTSBURGH, Oct. 4, 2016 – PPG today announced that it has reached an agreement with the Pittsburgh Penguins to immediately assume naming rights for Pittsburgh’s multipurpose arena. Previously known as “CONSOL Energy Center,” the facility now will be named “PPG PAINTS Arena.” PPG also becomes the official paint supplier of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Financial terms for the 20-year agreement were not disclosed.
from Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Elite scorers such as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin remain elite scorers once they reach the NHL. But for some of their teammates, they had to change. And the transition wasn’t always seamless.
Many started out with hopes and dreams of scoring 50 goals in pro hockey’s best league. Those vanished, though, as the competition grew stiffer.
That meant players such as Eric Fehr, Tom Sestito, Tom Kuhnhackl, Kevin Porter and Trevor Daley had to expand their games and become more than one-trick ponies. While Sestito relied on his fists, the other four learned how to play defense and, to varying degrees, do the dirty work the NHL’s premier players aren’t required to do, such as hurling your body in front of a slapshot.
“Everyone wants to come in here and be a goal-scoring forward and score that big, game-winning goal,” Porter said. “That’s not always the case. Mentally you have to tell yourself, maybe you’re not skilled enough to be one of the goal-scorers. It’s hard to score 20-30 goals in this league, and to be a skilled forward, that’s what you need to do.
“It’s tough, but I think you just have to be honest with yourself. If you want to play in the NHL, you have to find a way. Sometimes that’s blocking shots and doing the little things.”
from Jim Rutherford at the Players' Tribune,
I was standing at the blue line with our coaching staff in San Jose on June 12 when the gentlemen in the white gloves brought out the Stanley Cup. This was a moment I had been chasing for 10 years, since I first won the Cup as the GM of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006.
Our captain, Sidney Crosby, lifted the Cup over his head, and I felt great for him, knowing all the hard work he put in to lead us to this point. But I felt even better for the guy Sid handed the Cup to next.
Trevor Daley had hobbled out onto the ice for the celebration with a broken ankle. He had changed into his uniform and was still sporting a full playoff beard. Sid skated right over to him, said a few words and handed him the Stanley Cup.
It was one of the more emotional moments I’ve had in my 30-plus years as a general manager.
A lot of people probably thought Trevor was the captain’s choice because he was a 32-year-old veteran who had sacrificed his body for the team and had just won his first Stanley Cup.
But there was a much more important reason. Trevor’s mother, Trudy, was watching on TV from her hospital bed in Toronto, where she was battling cancer.
Trevor’s mother had made him a promise, and he was holding up his end of the deal.
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 email@example.com