Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
“We’re being predicted to finish 15th in the conference and 30th overall in the League,” (Andy) Murray said. “Obviously a lot of people on the outside don’t feel that we’re going to take the next step.”
Then, Murray paused for a moment before adding, “but, what is the next step?”
When Murray thinks about the upcoming season and where he wants his young team to go, he thinks only of the Stanley Cup. That, he said, is the only reason to be in this game and to play the season.
from the CP,
He feels at home in St. Louis now and is ready to assume a leadership role with a young Blues team that has parted ways with veterans Jamal Mayers, Mike Johnson, Ryan Johnson and Bryce Salvador since last season’s trade deadline.
“I’ve always felt comfortable in junior in (a leadership) role and in the minors after a couple years,” said (Brad) Boyes. “I think that I’m getting to that point now where I’ve learned from some great players and I’ve sat and watched a lot.
“We’ve got our leaders, our head guys, but there’s no reason why I can’t help out too.”
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
My look at the best players in each franchise’s history takes me to the Central Division…
ST. LOUIS BLUES
Best forward: Brett Hull. You can make a case for Bernie Federko, but I’m not buying. Hull was just too good.
Best defenseman: Al MacInnis. He was just as good in St. Louis as he was in Calgary. Yes, he gets my nod over Chris Pronger.
from Chris Pinkert of StLouisBlues.com,
(David) Perron admits that having limited playing time as a rookie was hard. He says he wanted to play every game, but insists that learning to deal with adversity is a big part of becoming a pro.
“You just let the coaches make the decision and when you’re on the ice, you play hockey and do your best,” he said. “That’s how I managed to play better in the last part of the season.”
Perron is using the summer to improve his game in hopes of contributing more this upcoming season. As he continued to autograph team posters, he said he’d like to improve his all-around skill, have a quicker shot and a better one timer. He wants to get stronger without losing his agility, and of course, he’d like to score more goals.
from Edward Fraser of the Hockey News,
As I’ve done with the Pacific, Southeast, Northwest and Northeast over the past four weeks, here are my picks for the top three ’09 UFAs from each team in the Central Division. I’ll finish the tour next Friday with the Atlantic.
DETROIT RED WINGS
Henrik Zetterberg ($2.9 million)
He’ll never get close to UFAdom; you can bet each of GM Ken Holland’s Stanley Cup rings on that.
Marian Hossa ($7.45 million)
Even if the Wings don’t repeat as champs and Hossa doesn’t get the Cup he so desires, don’t expect him to take another one-year deal. How does eight years and $68 million sound?
Johan Franzen ($1.15 million)
A shoo-in for the Conn Smythe if he didn’t go down with an injury in the playoffs, the 28-year-old is the heir apparent to an aging Tomas Holmstrom.
from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
After keeping mum on the topic in recent weeks, Blues President John Davidson on Thursday voiced heavy interest in returning one of the most popular players in club history to the city where he starred from 1991 to 1995.
“We’ve thrown our hat in the ring,” Davidson said. “When it comes down to it, Brendan has to make a decision that’s right for him and his family. It could be New York. But we hope he explores the Blues as a viable option.”
fromo Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
After a sub-par season in Nashville, where Mason was ousted as the starter and then forgotten, he’s been traveling to Calgary this summer to work with Tyler Love, who runs World Pro Goaltending. Love, who has worked with Montreal’s Carey Price and Los Angeles’ Jason Labarbera, is trying to help Mason upgrade his technique.
“It’s been a few things he wanted to work on ... when to stay down, when to get back to your feet,” Love said. “They are skills the new goalies coming up have ... like a Carey Price, who is very good technique-wise. Chris has been in the league awhile, and he wanted to go back and focus on his skills.”
The work appears to be similar to what Blues assistant Rick Wamsley has done with Legace over the past two years. Wamsley has spent countless hours improving Legace’s footwork, and Legace’s trip to the NHL All-Star game last season illustrated the success.
added 3:25pm, Just realized this story is about a month old… sorry!
from David Pollak of Working the Corners,
Doug Wilson, Ken Holland, Dale Tallon and Doug Armstrong have spent a lot of time in recent years trying to outsmart each other. We’re talking about three NHL general managers — Wilson with the Sharks, Holland with the Red Wings, Tallon with the Blackhawks — and Armstrong, an ex-GM in Dallas who is now part of the Blues’ front office.
No matter. The four of them are heading to Ireland next week, leaving families behind to knock a golf ball around some of that country’s fine courses.
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
Now, could the Blues surprise and defy their cynics? Of course they could. However, when it comes to predictions, it’s all about the likelihood of something happening, not the best-case scenario. And to the majority of us here at THN, the likelihood is the Blues will be on the outside of the playoff picture for the fourth consecutive season.
The truth is, a complete reversal of fortune such as the Philadelphia Flyers enjoyed last season is more an aberration than a reasonable expectation. Once you’ve cleared the decks – the way the Blues did during a bumpy change in ownership that began in 2005 – the subsequent restoration project almost inevitably requires years to complete.
All this is just something to bear in mind when our collective and individual predictions are before your eyes.
Michael Shanahan Sr., a former owner of the St. Louis Blues, pleads guilty for backdating stock options.
more from the AP via the Globe and Mail...
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