Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants,
Following this morning’s roster cuts, the Rangers worked on the power play (which they’ll also do on Thursday).
And one thing that jumped out was that Marty St. Louis was in the middle on one of the units, taking draws. St. Louis says, other than faceoffs, playing center on the power play is not really that big of an adjustment.
However, coach Alain Vigneault said today that St. Louis will be tried at center for not just power plays but five-on-five play in at least one of the last two preseason games.
A couple of factors at work here:
1. As Vigneault constantly stressed today, salary cap considerations are going to impact the makeup of the Opening Night roster. It sounds as if there’s a good chance Derek Stepan (out until likely late October with a broken left fibula and still on crutches) will have to be included rather than put on long-term injured reserve. If that’s the case, the Rangers’ roster may be just 22 players (rather than the 23-player maximum) including Stepan, again meaning if the Rangers carry 13 forwards, there will really only be 12 healthy ones.
COLUMBUS, OHIO -- Columbus Blue Jackets forward Boone Jenner underwent surgery today on a broken hand and is expected to be sidelined approximately five weeks, Blue Jackets General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced.
Jenner suffered the injury when he was struck by a puck in practice on Sunday. The surgery was performed by Dr. Gary Millard at OhioHealth’s Grant Medical Center.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
For the first time in what feels like a lifetime, two of hockey’s most respected hockey minds are on the sidelines as the NHL regular season sits just one week away.
It’s a foreign feeling, to say the least, for George McPhee and Ray Shero -- the two former generals of that Washington-Pittsburgh rivalry.
Now both former general managers are taking a moment to reset and refresh, because you better believe they’ll be back.
"It’s the first time in this business I ever got fired," Shero told ESPN.com Wednesday in his first public comments since the Penguins relieved him of his duties last May. "But you always know in this business it’s going to happen. Not many people as GMs retire and get to stay in the organization like for example Paul Holmgren did in Philadelphia [Holmgren became the Flyers president after Ron Hextall became GM]. That was fantastic for him.
"So, for George and me, I mean if George had won a Cup or I had won another one, I’m sure we’d still be doing what we were doing with our respective teams. But that didn’t happen. We’re both in a good place. We’ve chatted a number of times, which has been good, he’s a real good guy and we’ve always had that mutual respect when we had those great games in that (Washington-Pittsburgh) rivalry."
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
Biggest story line to watch: While it will be interesting to see if so many of the core Lightning players coming off career seasons—Palat, Johnson, Bishop, Hedman, Valtteri Filppula—can continue their upward trajectory, the greater topic of conversation will surround the one guy coming off a nightmare campaign. Despite coming back toward season’s end and producing, Stamkos admitted his displaced right leg was still not quite at 100 per cent power in April. Can hockey’s most dangerous sniper return to his 60-goal form and give Sidney Crosby a run for the NHL scoring title?
2014-15 prediction: A surprising runner-up to Boston for the Atlantic crown last season, don’t be shocked when Cooper’s crew learns from its playoff humbling, plays a more balanced game and goes as far as the Eastern Conference final.
Now this pool is different, no salary cap, you can only pick three players from the same NHL team, you are allowed four transactions a month and this is a season pool.
You also pick nine forwards, five defensemen and two goalies and if you have any questions they are answered here.
The scoring, we keep it simple and basic...
F/D : G = 1, A = 1
G : A = 1, W = 2, OTL = 1, SO = 1
Let's have some fun, sign-up for the season long pool right here.
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
Is Johansen ready to say, “I’m a Blue Jacket. The regular season starts in a week. My teammates need me. Do a deal.”?
Or, is Johansen hurt enough, and angry enough, to sit out until Dec. 1, at which point he must sign or miss the entire season?
Is he ready to turn his back on $3 million plus, on principle?
Such questions must be considered in a worst-case scenario.
Maybe Johansen caves and comes back out of shape and has an awful season. Or, maybe he demands a trade. Why play for a team that is stubborn enough to make an example out of its best offensive player? What star, or future star, would want to play for such a team?
The Blue Jackets are saying, “We’re adhering to small-market budget practices to ensure our long-term health. We have other centers. Joey can sign for whatever we put on the table or he can sit for as long as he wants, and we’re not trading him.”
Of course, none of this will have any impact on the team’s on-ice fortunes. The players don’t even talk about it in the locker room. Naaaah, of course they don’t.
I’m definitely excited to have a fresh start. Talking to the coach [Bob Hartley], talking to management, they want me to have success, and that definitely makes your life easier. It keeps your mind free to just go out there and play as good as you can, instead of worrying about giving up bad goals and having to prove yourself every night – not just to the public, but to the coaching staff and everybody else. That’s definitely a nicer way to feel comfortable, if you know they have your back.”
-Jonas Hiller of the Calgary Flames. More on Hiller from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail.
from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,
- One exec, watching to see what Chicago does, on Stan Bowman: “Just like Scotty, he believes you’d rather trade a player a year early than a year late.”
- Boy, that Stars’ power play. It had some sensational moments Monday against Florida. There were times we saw three right-hand shots on the left (Ales Hemsky, Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza) and two left-hand shots on the weakside (Jamie Benn, Trevor Daley). Seguin scored once on a one-timer from the middle of the ice and a second when he went backdoor as Benn moved higher in the slot, taking the defence with him. Benn barely missed another after a ridiculous pass from Spezza to the crease. Coaches say you have to decide which two things you want to take away from your opponent’s powerplay. Good luck with that.
- One scout on Stephen Weiss: “The biggest question will be his stamina. He’s played 43 games in two years. I’ve seen him start strong and slow down in later periods. Can he get up to speed?”
from John Kreiser of NHL.com,
Who will replace Jarome Iginla's 30 goals? -- Iginla was a perfect fit in his one season with the Bruins, tying Patrice Bergeron for the team lead in goals. Ironically, his success wound up triggering his departure; Iginla earned more than $3 million in bonuses that cut down on the space available under this season's salary cap. He wound up in Colorado, and general manager Peter Chiarelli had to do a lot of juggling to get Boston under the cap. Loui Eriksson, who averaged more than 29 goals in his last four full seasons with the Dallas Stars but struggled in his first season with Boston, could get the first chance to take Iginla's spot with David Krejci and Milan Lucic.
Where do they go from here? -- The Sabres brought back Matt Moulson, and added Brian Gionta and Josh Gorges, but any future success rests with their core of talented young players and the slew of high picks they'll have in the next two drafts. However, after finishing a distant last in the overall standings in 2013-14 and scoring fewer goals than any team since the mid-1950s, the Sabres have a long way to go. The Sabres hope top draft pick Sam Reinhart can make the jump to the NHL and young players like Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons are ready to become impact players. There's nowhere to go but up, and though the Sabres figure to be improved, they're still likely to be a lottery team.
This certainly sucks for Edmonton. From TSN:
Vladimir Tkachev's entry level contract signed with the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday has been ruled ineligible by the National Hockey League.
According to NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, Tkachev wasn't qualified to sign a contract as he is still eligible for June's NHL Entry Draft.
Players who go undrafted are eligible to sign only if they played a full year in North America. While waiting for his transfer, Tkachev played two games with Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League and spent the remainder of the season with the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Tkachev will go back into the draft after this season.
The 18-year-old appeared in three preseason games with the Oilers, posting three assists and a plus three rating.
Update: The Score's Thomas Drance has more on the situation:
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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