Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Corey Masisak of the Washington Times,
It is only a slight change in the arrangement of bodies inside at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, but Brent Johnson moving from one side of a corner to the other represents a big change for the Washington Capitals.
Gone is Olie Kolzig, who used to set up shop in Johnson’s new digs, and with him went one of the most dynamic forces in the Caps’ dressing room. While the Caps welcome back nearly the same roster as last season, the hierarchy of leadership could be significantly different.
“He’s been the unofficial captain for the past probably eight or nine years,” said Chris Clark, the team’s official captain for the past two seasons. “He just had this presence, and I always went to him when I had questions. Guys would come to me, and I would go to him - that sort of thing.”
from Corey Masisak of the Washington Times,
Once the Caps’ season ended, Clark gave up on his short-term rehab plan and started a summer-long one. Every third week he traveled from his New York home to Vancouver to visit groin specialist Rick Celebrini, who helped former Caps forward Brian Sutherby a few years ago.
He began a process that involved lots of stretching and working out with elastic bands. There was no weightlifting and no skating so Celebrini could pinpoint what did and didn’t help the process.
“I learned how to - it is very complicated - but move correctly,” Clark said. “It is all the right muscles - you’ve got to fire the right muscles from [your core] out. You need to learn that because it is not something you do naturally, but if you do it correctly it stabilizes your whole body.”...
“I still have a 45-minute warmup before I even think about getting on the ice,” Clark said. “It is something I’ll probably have to do the rest of my career. It’s not some little thing that will go away. It is something I can control though. It won’t be perfect.
from Corey Masisek of the Washington Times,
Despite their own issues with keeping Russian players on this side of the pond, the Caps are not going to shy away from drafting a player if Moscow or St. Petersburg shows up on his passport.
Keith Smiley / The Washington Times Right wing Dmitry Kugryshev was the Caps’ latest Russian draft pick.
“Some teams like the Detroit Red Wings have a lot of Swedes. Some teams have a lot of Finns,” Caps coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We’re fortunate to have some very good Russians, and we have one that we know is going to be here for a long time.”...
“We have him, and I wouldn’t be afraid to take Russians,” Boudreau said. “If it is good enough for Alex Ovechkin, wouldn’t it be good enough for you?”
from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider,
Nicklas Backstrom suffered a sprained ankle yesterday when he collided with the goal, General Manager George McPhee confirmed moments ago. Backstrom stayed down for a few seconds, then skated off the rink gingerly.
Backstrom was seen walking with a pretty pronounced limp later in the day and he didn’t skate this morning.
From Mike Vogel at the Washington Capitals,
Virtually every kid in America has played catch with a baseball and a glove, and tried to hit pitched balls. Almost all have shot a few hoops in their day, and almost all have thrown a football around. But not nearly as many have laced up a pair of hockey skates, taken to the ice shot a few pucks around. That may be why ice hockey is among the least understood of the major sports; some of the people writing about it have never played the sport.
With that in mind, the Washington Capitals hosted the team’s first media fantasy camp at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Tuesday. A large contingent of print and electronic media from both local and national media outlets took to the ice for some instruction in the finer points of the game from several Caps players and coaches.
From Tarik El-Bashir at Capitals Insider:
I also asked Nylander about all of the trade rumors (Vancouver, New York, New Jersey, etc.) that surfaced over the summer. He acknowledged that he heard them, but he said he’s not worried. And for good reason:
“I have a no move clause in my contract,” he said. “So it’s really up to me if I want to move. I want to stay here and I’m looking forward to the season. There’s lots of rumors about lots of players all the time.”
from Phil Stacey of the Salem News,
With four games of NHL experience already on his hockey resume, Chris Bourque is looking to considerably add to that total during the upcoming season….
“I feel like I can compete in the NHL. It’s up to me whether or not I can make that happen (in camp),” said Bourque, who has spent the last three seasons playing in Washington’s American Hockey League affiliate in Hershey, Pa., where he had 28 goals and 63 points for the Bears last year.
“I don’t want to go back to the AHL. No knock on Hershey, but that’s not where I want to be. My main focus is on making the big team.”
from the Washington Capitals,
The Washington Capitals will retire Mike Gartner’s No. 11 jersey at a pregame ceremony before the team’s game against Toronto on Sunday, Dec. 28. Gartner, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame who ranks second in Capitals history in goals (397), assists (392) and points (789), will become the fourth player in Capitals history to have his number retired.
“Capitals fans have fond memories of Mike Gartner flying down the right wing and scoring goals at the Capital Centre,” said Capitals chairman and majority owner Ted Leonsis. “This is a fitting tribute to one of the elite offensive players in the history of the game who was a crucial member of the first Capitals playoff teams.”
“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by the Washington Capitals and to join the distinguished company of my fellow teammates Ivan Labre, Rod Langway and Dale Hunter,” Gartner said. “I look forward to the upcoming evening in December and sharing those fond memories with my family and those fans in attendance.”
Watch a video tribute of Mike Gartner below…
Rod Oracheski of 411mania recently interviewed Mke Green of the Washington Capitals…
RO: Now that the Capitals surpassed some external expectations by reaching the playoffs last year, what is the feeling around the team going into next year? How close do you believe you guys are to contending for the Stanley Cup?
MG: Well, just getting off to a good start. Last year we had to fight so hard to even make that playoffs it was like we were dead when we got there. If we can get off to a good start and be in the running halfway through the season, not make it so hard on ourselves, I think we’ll be a lot better for going on a run.
RO: A lot optimism in Washington revolves around last year’s 65-goal scorer, Alexander Ovechkin. What is it like playing with him? Exactly how much does he impact the culture of the team both on and off the ice?
MG: It’s ... I mean you know, everyone knows. He’s the best, or one of the best players in the league. Yeah, anything can happen when he’s on the ice. He’s one of those players that can win you games and it’s just a good thing he’s on our team.
more, plus Rod also interviews Georges Laraque and some other NHL topics too…
from Japers’ Rink,
...yet another Alex Ovechkin gameshow clip, this time one that involves giant Bill Clinton and Gary Bettman dopplegängers and ends with Ovie in a speedo and knee-highs.
Watch the video at Japers’ Rink…
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 firstname.lastname@example.org