Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
Far too often, the sports world forgets what it’s all about: Entertainment.
But what happened in this lakeside town of 13,000 over the last four days was a perfect illustration of two teams, a league, a broadcaster, a sponsor and every single player involved in getting it right.
The result: Pure magic for the residents of Sylvan Lake, who were privy to the very best the sport has to offer.
OK, so the hockey was ... well ... pre-season. But the packaging around it was sublime.
The ending: Perfection.
from John Cullen of Shnarped,
This week, John chats with Henrik Samuelsson, one of the stars for the Edmonton Oil Kings during their run to the Memorial Cup last season, and one of the prospects considered to have a very good chance to make the Arizona Coyotes this fall. Henrik is both a native of Arizona(he was born in Pittsburgh but grew up in Scottsdale) and the son of former NHLer Ulf Samuelsson. He also grows a playoff beard that makes him look like a Viking.
How would your most hated opponent on the ice describe you as a player?
HS: I think most of my opponents would probably describe me as a nice, caring guy. I’m never really trying to hurt anyone out there.
JC: (laughs) You’re not serious.
HS: (laughs) No, I’m being incredibly sarcastic. I’m pretty sure if you ask anyone that’s played me, they’ll call me any name they can think of, say that they hate me, stuff like that. I’m pretty chippy out there, I have some moves.
JC: Is that something that’s genetic? I feel like your dad pissed some players off out there.
HS: I don’t know, but my dad was a chippy player, my older brother is a chippy player, so maybe that’s it. I just love pissing people off out there, it’s fun to get other players off of their game.
much more and not your same old interview...
from Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic,
After catching Rocky Mountain fever last season and losing 12 games while he attempted to restore his energy and strength, Coyotes captain Shane Doan could have given his body more downtime this offseason.
But he didn't.
Instead, the 37-year-old began his summer training even earlier than normal – starting in early May as opposed to the end of the month when he usually resumes workouts.
"I didn't like, obviously, the way last year went not making the playoffs," he said.
Rectifying that, it seems, is a top concern for Doan. When asked about his health, Doan answers with a simple, "Good," and a smile that closes the conversation. Of course, he hasn't forgotten about the way the bacterial disease sapped his stamina and left him fatigued.
In fact, improving his cardio has been an objective this summer and remains a priority as he skates at the Ice Den in Scottsdale with teammates before training camp opens in a week.
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
In comparison to some of their competitors in the Western Conference -– the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, the dominant Chicago Blackhawks, the surprising Colorado Avalanche, even the talented-yet-wayward San Jose Sharks -– the Arizona Coyotes never seem to warrant much attention.
But former Coyote Brad May thinks that may not be the worst thing for his old club, flying under the radar in an uber-competitive Pacific Division and Western Conference with hopes of getting back to the playoffs this season.
“Nobody really talks about them,” May told ESPN.com, “but I think they’re a much better team than people give them credit for.”
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - Arizona Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney announced today that the Coyotes have signed Steve Sullivan to a multi-year agreement to serve as the team's Development Coach. As per club policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.
Sullivan will oversee Coyotes amateur player development in addition to working with coaches and players in Portland (AHL) during the season. He joins the organization after a 16-year NHL career that included stints with the New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins and Coyotes.
The Timmins, Ontario native totaled 290-457-747 in 1,011 career NHL games. He also recorded 9-14-23 in 50 career Stanley Cup Playoff games. Sullivan collected 5-7-12 in 33 contests with the Coyotes in 2012-13, and appeared in his 1,000th career NHL game on March 28, 2013 against Nashville.
In 2009, Sullivan was the recipient of the Bill Masterton Trophy, which is awarded each year to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Sullivan became the first player in Predators history to win an NHL award.
from Davis Harper of NHL.com,
How much stronger are Arizona's bottom-six forwards? -- This summer the Coyotes acquired Joe Vitale and B.J. Crombeen, two disciplined and physical forwards, to anchor the fourth line. Antoine Vermette, entering the final year of his contract, looks likely to move down to third-line center where he can display his faceoff and forecheck abilities. In all, the additions should help Arizona roll four lines in an unforgiving Pacific Division and Western Conference.
"When you've got players like [Anze] Kopitar, [Ryan] Getzlaf, [Joe] Thornton, players who can exploit you, we need players who can play against them even if they are third- or fourth-line players," Tippett said. "That's what's going to keep us competitive in our division."
Can Mike Smith recover his 2011-12 form? -- If Arizona wants to return to the playoffs and compete for a Stanley Cup, there is perhaps no more important player on the roster than Smith. The goaltender proved this in 2011-12, when he sparked a run to the Western Conference Final. Smith's past two seasons, however, have been marked by inconsistency. After signing a six-year, $34 million contract last summer, Smith allowed 2.64 goals-per-game and had a .915 save percentage.
"Last year I think he was coming off a big contract and put a lot of pressure on himself with the Olympics and all of the above there," Tippett said of Smith's season. "Speaking with him this summer, he just seems like a more relaxed player. He understands his role, and I expect Smitty to have a wonderful year this year."
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - Arizona Coyotes Co-Owner, President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc announced today that the Coyotes and Arizona based Gila River Casinos have agreed to terms on a nine-year partnership agreement that includes the naming rights for Glendale Arena. The agreement is pending approval from Glendale City Council on September 9. If approved, the new name of the venue will be Gila River Arena. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
from Jeff Eisenberg at PuckDaddy,
When the Phoenix Coyotes hired Canada native J.J. Straker as their ice maker last summer, the new job inspired more than just the usual congratulatory hugs and handshakes from his friends and family.
"There was a lot of excitement because people knew hockey's my passion, but they would ask, 'How are you going to do that there?'" Straker recalled with a chuckle. "Making ice in Arizona? It doesn't seem like that will work."
Cultivating a perfect sheet of ice is a challenge anywhere, but it's an especially difficult job in the National Hockey League's hottest city. The average annual high in the sun-baked Phoenix-Glendale area is more than 86 degrees and temperatures routinely soar past 100 by the start of the playoffs in late April, making it tougher for Straker to produce ice of the proper thickness and consistency than it is for peers who work in cooler climates.
from Peter Corbett of the Arizona Republic,
Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers on Monday asked the state attorney general to investigate a previously undisclosed meeting of City Council members and an Arizona Coyotes attorney last June, days before the council approved a $225 million agreement with the team.
Weiers, who voted against the deal that kept the hockey team in Glendale, said he believes the meeting violated the Arizona's Open Meeting Law and revealed key information to the Coyotes about the city's negotiating position.
"I think it's a clear violation," he said. "That meeting is wrong on so many levels. It's like playing poker and showing your opponents all your cards."
Violations of the Open Meeting Law can rescind actions taken by elected officials, which could potentially void Glendale's deal with the team, which was then called the Phoenix Coyotes.
from Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic,
It's clear the Coyotes need to bolster their scoring options, but by late July or early August the remaining free agents don't usually provide that type of impact. A trade still is a possibility, and that might be the best remedy.
But even that might take some time to execute — perhaps in training camp when teams have a front-row seat to their deficiencies, and the pressure is on to find solutions. At this point in the summer, patience typically is the smartest course of action. That could end up paying off for the Coyotes.
Because they still have two forward spots available, a prospect such as Max Domi, Henrik Samuelsson or Tyler Gaudet could wow the coaching staff and help pick up some of the offensive slack during the season.
Recently acquired center Sam Gagner might capitalize on a new surrounding and finally have the breakout year many have been awaiting. And winger Martin Erat might rediscover his offensive touch in his first full season with the team.
All of these variables could pan out for the Coyotes. Or they might not.
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