Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic,
As reporters crowded around Coyotes goalie Mike Smith following Monday's practice to gauge his psyche after yet another six goals-against Saturday, backup Devan Dubnyk quipped that Smith isn't the only one who's experienced a slide like this and he, too, could offer up some insight.
But Smith isn't looking to deflect any of the attention he's receiving right now for a goals-against average (5.33) that might be more reflective of a struggling Major League Baseball reliever than an NHL starting goaltender.
"I don't need to bring anyone else into this," Smith said. "It's me and only me, and I've been through it tons of times in my career. You shrug it off your shoulder, and it's obviously not even close to what I'm capable of, and I know that, and I understand that, and the team needs more from me.
"But I can't dwell on it. It's three games I've played. We're 2-2. I know there's a panic around here to flip a switch and turn it around, but it's a process, and we're all going to be better because of this adversity."
from Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times,
Against a backdrop of 100-degree temperatures, workers last month began implementing the latest changes for a hockey team once just a lone councilman’s vote from winding up in Seattle.
They spent a sweat-filled Saturday tearing down the outdoor facade at the Jobing.com Arena to replace it with the name of the venue’s new Native American tribal rights-holder. Four days later, the Glendale City Council approved renaming it Gila River Arena, home to the Arizona Coyotes, in a vote far less acrimonious than their past meetings involving the NHL club.
In fact, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office is investigating events leading up to the council’s contentious vote 15 months ago approving a new arena lease agreement by a 4-3 margin and keeping the then-Phoenix Coyotes from relocating to Seattle.
Three sources with knowledge of negotiations confirm the Coyotes would have been bought by New York investment banker Ray Bartoszek and his partner Anthony Lanza and moved to Seattle as soon as the following day — playing up to three seasons at KeyArena — had the vote not passed.
“Most people don’t realize how close we were to actually getting an NHL team,’’ says former Seattle mayor Mike McGinn, who had been involved in the relocation talks.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
The NHL’s problem child franchise in Phoenix is about to change hands again, The Post has learned.
Andrew Barroway, who attempted to buy the Devils two years ago and believed he had an agreement to buy the Islanders earlier this year before Charles Wang switched course and instead reached a deal with Jonathan Ledecky, is in advanced negotiations to purchase 51 percent of the rebranded Arizona Coyotes, according to informed sources.
The sale of the troubled franchise, which has been in financial distress even prior to moving from downtown Phoenix to Glendale in 2003-04 after previously relocating from Winnipeg for the 1996-97 season, is expected to be completed within the month.
As part of the deal, Barroway would agree to drop his $10 million lawsuit against Wang in which he alleges that the Islanders’ owner reneged on an agreement to sell him the Brooklyn-bound franchise.
“It’s a very fickle business and, you get a much bigger appreciation for having an opportunity to play in the NHL. You come to the rink every day, you have a chance to get to do it again. You get a really strong appreciation for that after what I went through last year.”
-Devan Dubnyk, goaltender for the Arizona Coyotes reflecting on his time with the Edmonton Oilers. More from Dubnyk from Mark Spector of Sportsnet.
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."
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.
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