Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Scooter Kelly on 08/15/11 at 11:30 AM ET
It’s time to catch up on the comings and goings of your beloved checking line prospects for the Flaming C. While the lineups stay as consistent as the weather on the prairies, we will delve into a few of the star-powered 4th liners donning the Alta flag and on the cusp of greatness.
Let’s start with of the meanest, hardest working, Dodge truck driving, Mother trucker that graced the Pengrowth Saddledome’s ice last season. Of course I speak of Tim Jackman. While many weren’t sure what to think of this relatively unknown entity, “Jack” was a big, ugly, Tasmanian Devilled-Egg of a buzz saw for the 2009-10 season. While clearly not a super star, Tim retired to Minnesota to a summer of one-arm pushup competitions, and tractor tire rolling contests (uphill only) as a source of income. We all know that NHLer’s are employed for only 186 days a year, and Tim was not going to let the fiscal uncertainties in the USA bring him down. When not destroying the mortals on the ice and in the Gladiator ring, Tim has been finding his inner sanctum with a bevy of Danielle Steele novels and helping to rescue Richardson Ground Squirrels that have met tread on the busy Minnesota highways.
Brendan Morrison has clearly fallen in love with the C of Flame. Another year of pride has been negotiated and Mo couldn’t be happier. He was spotted in Pitt Meadows doing cartwheels the day after he re-upped. And strangely, cartwheels are indeed part of the Flame’s off-season workout regiment. When not chasing his boy around in spring-summer hockey, he was busy volunteering at the soup kitchen as well as playing the piano for the palliative care unit at the local hospital. While not the tallest of players, he stands out with his big heart on and off the ice. Thank goodness he has always steered clear of the infamous BC green and didn’t retire to a life of hanging out, chillaxing at the Cambie Hotel, waiting for the munchies to ruin his diet plan. You can look forward to Mo spending time on many different lines this upcoming season.
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond is tres excited to be a nouveau member of the troops. He is extremely proud of having the longest name in NHL history (29) but even more proud to be a part of Jarome’s bbm group. PL3 is ready to pound the posers that come knocking, as his 334 PIMs would attest last season in the AHL. He spent the off season trying to find a cowboy chapeau, as well as well playing Chunky Soup Darts (a healthy and hearty deviation from the nausea inducing Beer Darts.) This summer he has been busy with his Rosetta Stone English lessons and volunteered time crushing gravel with his bare hands for the sandbagging projects of the Souris River. He is on a one-way contract but will face stiff competition to garner ice time.
Stefan Meyer played in 19 games last year and formed a very reliable 4th line with Sir Craig Conroy (Management) and Jack. Stefan has added 10-15 lbs of muscle to his 2010 4th place-in-fitness-testing physique. Rumors abound that he has been doing intense forearm workouts that consist of landing Northern Pike in attempt to save on a hefty food bill. There is further speculation that he has been working on the family farm picking rocks the old school way: by hand. Regardless, #44 is a capable option for the grinder line and he has been spotted doing a lot of air boxing as he sprints around his neighbourhood, with the odd round house kick that we don’t hope to see on the ice any time soon.
Lance Bouma/Greg Nemisz were both summoned to join the big squad down the stretch and both were serviceable young fellas. Kids these days loved their video games and have been playing a lot of Wii Fit to get game ready. When not working out, the boys both volunteered at the SPCA and were most disappointed when the pets had to be euthanized. Similar emotions are felt by the Oiler faithful when the regular season starts: such high hopes dashed by a small dose of reality. Regardless, both hope to show Coach Brent, GM Feaster, Asst GM Weisbrod, and the Prince of them all - Conny, that they want to be a part of this playoff-bound squad.
While the paint isn’t quite yet dry on the lineup for the 2011-12 Flames, I trust this is a fairly accurate guide and factually limited review of the 4th line forward’s off season. As the off season continues stay tuned for further updates on the super stars of Calgary.
Keep it real, Scooter Risebrough
PS-Supporting data may be hard to find, but believe me, its harder to make this up.
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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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