Kukla's Korner Hockey
by The Upper Canadien on 08/23/10 at 10:02 AM ET
You’re a professional hockey player, it’s summer, and you have to stay in shape. What to do, what to do. As has been discussed on Kukla’s Korner over the past week, and on various other forums across the web, Carey Price has spent much of his off-season practicing his rodeo tricks, even competing in a cattle rustling event a few weeks ago. Quite the adventurous summer for the unsigned Mr. Price, especially when compared to the great Canadian traditions of lake-sitting, light swimming, barbecuing and beverage consumption – all wonderful activities to help beat the heat. This got me wondering what other Montreal Canadiens have been up to over the past few months - so I did a little digging.
First off, the neat stuff. PK Subban and Mike Cammalleri were part of a weeklong hockey camp for Biosteel, a performance energy drink Cammalleri has discussed as being a big part of his game. Subban and Cammalleri were featured in some videos that appeared via Twitter last week, discussing their strength training at length and, you guessed it, the importance of Biosteel. It may just be me, but the name Biosteel always reminds me of Power Sauce, the sole reason Homer Simpson was able to climb the Murderhorn (More on that here: Homer Climbs the Murderhorn.
Otherwise, news on Canadiens in the off-season was rather thin. Presumably, many players just want their privacy and train while spending time with their families. However, another Hab who opened up about his summer habits in a recent article on the NHLPA’s website was Maxim Lapierre.
Reports that Lapierre has been practicing with the Canadian Olympic Diving Team at a pool in Montreal proved untrue. In fact, Lapierre has been working out mostly on the bike, while also practicing with a boxing coach. Perhaps Lapierre is out to prove pundits wrong? Habs fans will recall a spat between TSN analyst Pierre McGuire and Lapierre last year, after McGuire commented that Lapierre was known as a guy who often backs down and doesn’t fight. Clearly, Lapierre is out to show the hockey world that he has both bark and bite (More on Lapierre here: Lappy As Scrappy As They Come).
Other than the Canadiens prospect camp a month ago, with many hopefuls and one regular in attendance, the aforementioned Mr. Subban, any other news was thin. That probably means most Canadiens players are hard at work getting their bodies ready for another grueling 82 game season, hopefully followed by a long playoff run. And that’s admirable, because if I were them, I’d probably still be sitting by the lake.
News and Notes:
• Reports this week had the Penguins interested in perhaps bringing Bill Guerin back into the fold. Now word comes that the Flyers may be interested in Guerin’s services. He may have to wait a bit longer, but it seems pretty likely Guerin will have a job come opening night.
• The same can’t be said for 28-goal scorer Lee Stempniak. The former Coyote has been in talks with the club numerous times this summer, and yet there has been no agreement. Stempniak has acknowledged few other teams have expressed any serious interest. It seems hard to believe he could start the year unemployed, but this year’s free agent market certainly appears to be unique, so anything is possible.
• Is anyone as curious to see the Calgary Flames as I am? They let Cammalleri walk after trading for Jokinen, he flunks big time, is traded to the Rangers in a deal which sees the Flames assume the terrible contract of Ales Kotalik, Phaneuf is dealt for some magic beans, Sutter brings Toskala in, the team sags as the season ends, Stajan gets a four year deal, Jokinen is, remarkably, brought back, and the season starts anew. So many things about this team seem odd. Bouwmeester was awful last year, Regehr is clearly slowing down, and Iginla appears to have lost a step. Sure, a few bright lights exist, such as the emergence of Ian White and the promise of Mikael Backlund, but can Kiprusoff keep playing his butt off to keep this team in contention? After bringing in the seasoned Jay Feaster to assist Darryl Sutter, I have to believe that a slow start may mean Jay gets to feast on Sutter’s job.
• Does anyone see a spot for Ray Emery? Bad reputation in the dressing room, debilitating hip injury, and presumably some decent financial expectations. He’s already been down the KHL road. Incredible to think he took a team to the Stanley Cup only three years ago. Could another trip to Europe be in the cards?
• The longer Carey Price remains unsigned, the more I wonder if perhaps, just perhaps, Pierre Gauthier made a bad decision. I don’t envy him being the one deciding, but shipping Halak out, if Price doesn’t sign by the start of the season, will be a pretty big strike against him in the books of just about every Habs fans the world over. And that’s a lot of books.
• People in Toronto keep saying Phil Kessel needs a top-flight centre, as it clearly isn’t Grabovski or Bozak. Am I the only one who thinks Mike Ribeiro would look good with #81? Ribeiro seems to be the type of player who needs a change of scenery every few years. After wearing out his welcome in Montreal he shone in Dallas. It has no basis except discussions at pubs in downtown Toronto, but I think Ribeiro could really shine on that Maple Leafs top line, and the Leafs may just have a few of the young players Nieuwendyk is looking for in Dallas.
• I can’t remember another year where it was August 24th and the goalie that led his team to the Stanley Cup was unsigned. It’s a new NHL folks – at least until the next lockout.
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