Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star,
Michael Leighton won’t be returning to Russia for the upcoming Kontinental Hockey League season, but not for the reason you might think.
The former Windsor Spitfires goalie who calls LaSalle home was all set to join the expansion HC Sochi team for his second season of KHL action when illness felled Leighton.
Unable to attend training camp – KHL teams open camp in mid-to-late July leading to the early September start of regular-season play – Leighton and HC Sochi officials mutually agreed to void the contract he’d signed with the team.
“I was with Sochi and got sick and wasn’t sure when I was going to be able to make it there,” Leighton, 33, explained. “They have the right to look for another goalie and I agreed that I didn’t know when I’d be able to get there, so we both agreed to terminate the contract.”...
During the 2013-14 campaign, he suited up for Donbass Donetsk, the only Ukrainian-based franchise in the KHL and a city that currently finds itself in the midst of the armed conflict within that country....
“Where I was last year, it was fine all year until close to the end of the year and into the playoffs,” Leighton said. As troubles mounted in the area, the Donbass club moved to a base in Bratislava, Slovakia, playing its playoff games on the road.
“It did get kind of scary, because we weren’t playing at home,” Leighton said. “Teams didn’t want to travel to the Ukraine.
“When the season was done and I was home, I was happy that I was home.”
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
You went to Las Vegas when Alex Ovechkin was there for the NHL Awards to sit down with him, have dinner with him, get to know him. Why was it important for you at the time to sit down with Ovechkin, and what did you learn from the meeting?
"You're not going to go to battle with someone you don't know. It doesn't matter what walk of life it is, whether it's business or in war. In sports it's usually a coach and player, so he understands where I'm coming from and at the same time the player recognizes where you're coming from so you get a comfort level and you can work together better. If we're going to be successful in Washington, [Ovechkin] has to be a big part of that. It's not only him, but he's a main component, a big personality, and I have to sell my vision of the team to him because he's one of the top players. In today's sport, coaches are in a partnership with their top players.
"I think it went OK. I learned a lot from that, how he thinks and how he sees the world. I know he comes from a different culture and I learned about how he views himself, how he views his job with the team. It was good. I told him what I expected. I had a bunch of questions written down and we sort of went through them. I didn't know if there would be a language barrier so I made him read the questions and try to answer them. We had some dialogue. I learned about his family, who is important in his life.
"Every player is wired differently. Some players you know exactly where they're headed, where they're going and what they're thinking. There are other guys wired differently. It allowed me to understand the personality of Alexander Ovechkin. He's been the face of the Caps for the past eight or nine years, since he's been drafted. He gets a lot of the credit when they do well and he gets a lot of the blame when they don't, but that's the responsibility for a top guy in the National Hockey League now. If you want to be the elite guy those are the responsibilities that go with it. It was good. We spent probably four hours together, and I've talked to him a couple of times on the phone as well. I think not only coaching the player but coaching the person is very important."
read on, four more questions...
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
Perhaps the realization on both sides that the market for goalies is limited — there are still a number of unrestricted free-agent netminders available — and the return for Reimer would be small.
Perhaps it was the realization by Reimer that the opportunity to be a starter would be no better anywhere else.
Perhaps it was the realization by the Leafs that they don’t have much depth and another injury to Bernier without an adequate backup could paralyze the team.
So the conversation changed. The Leafs told Reimer they needed him. The Leafs told Reimer he could unseat Bernier for the top job if he plays well enough.
“That’s pretty much what I’ve been told,” said Reimer. “That’s all a guy can ask for. All you want is a chance, and I intend to make the most of it.
“My goal is to go in there and be the No. 1 guy. Worst-case scenario: Me and Bernier push each other and we get great goaltending.”
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
Despite loud promises of impending change, tomorrow is starting to look an awful lot like yesterday in San Jose. That's not sitting too well with the Sharks' fired-up fans, but once they get past their anger and frustration, they just might realize that stability isn't the worst thing.
Granted, the team isn't getting the rebuild the fans were promised by GM Doug Wilson in the aftermath of the team's opening round meltdown against the Kings.
The culture that many saw as a problem remains virtually unchanged.
The big free-agent signing of the summer has been John “Fifth Line” Scott.
San Jose chose not to re-sign Drew Remenda, one of the best analysts in the game.
And yes, the team has crossed the moral line for a small but vocal group of fans who are offended by the idea of adding cheerleaders to the game presentation.
from Jake Becker of The Fischler Report,
HOW SOON DO YOU THINK TORTS WILL RETURN TO THE NHL?
I think time heals all wounds. I don’t think for a minute that Torts was anything other than what people knew he was. I think Mike Gillis knew the issues, the positives and the negatives. In my mind the issue really came down to that infamous day when he decided to try to get in the locker room when [Calgary head coach] Bob Hartley was antagonizing.
Bob is the godfather to my son Ryan, and I consider Torts to be one of my best friends, too. It was ironic, but I believe that John will get back. General managers in the league know he’s a good coach, and you take the good with the bad. Part of what makes him a good coach is that he does not have the political correctness gene. He is not worried about what you or me or what anybody else thinks about him – he’s going to do what he thinks is right. I think some time away, so time to decompress, I think that’ll be good for him.
I don’t have any doubt that at some point in time, a team is going to be struggling and a team is going to need some discipline, some structure, and a general manager is going to say, “This is a guy that can provide it.”
via the Toronto Maple Leafs,
David Nonis, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced Monday the hockey club has signed forward Daniel Winnik to a one-year contract.
Winnik, 29, played 76 games for the Anaheim Ducks in 2013-14, registering career highs in assists (24) and points (30) while adding six goals, 23 penalty minutes and a plus-six rating. He also posted an assist and two penalty minutes in nine playoff games with the Ducks last season.
The 6-2, 207-pound centreman has accumulated 150 career NHL points (49 goals, 101 assists) and 226 penalty minutes in 490 games with Phoenix, Colorado, San Jose and Anaheim. A native of Toronto, Ontario, Winnik was originally selected by Phoenix in the ninth round, 265th overall, in the 2004 Entry Draft.
I am back but really nothing to report from the hockey world.
Last night I lost power around 6:15pm after a major storm.
Power came back around 1:15am and when I woke up this morning, Comcast internet was down.
Just came back up and hopefully the bad weather is behind us.
With things being so slow, I just may have to find Pavel and join him...
During yesterday night's severe storms, Paul lost power, so it may be a quieter-than-usual day at KK. I'll do my best to lend a hand but have some must-get-done tasks away from the home office. We'll both attempt to get ourselves online, Paul literally and me figuratively. At least it's late July?
Per The Score's Ian McLaren, Fear the Fin's Ann Fraizer graced the interweb with a brilliant video summarizing the NHL's evolution since its inception in 1917--team locations and logos included--set to "Brass Bonanza":
It's a great reminder that the "Original Six" weren't all "original" NHL teams, but were instead the ones that survived the Second World War.
Nadel is the broadcaster for the Texas Rangers and during his speech today at the Baseball Hall of Fame, made a reference back to his calling of minor league hockey games.
You can scroll to the 2:40 mark of the video to watch that part.
from Phil Rogers of MLB.com,
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