Kukla's Korner Hockey
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
After near identical back-to-back seasons (they finished with 85 and 86 points, respectively), the Panthers seem ready to make a little more of a jump forward. They finished six points out of a playoff spot last season. If they can avoid another bad start to the season, maybe they can finally end their postseason drought.
I figure they’ll have more points and challenge for a playoff spot. I hope they get there. It would be nice to see one of the game’s most underrated players—Panthers captain Olli Jokinen—get a chance to show his stuff in the postseason.
from the Vancouver Province,
Beset by injuries and looking for a playoff spark last spring, Tom Renney inserted Brad Isbister on a line with Jaromir Jagr and Michael Nylander.
For the well-travelled Isbister, mired in the minors until recalled for the second time Feb. 21, it was a vote of confidence from the New York Rangers coach. It piqued the Vancouver Canucks’ interest in the big winger even more.
“You have to have some ability to play with those players,” Canucks general manager Dave Nonis said Tuesday. “We’ve had some interest in him for a couple of years. He can fill a lot of roles and played with a little more edge the last few years.
The Pens will be releasing their new look late this afternoon. Is this it?
more at Offside Sports…
Rich Hammond at Inside the Kings has been keeping busy with video interviews, transcripts of player interviews, etc.
Check it out, you will be impressed…
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
While the Senators’ No. 1 goalie is recovering well from his June 21 wrist surgery, there’s a chance Emery might not play before Ottawa’s Oct. 3 season opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“He’ll be ready for the start of the regular season,” said Emery’s agent J.P. Barry. “I saw (Emery) last week and he was doing well. The cast came off when it was supposed to come off and he’s able to do everything. He’ll be able to participate in drills, he’s just not going to be able to take shots on the glove side. I’m not sure if he’s going to be able to play in any exhibition games.”
from the Columbus Dispatch,
Privately, players say the offseason firing of general manager Doug MacLean and the hiring of Scott Howson has lifted the mood and changed the outlook of a club that has had six losing seasons. Bluster and bravado, they say, has been replaced by a quiet confidence and a singular goal—winning.
“It’s real now,” said right winger David Vyborny, who has been with the team from the start. “It feels real.”
Training camp begins Sept. 14, but already up to 16 Blue Jackets have joined in unofficial workouts in the Dispatch Ice Haus. The number likely will grow to more than 20 by the end of the week.
“The guys have all walked in here the same way we walked out last April,” left winger Jody Shelley said. “We know how disappointed we were, and we know what we have to do to get better. We’ve said it’s different before, I know, but this is a group that’s embarrassed and sick of losing.”
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Who’s going to wear the Edmonton Oilers’ “C” now that Jason Smith is wearing orange and black with the Philadelphia Flyers?
“Do you want to be captain?” Ethan Moreau is asked.
“Love to do it and I think I’d do a good job at it,” said Moreau.
“Do you want to be captain?” Steve Staios is asked.
“Sure, yeah, I do,” said Staios.
from the Toronto Star,
“Is it as hard to play there as I’ve heard it is?” inquired Toskala, conjuring up the stories of media and fan pressure passed on by fellow Finns, and former Leafs, Aki Berg and Jyrki Lumme.
“It’s worse,” came the reply. “It’s an awful place to play. If you play well, you’ll be next to God. If you don’t – oh my God – they’ll stone you to death.”
There was a long pause at the end of the line.
“Good,” Toskala finally said, breaking the silence. “I look forward to the challenge.”
It is, however, one thing to be open to a challenge, quite another to be open about it.
from the Calgary Sun,
Darryl Sutter is disappointed Andrei Taratukhin has chosen to remain in Russian rather than honour his NHL contract….
Sutter said the team hasn’t been officially informed the forward has signed a deal with Salavat Yulaev in Ufa of the Russian Super League. He added he understands players returning to their homeland but not before completing an entry-level contract.
“During that time, at some point, you hope that player gives himself that opportunity to play in the NHL,” Sutter said. “Andrei, quite honestly, needed more than a year. He certainly wasn’t ready to play in the NHL yet.
“It’s a big adjustment. Andrei made a big adjustment last year, without his family over here, different style of game and different (size of) ice, and he was starting to make progress in terms of how to manage his game, length of shifts, pace of play ... those sorts of things.
“We’ve invested a lot—not just money but time personally for him and his family—and you want him to honour both years .”
from the OC Register,
Ducks general manager Brian Burke plans to meet with defenseman Scott Niedermayer today or Thursday to try to determine whether the team’s captain intends to retire or return for a 15th NHL season.
A similar meeting with right wing Teemu Selanne is likely follow in short order.
“Obviously, with (training) camp opening next week, we need to know what’s going on,” Burke said Tuesday.
While stories circulated in Canada last week suggesting that Niedermayer might have had a change of heart and be more likely to play another season, Burke’s latest telephone conversation with the four-time Stanley Cup winner included no such message.
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.
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