Kukla's Korner Hockey
fro Jim MAtheson at the Edmonton Journal,
• Former Calgary Flames goalie Jamie McLennan’s experience with Magnitogorsk in the Russian Elite League was a short one.
The club signed him over the summer but had a parting of ways before the season started.
• Former Flames winger Jeff Friesen could be off to Europe.
His agent, Jeff Helperl, dismissed talk a few weeks ago about his client going to Europe, but a Swedish newspaper says he’s signing in Leksand. That’s where former NHLer Eddie Belfour is hanging his mask these days.
more hockey talk…
from the Buffalo News,
While the Sabres will be minus a captain when they report to HSBC Arena for physicals on Thursday, they sound genuinely comfortable with who they are already.
“There’s that small bit of uncertainty surrounding the captaincy position,” Sabres goalie Ryan Miller said, “but I don’t think anybody around here should be worried about it.
“We have a young group, and we might even get younger this year, but I think the core group of guys has seen enough and been around long enough to understand what to expect and to know what kind of attitude you need to have.”
Can the Sens forget Cup debacle? Star hockey columnist Damien Cox tackles these and other scattershot questions about the coming season…
WILL OTTAWA BOUNCE BACK FROM STANLEY CUP FINAL PRATFALL?
Young stars Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza were so bad in the Cup final that the effects could linger. The Sens, however, have lots of depth, and if Wade Redden can bounce back and regain all-star form, Ottawa should be fine. The coaching change to John Paddock is no small factor after Bryan Murray did a bang-up job last season.
IS PHILLY REALLY BACK?
Providing Martin Biron is truly a No. 1 goalie, the answer is yes. GM Paul Holmgren has surprised the hockey world with his aggressive and sharp moves, from adding Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen to signing Daniel Briere to adding youth in Ryan Parent, Joffrey Lupul and Scottie Upshall, not to mention top pick James Van Riemsdyk. Key to success? Whether Mike Richards and Jeff Carter can re-establish themselves as rising young stars.
much more from Damien…
from the Columbus Dispatch,
The first step, Hitchcock said, is for the Blue Jackets to get in better physical shape, especially the young players.
That, it seems, is the root cause of the Blue Jackets’ so-called soft label.
In 2005-06, after defenseman Francois Beauchemin was traded from Columbus to Anaheim, he said it wasn’t until he joined the Ducks that he truly understood what it meant to be in NHL shape.
An NHL source told The Dispatch that Ducks general manager Brian Burke placed a call a few weeks later to then-Blue Jackets general manager Doug MacLean offering him some friendly advice: get your team in shape.
MacLean didn’t take the advice well—understandably—and a once-tight friendship with Burke has been rocky ever since.
from Steve Simmons at the Toronto Sun,
The slow dance between the Maple Leafs and Scotty Bowman never seems to end.
Although the music has once again stopped playing.
Bowman recently had meetings with Leafs CEO Richard Peddie and board chairman Larry Tanenbaum while he continues to maintain a public stance that he has no interest in leaving his consulting role with the Detroit Red Wings.
The role the Leafs talked to Bowman about recently was not that of adviser to general manager John Ferguson, but to be the senior hockey voice in the organization.
from the Toronto Sun,
Eugene Melnyk has a novel idea to spice up the Battle of Ontario.
How about if the Maple Leafs got into the playoffs for a change?
“You would like to see the Leafs competitive,” Melnyk, the owner of the Ottawa Senators, said. “I think they are making changes that will make them more competitive. They have to. We’ll see what happens. (The rivalry) does lose a little lustre, but it is still there and it will continue. But hopefully it never gets reversed and we keep winning.”
from the Ottawa Citizen,
Since the “original six” teams in the NHL were Toronto, Montreal, Boston, New York, Chicago and Detroit, why was the league called the National Hockey League? It was clearly an international league to begin with, so why wasn’t it called the International Hockey League? Except for teams in Montreal and Toronto, there’s nothing original about the Original Six.
The National Hockey League began life in 1917 as a truly national league, with five Canadian teams, although only four actually played in the inaugural season.
from the Boston Globe,
Since July 2006, Detroit general manager Ken Holland has made the fewest deals in the league: only two, both coming at the 2007 trade deadline. That’s because the Red Wings have been among the shrewdest drafters in the NHL, using low-round picks to nab their three star forwards: Pavel Datsyuk (sixth round, 1998), Henrik Zetterberg (seventh round, 1999), and Tomas Holmstrom (10th round, 1994). One of Holland’s priorities will be to lock up Zetterberg, who has two more years on his current deal, to a long-term extension, most likely at a tick under Datsyuk’s annual pay of $6.7 million.
much more NHL talk on numerous teams…
from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Of course, Shero will also be watching his young stars such as Staal, Malkin, Whitney and Fleury—if, for no other reason, to see how they respond to raised expectations.
“These guys are still young players,” Shero said. “Look at Crosby last year. He took his summer to get better, improve a few things, and he did.
“There are areas where these younger players need to improve upon to get better ... but it is not a one-year window here.”
Unlike this time last season, though, the Penguins’ window of opportunity is definitely open.
from the Palm Beach Post,
Can the Rangers’ “D” get it done? The additions of Chris Drury and Scott Gomez give New York the league’s most potent offense and Henrik Lundqvist is solid in goal. But a defense that wasn’t very good last year looks even more shaky after losing Tom Poti and Karel Rachunek.
“It’s brutal,” said Panthers broadcaster Denis Potvin (who, truth be told, never will be accused of being a Rangers fan). “They’ll be OK in goal, but the defense is a big issue.”
“There seems to be an imbalance there, but some people in the know say it’s not as bad as people think,” national broadcaster Bill Clement added.
more NHL talk... including the Panthers, Flyers, Thrashers, Ducks and some Calder talk…
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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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