Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
Let’s examine job descriptions as they pertain to the Sabres and the season ahead. It marks the first full season since Tim Murray was hired as general manager and Ted Nolan returned as coach. Murray did not bring Nolan aboard but retained him to maintain stability after the Pat LaFontaine debacle.
It’s important to remember that they had no previous relationship and may not have a strong one now. Their allegiance is to the team, not to each other. They don’t need to be beer buddies, but they must understand what the other is trying to accomplish for their relationship to work.
In an ordinary season, the general manager and coach generally have the same ideals. The GM assembles the best team possible with the idea he has enough talent in place to contend for the playoffs. The coach does everything he can to maximize potential with the same goal in mind.
This is not an ordinary season.
Murray and Nolan aren’t about to hold a news conference saying as much, but they have different agendas. It doesn’t mean they have a contentious relationship. Murray will say that he wants to win ASAP because he can’t send any other message to his players, to the fans, to the league.
But his job calls for doing what’s best for the long-term success of his hockey club. This year, losing also means winning. The more Buffalo loses, the greater its chances of getting the first pick overall. It would allow the Sabres to draft Connor McDavid, the top prize of the 2015 draft.
continued including a look on how head coach Ted Nolan may handle this...
from Derek Van Diest at NHL.com,
Will Nail Yakupov have a bounce-back season? -- Selected No. 1 by the Oilers in 2012, Yakupov had a strong rookie season but regressed last season. The talented right wing struggled in his own end, which created friction with first-year coach Dallas Eakins. Yakupov heads into the 2014-15 season wanting to put last season behind him. He reportedly also has mended fences with Eakins, meeting this offseason to iron out their differences.
"I'm not even thinking about last season," Yakupov said. "I'm concentrating on this season. I'm hoping to have a good year and I'm doing everything I can in order to do that. We'll see what it's going to be like this year. I promise I'll work hard and play 100 percent. I hope it's going to be good for me and good for the team. We have to play better than we did last year so we'll see how it goes."
Will Ryan Nugent-Hopkins be able to carry the load at center? -- Nugent-Hopkins was pegged as the Oilers' No. 1 center the moment the team made him the first selection in the 2011 draft. Nugent-Hopkins was signed to a long-term extension last season, confirming his place in the team's future with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. Unlike Hall and Eberle, however, Nugent-Hopkins still is looking for his breakout season. Nugent-Hopkins had 19 goals and 56 points in 80 games last season, well off the point-per-game pace of his rookie season.
Lacking depth up the middle, the Oilers will rely heavily on Nugent-Hopkins on both sides of the puck. He'll be counted on to log big minutes against some of the top centers in the Western Conference.
If Nugent-Hopkins gets hurt, the Oilers could be in big trouble.
from Bill Plaschke of the LA Times,
The road to the heart of hockey's greatest team is covered in gravel and clouded in dust.
The road is bumpy, barren, stretching out from a town with no stoplights into a vast and desolate countryside blanketed in an interminable silence interrupted by the occasional chirping from a tree or rumbling of a train.
Make a left on Range Road 120, bounce past Township Road 472, continue rattling through holes that shake tires and giant insects that splatter across windshields. Stop in front of a narrow driveway that leads back to a cluster of trees, barns and bales. Make a right turn at a metal sign stuck in a rusted wagon, its wrought-iron letters distinct and startling.
Yeah, it's him.
Grass flattens and rocks spit as a car slowly crunches up the driveway and into a parking spot in a ditch. The door is opened into thick air cut by the twang of an accordion, laughter of children and the swatting of mosquitoes.
continued (great read)...
The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons has been one of the most vocal advocates for Steve Moore, so he kicks off his Sunday notebook with an expected statement:
Five days after the settlement was apparently reached in the case against Todd Bertuzzi, there is nothing but silence from Steve Moore and Tim Danson.
They have not announced a settlement. They have not issued a statement or a release of any kind. They have not said anything, which for Danson, the lawyer, is absolutely out of character.
This has nothing to do with any confidentiality clause being agreed to. If Danson or Moore believed a deal was done, had a signed document, they would have acknowledged so. If all parties had signed off on the agreement, all would have acknowledged the case was over.
What’s interesting here is the way the story came out, first through Bertuzzi contacts, then through his lawyer Geoff Adair, and after that from the former owner of the Vancouver Canucks, who admitted an out-of-court settlement was agreed to in the $68-million lawsuit.
The odds are you have seen the videos or maybe some of the individual moments, but what the heck, we have time to kill.
Part 2 is below...
CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames announced today that they have signed right winger Devin Setoguchi to a one-year contract.
Setoguchi, a native of Taber, Alberta, spent last season with the Winnipeg Jets netting 11 goals and 16 assists for 27 points in 75 games. Over his seven year NHL career, he has scored 127 goals and added 122 assists for 249 points in 459 games with San Jose, Minnesota and Winnipeg.
from John Chidley-Hill of the Globe and Mail,
Aaron Ekblad is getting back to work.
The first overall draft pick of the Florida Panthers said on Saturday he’s free of any concussion-like symptoms less than three weeks after he took a hard hit in a world junior exhibition game.
“The concussion is perfectly, completely gone. I feel great,” said Ekblad. “I’ve been skating all this week, working out all this week. It’s gone. I feel great.”
The 18-year-old defenceman from Windsor, Ont., was injured on Aug. 6 at Canada’s world junior training camp in a game against the Czech Republic. The Canadians went on to win 6-2, but Hockey Canada and the Panthers agreed to keep Ekblad off the ice for the rest of the team’s summer development camp.
Ward Cornell of Hockey Night In Canada with an interview of head coach Punch Imlach of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1962.
If you closed your eyes, it could be 2014...
via WIVB TV in Buffalo...
from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,
Jamaica is planning its own miracle on ice.
While the island of sun-splashed beaches has as many hockey rinks as it does bobsled runs — exactly none — the goal is for Team Jamaica to compete with the world’s hockey powers at a Winter Games in the next eight to 20 years.
“If we can pull this off, you’re looking at an inspiring story and the idea that anything is accomplishable if you put your mind to it,” says head coach Graeme Townshend, 48, the first Jamaican-born player in the NHL.
“If Jamaica can get a team in the world championships or the Olympics, that’s like a miracle. It’s something that’s so outlandish that I think it actually might work.”
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