Kukla's Korner Hockey
I discuss “numbers” today in my NHL.com blog
Feel free to add your own in the comments of this post!.
from Wes Goldstein at CBS Sportsline,
One man’s competitiveness might be another’s mediocrity, but it makes things intriguing in the Northwest Division, where most teams start the season with as good a chance of finishing first as missing the playoffs entirely.
Not much actually separates the top from the bottom in this cutthroat division, where the best two teams last season were playoff outsiders the year before and the last-place club was a Stanley Cup Finalist only months before. Things can and do change quickly in the Northwest, even in the middle of the season as the Colorado Avalanche proved last year when they were given up for dead around the All-Star break.
from the Courier-Post,
Rathje said he wants to see how he fares in exhibition games before anyone decides how much missing six months of last season affects his ability to perform.
As for the Flyers’ predicament of fitting Rathje onto the roster and under the salary cap, Rathje said he completely understands Holmgren’s concerns.
“He told me what he had to do (by adding Timonen and Smith) and I understand that,” Rathje said. “He was shocked when I told him after the surgery that I wanted to come back. But he never discouraged me. He told me straight up if I’m healthy I’d play.
“We both have an understanding. If I can help the team he’s going to do what he has to do (to fit his salary under the cap). If I can’t play and be healthy I won’t be playing.”
from the Press Telegram,
Entering training camp, he said he is feeling close to 100-percent physically but will need time to get back the reaction time and instincts that made him so good in Vancouver.
“Health-wise, I’m there,” Cloutier said. “It’s everything else.
It’s getting out there and playing, the speed of the game with traffic. Those are the things you lose. You don’t necessarily lose guys coming down the wing and shooting. You lose all the little things, tips and battling around the crease.”
Cloutier enters training camp in a battle with Jason LaBarbera and newcomer Jean-Sebastien Aubin for time at goalie. He wants to be the starter in the regular-season opener, though he admits it could be a while before he returns to his top form.
from Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star,
Fans are captivated by the thing that makes Tucker tick, granting him latitude, more forgiveness than most athletes get, and an unabashed fidelity. “I don’t think it’s necessarily a love affair. But fans can see how much I want to win, for myself and for the city. I’ll do anything to win a hockey game.
“A lot of this city is blue collar. Guys get up in the morning, have their Tim Hortons, go to work. They understand that I have the same blue-collar attitude towards my job. Maybe I didn’t grow up in Toronto watching the Leafs. But I grew up on a farm in Alberta. When I wasn’t playing hockey I was working my tail off like the rest of the world.”
from the Toronto Star,
Toronto Maple Leafs tough guy wade Belak depends on a drink made for babies to help him through an NHL season.
For years the 6-foot-5, 221-pound enforcer has been drinking Pedialyte, a drink designed to help re-hydrate toddlers with diarrhea.
But Belak’s original reason for drinking from the bottle with a teddy bear on its label was decidedly grown-up.
“You really want to know the truth, why I started drinking Pedialyte?” he said yesterday at the team’s practice facility.
“I used to drink it for hangovers.”
Belak isn’t the only athlete making trips to the baby aisle for the drink.
from the Ottawa Sun,
Fisher injured his groin in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final May 30 against the Anaheim Ducks and thought a summer of rest would take care of the problem. It hasn’t.
“It was giving me problems all summer. I thought it would go away and it didn’t,” said the 27-year-old, who is entering his eighth NHL season and is coming off a 22-goal, 48-point season.
“I think we’ve got it sorted out the last few weeks. There’s nothing torn, but there’s a chance I could miss part of camp. I might have to skate on my own for a bit. I can’t get in there full bore just yet.”
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
A popular figure, McCreary had headed the NHL Alumni Association and his funeral widely was attended by well-known hockey names, including former Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn.
On that day in December 2003, police allege that Ramage was driving a rented Chrysler Intrepid that apparently crossed the lanes of the roadway and collided almost head on with an SUV travelling in the opposite direction.
Magnuson, in the passenger’s seat, didn’t survive the crash. He would have turned 60 this year.
Ramage, 48, the apparent driver, stands charged of impaired driving causing death and dangerous driving causing death.
from the Windsor Star,
In an era of increased specialization, hockey teams employ strength coaches, special teams coaches, goaltending coaches, psychologists and video coaches.
And the Montreal Canadiens have taken the trend one step further by exposing their players to a stickhandling coach.
“You look at the great players and they were all great stickhandlers,” said Sean Skinner, who goes on to recite a litany of greats starting with Maurice Richard and Gordie Howe and continuing through Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux to contemporary stars like Joe Sakic, Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby.
from Pop Jocks,
Garnet “Ace” Bailey was a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Boston Bruins in 1968 and 1970. He ended his hockey career mentoring a young star with the Edmonton Oilers of the World Hockey Association named Wayne Gretzky. It was on September 11th, 2001 that the National Hockey League lost a loyal servant.
Mark Bavis was a scout with the Los Angeles Kings working under Ace Bailey in the organization. Both Bavis and Bailey were traveling from Boston to Los Angeles for training camp when Flight 275 crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
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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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