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The St. Louis Blues As The Season Approaches

from Louie Korac at NHL.com,

When the St. Louis Blues were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the first round for the third consecutive season, there wasn't a doubt there would be change. The question was, when would it happen?

Blues fans were expecting a massive overhaul after losing to the Minnesota Wild in six games, with questions about the core leadership group and how many of them would return. Coach Ken Hitchcock's contract expired June 30, and there was question whether he would return for a fifth season.

The reigning Central Division champions shuffled the deck to an extent, with the most notable offseason move coming in a trade. The Blues traded popular forward T.J. Oshie to the Washington Capitals for a package that included right wing Troy Brouwer.

continued

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Red Army Documentary May Not Be Patriotic Enough For Some In Russia

from Vladimir Kozlov of The Hollywood Reporter,

The upcoming release of the U.S.-Russian hockey documentary Red Army has stirred controversy in Russia as some theaters turned it down, apparently unhappy with the way it portrays the Soviet Union.

Around 10 theaters refused to screen Red Army and claimed it was not "patriotic," said the film's Russian distributor Arthouse.

"The film was made by American director Gabe Polsky, which in many ways explains the attitude of many Russians toward the film," Abigail Honor, сo-founder and CEO of Arthouse's U.S.-based parent company Lorem Ipsum Corp., told The Hollywood Reporter. "They see the film as celebrating the negative American view of Russia in a time when the relationship between the two countries is so strained."

continue for a bit more...

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Watching The Slava Voynov Case

from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,

Voynov remains suspended by both the Kings and the NHL and there is no timetable for a final decision on his potential return to action. That’s a problem. But it’s not one the league seems in a hurry to address.

“Once he is released, his status as a suspended player will not change until we have had an adequate opportunity to review the matter and conclude our process,” (Bill) Daly wrote. “There is no precise or projected timeline for that.”

It’s hard to imagine at this point what the NHL is waiting on aside, perhaps, from the opportunity to meet with Voynov face-to-face. It’s been nearly a year since he was arrested in October and the league’s investigation into the incident has been “ongoing” throughout....

This is virgin territory for the league, and taking careful, considered steps is understandable. But nearly a year on, it’s time to set a standard.

Hopefully, it won’t be needed as a reference anytime soon.

more

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  Tags: slava+voynov

The Data Man For The Carolina Hurricanes

from Michael Smith of CarolinaHurricanes.com,

In the corner of a shared office on the fourth floor of PNC Arena, you’ll find a small desk with enough surface area to house a laptop and an extra screen, a keyboard, a mouse and a pair of books about statistical analysis. It’s the unassuming – and temporary, as a much more appropriately sized desk is en route – home to one of the more incredibly bright and insightful minds in the hockey analytics community: Eric Tulsky.

Tulsky recently joined the Carolina Hurricanes full-time as a hockey analyst, a role in which he will provide and analyze data to assist the hockey operations department and coaching staff.

“In a really broad, general level, my job is to make use of any data we can get and figure out how we can use it to improve our decision making,” he said. “On a daily basis, my job is to collect, assemble and analyze that information to provide useful input to people.”

continued

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The Most Important Player For The Pittsburgh Penguins Is Kris Letang

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

Let’s start with this: For our money, Sidney Crosby is still one of the top two or three best hockey players, if not the best player on the planet. That is a given. And it will not shock us at all that if Crosby wins another scoring title playing with Phil Kessel.

But if the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team strangely adrift since back-to-back trips to the Stanley Cup finals in 2008 and 2009, are going to get back to relevance -- never mind seriously contending for a championship -- then the key is the blue line. And the blue line begins and ends right now with Kris Letang.

For most of last season, Letang and the now departed Paul Martin were the top pairing on a defense that for most of the season was a top six or seven team in goals allowed per game. A late-season swoon that coincided with injuries to their top defensemen saw the Pens finish 10th in goals allowed per game. All in all, not too shabby. Still, the Penguins were ousted in five games in the first round by the New York Rangers, losing all four games by a 2-1 count.

continued

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  Tags: kris+letang

Team Russia Fined For The Snub OF Canada At The World Championship

Converting the Swiss Franc to US Dollars would make the fine $85,000.

from IIHF.com,

The Ice Hockey Federation of Russia was fined CHF 80,000 due to an incident that occurred following the end of the gold medal game of the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in the Czech Republic.

The Russian national team and staff left the ice during the medal ceremony after Canada had won the gold medal game 6-1 and received the medals, but before the national anthem had been played and the flags of the three medal-winning teams were raised.

Supported by video footage of the ceremony, the Deciding Panel of the IIHF Disciplinary Board ascertained that the Russian team captain had discussions with team staff members, after which he talked to his teammates, at the same time moving his head towards the open gate; the gate had been open since the start of the ceremony. The majority of the players and the staff members left the ice immediately following the Canadian Players receiving their medals while a few players remained, eventually leaving the ice themselves a little later. 

continued

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  Tags: team+russia

More Pressure From The Columbus Blue Jackets

from Rob Mixer of BlueJackets.com,

A year ago at this time, the word was “faster.”

“We want to play faster,” Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said heading into the 2014-15 campaign. “And we need to play faster.”

It pertained to quicker thinking on the ice, quicker puck decisions and a variety of other factors that enabled the Blue Jackets to dictate the pace of the game and force their opponents to react. After this past season, Richards said he felt the team played faster, but thought they could take it to another level.

This year, he wants his players to think a little differently – he wants them to think about pressure. But not the external brand of pressure.

“We're going to use that word a lot," Richards told BlueJackets.com. "I think if you’re playing hard and pressuring the puck, then you’re playing faster already. When you have the depth that we have here, you should play with more pressure and play a faster game because you’re able to get good rest in between shifts, and that allows you to maintain a high level of play and a high level of speed in your team game.

“We’ve got great depth right now. This will be my fifth year in the organization, and I don’t remember ever having this type of depth. It’s a credit to the team and everyone upstairs, as far as drafting, restocking the cupboards with some young talent.”

continued

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Status Quo For The Nashville Predators

from Robby Stanley at NHL.com,

Nashville added center Cody Hodgson and forward Steve Moses, whose 36 goals led the Kontinental Hockey League last season. Hodgson and Moses likely will start the season on the third line, which did not produce much offense last season. Young forwards Kevin Fiala and Austin Watson will have a chance to make the roster and compete for spots on the third or fourth lines.

Nashville's core remains the same. Weber and Josi will eat up a lot of minutes on defense; Forsberg and James Neal (23 goals in 67 games) will be the two main scoring options; and Rinne should play 60-65 games.

Secondary scoring will be key; forwards Colin Wilson (20 goals, 22 assists) and Craig Smith (23 goals, 21 assists) were productive on the second line. Each signed a long-term contract in July (Wilson, four years, $15.75 million; Smith, five years, $21.25 million).

"We improved the team, first of all, by keeping the team together," Poile said. "There has been so many changes in the last couple years, including leading into last year. I think we needed a little bit more stability than we've had the previous years. The previous years, we didn't win, we didn't make the playoffs, [and] we needed to make some changes."

more

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Christian Ehrhoff Agrees To A One-Year Deal With The Los Angeles Kings

added 1:21pm,

 

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  Tags: christian+ehrhoff

Being Sidney Crosby

from Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

Troy and Trina Crosby sat side-by-side on the same blue couch they've owned for more than a decade. Cards celebrating their son's recent birthday were displayed on the mantle. Photos of their hockey-playing children framed the room.

Now an empty nester and looking every bit the part in capri lounge pants, bare feet and a pair of glasses pushed above her forehead, Trina Crosby seemed genuinely surprised she has spent about one-fifth of her life as the mother of an NHL superstar.

“I think for some people it will always be ‘Sid the Kid,' ” she said. “But it doesn't really stick as much as it used to.”

Ten years into his career, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is no longer a kid. He's a mature 28, celebrating his birthday on the final day of his first hockey camp for kids held to much acclaim in his hometown, at his home rink.

Crosby also is the proud owner of college credits for a World War II history course he completed online last season. He's a philanthropist and has started thinking about his legacy outside of hockey, something he hopes to shape through charity and his foundation.

No longer Mario Lemieux's tenant, Crosby is a homeowner twice over, including lakefront property in rural Nova Scotia that he showed off recently to a Trib Total Media reporter and photographer.

Yet Crosby, the NHL's top earner who pulled in about $17 million last season in salary, endorsements and memorabilia, remains most comfortable in sandals or sneakers, athletic gear and a cap.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sidney+crosby

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com

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