Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
Here’s a look at some players, coaches, teams and managers who might be making headlines this season:
Our pick for best defenseman (Norris Trophy)
With Scott Niedermayer on the fence somewhere between Fernie, British Columbia, and retirement, the door once again swings wide open for Nicklas Lidstrom, who has managed to win five of the last six awarded. Chris Pronger may give chase in Anaheim, but this is Lidstrom’s trophy to lose.
Our pick for best goaltender (Vezina Trophy)
This one represents a changing of the guard as far as we’re concerned. Yes, Martin Brodeur will be in the mix as will Roberto Luongo, but watch for Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers to earn his first Vezina after being nominated in each of his first two NHL seasons.
from Pat Hickey at the Montreal Gazette,
Alex Kovalev said yesterday there’s no reason his younger linemates should feel intimidated.
“I’ve told them to play their games and not to worry about me,” said Kovalev, who will be playing with Andrei Kostitsyn and Mikhail Grabovski when the Canadiens face the Carolina Hurricanes tonight.
Last season, Tomas Plekanec said he was uncomfortable playing between Kovalev and Sergei Samsonov. But Kovalev said yesterday that he is heeding general manager Bob Gainey’s advice and helping the youngsters.
from the Sun-Sentinel,
The wife of NHL Hall of Famer and former New York Rangers coach and general manager Emile “The Cat” Francis has been found unharmed at a hotel after he reported she was missing.
If you can catch ESPN Classic today, you have some great games to watch.
All times are ET.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
“When Doug Weight left I asked him who he thought should replace him as captain and he said Jason Smith,” said Oilers’ coach Craig MacTavish.
“I asked Jason, when he left, and he said Ethan Moreau.”
While MacTavish threw out some teasers about maybe having rotating captains and suggesting he was going to be very open-minded about the whole deal, he knew who his captain was going to be.
“It was a little bit of a no-brainer.”
from Phil Sheridan of Philly News,
John Stevens had as grim a task as any Philadelphia coach in recent memory, taking over a doomed team after the stunning dismissal of Hitchcock. Stevens handled himself well, establishing his expectations for players and making sure there were consequences when those expectations weren’t met.
But do we know Stevens is a championship-caliber NHL coach? It is no insult to him to answer no to that question. Hitchcock had a pedigree of success and couldn’t get it done with the talent at hand here. Stevens might be the right man for this job. No one knows, including Stevens, Holmgren and the players.
In theory, Biron settles down the goaltender spot. He has a fine career goals against average of 2.55, but that shot up to 3.02 playing behind the Flyers at the end of last season. Niittymaki’s average was 3.38 last year - so the apples-to-apples comparison doesn’t tell us much.
from D.C. Sports Bog,
Brashear’s father had been in real estate, and he always wanted to get involved in that industry, and he’s already thinking about what he’ll do post-hockey. And so he and his buddies formed the company and built two houses-a one-level home and a cottage—this summer in Quebec City. And yes, Brashear was out at the sites, using nail guns and making cuts with electric saws and doing some roofing and lifting trusses and putting in hardwood floors and working on ceramic tiles. You know, the usual offseason stuff.
“It’s my company; I want to show the guys that I can be out there and working,” he told me.
NHL.com went through a bit of a facelift.
Check it out- looking good.
from the Tennessean,
Barry Trotz has a new look. After years of coloring his ever-maturing locks, the Predators coach has traded his bottled brown for au natural.
The look suits the tenured coach, but even now, with his gray shining through, blue is the color that really defines him.
The son of a railroad mechanic and a restaurant employee, Trotz and his blue-collar work ethic have followed an untraditional path to the upper levels of the National Hockey League.
from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,
And then there’s the number that backs everything up: According to Dolan, 93 per cent of the NHL overall revenue (up from 91 per cent before the lockout) is generated by the teams, with only 7 per cent generated by the league.
That’s why the Toronto Maple Leafs are extremely well off, and the Predators are gasping for air. And that’s why, if the local Nashville deal falls through, it’s no real solution to move the team to another non-hockey market such as Kansas City — because it will have to sink or swim right there.
Even in the darkest days in Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa — and Winnipeg and Quebec City — at least that was never an issue.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org