Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Belleville News-Democrat,
Many NHL teams used to rely on an enforcer similar to former St. Louis Blues winger Tony Twist, and some still do. Heavyweights like Georges Laraque of Phoenix and Anaheim's Todd Fedoruk are examples of tough guys who also can play the game. But with the salary cap now a reality, teams are trying to find players whose versatility allows them to do more than pummel someone into submission. "The days of having a one-dimensional heavyweight have passed us," said Blues winger Jamal Mayers, who never shied away from dropping the gloves last season when the situation warranted. "There's very few guys that can skate and perform that role. That's just an organization's decision to have or not have a guy like that."continued
Detroit fans & hockey fans, if you missed the recent interview with Steve Yzerman on "Hockey This Morning" on XM radio- station 204, you just may want to listen (will open mp3 file) to it. Interview is about 17 minutes long, so let it play while reading the rest of KK or browsing the web. Ray Scapinello joined Scott Laughlin and Cam Stewart of "HTM" and is one of the better interview segments I have heard in a long time. Thanks again to the folks at Home Ice, station 204, for providing me with the audio, it is much appreciated.
from the Columbus Dispatch,
The Blue Jackets appear close to reaching contract terms with restricted free agent Nikolai Zherdev. "We've had some good discussions," said Rolland Hedges, Zherdev's agent. "We're prepared to compromise. "If they are as well, I think we'll have a deal." NHL sources indicated a deal could be struck in the next 24 to 48 hours. "We've got real progress, which is good," MacLean said. "We have not agreed to terms. I wouldn't say we're close, necessarily, in a lot of respects. "But I would say the foundation is in place where we could get something done if we keep having productive talks."more Many of you who have been following this know I have stated numerous times Zherdev would be back in Columbus by the start of the season. I have seen this same scenario too many times and 99.9% of them end just like this one will. update 11:52am, via WBNS-10TV,
10TV Sports has learned that the Columbus Blue Jackets have come to terms on a new contract with forward Nikolai Zherdev. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed. The Jackets will be holding a press conference at 12:30 p.m.
AO warmed up this afternoon before throwing out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals game. photo via the AP added 8:06am, Thursday Sept. 28th, Off Wing Opinion has more on this...
from Fox Sports,
The Canadeins have questions in every major category that need to be answered this coming season. Does Alex Kovalev still have enough gas in his 33-year old tank to be a top-flight producer in the NHL? Will the acquisitions of Sergei Samsonov and Mike Johnson add a significant boost to the Habs' offense this year? With Francis Bouillon out of the lineup, will Mike Komisarek come into his own as an NHL defender? Will Sheldon Souray improve on his team-worst minus-11 from last season? Where they'll finish Division: 3rd Conference: 7thmore
Alexander Ovechkin participated in a tele-conference today....
Q. Why do European players like the bigger curve? ALEX OVECHKIN: I don't know. Maybe for shot. Maybe it's different controlling the puck, I don't know. For me, it's more the shot. If I have bigger curve, I can shoot faster, you know, faster and stronger. Q. Can you describe your first fight with Mike Richards. ALEX OVECHKIN: Well, it was normal thing for NHL. It was my second fight. I don't like to fight actually. I don't know how I fight. I don't know, for me, lose or win, for me it doesn't matter. I just try to protect my partners. It's a normal thing. Q. Is it difficult for you in that you do not have an established National Hockey League center to play with in Washington, say a center who has played in the League for five years or 10 years or anything like that? ALEX OVECHKIN: We have very good center, Dainius Zubrus. Last year we played together, we know our game. He knows me, I know him. If I have the puck, I know where he is when we go to the attac k zone. If he's yelling, I know where his stick is. The same situation when he has the puck. He knows where my stick is always. We understand each other.
Doug MacLean on his radio show today stated he is hoping Zherdev will be in the Columbus lineup by October 6th. When asked by a caller what is the percentage- 60%, 70%, 100% that he would sign with Columbus, MacLean asked the caller what did he want to hear- The caller said 100% and MacLean said. "I think you may be right, at least I hope you are."
from Scott Biurnside of ESPN,
Once upon a time in the "old" NHL, coaches routinely came into their offices, picked up a dog-eared manuscript left by their predecessors called "The Trap And How To Use It," and away they went. Game on.... he coach not only has to understand the new enforcement standards and how to implement that system but also has to be able to teach that to his players, Burke said. That's the kind of teaching that doesn't come from that well-worn "trap" book now being used to prop up the stick rack in many an NHL rink.read on
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The Answerman returns to ponder all matters contractual, including this week's most discussed topic - the penalty for exceeding the NHL's salary cap, if a team were of a mind to do so. Q: All summer long, I saw one team after another dole out generous, long-term contracts to the same players they went to war with less than 18 months before — mostly over money, as I recall. With all those dollars being tossed around, surely a handful of clubs will be hard-pressed to shoehorn their 23-man line-ups under the new $44 million salary cap, right? A: No question about it and the poster boys for the new profligacy are the New Jersey Devils, one of the teams that operated most efficiently under the old CBA. Currently, the Devils have salary-cap commitments that already exceed the $44 million limit and still have a trio of key contributors (Brian Gionta, David Hale and Paul Martin) to get under contract.continued
The officials' training camp schedule is packed and the focus is on getting physically and mentally ready for a grueling season. Fitness tests and a hockey tournament, where each official officiates a game, are two ways the officials shake off the summer rust. The camp also has a slew of team bonding activities planned that are designed to get a diverse, hundred-strong group of men to work seamlessly together in high-pressure situations for the duration of the season. This year, thanks to the vision of Stephen Walkom, the National Hockey League's Senior Vice President and Director of Officiating, the NHL officials' schedule included a floorball hockey tournament organized by the Ontario Floorball/Unihockey Federation. Floorball is a fast-paced, low contact and skill focused evolution of floor hockey originating from Northern Europe. Played by over 2 million players in 35 countries, floorball is finally making inroads in North America as it is proving to be a great dry-land/off-ice training tool for hockey players.read on
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