Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Jim Gintonio at the Arizona Republic,
And the opening night goalie for the Coyotes is…
“What do they call it in football? The spy game?” joked coach Wayne Gretzky. “It’s top secret. I’m not gonna decide until Wednesday. All three of them have played pretty hard, all three of them have been strong, all three of them really worked hard in practice each and every day. I know who we’re gonna start. I’m just gonna keep it close to the vest until Wednesday.”
The goalie trio: returning backup Mikael Tellqvist and two free agents, David Aebischer and Alex Auld.
from the AP via USA TODAY,
Hundreds of mourners from the world of hockey and sports gathered Monday for funeral services for Wirtz, 77, who died Wednesday of cancer.
Befitting Wirtz’s place in Chicago’s sports landscape, those in attendance included Blackhawks greats such as Stan Mikita and Chris Chelios, as well as NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Chicago Bulls and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, and Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch.
“I came here as a young boy, to Chicago, and to be fathered and grandfathered by Mr. Wirtz was a privilege,” said Darryl Sutter, a former Blackhawks player and coach and one of several former players who recalled Wirtz’s role as a father figure.
From George Richards at the Miami Herald,
Now that the Florida Panthers’ roster is complete, it’s time for them to grow a little closer.
To facilitate this, the team will spend the next three days training at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. While the team will do plenty of work at the Army hockey rink, what coach and general manager Jacques Martin hopes is the most beneficial is the stuff done off the ice.
from Joy Russo at ESPN,
Now, keep in mind that this is the preseason edition, but we’re not factoring in the preseason scores here, folks. They are about as relevant as Megan Fox’s role in “The Transformers” (I know Michael Bay wanted her in it, but she was not in the classic comic). Back to my preseason point: Chicago went 7-1 before the start of last season and we know how well things turned out there.
So, my Optimus bitterness aside, here we go!
1. San Jose Sharks
Yes, they’ve been ousted in the second round of the playoffs for two straight seasons, but is this the season the Sharks turn things around for good? Any team that has Joe Thornton (114 points in 2006-07) has more than a decent chance.
Host Ron MacLean will be welcoming viewers to Hockey Night in Canada for at least the next seven seasons after agreeing to a new contract Monday.
The new deal will run through the 2013-14 campaign, which coincides with the television deal struck by the CBC and National Hockey League in March.
“For millions of Canadians, Ron is the face of CBC Sports, and we are absolutely thrilled to continue our partnership with him for the long term,” Scott Moore, the executive director of CBC Sports, said in a statement.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
The Edmonton Oilers signed 18-year-old centre Sam Gagner to a three-year entry level contract today, and plan on having their first-round draft pick in the opening night lineup Thursday against the San Jose Sharks.
Gagner, whose dad Dave played over 900 NHL games, is the first Oiler first-round choice to make the team in his draft year since another centre, Jason Arnott, in 1993.
“I like the way Sam thinks the game mentally. I don’t know if there was one time in the pre-season where I had to talk to Sam when he came off the ice about where he should be (defensively),” said Oiler coach Craig MacTavish.
“You can tell he’s been well-coached by his dad. That’s invaluable.”
Eric Duhatschek at his Globe & Mail blog discusses the various luminaries attending the Esquire party tomorrow night in Manhattan, launching the new NHL season. The guest list includes a number of notables but also features one notable exception, as well.
NHL luminaries for the Esquire party include the commissioner, Gary Bettman, the deputy commissioner, Bill Daly, plus members of the New York Islanders (Bill Guerin, Mike Comrie), the New Jersey Devils (Patrik Elias) and some as yet-to-be-announced members of the Buffalo Sabres. Curiously, there are no New York Rangers’ players listed as possible attendees, even though the Rangers boast two of the NHL’s most attractive free-agent acquisitions, Scott Gomez and Chris Drury, at least one of whom (Gomez) is an unbelievably great talker.
One wonders if the Rangers’ absenteeism is merely an oversight, or has something to do with that curious decision by Madison Square Garden (MSG) to file a lawsuit against the NHL last Friday for violating antitrust laws and acting like an illegal cartel.
*For more on the MSG lawsuit, see earlier today on KK
The Pittsburgh Penguins own Sidney Crosby participated in an NHL teleconference today. Here are the Q&A’s from the conversation:
Q. Could you comment on the feelings of the prospect of playing your first regular season game as captain of your team on Friday.
SIDNEY CROSBY: I’m looking forward to it. I mean, obviously it’s an honor to be a captain. But playing my first one as captain, I mean, it doesn’t really feel that much different. Like I said, it was an honor, and it still is an honor. But I don’t think my focus or mindset really changes any different than it would be last year or the year before.
Q. You’re a spirited player, play the game with a lot of emotion. Do you think that will change as captain or will you maybe assert yourself more than you do now?
from Red Wings Corner- Babcock on Igor Grigorenko
Grigs not being able to speak English ... “That’s one of the biggest problems. When you’re trying to communicate to him that you’re trying to help him, he just thinks he’s getting demoted. It’s to our benefit when you’ve got a player who could be a real good NHL player, you’ve got to find him. … Now try to explain that to him. You’ve got his agent translating, but any time they’re translating, they’re translating, not you. I’m always a little leery of that.”
“He’s going to play hockey in Grand Rapids. Everyone knows what skate is. Everyone knows what work is. Everyone knows how to ride the bike. It doesn’t matter what language.”
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Ten reasons why his Pittsburgh Penguins will win the Stanley Cup:
10. The father’s son: Shero learned the game from his Stanley Cup-winning father, Fred, whose coaching style was two parts tactics and three parts motivation. “Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion,” the late Fred Shero used to say. “You must first set yourself on fire.” He believed that winning was about heart as much as talent, and he could watch a youngster take two shifts and know whether he had the passion necessary to be a NHL player.
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.
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