Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Kevin Allen at USA TODAY,
The NHL’s Eastern Conference has become a landscape of equal opportunity for teams looking to reach the Stanley Cup Finals this season.
Whether you have a hole on defense, or a slug in your top six forwards, you have reason to believe you have a chance. If you had chosen a committee to shuffle players from roster to roster to make every team equal, you could not have created as much parity as we now have in the Eastern Conference after this summer’s wheeling and dealing.
from Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star,
At day’s end, any distaste Bettman might still have for Balsillie would probably be trumped by the Research In Motion co-founder’s ability to help bail out a struggling team. Say, the Atlanta Thrashers.
The Thrashers aren’t going anywhere as things now stand. But that’s largely because the team’s eight owners are in court fighting for control of the NHL franchise and its basketball cousin, the NBA’s Hawks.
Sports finance experts say whoever emerges with the team may well look to sell and/or move the Thrashers.
That’s because Atlanta has failed to impress as an NHL market. “Forget about hockey,” one sports business source says.
from the Mercury News,
“This is becoming a destination place,” Thornton said. “Word of mouth spreads like wildfire in this league, and guys love playing here. People believe you can win playing on this team, and it’s got a chance to keep going and going.”
The summer contracts - worth nearly $75 million - were an indication that General Manager Doug Wilson believes this nucleus can overcome its playoff failures and break through to claim a Stanley Cup. Yet it also appears to have been relatively easy to convince Marleau, Thornton and Michalek that they didn’t need to test the free-agent waters - even with the lure of more money elsewhere.
“For me it was a no-brainer signing an extension,” Thornton said. “Where else would I go that’s better than here?”
Thursday night marked the first game of the 2007 pre-season. the L.A. Kings defeating the Anaheim Ducks, 5-4.
Both teams’ starting goalies (Dan Cloutier and Ilya Bryzgalov) were pulled in the second period, between them letting in 7 goals on 28 shots. (So… NHL hockey is back, but—I dare say—great NHL hockey might take a while.)
More at Slam! Sports.
I didn’t know Bob Hartley was into fashion design, but I do like the Stanley Cup ‘I’.
Ben Wright at Blueland Blog explains more and some sweater talk too…
Today was the first chance for most of the guys to try on the new jerseys and the vast majority of the comments were positive. The one complaint that was voiced by three different players was that they’re hard to grab on to. They’re tighter than the old uniforms and the material is a bit on the slippery side, especially if your hands are sweaty.
A blog at Canada.com called offside needs to know the games in London are part of the regular season schedule…
London won’t be a sellout
How do you make an NHL preseason game matter even less than it does in the first place? Set one up in a market that has little to no knowledge or interest in the sport whatsoever.
On top of that, charge ticket prices that would make Sir Richard Branson flinch.
Well, maybe not Branson, but you’d think twice about rushing out to get in line.
Also, I thought all the reports were the games were sold-out.
fromm David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The NHL’s board of governors will hold their annual fall meeting Tuesday in Chicago and reporters usually give this one a pass. But this time there is a lineup of sexy topics on the agenda, so yours truly and a few others will be hanging around the govs’ airport hotel.
First on the list is expansion, but it’s thought the governors will not be talking about run-of-the-mill Kansas City or Las Vegas plans. Rather, they will be discussing long-range plans for a European division. Many around the NHL believe this will come to pass within six or seven years, and holding the official season-opener in London at the end of the month is part of the plan.
from the Rocky Mountain News,
Now that he’s a member of the Avalanche, having signed a five-year, $31.25 million contract on July 1, Smyth can set his sights on other targets.
“Well, hopefully I can be an Oiler killer,” Smyth said Thursday after undergoing medical and physical tests at the Pepsi Center, the first official day of training camp. “Some teams you play well against, some teams you don’t. I don’t know about impressions. You go out and play and perform and you try to do it every night, but it just so happened to work out against these guys.”
from the Globe and Mail,
“I know a lot of people have us down and out and not making the playoffs, but it comes from within, from chemistry, and hopefully the young guys will find that early and ride it the rest of the year,” Higgins said Thursday as the Canadiens reported for training camp at the Bell Centre.
“Youthful energy is going to be a big part of the team.”
Higgins even found a theme for the Canadiens season — hunger.
“The main word for this year is hunger,” he said. “Guys have to want it.
The Buffalo Sabres have announced that defenseman Teppo Numminen will have heart surgery.
Numminen learned of new complications Monday when undergoing a routine examination at the Cleveland Clinic prior to the start of training camp. The Sabres say it’s too early to tell if the surgery is career or season threatening.
General Manager Darcy Regier told reporters he’s still learning details of the situation, but did say the surgery Numminen needs is more extensive than two previous procedures he’s undergone to deal with an irregular heartbeat.
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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