Kukla's Korner Hockey
If you think being a professional hockey player is hard, then you should learn about what Avalanche forward Danny Briere’s girlfriend does. Capt. Misha Harrell is a flight surgeon in the US Air Force and she has seen real battlefield action.
Christine Simpson with the feature...
from Rick Westhead of TSN,
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman should be forced to be deposed about matters relating to the NHL concussions lawsuit within the next three months, lawyers for a group of former players wrote in a legal filing.
Lawyers for the former players wrote to the NHL on February 23 asking to set up a time and location to depose Bettman.
Three days later, a lawyer for the NHL replied, saying that the league was refusing the request because of a so-called "apex doctrine." That legal doctrine gives the league the ability to refuse the deposition request if the information Bettman might offer could also be obtained through other means, the league's lawyer wrote, adding that without the doctrine, "high level executives would be 'vulnerable to numerous, repetitive, harassing, and abusive depositions.'"
In newly filed court documents obtained by TSN, lawyers for the former players write that the NHL has been stonewalling their effort to obtain information. They want Bettman deposed by July 1.
A group of former NHL players including Joe Murphy, Bernie Nicholls and Gary Leeman charge that the NHL did not do enough to protect them from head injuries before it created a committee to study head trauma in 1997. Even after that, the players charge the committee's findings were not adequately shared with players.
2 1/2 minutes of highlights from the NHL games last night....
Jason Spencer of the Brampton Guardian reports on a talk Ken Dryden recently gave.
Most of it was non-hockey related except for this...
Seeing as Dryden was president of the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1997-2003, Benmergui couldn't help but ask right out of the gate about the flailing hockey club.
Dryden suspects the continual poor play is a result of the club being haunted by former team owner Harold Ballard, describing him as an "irascible" and "provocative" character.
"When things weren't going well, his way of dealing with it was bravado. When the Leafs would lose, instead of sounding a little bit contrite or determined or something his way would be to kind of laugh at the bad news and say, 'Ah, it doesn't matter, I still go to the bank every day,'" said Dryden, 67.
"(Ballard) had this public persona that really stayed with the Leafs and stays with them to this day of where, that when you get down to the crunch moment, and it's an extra point in the standings or an extra dollar in the bank, that you go for the extra dollar in the bank."
He added that the public comes to resent the message about money over championships.
Same Page, Sarah Kwak and Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated discuss a few hockey topics...
Losing three of their past four games has pretty much put the kibosh on the Sharks’ playoff hopes. Following on the heels of several years of postseason frustration, you have to think change is coming to San Jose. Which shoe drops first?
KWAK: Change must come in San Jose, but the Sharks have been parroting that line for the last two years and so far, nothing. So I don’t know if change is coming. If it does, it’ll be GM Doug Wilson because he’s the one who has promised change and then not delivered.
PAGE: Wilson has to go first, right? It’s the order in which these things usually go, and he’s the instigator of the team’s recent dysfunction. It will then fall to the new GM to decide what to do with Todd McLellan and Joe Thornton, though it’s hard to imagine that either will be back with the Sharks next year.
MUIR: Thornton’s not going anywhere. They’ve stripped the C off his sweater, they embarrassed him in public and he doesn’t care (which really speaks to the bigger issue with Jumbo Joe, but that’s not the point of debate here). He’s happy in San Jose and he wants to stay. And with two years left on his contract and full no-movement protection, you can bet that’s exactly what he’s going to do. McLellan and Wilson, though? I think this is it for both of them. Not to wish ill on either man, but this organization needs fresh thinking before it considers a roster overhaul.
from Adam Kimelman of NHL.com,
Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Kimmo Timonen was in the midst of his first press gathering in Philadelphia since the Philadelphia Flyers traded him Feb. 27.
After eight years as a member of the Flyers, Timonen was asked how the crowd would react for his return to Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday.
Timonen, the stoic 40-year-old Finn, took several beats to gather himself as the memories of the past washed over him.
"I only have good memories here," he finally said. "I'm sure it's going to be good. All the things that happened here. ... I'm happy to be here."
"That guy is such a great human being off the ice, on the ice," Flyers forward Jakub Voracek said. "It's a really good example for me. I was 21, 22 when I got here. He showed me the way, how to be a better person and how to be a better hockey player. That guy's a pro every single way. ... I'm very happy for him that he's got a chance to battle for a Stanley Cup because he really deserves it."
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
So much time has been spent this season talking about the treasures that await the league's last-place team that you start to think in rainbow terms.
A handful of truly awful teams following that brightly colored arc down, down, down the standings with the hope that what lies at the bottom, the very bottom, is a pot of gold and a ticket up.
Certainly that's how great the promise of Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel is, with the duo poised to go first and second in June's draft in South Florida.
But among those teams lurching their way to the bottom as the season heads into its final two weeks is a team that is living proof that finding the "treasure" at the end of the arc guarantees nothing.
The Edmonton Oilers are once again among the worst teams in the league, despite a stretch dating back to 2009 that saw them pick first overall in the draft three times in a row (2010-12, only the second time in the history of the draft that happened), and pick third, seventh and 10th overall since then.
The Oilers have defied the odds by failing to turn such a treasure trove of picks into anything remotely resembling a playoff team, let alone a championship contender.
"By every measure, they seem to be failing," said longtime NHL executive Frank Provenzano, also a frequent contributor to ESPN's hockey coverage. "You shouldn't be picking that high and be that bad.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The July 1 unrestricted free agent player pool this year leaves you quite cold, but luckily there should be action behind the bench that livens up the NHL offseason like rarely before.
This has the potential to be, quite frankly, one of the most intriguing and dramatic offseasons in the NHL coaching world in quite some time....
The question is whether Babcock has seen enough of the impressive next-generation core of the Red Wings this season and whether that’s enough to convince him to stay, albeit for less money than what he could make in a place like Toronto. Or Philadelphia? Or Buffalo? Or elsewhere?
The Wings will make a very good offer. His decision, either way, will have a domino effect.
The Boston Bruins are sitting out of a playoff spot as we write this and that can’t be good for head coach Claude Julien, at least if you go by the veiled hints made this season by the owner’s son Charlie Jacobs and team president Cam Neely. It seems crazy to me that Julien, one of the game’s most respected coaches and the guy who guided the Bruins to 2011 glory, could be fired. But that’s the feeling you get from the vibes coming out of Boston. And if he hits the market, holy moly, that’s another huge fish.
Media in Philadelphia over the past few days have deliberated at Craig Berube’s future as coach of the Philadelphia Flyers and speculated that he might be in danger of being fired. General manager Ron Hextall, after all, hasn’t had the chance to hire his own coach yet. The Flyers’ job would be a plum opening for sure, the kind of big-market job most coaches salivate over.
Which brings us to Toronto, of course, where the Maple Leafs will need a new head coach. Whether it’s Babcock or potentially McLellan or whomever, it’s doubtful it won’t be a marquis name. But the next Leafs coach also will know when he signs on the dotted line that there’s a long-term rebuild that he’s going to have to weather.
Does Dave Tippett stay with the Arizona Coyotes? He’s under contract for three more seasons and loves it in the Phoenix area where he’s built a home, but I don’t think he’s interested in a long, long rebuild.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Winnipeg has passed the Avalanche because the Jets have size and physicality to go with their skill players, even if MacKinnon, Landeskog, Duchene likely have a higher offensive pedigree than Winnipeg’s stars up front.
It’s not all about scoring. As Colorado learned this season, sometimes it’s about surviving with whatever lineup is left come game time. And just because you win one season, it doesn’t guarantee a damned thing next October.
“We all fall in it. The coaching staff and the players,” Roy said. “A lot of things came pretty fast. You have a tendency to think it’s going to be easier. Then you’re not as sharp when you come to camp. Then you start behind.
“I think the thing that I learned the most is, you always have to adapt to you group,” said Roy. “You have to deal with this. You have to learn to adapt to your team.”
Lesson learned. Too late, mind you, but with this lineup, the Avs will be back.
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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