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The Latest On The CHL Union Battle

from Rick Westhead of TSN,

The Canadian Hockey League's top official is fighting back against Canada's largest private sector union, which says it wants to improve working conditions for the 1,300 mostly teenaged hockey players who compete in the country's three major junior leagues.

Unifor, which represents workers in industries such as the auto and media sectors, is trying to convince the Ontario government to organize a task force to examine the junior-hockey industry.

David Branch, president of the Ontario Hockey League, has sent a series of emails to OHL players and their parents over the past few weeks to thwart Unifor's efforts.

In three emails obtained by TSN, Branch advises players that they do not have to sign union cards, are not required to attend any non-team off-site meetings, and can refuse requests from third parties for their personal information.

continued

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chl

All Ben Bishop

from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,

Do you feel the fact that you were a Vezina Trophy finalist last season means you're a proven goalie in the NHL, or are you still of the mindset that you have to prove yourself the way you've had to your entire career?

"I think I proved to myself and other players that I can play at that level, but I think every year you're trying to go out and prove yourself. You're never going to be satisfied with the past year, you're always trying to build on it. I'm going to approach the year the same way, the way I have the last three years at least. I'm going to go in, win the job out of training camp. You always have people competing for jobs. When I was in St. Louis I was trying to take people's jobs and make the team. You always have that competition. So I have to go into camp the same way I have been doing the last couple of years. I'm not going to change anything. I'm not going to try to do anything different."

But can you treat this training camp the same way when it's obviously different for you to know that you're heading into the season as the unquestioned No. 1 goalie on a team expected to win? This is a first for you.

"Yeah, I mean, if you word it like that it's a first, but personally the way I prepare and the way I play, there hasn't been a change from when I was a backup, or when I was able to start in Ottawa for a month, or last year when I was a starter for the season. You still approach every game the same way. Whatever is going on around you as far as expectations, where you are in the standings, if you're first or last, who you're playing against, I still approach the game the same way. There is nothing different. It's the same routine and preparation no matter where I am, if I am a backup in Ottawa or a starter last year. So I don't see there really being any difference going into this season. I think the experience last year will help me even more this year."

three more questions...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ben+bishop

Blues Happy To Have Paul Stastny

from Louie Korac at NHL.com,

"You don't see him really doing the flashy things or anything like that, but playing with him at the [Winter] Olympics, he makes every part of the game so much easier on his linemates," forward T.J. Oshie said of Stastny. "... He makes the game easier, he makes it more simple and everything's more clear on the ice."

General manager Doug Armstrong got the blessing from team leaders, including captain David Backes and alternate Alexander Steen, to go out and acquire a top-notch player regardless of the cost. If Stastny, who is the highest-paid player on the team, can push the Blues over the edge, then the investment will be more than worth it.

"I think it's a respect for an older, veteran player in 'Steener' and myself knowing that the free-agent market was one where you were going to have to pay a premium for a great player," said Backes, who played with Stastny on the United States team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. "There was no hesitation on both parts to say, 'Absolutely, bring a guy like that in.' We're only going to be better for it. Ultimately, we're here to win. We're here to win games. We want to win a championship, and he's going to help us do that.

more

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Avs Feel Like They Are Closing The Gap In The West

from Mike Chambers of the Denver Post,

Less than a month shy of its preseason opener, the Avalanche is feeling stronger than it was a year ago. The toughness and depth gaps between the Avs and the Los Angeles Kings, defending Stanley Cup champions, along with the Western Conference giant Anaheim Ducks, seem to have diminished.

Executive vice president of hockey operations Joe Sakic, defensive assistant coach Adam Foote and newly signed right winger Jarome Iginla recently spoke about the improvements while trying to maintain their excitement about defending their Central Division title and making another step in the playoffs.

"Last year we were dealing with trying to win back the trust within the community and belief in the team, and this year is a different challenge," Sakic said. "We did so well last year, but (now) it's to improve and get to the next step, and obviously the next step is not to just make the playoffs — it's to improve in the playoffs."

continued

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Questions Facing The Vancouver Canucks

from Kevin Woodley at NHL.com,

Can Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin be elite scorers again? -- The Sedins were so determined to prove they could be good defensively last season, and so irked by the belief their best offensive seasons were simply a product of starting so many shifts in the offensive zone, they sacrificed much of the scoring the Canucks long relied on them to provide.
"That was a little bit interesting, but it comes from just how proud they are to play defense," coach Willie Desjardins said of offseason meetings with the Sedins. "They have no problems blocking shots or playing against the other team's top line. It's not like, 'Oh, I don't do that.' They want to prove they can play in big situations defensively. They cherish those roles."

Last season, the twins embraced coach John Tortorella's request to kill penalties and play more minutes in the defensive zone, and for a while they managed to stay near a point-per-game pace offensively. But as injuries and those harder minutes appeared to catch up with them, their offense disappeared.

Henrik had 10 points in his final 24 games,...

Which Ryan Miller did the Canucks get? -- Vancouver is counting on Miller playing like he did for the Buffalo Sabres to start last season, when he had a .923 save percentage, earned a spot on the U.S. team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and became the hottest trade commodity in goal.
After signing him to a three-year, $18 million contract, the Canucks can't afford to have Miller perform like he did after a trade to the St. Louis Blues, where he finished with a .903 save percentage in 19 regular-season games and .897 after being knocked out of the playoffs in six games by the Chicago Blackhawks.

There are questions how Miller's aggressive style will fit with goaltending coach Roland Melanson's more passive preferences....

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Pittsburgh Penguins Head Coach Mike Johnston Wants To “Lessen The Load” On Sidney Crosby

from Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

Johnston talked with Crosby in Pittsburgh, and then again in Nova Scotia — Johnston is from Dartmouth, Crosby from Cole Harbour — and was impressed with how Crosby handles himself off the ice.

“Look, if you want to have a leader in sports, the first thing I think the leader has to do is set an example,” Johnston said. “He sets a great example.

“You don't ever question his work ethic. You don't ever question his commitment. For a guy his age coming into the NHL and carrying the load that he's carried, I believe he's done a phenomenal job.

“Do we have to lessen the load? Yes.”

Johnston pointed to the importance of veteran leaders such as forwards Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis and Craig Adams, as well as defenseman Paul Martin.

Another key part will be letting fellow franchise center Evgeni Malkin and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury be themselves.

“We just have to lean on those guys' ability to lead,” Johnston said. “And the guys with the Fleury- and Malkin-type energy and humor, let them balance the group out a little bit.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+johnston

Marcel Dionne Enjoyed Playing When He Did, Even Though The Financial Picture Was Different

from Katie Strang of ESPN,

Dionne, who amassed 1,771 points over the course of his 18-year NHL career, said he enjoyed his time playing, even if the financial landscape was such a contrast from the multimillion-dollar mega-deals players are signing now.

“When we played, it was for thousands of dollars; now it’s for millions of dollars,” Dionne said.

He holds no hostility toward current NHL players despite that disparity in pay, however. Dionne said he’s adapted to the game and its changing salary structure.

He credits the NHLPA with the help it has given former players, but said that some of his contemporaries still can’t get their mind around what the top players are making these days. Explaining why P.K. Subban deserves to be making $9 million on average per year isn’t always easy, but Dionne is content with the livelihood he earned during his playing days.

“Some guys don’t understand and think the game owes them something,” Dionne explained. “The game owes me nothing. It’s not what you make, it’s what you do with your money.”

the story is actually about the LA Kings so read more if interested...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marcel+dionne

Joe Kocur Foundation For Children 6th Annual Softball Game

Over the weekend the 6th Annual Softball game to benefit the Joe Kocur Foundation for Children took place north of Detroit, Mich. Celebrities including NHL, NFL and MLB alumni along with radio and television personalities including: Joe Kocur, Darren McCarty, Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper (yes all of the members of the grindlines), Eric Hipple, Dino Ciccarelli, WRIF’s Meltdown, and Amy Andrews from Fox 2, hit the field for the all-day event to raise money for charity.

The Joe Kocur Foundation For Children was created in 2009 with a mission to assist needy families and charities with local events that allow interaction within the communities themselves. Just a few of the organizations that have benefited from the foundation over the years include: FAR Conservatory, The Huron Valley Special Olympics, Orchard Children’s Service, and The Wings of Mercy.  Along with the yearly softball event the Foundation also held a benefit for the family of Officer Patrick O’Rourke (West Bloomfield, Mich. Police Officer killed in the line of duty) in which $150,000 was raised.

The yearly softball event is more than just softball, it is a great day-long event for the entire family while helping those in the community.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Ottawa Senators Sign Craig Anderson To A Three-Year Extension

 

added 9:56am, Press release is below...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Joshua Ho-Sang Getting The P.K. Subban Treatment From Hockey Canada

from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,

Anyone who has followed the P.K. Subban saga from the beginning is suffering a little déja voodoo these days.

You know the story: exciting, charismatic, talented young hockey player is deemed a little too cocky by the hockey establishment, which is determined to take him down a peg or two.

The player falls into the category they call “visible minority,” although no one really knows what an “invisible minority” would be. He runs his mouth a little too much for the powers that be. His stock falls well below his talent level in the draft.

Then he isn’t issued an invitation to the world junior training camp by Hockey Canada, the ultimate hockey establishment.

Apart from that last bit, Joshua Ho-Sang’s story is P.K. Subban all over again. Brash young star rubs hockey people the wrong way despite his talent.

continued

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: hockey+canada, joshua+ho-sang

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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