Kukla's Korner Hockey
from John Steigerwald at the Observer-Reporter,
At 1 p.m. New Year’s Day, given the choice, of watching two 7-5 teams playing each other in the Papajohns.com Bowl or watching an outdoor hockey game being played in front of 75,000 people in a football stadium, it’s a slam dunk - or maybe an empty netter. I’m watching hockey.
I don’t think there will be many people in Tuscaloosa, Ala., making that same choice, but those people wouldn’t watch the hockey game if it were played on their front porch.
from the East Valley Tribune,
One Winnipeg Sun columnist gleefully reported no Valley media outlets bothered to follow the Coyotes to The Great White North, reminding readers that the AHL’s Manitoba Moose always have two Winnipeg beat writers shadowing the team….
So you’ll excuse the local fifth estate if they skip the 2,000-mile trip to see a practice game featuring a dozen future members of the San Antonio Rampage. Winnipeg is a minor league sports town, so minor sports get major coverage. No surprise there….
We’re keeping the team. Winning will breed interest. So get over it.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Broadcast booths throughout the NHL are chock-a-block full of former players working as colour commentators, but Randy Moller is taking one giant leap for microphone mankind by actually calling the games for the Florida Panthers this season.
Moller, who grew up in Red Deer, was the 11th overall player picked in the ‘81 draft, going to the Quebec Nordiques. The defenceman played more than 800 NHL games, winding up his career in Florida in the mid 90s.
He’s worked as a host and colour guy on the radio games as the Panthers’ VP of broadcasting and will now be the first former player to call games full-time.
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
MacTavish believes the high end of Gagner’s offensive ability is probably much higher than Horcoff’s, and since the team needs offence, they have to give this a serious look.
“We need a dynamic scorer,” said the coach, who had no idea Gagner would be this good this fast when Edmonton drafted him last summer.
“Horc, for all his strengths, is not a 100-point guy in our minds. You need a guy who’s going to be a 90 or a point-a-game guy, at least, in that position. So we’re going to entertain thoughts of looking at somebody else there at times five-on-five.”
from the St. Louis Post-Disptach,
Tkachuk was ecstatic when the Kariya deal fell in place July 1. In six seasons with the Blues, he has had only Pavol Demitra and Bill Guerin as scoring threats on his line.
“All I’ve got to do is get (Kariya) the puck and he’ll make me a better player,” Tkachuk said. “I compare him to a Pavol Demitra ... a give-and-go kind of style, which I like. He’s got unbelievable speed, unbelievable hands. Doing those 2-on-1s, he’s always moving. He’ll definitely help me.”
Kariya, who has one goal and four assists in the preseason, said the duo is developing chemistry “right away. Keith is an unbelievable hockey player. He does so many things well. He loves to play that give-and-go style of game, and that’s a game I love to play, too, so I think it’s going to be pretty quick in terms of the chemistry.”
from the Sun-Sentinel,
Jokinen was just 24 when then-coach Mike Keenan made him the Panthers’ captain in 2003. Some wondered whether the easygoing center from Finland was equipped to be a leader. Some still do. Teammates and former teammates say he’s a good one.
But there’s also a perception that he’s a poor — or perhaps incapable — captain. One of the most beloved players in franchise history, retired goalie John Vanbiesbrouck, criticized Jokinen’s leadership abilities on a radio show in July.
“He doesn’t know how to bring people together,” said Vanbiesbrouck, who insinuated Jokinen’s leadership suffers when he tries to be more vocal.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
As the Vancouver Canuck players prepare for the oncoming season, one of the last things on their mind is union politics, and rightfully so.
But over the next few months they’d better start to get serious because they’ll be voting on a new leader or leaders and that decision is going to be absolutely critical to their long-term interests.
from Scott M. Reid at the OC Register,
As the Ducks and Kings prepare to open the 2007-08 National Hockey League season Saturday in London, coaches, current and former players and doctors who treat them maintain the NHL’s failure to deter headshots and escalation in dangerous play in recent years has placed the league and its players on a potentially catastrophic course.
“Is it going to take a death to make the NHL see the problem?” said Dr. Charles Tator, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Toronto, who has treated NHL players with concussions.
from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
The Penguins agree, pretty much to a man, that the high-tech sweaters they will be wearing this season are lighter and more comfortable than the ones they replaced.
They also concur that the new sweaters are extremely effective at repelling moisture, exactly as planned.
Trouble is, quite a few have concluded that is not necessarily a good thing….
“[The sweaters] don’t soak anything in, which I guess is what they wanted,” Recchi said. “But the problem is, it goes through all of your equipment. It goes into your gloves, goes into your skates.”
And eventually saturates the leather in both, leaving the players feeling as if their hands and feet are immersed in liquid. Perhaps because, at least in some cases, they are.
from the NY Post,
It’s way too early, but it has already started. Even Tom Renney jumped in, breaking them up briefly. In their first exhibition game together, Scott Gomez and Jaromir Jagr did nothing to dismiss the idea that one puck isn’t enough for the two of them….
Meshing players whose game depends first on skill is always more difficult than throwing together a line of diggers, grinders and hard-drivers, and Jagr and Gomez are still looking for an intuitive understanding even in practice. Those who play with Gomez must learn that the puck is coming when they least expect it.
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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.
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