Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Nancy MacDonald of MACLEANS,
Miller, in some ways, is an anti-athlete: complex, loquacious, cerebral. He’s an amateur photographer. He reads. He loves playing the guitar. He drives a hybrid. But he also makes pains to establish that he’s no hermit, conscious, perhaps, of his position’s stereotypes: “I’m trying to be a little more social, to be around friends and not be the weird goalie who sits in his house all day and wears the cushions out on his couch,” he’s said.
His loyalties lie with his family, his “pit crew” of core pals, and his wife, television actress Noureen DeWulf.
He spent the summer training and clearing his head. Conscious of the strain that travel exacts on players in the Western Conference, Miller put together an off-season regimen carefully designed to ramp up as the season approached. “Every year, you have to prove yourself,” he says. “You’re not handed a job.”
Although a popular narrative says Miller is fading with age, his numbers tell a different story. He hasn’t posted a save percentage under .915 in six seasons, while topping the league in shots against for the past two. He’s done this almost exclusively while propping up a basement dweller. The truth is, Miller is a difference-maker. And he’s hungrier than ever.
from John Grigg of Sportsnet,
Biggest story line to watch: There’s really only one thing people are waiting to find out: What happens with deposed captains Thornton and Marleau? (That’s right. Did you forget that Marleau wore the “C” from 2004 to ’09?) Will management get its way and be able to move them. And will Wilson and McLellan have the cojones to play their veterans less if it helps make that happen? If they do, San Jose is sunk, because while they’re on the downside, Jumbo Joe and Marsie (or whatever Marleau’s nickname in the room is) are still effective players who’d be top six on just about any team in the league.
A secondary story here is goaltending. If Stalock continues to push Niemi, who will end up the starter?
Finally, is Hertl the real deal? A possible Calder nomination was scuttled by injury last year, but he scored the fifth-most goals in the league per 60 5-on-5 minutes last season. Can the 20-year-old keep that kind of production up?
2014-15 prediction: Anaheim, Dallas, L.A., Minnesota and St. Louis will all be stronger this season, while Chicago remains a standard—that’s six Western teams better than San Jose. You do the math.
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
The hits keep on coming for the Blue Jackets, and the real games haven’t started yet.
Left wing Boone Jenner is expected to miss significant time because of a broken left hand, an injury suffered when he was struck by a puck on Sunday during practice. Jenner will have more tests this week to determine the severity of the break and how much time he will miss, general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said.
The break is below his middle finger, likely the capitate, which can take six to eight weeks to heal.
Jenner’s absence means the Blue Jackets’ entire projected No. 1 forward line is out. Center Ryan Johansen is embroiled in a contract dispute with the club, missing his 12th day of camp today. Right wing Nathan Horton has skated since suffering a back injury while jogging this summer in Florida, but there is no timetable for his return. A source said he hasn’t seen any improvement.
“That’s why we have a second line, a third line and a fourth line,” Kekalainen said. “It’s an opportunity for some of our other guys now.”
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
The Bruins have three preseason games to determine their roster for the Oct. 8 season opener against Philadelphia. Jobs are up for grabs on the third and fourth lines. But re-signing Krug and Smith gives the Bruins a clearer snapshot of how they’ll break camp, both in terms of dollars and roster strength.
They will still move a defenseman, most likely for futures. But once they account for the bonus overage and Marc Savard’s long-term injury exception, they will not have to move big bucks — namely Johnny Boychuk’s $3,366,667 — to get the league’s green light.
This is a good thing. After this season, Boychuk will command an annual salary north of $6 million. This is not money the Bruins are in good position to spend.
But trading Boychuk would not improve the team. He is an experienced and dependable second-pairing defenseman. Because of the pot that awaits, Boychuk will be motivated to play well. The Bruins will benefit from that.
This puts Matt Bartkowski and Adam McQuaid at highest risk to be moved.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Snapshot of a changing NHL: The Rangers and Devils are lined up for the Sept. 22 preseason opener at the Garden, New Jersey’s pugilistically inclined Jordin Tootoo on right wing, New York’s similarly inclined Tanner Glass adjacent to him on left wing.
In the old days, the gloves would have dropped right off the opening draw and the night would have featured a long card of bouts. These days, the two men jostled briefly, then skated away to join their teammates in hockey.
“I was actually a little surprised,” Glass told The Post before the Blueshirts’ 6-3 victory over the Flyers at the Garden on Monday. “I wasn’t sure why I was starting, but then when I saw [the Devils’] opening lineup, I got it, and I definitely thought there’d be something, especially with him on a tryout looking for a job.
“But he didn’t really even say anything, and so we just played,” said the six-year NHL veteran who joined the Rangers over the summer as a free agent who played with the Penguins last season. “Definitely the thinking in this league has changed.
“You don’t see nearly as many heavyweights out there whose main job is to fight. Now you’ve got middleweights who fight, but who also can skate, kill penalties, and play a regular shift. That’s how it should be.”
continue for more from Glass...
from chuck Gormley of CSNWashington,
Last week the Capitals rekindled an old tradition by roping off the logo on the carpeted floor of their Verizon Center locker room. Barry Trotz said the logo should be respected and considered sacred.
When the Capitals opened their Kettler Capitals Iceplex locker room to reporters over the weekend, a new message adorned the doorway: To Whom Much Is Given Much Is Expected.
The Red Wings have the same message in their locker room at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit and other NHL locker rooms employ other inspirational sayings.
In Toronto, the locker room slogan reads, “The price of success is hard work.” In Montreal, it’s “To you from failing hands we throw the torch. Be yours to hold it high.” In San Jose, it’s “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."
But there is something else new about the Caps’ locker room, thanks to the busy hands of Trotz.
from Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider,
While teams have often viewed road trips early in the schedule as opportunities for players to gain chemistry together – the New York Rangers chose to travel west to Alberta, British Columbia and Las Vegas when expelled from Madison Square Garden last fall due to arena renovations – Darryl Sutter doesn’t necessarily see the benefit of so-called “bonding” excursions.
“I’m not into that, what you hear about go climbing ropes and going to a fort somewhere,” he said. “You do most of your bonding in May and June, quite honest.”
In the past, there have been excursions he has taken with his team, and the “team bonding” experience is still common in today’s game. The San Jose Sharks held a players’ summit in Lake Tahoe during the most recent offseason, and the St. Louis Blues, taking advantage of a generous break in the schedule while on a Western Canadian road trip during the truncated 2012-13 season, spent three days practicing (and enjoying, presumably) Whistler, British Columbia.
The “enjoying” aspect seems to follow such team bonding trips around.
“It was more in the book, when you looked up ‘bonding,’ it was ‘partying,’” Sutter said. “So, when you think about it, we used to go to Banff, Vegas…Whistler. So when you looked up ‘bonding,’ it was also skiing.”
from Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post,
Musical montages will not feature as prominently on Hockey Night in Canada this season as editorial control of the show shifts to Rogers Communications Inc., though executives with the company say the popular pre-game features will not disappear entirely.
The montages evolved into a staple of the national broadcasts over the last several years, where songs — pop, rock, folk and any genre in between — were laid over hockey visuals to form a narrative about the upcoming game. During the National Hockey League playoffs, reaction to the videos often swelled on social media.
I am not sure how much of the studio we will see here in the US, but it does look fantastic.
Here's hoping the Center Ice package keeps the Sportsnet studio feed live during intermission instead of the "We will return shortly" message.
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
It’s pricey, it’s flashy, and it’s about to see a ton of action.
With Rogers set to air a mellow 554 National Hockey League games this season — starting with full-slate puck drop on Oct. 8 — all that hockey television needed a new broadcast home.
On Monday, fresh Hockey Night in Canada host George Stroumboulopoulos and the movers and shakers at Sportsnet unveiled a state-of-the-art studio at the CBC building in downtown Toronto.
“I’ve been on a bunch of sets in my life,” Stroumboulopoulos said of the space that will be used seven days a week throughout the hockey season, “and there’s nothing like this.”
Hockey Central’s 11,000 square foot, 360-degree studio allows cameras to shoot at any angle, as up to three live broadcasts can be shot for three or more networks simultaneously. In other words, everything is happening.
We highlight 10 things about hockey’s new headquarters you should know.
FRISCO, Texas - Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has signed forward Cody Eakin to a two-year contract. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"Cody is a two-way, young forward who competes hard and has the ability to make plays offensively," said Nill. "He has just scratched the surface in terms of his development at this level and we are confident that over these next two years, we'll see him mature into an even more dependable and productive 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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