Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Thomas Drance of Sportsnet,
A full generation has passed since Vancouver Canucks president Trevor Linden made his NHL debut as a fresh-faced 18-year-old way back in 1988. And in that time only five teenaged players have appeared in so much as a single NHL game for the franchise.
On Wednesday night when the club kicks off the 2015-16 regular season in Calgary, that number may balloon to seven, with the anticipated NHL regular season debuts of a pair of 19-year-old forwards: Jared McCann and Jake Virtanen.
While it’s still possible that one of Virtanen or McCann will watch the regular season opener from the press box, there’s no question following Monday’s roster manoeuvres that the two 2014 first-round picks have made the team.
While McCann’s and Virtanen’s inclusion on the opening day roster is representative of a bona fide sea change for an organization that has so often been described as “aging rapidly” in recent years, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Rookie defenceman Ben Hutton, 22, has also made the club with a surprising showing in training camp, and Bo Horvat, 20, and Sven Baertschi, 22, will likely play prominent offensive roles on Wednesday night.
from Michael Traikos at the Toronto Sun,
Las Vegas? Quebec? Or Seattle?
When it comes to deciding where the next NHL franchise might be popping up, James Reimer could not care less if it was on the moon. The backup goalie for the Toronto Maple Leafs is just looking forward to the possibility of more jobs opening up.
“I don’t think expansion can come quick enough for goalies,” Reimer said with a laugh. “I read a stat or heard a stat from a real reliable source in the game two years ago, I think, that said there’s 80 quality NHL goalies out there and only 60 spots. I’m sure that number’s only grown.”...
By the end of the season, 20 goalies had a goals-against average that was less than 2.40. But not one skater had reached the 90-point mark.
While you could still probably count the number of elite NHL goaltenders on one hand — Price, Lundqvist, Pekka Rinne and Tuukka Rask would be on most peoples’ lists — the number of legitimate starters is becoming much harder to quantify.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
At the end of a summer that saw a number of veterans squeezed out of NHL jobs, the salary cap crunch claimed yet more victims: Those who thought they had security.
An unprecedented number of players on sizeable contracts were placed on waivers in recent days for the purpose of being sent to the American Hockey League.
None was more surprising than Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Andrew MacDonald, who is under contract through 2019-20, but found himself among the names on Monday’s waiver wire. He is due to make another $23.75-million in actual dollars on that deal and will almost certainly be earning his next paycheques while playing for AHL Lehigh Valley....
Among the other notables who were placed on the wire Monday: Flames forwards Mason Raymond and Paul Byron, Canucks defenceman Frank Corrado and forward Linden Vey, Jets defenceman Jay Harrison, Canadiens goalie Dustin Tokarski, Kings goalie J-F Berube, Bruins forward Max Talbot and Penguins defenceman Tim Erixon.
The squeeze is being felt around the league.
from Mark Whicker of the LA Daily News,
There is a miniature Stanley Cup, next to his bed. Even before sunrise he can see the glimmer.
“It’s why you have to draw the line,” Darryl Sutter said. “You have to be able to leave it. Stories about how this job takes away from your personal life, your actual existence on this earth? It does.
“You have to know when not to think about it. Because, once the season starts, it’s the first thing you think about each morning. You only play for a championship. For me, it’s not lifestyle or salary, None of that is relevant, not anymore.”
Sutter began coaching the Kings near the halfway point of the 2011-12 season. In his first three springtime drives, they won their first two Stanley Cups.
His, too. He coached Calgary all the way to Game 7 of the 2004 Finals, where the Flames lost at Tampa Bay, and Sutter was too exhausted to move from his bench when it was over.
The nonstop glare of the Cup finally pulled the Kings under. They did not make last year’s playoffs. “Even though we had the identical record (40-27-15) we had in 2012, when we won,” Sutter said.
from Frank Seravalli of TSN,
The NHL’s preseason statistics mean nothing now. In fact, by the time the second week of the regular season rolls around, you’ll have a tough time finding them on the league’s official site - they mean so little.
But if you caught a glimpse of the final scoring leaders from the exhibition slate, you will find three players from the Columbus Blue Jackets ranked one-two-three in scoring.
Ryan Johansen, Nick Foligno and Brandon Saad combined for a staggering 29 points - and they weren't even together for four games.
After three weeks of training camp, lineups around the league are still in-flux one day prior to the start of the 2015-16 NHL season. But it’s a safe bet coach Todd Richards will keep that crew in Columbus together.
They make up one of 18 new top lines in the NHL this season....
With a nod to those teams who do not have a clear-cut No. 1 line, here’s a look at all 30 top lines as they stood on Monday (subject to change):
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
If it's possible for a film short from the NHL's department of player safety to be nominated for an Oscar, Monday's thoughtful, point-by-point dismantling of serial predator Raffi Torres should be considered.
Maybe there's a category for "Lowering the Boom."
Two days after yet another patented sneak attack by Torres, this one on an unsuspecting Jakob Silfverberg of the Anaheim Ducks, the NHL lowered the boom on the San Jose Sharks forward with a 41-game suspension that ranks as one of the longest in NHL history.
For all but the most myopic of Sharks fans or Torres supporters, this was all about paying the piper. Finally.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
TORONTO/NEW YORK (October 5, 2015) -- The National Hockey League Players’ Association and National Hockey League announced today that forward Zack Kassian of the Montreal Canadiens has been placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA.
Under the terms of the joint program, Kassian will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.
Kassian's care will be administered pursuant to the NHL/NHLPA SABH Program.
Patrick Burke with the explanation.
added 4:38pm, NHL release is below...
from Rick Westhead of TSN,
The National Hockey League, responding to what it says is a possible increased use of cocaine among its players, has kick-started talks with the NHL Players Association to add the drug and others like it to the list of banned substances for which the league regularly monitors.
"The number of [cocaine] positives are more than they were in previous years and they're going up," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told TSN in an interview. "I wouldn't say it's a crisis in any sense. What I'd say is drugs like cocaine are cyclical and you've hit a cycle where it's an 'in' drug again.
"I'd be shocked if we're talking about a couple dozen guys. I don't want to be naïve here … but if we're talking more than 20 guys I'd be shocked. Because we don't test in a comprehensive way, I can't say."
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
It’s hard to predict what’s going to happen once the puck is dropped for real, but already GMs and pro scouts in the 30 NHL cities are making their lists and checking them twice to see what players may be available to help them for the stretch drive in the final two months of the season.
“There’s teams sniffing around already,” said one league executive at a recent pre-season game. “Teams always talk just to see where everybody is at and teams can usually tell a week into training camp where they think they might need help or depth before the end of the year.”
Naturally, a lot of the decisions at the deadline will be determined by the standings. People will talk a lot about the futures of unrestricted free-agent forwards Steve Stamkos (Tampa) and Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles), but both are going to stay put.
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 email@example.com