Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 10/17/11 at 05:24 PM ET
From Tal Pinchevsky at NHL.com:
While the on-ice transition seems to be getting easier for these younger players, as evidenced by the fact Nugent-Hopkins already has a hat trick to his credit and some scouts are asserting that Larsson may be one of New Jersey’s two best defensemen, plenty of off-ice adjustments still have to be made—as those who came before this crop of talented 18-year-olds can attest.
“It was fun. Crazy, kind of, to be that young and sit beside Eric Staal and Cam Ward and all these guys you grew up watching,” Jeff Skinner said. “You sort of have to grow up fast when you move away and get into a professional lifestyle at that age.”
To be sure, NHL teams handle these young players with care once they decide to reserve a roster spot for a teenager on which they just spent a high draft pick. For the most part, they are encouraged to live with an established team veteran, a process most fans learned about when an 18-year-old Sidney Crosby moved into Penguins owner Mario Lemieux’s guest house. These veterans don’t just serve as landlords, but mentors who help teenaged players adapt to life as an NHL player.
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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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