Kukla's Korner

Sens Want To Avoid Repeat Of Last Year

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Ottawa Citizen,

"We were running away with it -- no one could compete with us -- and I think our team got a little complacent," Muckler said yesterday as the Senators opened their 14th training camp. "I think, after the Olympics, we had such a great lead in the regular-season schedule that we just didn't prepare ourselves mentally to be able to compete in the same manner (in the playoffs). "Maybe we fell into a trap and that hurt us a little bit, and we never seemed able to recover." The players knew full well what had happened, even if they were also unable to reverse it. Defenceman Wade Redden first sounded the alarm two days after they were eliminated. He said the Senators were fooling themselves if they believed they could lose one-goal games all season and then suddenly win them in the playoffs. This was a dramatic reversal from the team that, under former coach Jacques Martin, rarely, if ever, squandered one-goal leads.
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Somber Start To Canadiens Camp

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP via the Ottawa Sun,

The mood was sombre across the city a day after the Dawson College shootings and even the usually upbeat opening of the Montreal Canadiens camp was quieter than usual. Players took their physical exams and fitness tests at the Bell Centre yesterday, but conversations drifted to the shocking events 24 hours before, when a gunman killed one student and wounded at least 20 in a shooting rampage about a kilometre away. "Today's a day of mourning. I don't think there's any question," GM Bob Gainey said. "When you're in the heart of the problem here in Montreal, it's more pronounced. "We can see it and feel it all around us. But I don't really relate that to the start of training camp or whatever might be happening in someone's life. It's a disaster and a tragedy that will need to be worked through."
continued

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The Star In Carolina

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the News & Observer,

After a season in which he not only finished seventh in the NHL in points with 100 but led the league in playoff scoring with 28 points in 25 games, Staal's name is mentioned in comparison to the game's elite. In its annual ranking of NHL players, The Hockey News has Staal 14th. "It's more pressure, obviously," Staal said. "I'm humbled to be among those names. Those are phenomenal players on that list. There are a lot more expectations on our entire team, not just me. Teams are going to be coming against us every night as defending Stanley Cup champs. It's going to be tough for everybody."
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Totally Different Goalie

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Rocky Mountain News,

If any one Avalanche player could use a fresh start, Jose Theodore would be the guy. The 30-year-old goalie is looking to rebound from an injury-plagued and mediocre season in which his name made the headlines as much for things that happened off the ice as for anything that took place in the crease. "As a goalie, there's always a lot of pressure, but this is the challenge that you live for as a professional," he said. "When I got traded here, it was kind of like a ray of light."
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Savard Expected To Help Murray

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette,

For much of last season, Glen Murray was lost — a peanut butter sandwich without the jelly, fish without the chips, a hamburger without the fries. Most of all, though, he was a gunslinger without the bullets after his table-setter of the last 3 1/2 seasons, Joe Thornton, was shipped to San Jose in that controversial November trade. And it showed in Murray’s numbers — just 24 goals, well below his average of 42 over the previous three seasons, although a nagging foot injury also slowed him down. That’s one reason why the Bruins decided to shell out $20 million over four years for free agent center Marc Savard. Their reasoning: One of the best passers in the NHL would be a perfect match for one of the most feared shooters in the game.
continued

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No Pressure For Kesler

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Vancouver Province,

"I don't think this will put any more pressure on me," said Kesler, who can also play right wing and is eyeing a spot on the top two lines. "I put pressure on myself to play every game to the best of my capabilities and I've played with Nazzy [Markus Naslund] and Mo [Brendan Morrison]. I know I can play at that level if I get that opportunity." And even though Nonis may make roster decisions to free up cap space, Kesler's agent Kurt Overhardt doesn't expect to be in the GMs crosshairs after this saga. "Not at all," said Overhardt. "The landscape changes every year and this was an attempt [by Clarke] to get an asset that you couldn't get through the draft or through a trade. "The reason offer sheets are in the CBA is to encourage competitiveness. You'll see more of these, especially with the pressure on GMs and owners to create winning teams."
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Moving On Without Zherdev

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Columbus Dispatch,

But the players weren’t too worried about the Zherdev situation. "I guess I can say it’s too bad they couldn’t get it (a contract) done, and I feel bad for him as a young guy," captain Adam Foote said. "I don’t even want to get into it, why he didn’t sign or why he’s not here … that’s his deal. "But as a guy in the room, we have to look forward. That’s water under the bridge. Anson Carter can fill a top-six spot (on the forward lines). He’s a little bit different than Zherdev, of course, but he’s a proven player."
read on

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Markov Comfortable In Detroit

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Detroit Free Press,

On their part, the Wings don't want much from Markov: "I don't need him to be cute, I don't need him to do anything fancy," coach Mike Babcock said Thursday while his players took physicals in advance of today's start of training camp. What does Babcock want from the 30-year-old Russian journeyman? "I just need him to be hard, great defensively, and make a good first pass," Babcock said. "When I talked to Stumpy about Markov, he just said he's a big-time leader and he competes hard. That's what you want."
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Waiting For A Move Or Two

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the NY Post,

Asked if either Mogilny or Malakhov reported, new coach Claude Julien said that he was in meetings during the morning, not monitoring the physicals and routine. Asked if he had seen either, Julien asked, "Is that a trick question?" Then he said he hadn't. Malakhov represents $3.6 million, and Mogilny $3.5 million of cap space, which doesn't disappear this season through waiver demotion, as it did last season with Mogilny. Malakhov was suspended last December after the Devils said he retired, but even in that situation, Lamoriello would probably need an unlikely favorable league ruling to keep Malakhov's salary off his cap total. Both were over 35 when they signed multiyear deals as unrestricted free agents in 2005, and the new CBA says any years beyond the first of a contract for over-35 unrestricted free agents count toward the cap, whether or wherever they play.
read on (reg. req.)

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More Needs To Be Done

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Star,

The loss of another great talent like Primeau to post-concussion syndrome reflects that as much as the NHL is no longer in the Stone Age when it comes to dealing with head injuries, it still has a long way to go. "In many ways as much as advances have been made, it's gotten much more complicated," said former Maple Leaf Nick Kypreos, whose own career was ended by a head injury. Exactly how many players have been lost to post-concussion syndrome is not known. The NHL could not produce such a stat yesterday. Maybe they don't want to know. But any list would include Jeff Beukeboom, Scott Stevens, Adam Deadmarsh, Pat Lafontaine, Geoff Courtnall, Mike Richter, Paul Comrie, Brett Lindros, Michel Petit, Dennis Vaske, Jim Johnson and Dave Taylor.
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