Kukla's Korner

Afinogenov On Tryout With Atlanta

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Ben Wright’s Twitter,

Maxim Afinogenov will be coming into Thrashers camp on a tryout basis. Could play as early as Monday’s preseason game.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: maxim+afinogenov

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“I definately gave them a group of teams. Teams that I would definitely go to, and the Edmonton thing was not discussed up until that point. That just kind of came out of the blue. They knew which teams I gave them, that I gave them permission to do something with. Edmonton wasn’t on there… I’ll say San Jose was at the top of the list, they are a great team. I am excited to try to help this team win a Championship. As far as what I was looking for, I wanted a good situation, a good team, and a place where I can be the best player I can be. I think San Jose fits all of those categories.”

-Dany Heatley via Sharkspage where you can read more.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Fleury’s Wife Behind His Recovery

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,

Tomorrow marks the fourth anniversary of Theo Fleury’s sobriety.

Tonight marks the latest in a string of second chances recovering alcoholics like him spend years in counselling dreaming about.

Shortly after 7 p.m., the 41-year-old winger will be the first Flame to hit the Saddledome ice wearing No. 14 since he was traded to Colorado in 1999.

And sitting in the rink now guaranteed to be a rare preseason sellout thanks to him will be the woman who essentially made it all possible: His wife Jennifer.

His guiding light in a world darkened for so many years by abuses of all kinds.

“She’s my winger,” said Fleury, exhaling deeply when asked about the woman who helped turn his life around four years back. “She’s basically the first person who grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and said, ‘That big pile of crap you’ve been dragging around for 25 years—we’re going to reduce it.’ She drew the line in the sand and said ‘This is the way it’s going to be.’ I had no idea where to start.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: theo+fleury

Report- Malhotra Will Sign With Sharks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via David Pollak of the Mercury News,

The ongoing competition for a forward spot on the Sharks’ roster is getting a little tougher just as the exhibition season that determines who stays and who goes is about to begin.

Free agent Manny Malhotra, a 29-year-old center who has spent the past five seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets, is about to become a Shark, according to an NHL source.

Malhotra, who immediately becomes a favorite for a spot on San Jose’s third line, won’t be in the lineup tonight when the Sharks face the Los Angeles Kings in Southern California but should be with the team in the next two or three days.

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: manny+malhotra

Rangers Thin At Center & Defense

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

So the Rangers have reconstructed their flanks by essentially trading in Markus Naslund, Nik Antropov, Nikolai Zherdev, Lauri Korpikoski, Fred Sjostrom and Colton Orr for Marian Gaborik, Christopher Higgins, Vinny Prospal, Ales Kotalik, Enver Lisin and Donald Brashear.

It’s not exactly a cash-for-clunkers deal, but it sure does seem as if the ceiling for the new Rangers wingers is considerably higher than the one the departed could not crash through last season. And this does not take into account the potential impact the young and raw Evgeny Grachev might have at some point during the year if his development exceeds expectations.

Indeed, other than in nets, where Henrik Lundqvist reigns supreme, the Rangers are stronger on the wing than at any other position. This of course is the classic good news-bad news scenario. It’s good news they’re reasonably deep on the flanks, terrible news the Blueshirts are so thin on defense and down the middle.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Money Won’t Change Versteeg

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Lacy J. Banks of the Chicago Sun-Times,

As a restricted free agent, Versteeg would have been given a 10 percent raise on his $490,000 salary from last season. But when the offers weren’t received in time—which eventually led to the ouster of former general manager Dale Tallon—Versteeg was paid millions more. He signed a three-year deal worth $9.25 million, meaning he’ll earn more than Patrick Kane ($875,000), captain Jonathan Toews ($850,000) and defenseman Duncan Keith ($1.9 million) this season.

‘‘I still took less money,’’ Versteeg said. ‘‘If I had gone onto the open market, I could have gotten much more. But I signed for less money to stay with the Hawks because I love the Hawks, I love my teammates, my fans and the city of Chicago.

‘‘But I don’t see myself not working harder and taking this season serious just because I got more money. I’m here to win, and I want to win really bad. That’s why I’m going to continue to work as hard as I can.’‘

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: kris+versteeg

Would Kessel Be Comfortable In Toronto?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

Some won’t believe he’ll ever be comfortable in his own skin, which by itself raises the issue of how will he handle the boondoggle that is Toronto hockey. You can’t hide in Toronto. Some players love that. Some get eaten up by it.

When I spoke to Kessel at the USA Olympic camp, he did seem more grown up. He did make eye contact. He didn’t look at his shoes the way he had in previous conversations.

He will be traded before his Oct. 2 birthday because the Bruins must be under the salary cap by the start of the season. They may even do better in a trade than they would have had someone signed an offer sheet for Kessel.

Kessel will be paid somewhere above $4.5 million US a year, which would entitle the Bruins to a first-, second- and third-round draft pick. The Leafs will pay that much for him, probably more.

more

added 9:13am, via John Glennon of the Tennessean,

The Predators have offered a combination of draft picks and prospects to Boston for forward Phil Kessel, General Manager David Poile said Wednesday.

“I certainly believe in being aggressive and persistent and going after what I want. But I’ve made it clear what we can do,’’ Poile said. “It’s fairly apparent what other teams are doing.’‘

There have been reports saying Toronto is willing to give up two first-round draft picks and a second-rounder for Kessel.

“If (Chiarelli) gets two firsts and a second, he’s getting really good compensation,’’ Poile said. “But it is all in the eye of the beholder for a 21-year-old player who scored 36 goals.’‘

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: phil+kessel

Stressing Controlled Movement

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail,

It is generally conceded that Allaire was brought in mainly to help Jonas Gustavsson, the Swedish free-agent goalie who was widely considered the best goalie not playing in the NHL. Gustavsson, of course, has been sidelined by a non-invasive heart procedure that necessitated an incision through his groin. Toskala started last night and played 24:01 and stopped 14 of 15 shots and his workload this weekend will be determined by how he feels today.

“Been awhile,” Toskala said afterward, grinning. “I’m not 100 per cent comfortable yet. But that’s normal. I just wanted to have fun, to play again.”

Burke describes Gustavsson as a “B-plus,” goalie. “What we mean by that is a butterfly-plus guy,” Burke said. “Gustavsson plays the butterfly but he is still very athletic but can make saves with his feet or his hands.

“Most guys are butterfly guys. Even the hybrid guys are 80 per cent.”

Allaire goes out of his way to avoid being doctrinaire as he discusses his role. His job, he says, is to stress controlled movement – “how, when and where … timing is important,” he said. He is a consultant; Corey Hirsch is still listed as goaltending coach.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: françois+allaire

Eric Staal ‘Wired’ During Training Camp Practice

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Carolina Hurricanes forward Eric Staal was wired for sound recently during training camp practice at the RBC Center in Raleigh.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: eric+staal

Briere Flying Around The Ice

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post,

Flyers coach John Stevens is experimenting with a forward line combination of Briere and van Riemsdyk on either side of sophomore center Claude Giroux. And while Jeff Carter stole the show Tuesday with two goals in the morning scrimmage, Briere’s explosiveness spoke volumes about how far he has come since missing 53 games with groin strains last season.

“To me he looks a lot better,” Stevens said. “He looks more confident—he looks quicker—he looks like he can get to loose pucks and pop in holes. I think his summer training is going to do a world of good for him because he needs to have his quickness to be the player we all know he can be.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: daniel+briere

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