Kukla's Korner

Goal Line Report

Are You Ready for Some Hockey?

While it’s great to read all the interesting news that’s coming from various teams in the National Hockey League, I would rather just drop the puck and get the regular season started.

I know that the pre-season is seen as a valuable learning tool for coaches and prospects but after listening to the Home Ice Channel on XM radio this morning, one can’t help but think that most coaches feel the same way that Detroit Red Wings’ coach Mike Babcock does and that’s “My guys are hungry and are ready to play.”

As a fan, I’m constantly thinking about the game, especially during the off-season when my mind is on the upcoming season. Summer, as enjoyable as it is, is always the longest period of the year for me because like most hockey fans I’m sure, I’m just waiting for the puck to drop.

With all training camps have opened up today and the Rangers opening up their pre-season tomorrow night against the Ottawa Senators, we can all finally go back to talking about actual hockey being played instead of focusing on made-up rumors.

With that being said, here a few interesting questions heading into the new season:

Where will Mats Sundin go? This question has been in the air since the Toronto Maple Leafs were eliminated from playoff contention last season. It’s unfortunate that he may take the route of greats such as Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer and wait till mid-season to join a team that could possibly content for the Stanley Cup.

How will the first-year NHL head coaches handle their respective seasons? A lot of head coaches will be making their NHL debuts this season as you have Scott Gordon with the New York Islanders, Todd McLellan with the San Jose Sharks, Peter DeBoer with the Florida Panthers, and John Anderson with the Atlanta Thrashers. I would think that McLellan (former Red Wings assistant coach) has the best chance of having success this season given the team he has been put in charge of.

Will the Detroit Red Wings repeat as Cup champs? Many pundits out there are already anointing the 2008-09 Wings’ as the next Stanely Cup Champions. Based on the way their roster looks, the way the organization is run and who their head coach is, I would say that this is not a far off possibility.

How will Patrick Roy be received in Montreal when his number is retired?
The last time Patrick Roy was on the Canadiens’ ice, he was booed after a poor showing against the Wings. Let’s hope that Habs’ fans remember him for winning three Stanley Cups and providing them with many unforgettable playoff performances.

Obviously, there are a lot more questions but figured that this was a good start. I can’t wait till the puck drops!

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About Goal Line Report

Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.

Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.

For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at patrickhoffman3530@gmail.com.