Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Teaching Hockey In Seattle

(10/16/2021)

from Trevor Lenzmeier and Marisa Ingemi of the Seattle Times, On the ice, hockey players and fans are quite superstitious. Player rituals take many forms; some NHLers get dressed in the exact same order before every game (i.e., left skate then right skate, left glove then right glove), while other skaters refuse to leave the rink after warm-ups until every other skater has left the ice. That’s not to mention the charms and curses that are commonplace come playoff time — in Detroit, fans throw a dead octopus onto the ice, while in Nashville, they chuck catfish. Bushy, unkempt playoff beards bring postseason success, while touching the Clarence Campbell or Prince of Wales trophies after winning a conference championship spells doom. As early as peewee hockey, preteen players are warned not to touch the Cup, lest they be cursed not to lift it themselves. Did we mention that hand-to-hand combat is a semiregular part of the sport?... Do’s and Don’ts You snagged the hottest ticket in town and are headed to Climate Pledge Arena to see our Seattle Kraken face off with an NHL rival. Here’s what to expect at the rink. Don’t wear shorts unless you like the cold. Layers are your friend. Do wear a jersey (known as a “sweater”). Hats are acceptable, as are actual sweaters. Don’t be surprised if our Kraken players and their opponents push each other in front of the net, regularly, after the whistle calls play dead. But it’s a fine line between shoving and trash talk and taking a minor penalty. Don’t expect to get your hat back. Do take bathroom breaks and/or get snacks during intermission. It’ll be a little while. more

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

A Slow Start For The Montreal Canadiens

(10/16/2021)

from Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette, Phillip Danault scored in his first game as a Los Angeles King. Of course he did. That’s just the way things are going for your Canadiens. Everything is going wrong for this team. It’s only been two games, but Les Boys of October, who often overachieve during the early days of the season, are looking downright dismal thus far and are faring worse than even the most pessimistic observers expected. The Canadiens have lost their first two games, going down 2-1 in the season opener Wednesday to noted playoff losers the Toronto Maple Leafs and then getting embarrassed by the lowly Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, with one of the most sad-sack teams in hockey destroying them 5-1. Ouch! But it’s not just the two losses. It’s the way they’ve been playing. Other than the first six or seven minutes of the game in Toronto, Dominique Ducharme’s squad has looked oddly disinterested in these two games. It’s as if they just don’t care. Any way you slice it, there isn’t a more depressing scenario to set the scene for what was supposed to be the team’s triumphant return to the Bell Centre for their home opener against the New York Rangers Saturday (7 p.m., SNE, CITY, TVA Sports, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM). This was supposed to an exciting moment. Premier François Legault, hockey fan that he is, recently gave the green light for the Bell Centre to operate at full capacity and team owner Geoff Molson was dreaming of a heartwarming night with around 21,000 fans wildly cheering on the lads who made it all the way to the Stanley Cup final a few months back. continued

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Do You Pay Adam Fox $10M Per Year?

(10/16/2021)

from Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News, We've seen some pretty big contracts signed by NHL defensemen lately, from Quinn Hughes to Ryan Pulock and just today, Charlie McAvoy in Boston. The Bruins mainstay inked an extension that will see him earn $9.5 million per season for eight years, beginning with the 2022-23 campaign. McAvoy is worth every penny of that contract, but his new pact brings up an intriguing thought: Is Adam Fox going to get $10 million per season on his next contract? Fox of course is the reigning Norris Trophy winner - you literally can't do better than he did as a defenseman last season - and the New York Rangers star is basically the same age as McAvoy, having been born just a couple months apart from each other. At 23, Fox is in his prime NHL years and based on his skill set, he's going to be in that window for quite awhile, especially when you consider that his game is predicated on smarts and vision rather than physical attributes that degrade over time. Now, Fox may not have as much experience as McAvoy in the NHL, but it's pretty fun to stack the two side by side even if they don't play the exact same game. McAvoy is a lot more physical, while Fox has been a better offensive producer and surprisingly, averaged more minutes than his Bruins peer last season (which was a bit of shock to me, as McAvoy had to do a lot for the B's last season, where blueline depth wasn't as strong as it was in New York). Both are analytics darlings, too. continued

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

A Motivated Tomas Tatar

(10/15/2021)

from Jackie Spiegel of the Sporting News, On Friday night at the Prudential Center, Tomas Tatar will play in his first regular-season game for his new club, the Devils. The last time he played in a meaningful game was 141 days ago, which means it's been almost four months since he laced up the skates and hit the ice in the Canadiens' fifth game of the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs first-round series against the Maple Leafs. But didn't Montreal play into July? Yes, but Tatar spent it watching from the stands. "Out of nowhere, to be honest, the coaches made this decision which I respected," he said during media day with his new club. Tatar played the first five games against Toronto and then sat the rest of the way. "We had a hell of a run in the playoffs. Obviously, you're upset, you wanted to play and I think I could help the team, especially in the final, but I had to respect the decision." The decision was, well, a head-scratcher. Then-interim coach Dominique Ducharme made a guy who had led the team in scoring over the course of the three seasons he was there (149 points in 198 games) a healthy scratch. How good was Tatar for Le Bleu-Blanc-Rouge? He had 21 points more than the second guy, defenseman Jeff Petry, and of his 149 points — which he collected at a tear of 0.75 per game —119 were at even strength. "He's been a proven top-three or four scorer on the teams he's been on. He's great at getting open. He's great at finding the people that are open. He knows where to be," Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. continued

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Videos- Talk After An OT Loss To The Tampa Bay Lightning

(10/15/2021)

Below find Mickey Redmond post game, the game highlights and Tyler Berttuzzi/Jeff Blashill after the game. from Ethan Sears of DetroitRedWings.com, "We played well enough to win the hockey game," Blashill said. "We take a penalty (at) 5-on-6 and we gave up a 5-on-6 goal. So we gotta do better than that for sure." In other recent seasons, the highlight of the night for Detroit against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions might have been the pregame ceremony, in which Larkin was honored as captain at center ice, standing with a row of past Red Wings captains. Even with the loss, you couldn't say that about this game. Larkin scored in the first, putting in a loose puck after Robby Fabbri created a breakaway against the run of play, and Bertuzzi scored his first goal 18 seconds into the second period - splitting two defenders and finishing past Vasilevskiy. Bertuzzi's second came just after a power play expired at 7:52, cleaning up a loose puck after Adam Erne's shot was saved by Vasilevskiy. That set the stage for a hectic final 10 minutes of the second period, featuring three goals and seven penalties, sending the game into the third with Detroit hanging onto a 4-3 lead. In the end, neither that nor the ensuing 6-3 lead would be enough. "I thought we were in a good spot," Blashill said. "I was real confident that we were gonna find a way to win that hockey game. So it's a gut punch when you don't." more

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Have A Great Season

(10/14/2021)

Putting this up before Kate's live blog goes up to just say enjoy this season of the winged wheel. I am hoping everyone is healthy and their life has not been one of pain and suffering the last year and a half. I know some members have had issues outside of the Covid, a few have experienced first hand the force of mother nature and others are struggling to find suitable work. One thing about KK/A2Y is we are a strong community.  Many of use have had the opportunity to meet each other over the years at various events and communicate in different ways. We may be a little more experienced in life lessons but that is a good thing.  We think before we speak or write most of the time and that's a good thing. My goal this season is to make sure everyone stays on topic in the comment section.  I am tired of the daily bombardment of politics, health issues and the economy I read or hear everyday at various outlets and social networks. KK and A2Y should and will become more of a safe space for you know, to talk hockey with other hockey fans.  There are numerous options for you to talk about other topics not related to our game, but it is not here. My health (type ll diabetic) has actually improved, new meds seemed to have done the trick and I am looking forward to working long hours again this year. Enjoy the season, any issues or comments, you know how to reach me. Stay safe, stay healthy and LGRW! Om a side note, there is a quick KK Donation Drive going on for those who may have missed it late in July.

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Time To Establish Their Own Identity

(10/14/2021)

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News, ...maybe the most distinguishable difference from the past few seasons is there's simply more NHL talent throughout the lineup. The Wings' roster is deeper. "It is," said Larkin, who will begin his seventh NHL season Thursday when the Wings play host to the Tampa Bay Lightning. "It's younger. We had guys fighting for roles, guys battling all camp for that, and it was good and competitive. Some new guys came in and really wanted jobs. You could see (with the practices). Guys showed up in shape and ready to play. It was a good camp. "(Now) we're through it and we're focused on Tampa." What Larkin, 25, sees with this particular group is an opportunity to reverse the negative vibe that comes with missing the playoffs the last five seasons, the losing records and the unfavorable perception of the team around the NHL. Larkin feels it's definitely time to "write our own history." "We need to go out there and execute and prove why we, as a group, don't want to be continuing the trend that's been going on here," Larkin said. "We've talked about it, talked about we're our own team and we'll write our own history. "There's so much history with this team, and you can look at it as pressure but things haven't been going well, so we're really going to start something now. Start with a push for the playoffs and playing meaningful games and playing the right way, with everyone contributing. When you get everyone contributing it's fun and you win hockey games. "And we begin to write history of our own." more ($$$)

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

A Dud For The New York Rangers

(10/14/2021)

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post, The Rangers beefed up, you might have heard, but their success this season will still in large measure be determined by the talent-laden top two lines. So if you learn that in Wednesday night’s opener here against the Capitals that neither Mika Zibanejad nor Artemi Panarin was credited with a shot, that the top six forwards that also feature Chris Kreider, Kaapo Kakko, Ryan Strome and Alexis Lafreniere combined for a sum of six shots at even strength, how would you think the Blueshirts had fared? Correct. Final score in a game toward which the Rangers had pointed to and built toward for months, 5-1 against. When it was over, the team took care not to beat itself up. Oh and by the way, there was no beating up of Tom Wilson. There was no beating up of anyone in a game in which the Blueshirts did attempt to set a physical tone — step right up, Sammy Blais — but never veered out of control. A stat to chew on as head coach Gerard Gallant started the Zibanejad line rather than the fourth line including Ryan Reaves: No. 75 was on the ice at the same time as Mr. Wilson for a sum of 0:09. But here is a more pertinent stat: Trailing 1-0 after the first period on the first of three Washington power-play goals and then 2-0 at 12:38 on another PPG and 3-0 just 24 seconds later, the Blueshirts went the final 18:41 of the second period without an even-strength shot on goal. They went 13:33 without a shot of any kind from 3:50 to 17:23, finishing with five for the middle 20 minutes. continued Game highlights are below.

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Review Of ESPN’s First Night

(10/13/2021)

from Ken Fang of Awful Announcing, Hoping to differentiate itself from NBC which held the main NHL contract dating back to 2005, ESPN assigned Sean McDonough to be its main play caller. Ray Ferraro who had been with TSN in Canada was brought in to be his partner. Their partnership on Tuesday for the Pittsburgh Penguins-Tampa Bay Lightning season opener showed potential. Ferraro offered the analysis that made him one of the NHL’s top color men over the last ten years. McDonough showed some rust in the beginning. His “goal” call instead of the more familiar “Score!” was lacking, and as Tampa Bay fell behind Pittsburgh early, the crowd at Amalie Arena grew silent. Perhaps that affected McDonough as his energy level was low. McDonough is a very good nuts and bolts announcer, and he can rise to the occasion as evidenced by his college football calls, but on this night, there were times when he was behind the action and was trying to catch up, but as he went further into the game, he was able to get into a rhythm and pace. Emily Kaplan was the rinkside reporter inside the glass and she did offer some good tidbits... In the second game, John Buccigross joined former NHL on NBC analysts Brian Boucher and A.J. Mleczko. As Boucher and Mleczko are fresh from working for the Peacock, they had a good chemistry working off one another. Buccigross’s energy level was high throughout the game. His play-by-play has improved through the years as he has called the World Cup of Hockey in 2016 as well as the NCAA Frozen Four. Buccigross is not on the level of Doc Emrick or ESPN’s previous number hockey play-by-play man Gary Thorne, but he doesn’t have to be. He was on top of the action and had a good game to call as Seattle came back from a 3-0 deficit to tie before falling 4-3 to Vegas. more

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

A New Look For Sportsnet

(10/13/2021)

from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star, The first intermission of “Hockey Night” will feature a “players panel” with MacLean, Kevin Bieksa Kelly Hrudey and Jennifer Botterill. “We’re going to shoot it differently. We’re gonna shoot it in a 360 degree style. It’s going to be very personality driven, very opinion driven,” Corte says. The second intermission will be a new “32 Thoughts” segment with Elliotte Friedman, joined by Jeff Marek. “It’s been a fantastic brand and a fantastic piece of content for us on a regular basis,” Corte says of Friedman’s brainchild that started as a column, then became a podcast. “We’re all really excited about what that is going to be.” “Hometown Hockey” moves to Monday night, from Sunday, with MacLean and Tara Slone as hosts.... For technology nerds, it’s more than just green screen. But, yes, green-screen technology will be a part of the show. Imagine taking the host and placing her anywhere in the world, exploring arenas, stadiums or cities like a character in a video game. Or at a desk in a studio that doesn’t exist in reality. And, yes, ads for sponsors will pop up on screen for viewers at home, though they will be more seamless than clunkier earlier versions of virtual reality. But what has Sportsnet really excited is “augmented” reality. If “virtual” reality makes it appear a person is somewhere other than the set, “augmented” reality makes something that doesn’t exist necessarily to appear real and on the set, three dimensionally, beside the hosts. more

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Hockey Thoughts On Opening Night

(10/12/2021)

from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, - Seattle had five players on its COVID list on Monday — Joonas Donskoi, Calle Jarnkrok, Marcus Johansson, Jared McCann and Jamie Oleksiak. Nothing is a better reminder of the uncertainty we still face, which leads to a major early-season storyline: attendance. All arenas but Vancouver’s are open to full capacity. As one executive said last week, “We’ve sold tickets, but aren’t sure how our fans feel about being in a full building. We see some uncertainty.” How will that play out in Ottawa and Toronto, which didn’t have complete clearance until last Friday? What about Calgary and Edmonton, where the health system is buckling under a COVID surge? There are teams who know their attendance will be down due to poor performance, and some who feel very confident. Gate receipts matter, so this will be a closely-watched phenomenon. (Nathan MacKinnon in Covid protocol today) - That’s a big “W” for the Canadiens to get Nick Suzuki extended. After the Jesperi Kotkaniemi offer sheet, they realized this is no time to screw around and got their number one centre signed long-term. An executive from another team said from what he heard, it was one of calmest negotiations in recent memory (Dave Gagner and Jeff Jackson rep Suzuki). There are always intense conversations, but never any danger of going off the rails. - Everyone’s being very careful about this, but word is that there are four or five teams indicating comfort with Eichel’s preferred disc replacement. There are legitimate attempts to find a solution, but it’s still a challenge. This is a hard deal to make if you’re giving up top picks/prospects, and have to wait through the surgery. The good news is that I think everyone realizes it is time to sort this out. - A little surprised Bobby Ryan and Detroit didn’t work out a contract, but Lucas Raymond sure earned his spot. Will Ryan be re-visited if the Red Wings need to add a veteran in the next few weeks? Not many places he’d rather go. more Thoughts

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Video- ESPN Creative Work

(10/12/2021)

from the ESPN Press Room, As the National Hockey League returns to The Walt Disney Company and ESPN’s collection of television and direct-to-consumer streaming platforms, ESPN will debut a brand-new, cross-platform creative identity for its coverage. The identity combines the authenticity of legends past with the elegance of the modern game in a powerful, fluid identity, rooted in cutting edge design. “The power of Creative Studio aligning on all parts of the NHL’s return to The Walt Disney Company and ESPN platforms is simply unmatched,” said Carrie Brzezinski-Hsu, vice president, ESPN Creative Studio. “We put together a cohesive strategy for all parts of this project – everything from design identity, animation and music to ad integration, edit vignettes and digital storytelling – that come together to evolve the overall viewing experience for fans and our partners across the enterprise.” When developing this brand-new system, the ESPN Creative Studio team kept several goals in mind, including catering to a younger demographic and leveraging technical innovations (player tracking, AR and real-time stats), while also remaining true to the unwritten language of the game and maintaining a strong respect for the history of hockey. “NHL is the first project of this size and scope developed within our newly formed ESPN Creative Studio,” said Ben Bieglecki, senior manager, Creative Operations. continued Below, watch the creative work.

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Playing For An Expansion Team

(10/12/2021)

from Sonny Sachdeva of Sportsnet, You only get one first step. For the NHL’s Seattle Kraken, this is it — October 12, 2021 will forever mark the first game in the first season in franchise history. And for every single player granted the opportunity to don a Kraken jersey, the year ahead will be one to remember, no matter how it goes down. Only a select group of players is fated to wind up in that oddly exclusive club, to go on the unique ride that comes with being a franchise’s very first team. Only those who’ve worn the jersey and stepped on the ice in those games can understand the experience of playing an inaugural season, of planting NHL hockey where it had never been before, of turning strangers on the ice and in the crowd into a big-league family. From Ottawa to Anaheim, Columbus to Tampa Bay, Minnesota to San Jose, this is what it feels like to be part of the First Year, from those who were there and lived to tell the stories. For some, the news comes out of nowhere. Others get the chance to make the decision themselves. But it all leads to the same message: Leave behind your team, your teammates, your city. You’ve been selected. You’re headed into the unknown. NORM MACIVER (First Ottawa Senators season, 1992–93): I got a phone call saying that I was left unprotected in the waiver draft, and Ottawa had selected me. That was like two days before the season opened. That’s how I found out I was going to Ottawa. And I honestly didn’t know anything about it — hadn’t really paid much attention to it or who was on the team. I was pretty naive to the whole situation until I got there. continued

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

NHL Season Preview

(10/11/2021)

via the NHL PR department... 2021-22 SEASON OPENS WITH RETURN TO ESPN; FIRST-EVER BROADCAST ON TNT The 2021-22 regular season, which will see 32 teams compete in a total of 1,312 games, the most in NHL history, will launch on Oct. 12. The opening night doubleheader will be nationally broadcast on ESPN in the U.S. – the first of 103 Exclusive NHL Games Across ESPN, ESPN+, Hulu and ABC this season – as well as in Canada on Sportsnet and TVA. * The first game of 2021-22 will see the Lightning begin their quest for a third straight Stanley Cup with a banner-raising ceremony against the Penguins. In the second contest, the Kraken will look to make waves to start their inaugural season as they face the 2017-18 expansion Golden Knights.  * A five-game Wednesday on Day 2 of the 2021-22 campaign will drop the puck on the NHL on TNT’s comprehensive coverage with the first of 25 Wednesday night broadcasts throughout the season – including the first of 15 doubleheaders. The Rangers and Capitals will open the night at Capital One Arena in what could be a historic night as Alex Ovechkin chases Marcel Dionne for fifth place on the NHL’s all-time goals list. The Blackhawks and Avalanche will round out TNT’s doubleheader, with Chicago ready to debut its highly anticipated offseason acquisitions (2020-21 Vezina Trophy winner Marc-Andre Fleury and former Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones) and welcome the return of captain Jonathan Toews.  

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Ranking Alex Nedeljkovic

(10/11/2021)

from The Athletic, Corey Pronman, Michael Russo and Sean Shapiro surveyed more than three dozen experts across the NHL — a list that included general managers, head coaches, goalie coaches, goalie gurus and former goalies — and asked them to give each goalie a score between 1 and 5. We used that to tier the perceived starting goalies for all 32 teams. 20. Alex Nedeljkovic, Red Wings Despite being a Calder Trophy finalist, despite being a star at virtually every level he’s played at, the Hurricanes chose to move on rather than pay the restricted free agent. Nedeljkovic was dealt to the Red Wings and should quickly learn he’s not behind the Hurricanes’ defense anymore. Just call Jimmy Howard. “I really like Nedeljkovic. I like the way he plays,” a former goalie said. “He seems to read the play really well, he’s always a step ahead. In Detroit, it’s going to be a lot tougher than Carolina. He’s a solid starter, though.” “He’s the best puck-handling goaltender in the game, and he gets less shots because of it,” an Eastern Conference executive said. “He ran big numbers last year and he wins everywhere he goes. He’s just not a huge man.” Most panelists thought GM Steve Yzerman made a great bet acquiring Nedeljkovic. “I like him, I liked him in the AHL and obviously he couldn’t have been asked to do more last season. He needs to prove it over a longer time span to get a higher grade, but I think it’s possible he becomes a good starter,” one scout said. 31 more ($$$) goalies...

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Bold Predictions For The Season

(10/10/2021)

from Rory Boylen of Sportsnet, Toronto's starting goalie for Game 1 of the playoffs is neither Jack Campbell nor Petr Mrazek Nothing is guaranteed in Toronto's net this season, which is maybe not the best thing heading into such a critical one for the team. Jack Campbell was fantastic for them in 2021, but he's no stranger to injury and had a groin issue last season. Campbell has also never been leaned upon as a No. 1 over an 82-game calendar and the 22 appearances he made last season were the second-most of his career -- the most he's played in one season was 31 games in 2018-19 for the Kings. Of course, Campbell doesn't need to be a 50-game starter necessarily, because Petr Mrazek was brought in to team up with Campbell in a tandem. But Mrazek was the primary starter for two Carolina teams that had Stanley Cup hopes in 2018-19 and 2019-20 and we wouldn't exactly call it a smashing success....] Neither Pennsylvania team makes the playoffs The Metropolitan Division could be one of the more fascinating this season because of the potential for immense turnover -- or maybe none at all. Here you have your established contenders from years gone by: Washington and Pittsburgh. You have a team in the Islanders that doesn't look special, but clearly is after back-to-back Round 3 appearances. Carolina had more points than any of these teams last season, while the Flyers are a popular bounce back pick and certainly look better on paper than the inconsistency they've played with in recent years. more on the above plus additional predictions...

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Mika Zibanejad Agrees To An Eight-Year Deal With The New York Rangers

(10/10/2021)

NEW YORK, October 10, 2021 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Chris Drury announced today that the team has agreed to terms with Mika Zibanejad on an eight-year contract extension. “Since joining the team in 2016, Mika has emerged as one of the premier players in the NHL,” Drury said. “In addition to being a great player on the ice, Mika is an exemplary person off of the ice. We are fortunate to have him as part of our Rangers organization and are excited that he will continue his career in New York.” Zibanejad, 28, skated in 56 games with the Rangers last season, registering 24 goals and 26 assists for 50 points, along with 18 penalty minutes. He led the Rangers in goals, game-winning goals (seven), and shots on goal (171), and ranked second on the team in points in 2020-21. The 6-2, 200-pounder has skated in 604 career NHL games over parts of 10 seasons (2011-12 – 2020-21) with Ottawa and the Rangers, registering 200 goals and 234 assists for 434 points, along with 173 penalty minutes. Zibanejad has played five seasons with the Blueshirts (2016-17 – 2020-21), tallying 136 goals and 147 assists for 283 points in 323 games. He has skated in 31 postseason games in his NHL career, registering five goals and 14 assists for 19 points. In addition, the Stockholm, Sweden native will represent his country at the 2022 Winter Olympics. Zibanejad was acquired by the Rangers from Ottawa on July 18, 2016. He was originally selected by the Senators in the first round, sixth overall, of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.   BREAKING: Rangers, Zibanejad agree on extension, Post has learned, eight years in the range of $8.5M per...A year or two more than NYR would have preferred, but allows the AAV to be workable...Should put a damper on Eichel talk. — Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) October 10, 2021

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

The Vancouver Canucks At This Point

(10/10/2021)

from Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet, Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes missed the first half of camp before the club re-signed them to lucrative second contracts, and first-line winger Brock Boeser missed the last half with an undisclosed injury that threatens his status for Wednesday’s season-opener in Edmonton. Defenceman Travis Hamonic missed the entire camp and remains home in Manitoba for “personal reasons” related to the NHL’s third season amid the coronavirus pandemic. Fourth-line forwards and key penalty killers, Tyler Motte and Brandon Sutter, remain out indefinitely with injuries. All these missing pieces made it impossible for coach Travis Green to fit together his lineup puzzle and also contributed to the Canucks’ failure to generate the momentum they desperately wanted heading into this season after the disastrous last one. “You're not playing with the full lineup much, really at all, missing people,” veteran forward J.T. Miller said late Saturday. “You're just trying to get your bearings, I think. You want to win these games; you're just trying to come together as a team. Obviously, the closer we get to the end of the pre-season, it's more and more of our (NHL) squad. We're ready for the real thing; I don't know what else to say. We just want to play. We want to have our guys back. . . and I think we're excited to go into that building (in Edmonton) and play against a really good team. It's going to be an awesome test and an awesome road trip for us to get going.” The Canucks begin what they hope will be a season of redemption after last spring’s last-place finish with six straight road games. It’s not an ideal schedule for a team looking for traction as it absorbs a handful of key newcomers, including top-pairing defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and scoring winger Conor Garland. “I thought we got a lot of good work done with our group,” coach Travis Green said of the 2-5-0 pre-season. “We've worked hard probably more on the defensive side of the puck than we have in the past. I see a lot of the stuff that we're working on transitioning into the games, which I like. We've had a lot of guys out of camp, which has affected the camp but it hasn't affected, I think, the overall teaching that we're trying to do.” more

Paul Kukla (Kukla's Korner)

Sunday Hockey Notes

(10/10/2021)

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, - This may be completely unrelated to Carey Price’s current personal situation, but more than one hockey person was convinced this summer that Price wanted to be chosen in the expansion draft by the Seattle Kraken but remained in Montreal instead. - After Aleksander Barkov’s first game in Toronto years ago, I rode down the elevator with then-Florida GM Dale Tallon. I told Tallon that Barkov reminded me of a little of Jonathan Toews, whom Tallon had drafted in Chicago. Tallon smiled and said “better.” Barkov’s new deal in Florida pays him $10 million a year. Toews is being paid $10.5 million after he helped bring three Stanley Cups to Chicago. - Another bet: One of Shane Pinto or Cole Caufield will win the rookie of the year award in the NHL. - The part of the Robin Lehner story that made no sense to me: Coaches don’t dispense medications. I’ve been around a lot of teams for a lot of years and have never seen a coach give out a pill. Training staff and medical staff provide medication. Why Lehner centred out Alain Vigneault, whom he never played for, was hard to understand. And I respect the hell out of Lehner for speaking out, even if some of his wording needed to be edited. Lehner later clarified to ESPN’s Emily Kaplan he never intended to accuse Vigneault of distributing pills. - Did Team USA GM Stan Bowman add Seth Jones to the Olympic team among his first three ahead of Adam Fox, Charlie McAvoy or John Carlson because he was the obvious choice or because he happens to be a Blackhawk? a few more hockey notes...