Hockey Hearsay compiles stories from around the hockey world and runs weekdays, 12 months a year.
ALFREDSSON: RULE CHANGES EXTENDED MY CAREER
The Vancouver Province has some insightful comments on career longevity from 40-year-old Daniel Alfredsson. His Detroit Red Wings are in town to play the Canucks Wednesday and the quote relates both to his own career and the potential outlook for Canucks forwards Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
“I think … what happened in ’05 after the lockout, when they took away the hooking and holding and clutching and grabbing, which took a great toll on the hamstrings and took so much out of the groins and hip flexors and stuff, has helped.
“If the same rules were in play there’s no way I’d be playing now, there’s no question. Today’s game allows you to use speed to get body position and you can play a lot longer with the new rules. If you can stay away from major injuries, you can play until you’re 40.
“I think when you are, from my perspective, looking at them, they prepare themselves, and as you get older if you’ve built a strong base when you were younger you can live off that, you don’t have to work harder in the summer, you just have to work smarter and be smarter about practice during the season and maintaining energy. So I can see them playing a long time as well.
“There’s a lot of other factors that’s got to fall in place, obviously, motivation mentally that you have the drive to do it again.
“As you get older, of course, you have family and other priorities that become maybe more important at times. You have to find a mix where you feel the drive is there and you push yourself.
“You can’t just say, ‘I’ll play because I want to play.’ If you don’t put an effort into it, it’s not going to be fun and then you won’t be happy.”
NO TRADE CHOICE REGRETS FOR IGINLA
Ahead of the Bruins facing the Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday, The Boston Herald reflects back on Jarome Iginla’s decision to accept a trade to the Penguins over the Bruins at the trade deadline. And then losing to the Bruins in the playoffs.
“It was hard to do the handshake, I’ll tell you that. When you’re that close to a Stanley Cup finals and you’re done . . . the handshake was hard,” said Iginla, who has been one of the Bruins’ best players this season. “But the time it took to get over the decisions? At the time I tried to make the best decision I could. Honestly, when I made it, I knew there was a good chance we’d be seeing the Bruins down the road. I was committed to it. You make (the decision), and you do your best. It didn’t work out, but it wasn’t meant to be. It’s not something I dwell on. I really try to just keep going forward and keep moving.”
On the Penguins: “They’re a very good team. I had a good experience there,” Iginla said of the Penguins. “They’re a top organization, and you get to see how they operate and learn more about different situations. It was a great experience. You wish you could have gone further. You want to win. But it was fun to be a part of it. It was fun to be in the conference finals. Everything up to the conference finals was great. It was obviously a sour ending for the Penguins and me, but it was still a lot of fun.”
EAKINS, OILERS IMPRESSED CLARKSON
With the Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs tangling in Edmonton Tuesday night, The Sun recalls how there were plenty of teams in the running for David Clarkson’s services, including the Oilers, who came close to landing the winger.
He ended up signing a seven-year, $36.75-million deal with the Maple Leafs.
“It was a very hard decision to go home, and these guys (Oilers) made it tough,” Clarkson said. “I was very impressed by them. I had never met Dallas (Eakins) before and I met him on the trip here and I was very impressed by him.
“At the end of the day, though, the more and more I weighed it the tougher the decision got. But the Edmonton Oilers, management and everybody impressed me and my wife more than you would know just by the way they treated us.”
PENGUINS’ BYLSMA MARVELS AT CROSBY’S GAME
With the Carolina Hurricanes having played the Pittsburgh Penguins this week, The Raleigh News & Observer relays how it’s Sidney Crosby’s all-over-the-ice play that Pens coach Dan Bylsma appreciates. Bylsma said many people watch a hockey highlight and see a great skill play and marvel at Crosby’s talent, but it’s the other things Crosby does during a game that catch a coach’s eye.
“How he plays the game all over the ice is really more fantastic than the highlight we see on the post-game show,” Bylsma said. “It’s who he plays against, all the situations. That’s the amazing part to me. He has (the) points, and you say that’s a great number, but how he plays, where he plays, every night, is the exceptional part about his game.”
FLAMES’ HARTLEY: COLBORNE IS ON THE RISE
The Calgary Sun previews the Flames’ upcoming tilt against the Toronto Maple Leafs, which will pit Flames centre Joe Colborne against his former organization.
Flames coach Bob Hartley, on Colborne: “He’s worked real hard on the ice and in the gym, and right now, what he’s getting, he deserves. Nobody gave it to him.
“Intensity-wise, he’s showing us some big steps. Offensively, he’s using his size to his advantage. He’s a pretty gifted player. He has great skills and sees the ice well, and I think as a centreman, he has great vision also. He can use his wingers to his advantage.
“He’s on the rise, and we’re pushing him to keep improving.”
HUBERDEAU’S DAY AT THE TRACK
The Miami Herald details how Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau spent his off day Monday at Homestead-Miami Speedway tooling around the 1 1/2 mile oval in a souped up Shelby Cobra Mustang.
“It was pretty powerful,” said Huberdeau, who bought himself a Mustang convertible not long after arriving in South Florida last year.
“I really enjoyed going out there. I pushed it a little bit. It was great. I was coming in hot on the curves but they gave me some driving pointers. It was pretty exciting. I was very lucky to have a day off and be able to get away from hockey and go out to the race track. I would do that any time.”
SABRES’ REGIER DEFENDS ROLSTON’S COACHING
The New York Times recounts how Sabres coach Ron Rolston has seen a lot of criticism leveled by hockey writers and television commentators.
Rolston was fined during the preseason for “player selection and team conduct” after he put John Scott on the ice against Toronto’s star forward Phil Kessel in the third period of a close game, and Scott ignited a line brawl. Trailing by two goals against Boston early in the third period last week, Rolston put Scott on the ice again, and Scott blindsided Loui Eriksson, giving him a concussion.
Regier called criticism of his coach inappropriate and unfair. “He has no history of coaching like that,” Regier said of Rolston. “He’s been a teacher, he came up with the U.S. development program. What he’s been accused of, there’s just none of it in his background.”
But, Regier added, “he has a responsibility to control our players.”