Hockey Hearsay compiles stories from around the hockey world and runs weekdays, 12 months a year.
RYAN LOVES OTTAWA HOCKEY MARKET’S PASSION
Ottawa Senators winger Bobby Ryan tells CSNPhilly.com the culture adjustment of coming from a non-hockey market to one that bleeds Sens red has been amazing.
“From an organizational and team standpoint, you can’t ask for a better place,” the winger said. “Everybody has been very welcoming.
“It’s quite a difference. The passion for the game is elevated here. You are front and center here every day. In Anaheim, I don’t want to say you’re taking the back seat, but you’re playing behind MLB, the NBA and then the college sports.
“It’s a little different. It’s nice to be held accountable every day and have to answer questions when you are not performing and riding the good waves and what not. It’s really cool to watch fans engage with you outside the rink and tell you what they would be doing with the team.”
FLYERS’ HEXTALL YEARNS TO BE A GENERAL MANAGER
The Courier Post describes how Flyers assistant GM Ron Hextall joked that it might not be that flattering when his name always comes up when there’s openings but he hasn’t landed his dream gig yet.
“I still want to be a general manager,” Hextall said. “I’ll keep saying that until either I become one or I decide that the dream is over. I want to be a general manager. I can’t predict the future. I have no idea. If anybody calls, I’ll listen and talk to Homer. I’m not gonna sit and wait for someone to call. I feel at peace for where I’m at.”
He’s also not picking up the phone to call new Sabres president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine and ask for the job.
“I don’t make calls myself,” Hextall said. “That’s not me. I’ll never make a call with someone myself.”
MCGILL TO AWARD BABCOCK HONORARY DEGREE
The Detroit Free Press reports Mike Babcock’s alma mater, McGill University, announced Thursday that it will bestow an honorary degree on the Detroit Red Wings head coach at convocation on Nov. 25.
His new diploma will read: Mike Babcock, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
Babcock, 50, was a two-time all-star defenceman with the McGill Redmen hockey team from 1983 to 1987. He served as co-captain and shared team MVP honors in 1986-87. He earned a B.Ed. in 1986 from the school.
NOLAN GIVES SABRES PLAYERS FRESH START
The Buffalo News offered observations from new Sabres coach Ted Nolan following Thursday’s practice.
“There’s not much we can do right now,” Nolan said. “We’re 20 games into the season. We got what we got. We’ve got to work with what we have. … these guys are all professional athletes and I’m quite sure they worked their tails off in the summer. Physically, I don’t think there’s much of a concern.
Mentally is the thing we have to work on.”
More Nolan: “What happened yesterday is done. It’s over with,” Nolan said. “What happened in the first 20 games in your season is done. It’s over with. We’re turning a new page, we’re starting a new chapter. I talked to some of the players and every stat they have is out the door. Forget about it.
“Tomorrow night against the Leafs we start anew and we’re going to compete. Toronto is a very good team. They’ve turned it around quite a bit in the last year or so. I know their coach demands a lot and we’re going to demand a lot here too.”
NABOKOV PUTS ISLES BEFORE EGO
The New York Post notes veteran goaltender Evgeni Nabokov has been a good teammate rather than disgruntled malcontent. Thursday marked 23-year-old Kevin Poulin’s third straight start.
“The most important thing is the team winning,” the 38-year-old told The Post after Thursday’s morning skate. “I think that’s where we’re at right now. The team’s winning and [Poulin] played well, so I have no problem. I’m going to go back and work hard and get better.”
He added: “It’s a winning business, and in order to stay in business, you have to win hockey games. That’s the bottom line. So next time I’m up, I have to win the hockey game.”
CANES’ JORDAN STAAL BACK TO HIS GAME
The Raleigh News & Observer passes along that Canes coach Kirk Miller said Jordan Staal played his best game of the season Tuesday.
Staal is back to playing his game.
“I’m just trying to focus on moving my feet more and getting to the dirty areas around the net,” Staal said. “I’m trying to do all the little things to help us win but trying to get around that net to get some goals.”
That’s where Muller wants the 6-foot-4, 220-pound forward. Or, as he put it, “Using his size down low, hanging on to the puck, being hard to play against that way.”
JAGR’S ANTHEM SUPERSTITION
The Star-Ledger wonders: Why does Devils winger Jaromir Jagr stand alone near the boards while teammates are lined up along the blue line in the middle of the ice during national anthems?
No reason other than superstition.
“I’ve done it for 20 years,” Jagr said. “I don’t want to change it now. It’s just for good luck. I’m very superstitious.”
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