Hockey Hearsay compiles stories from around the hockey world and runs weekdays, 12 months a year.
MARKOV ENTERING FINAL YEAR OF CONTRACT
The Montreal Gazette went one-on-one with Canadiens defenceman Andrei Markov.
On this being a contract year, Markov’s three-year, $17.25-million pact signed in June 2011 expiring at season’s end: “I will be happy to stay with the Canadiens, but you never know what’s going to happen. You can’t read the mind of management. All I can do is play my game the best I can. That’s all I can say about the situation. Deep in your mind you know it’s the last year of your contract, but I don’t want to think about that and lose my focus on my game. I’m going to try to take one game at a time and we’ll see what happens.”
On the possibility of contract talks between his agent, Don Meehan, and Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin during the season: “I’m going to leave that between my agent and the team. It’s not my priority. Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow, or what management thinks about the future or about particular players on the team. All I can do is play my game.”
STAMKOS, LIGHTNING TO TIGHTEN UP DEFENSIVELY
The Tampa Bay Times relays that head coach Jon Cooper has made it a priority to shore up the Lightning’s play in the defensive zone.
“It’s not that you’re not allowed to score goals anymore,” Steven Stamkos said, “you just have to play defense. It’s just being smarter. Marty and I finished one-two in (league) scoring last year. It’s great, but we don’t make the playoffs. There has to be a little give-and-take.”
For Martin St. Louis, though, the concept goes beyond helping out in the defensive and neutral zones.
“Playing defense is as soon as you lose the puck in your offensive zone,” he said. “The quicker you defend the quicker you get the puck back, so you’re not playing a 200-foot game. We haven’t done that very well, so you end up in your own zone, tired, and it’s tough.”
“TOUGHEST TIME” OF CAREER FOR CANUCKS’ BOOTH
The Vancouver Sun chronicles Canucks winger David Booth’s journey to be healthy for the NHL’s regular season Oct. 3 in San Jose. He said the last nine months have been especially difficult.
“It’s probably been the toughest time in my career,” conceded Booth, who also suffered a severe concussion during the 2009-10 campaign (Mike Richards hit) when playing for the Panthers.
“I just want to get back to being the player that I know I can be. No one puts as much pressure on me than I do. I just want to help this team be the best it can be and that’s my goal. If I am given the opportunity, I think I can really be a force in this league. I’m looking forward to the year and really showing my teammates, myself and the city what I can do.”
During Wednesday’s practice, Booth skated alongside Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows.
ROY: AVS FANS DESERVE A GREAT SHOW
According to The Denver Post, Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy wants a fast, offensive-minded team that makes the simple play. Nothing fancy, nothing too complicated.
“I like to be offensive,” Roy said. “But that doesn’t mean I don’t want us to play well defensively. We’re going to be an offensive team, because I believe that the people who are paying to come watch us deserve to have a great show. At the same time, we have to believe deep inside that we can win that 1-0 game.”
BRODEURS UNLIKELY TO GET GAME TOGETHER
Fire & Ice supposes the dream scenario would have been for Devils goaltending legend Martin Brodeur and prospect goaltender Anthony Brodeur, his son, to split Monday’s preseason game in Montreal. That would have sent the media into a frenzy in Martin Brodeur’s hometown and been exciting for his father; Denis, and the rest of his family that lives up there, but Martin understands that it’s not usual practice for an 18-year-old goaltender to get in preseason games in his first NHL training camp.
He pointed out that he didn’t back in his first pro training camp in 1990.
“It would be nice, but Anthony’s young,” Martin Brodeur said of playing in a preseason game with his son. “He’s only 18. I know when I was 18 when I came to camp, it was a little different. I didn’t get any playing time. I didn’t get much. So, it’s kind of the same situation with him. It’s a fun situation that we’re in to be able to be in camp together and it would be nice, but I know the team has other priorities than that.”
Anthony understands that, too.
“I don’t even know if it’s happened before, so, hopefully, it does happen, but it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t,” he said. “Who knows how long he’ll play? So, we’ll see if we ever get the opportunity again.”
CAPITALS’ HOLTBY FINE WITH EQUIPMENT RESTRICTIONS
CSNWashington.com relays that Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby said he may be in the minority among goalies, but he’s in favor of the new restrictions, even if it meant shaving an inch or two from his goalie pads.
“I think it was [necessary],” Holtby said. “I feel like we should be athletes, not robots, guys that use extra protection to stop the puck. I think we should rely on our athleticism, our reactions and our mental game.
“The smaller the gear can be without giving up protection is the best. I may be on my own on this in the goalie world, but that’s how I feel. It should be more about being an athlete and less about guys around a computer at a factory.”
PENGUINS’ TEAMMATES APPRECIATE VOKOUN
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes that Tomas Vokoun remains as unassuming as ever, the loyal teammate who willingly accepts his role as the Penguins’ No. 2 goaltender even if his performance last spring indicates he remains something more.
“All I do is control what I can control,” Vokoun said. “And when the coach tells me to play, I’m going to make sure that I’m ready to play well.”
Captain Sidney Crosby offered this: “He’s been around a long time, and his experience definitely shows. He’s come in here and done everything he’s been asked to do.”
If all goes well in Fleury’s quest to regain his status as an elite goaltender, Vokoun largely will be asked to sit and watch. He’s OK with this arrangement.
“I don’t think about that stuff,” he said. “All I want to do is do my job as well as I can, and I’m pretty happy with my game right now.”
SHARKS DON’T WANT TORRES TO BACK OFF
CSNBayArea.com believes when last spring’s controversial Jarret Stoll hit happened, the reset button on Sharks winger Raffi Torres’ so-called reformed game was firmly depressed.
“Obviously, there are different aspects of my game that always need fine-tuning,” Torres said. “I’ll have to work a little better with taking pucks away, and not leading with the big hit. Just playing a little smarter out there. Obviously, we don’t want to go through something like [the suspension] again. I know it’s a broken tape recorder, but I’ve just got to keep working the system, and playing the right way to stay in the game.”
It’s a constant work in progress.
“We’ve worked with him and we’ll continue to remind him,” Todd McLellan said. “What we don’t want is him backed off. He’ll continue to have our support all the way through. It’s not a daily thing, but it’s an ongoing thing.”
“We want him to play hard and finish hard, and just to do it the proper way. If he does that, then boy, we have a great asset.”
KINGS’ SUTTER ON DOUGHTY
LA Kings Insider has Wednesday’s practice wrap-up with head coach Darryl Sutter.
On Drew Doughty playing with Jake Muzzin yesterday: “It’s not ‘who Drew’s partner is,’ it’s Drew, right? He’s a veteran guy that we’re counting on lots now, right? So he’s got to ramp his game up, and that’s what guys did last night. It’s not really about friggin’ outcome or any of that stuff. It’s just about watching guys, how they’re playing individually, right? [Reporter: Drew says he came into camp this year five pounds heavier intentionally…He came in at 210 compared to 205. Any thoughts about the lighter versus the heavier Drew Doughty?] No. We didn’t have camp last year. We had a lockout. So I don’t know what his weight was in September. I didn’t get to weigh him. [Reporter: No, in January…before the season, he came in at 205 compared to 210.] I think he’s come in at a lot of different weights in his career.”
LECAVALIER, SIMMONDS CLICKING FOR FLYERS
The Courier-Post points out that ever since Flyers training camp opened, Vincent Lecavalier and Wayne Simmonds have been paired up and it figures to continue into the regular season.
“He’s been one of the better players for the last 10 years so you can really say unlimited good things about him,” said Simmonds, pleased with his new linemate. “He likes to play down low with the puck and that’s my style of game. I like to play down low as well. Hopefully we build some chemistry together and we can stick together.”
Just how Peter Laviolette planned it when he learned in June that he was going to have the four-time All-Star and Stanley Cup champion on his roster this year.
“That’s the hope, that you find some chemistry and some balance in your lines where players find a connection when they play with each other,” Laviolette said. “That’s a real positive.”
GUSTAVSSON USED PERSONAL TRAINER THIS SUMMER
Red Wings backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson tells Michigan Live that for the first time, he worked with a personal trainer back home in Sweden over the summer. He also spent some time in Detroit in July working with Red Wings strength and conditioning coach Pete Renzetti.
“That was good for me to have a guy that pushes me on days when you’re not so excited to go to the gym,” Gustavsson said. “I just felt like I wanted to do something different than I’m used to.”
Coach Mike Babcock is counting on seeing a different Gustavsson.
“He better have had a good summer and he better grab hold of something,” Babcock said. “I’m going to watch. He knows and I know you got to grab your own piece of the pie. If not, someone else eats it.”
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