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LUCIC LAUDS LUONGO’S CHARACTER
There is never a shortage of bad blood when the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins square off, as they will Tuesday night in Beantown, but CSNNE.com passes along that there is no lack of respect from Bruins power forward Milan Lucic toward Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo.
“I think too many people point the finger too much on Luongo,” said Lucic on Monday. “I think he’s a great goaltender. He was still able to get them one win away from the ultimate goal. It shows what type of person he is, going through what he went through with how he was treated [in Vancouver] by everyone.
“He’s managed to keep his game at a high level, and he’s on the Olympic team. He’s still one of the best goaltenders in the league. It shows a lot about his character. I wish him all the best in Sochi. I’m Canadian, right? It’s the only time I’ll cheer for him.”
EAKINS AVOIDS TWITTER NEGATIVITY
Oilers fans may have noticed how head coach Dallas Eakins has been tweeting lineup information for fans.
Eakins discussed Twitter Monday morning, as relayed by The Edmonton Journal.
“I just put them out there and let J.J. (Hebert, the Oilers PR man) handle the rest,” Eakins told a scrum of reporters following the morning skate. “I think Twitter is a number of different things to me.
“The first is thing is information. I go on there and I follow the New York Times and some other news agencies and my endurance sports stuff that I like to read.”
“I think it’s my duty, especially when we’re on the road, to let our fans know what’s going on. We want to continue that.
“The second part for me is inspiration. I get lots of inspiration off of Twitter. People’s stories, things like that. I think it’s our job (as coaches) to try to inspire, as well.
“The problem with Twitter is when you talk to the players about it, it’s an easy place for people to type and snipe at people.
“It has turned into a very negative place. That’s where I’m not sure what the feedback is. I learned a few years ago, when I was with the (Toronto) Marlies, don’t go read what they’re saying about your name on
Twitter, because it’s not going to be good.”
RYAN WON’T BE WATCHING TEAM USA
Via The Ottawa Citizen: Don’t expect Ottawa Senators winger Bobby Ryan to tune into Team USA’s hockey games in Sochi. After being left off the Olympic roster, Ryan is headed to a European destination for some rest.
“Where I’m going there won’t be a whole lot of coverage on the hockey,” Ryan said. “I’ll check in on the internet, but that’s about it.”
LUNDQVIST SLAMS ‘IGNORANT’ CRITICS
The New York Post writes that Henrik Lundqvist scoffed at those who had attributed his early difficulties to the approximately 2-inch reduction in pad length coupled with enhanced enforcement by the NHL this season.
“The people who said that the pads were the reason I was not playing well, or said I’d been good before because I’d been cheating, maybe I’d care if they weren’t ignorant about the game and the position,” Lundqvist told The Post.
“You close your pads at the knees, not at the tops. The way I play, staying back and then moving across, the change has actually helped me.”
DECEPTIVE KESSEL DOMINATES FOR LEAFS
Consider The Globe and Mail’s profile of the secrets to Phil Kessel’s success from Monday a must-read.
Joffrey Lupul on how Kessel uses one of the most flexible and unique composite sticks in the NHL: “It’s very hard to handle the puck. It takes talent. He’s been using that stick for a long time and, obviously, he just has more talent than the rest of us. He’s able to deal with it.
“When I take a similar shot, I have to exert a lot more pressure on the stick to push down and get that reaction out of the stick. That’s what it’s made for – for the kick point to be right there. The way it’s set up it sometimes looks like he barely has to push and it helps him with a quicker release.”
Lupul, on how you should never underestimate his teammate: “Any sport you want to play him in, he’ll beat you at. That’s just natural fast-twitch muscles. It’s the same thing if you go play golf with him. … You wouldn’t picture him driving the ball 50, 60 yards past you, but it happens.
“Some people are naturally powerful, and in his case, that’s what gives him that extra gear.”
SEGUIN, VANEK SWAP DISCUSSED IN SUMMER
So much trade talk goes on that never see the light of day, but this tidbit must make Sabres fans wonder what might have been.
Via The Buffalo News early Monday evening, multiple sources indicate the Sabres and Bruins discussed a trade package at the June draft that would have sent Thomas Vanek to Boston in exchange for center Tyler Seguin. It’s not clear why the talks didn’t result in a deal, but it is known the Bruins were seeking another NHL-ready player off the Sabres’ roster.
The Dallas Stars eventually wound up landing Seguin, while Vanek was dealt to the Islanders in October.
THOMAS WOULD CONSIDER RE-SIGNING WITH PANTHERS
Florida Panthers goaltender Tim Thomas, via The Sun-Sentinel, on the prospect of returning to the team for next season.
“I’m certainly willing to entertain the idea. I haven’t talked to the club about that,” Thomas said Monday.
“I was hoping by this time to be seeing more team success. That’s been a little bit difficult. Having said that, it’s a process. I knew coming into it where the team was last year. I bought into this process, and what we’re trying to do is turn it around.”
He added: “I’ve been with Boston when they were where the Panthers are right now, actually. So I do know how rewarding it is to be a part of that turnaround.
“It’s baby steps at times, but we’ve got a lot of young talent here. We took some steps forward and now we’ve taken some steps back. It’s time to start pushing this way again.”
MAURICE ENJOYED TIME WITH CANES
With the Carolina Hurricanes and Winnipeg Jets meeting Tuesday, The Raleigh News & Observer has Paul Maurice’s thoughts on his former team. Any regrets?
“Not one,” Maurice answered quickly, then pausing. “No, not one. There are no negatives from my time there. I really care about that franchise, about the people, about the city.
“It was time for me to go, and off I went. And now I have a new challenge, a new start.”
On the success of the organization: “This is such a good franchise and probably doesn’t get noted for that as much as it should. When we first started there was nothing. Every once in a while you’d see a little Hurricane flag and you weren’t sure if they were sold out of N.C. State flags or liked the red.
“It’s almost a model franchise for the non-traditional market. You always had that sense that there was a connection between the fans and the players, more so than other places and very much like Winnipeg. It wasn’t easy. There were a lot of questions at the time about, would this franchise succeed?”
BRUNNER READY FOR SWISS UNDERDOG ROLE
New Jersey Devils forward Damien Brunner, via The Star-Ledger, on his Swiss team’s hockey chances in the upcoming Olympics.
“You never know. We start the tournament against Latvia. I think that is a must-win game for us,” Brunner said. “It’s good to start like that, a game we have to win but maybe not the toughest opponent compared to the other two in the group. We’ve had success lately against the Czechs and Sweden. The thing for us is to just play our style, puck possession, speed, put them under pressure with a lot of forechecking.
“Obviously we need good goaltending, but Hiller is pretty hot this season so I don’t see a problem there.”
On perhaps shocking teammate Jaromir Jagr and the Czechs: “We have a lot of young guys who can really skate. The Czechs are obviously favored against us just because of the amount of players coming from the NHL and the success they’ve had in the past. But the days are over when they say they know they can beat Switzerland. I think they respect us as an opponent and they know we can surprise everyone. We know we’re underdogs but everyone in Switzerland knows we can also beat them.”
VIGNEAULT RESPECTS ROY PAYING HIS COACHING DUES
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, via NorthJersey.com’s Rangers Rants, on Colorado bench boss Patrick Roy:
“I’ve know Pat for a long time,” Vigneault said. “I wouldn’t say I’m curious (to coach against him Tuesday night). I would say to you I’m not at all surprised by the success he’s had with his team. There’s a guy that finished playing and went and paid his dues. He had opportunities prior to last year to coach there and he turned it down.
“I don’t know if he turned it down because he didn’t think he was quite ready or he didn’t like the situation at the time but I’ve got a lot of respect for what he did. He paid his dues, he became a coach and general manager (in junior hockey). He was a great player, he’s got a lot of passion for the game and it’s obviously rubbed off on his team.”
CHAT WITH PARENT HELPED FLYERS’ MASON
The Philadelphia Inquirer illustrates how Flyers goaltender Steve Mason was helped greatly by a recent chat with Flyers legend Bernie Parent.
Mason didn’t want to get into specifics, “but Bernie gave me one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten,” he said after Monday’s morning skate. “It’s something I just kind of took to heart and it simply helped. There are obviously ups and downs through the entire season, but it’s a matter of how you come out of it. You just can’t let a couple of negative things affect you.”
Parent: “What I said to him was simple. I looked him in the eyes and said I really believe in him. I told him, ‘You’re a good goalie, but there are going to be rough spots. . . . I had some tough times, too.’ I told him, ‘Don’t judge yourself based on a couple rough games. Always look at the end goal, which is to win the Cup.’ “
Parent said if you concentrate on the end goal, it “brings back the good feelings” and positive energy, “and you have a purpose. When you do that, you forget [your struggles] and learn from the goals scored against you.”
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