Hockey Hearsay shines a light on stories of interest from around the hockey world and runs weekdays, year-round.
COMMUNICATION LINES OPEN FOR CAMMALLERI, BURKE
The Calgary Sun relays how Michael Cammalleri, cleared to play from his latest concussion, will return to the Flames lineup Thursday night against the visiting San Jose Sharks.
Cammalleri is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, leading to speculation Brian Burke may deal the forward before the March 5 trade deadline.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Cammalleri said. “Brian has been really good with me. We’ve had a lot of communication, as far as talking about some different things. I’m not able to speculate on what may or may not happen yet, but as far as that goes, I think I just try and play the game the way I’ve always tried to play it, and that’s the best I can every day.”
On concussions: “There’s no doubt that concussions are a separate entity when it comes to injuries, and it’s just scary because it’s your brain and you want to make sure you feel really good when you come back. It’s something to take seriously.
“I had a couple earlier in my career and one a few years ago, so I’ve been through this before.”
BERNIER SEIZES CHANCE WITH LEAFS
The Toronto Sun outlines how Jonathan Bernier has further cemented his spot as the unchallenged starter for the Leafs.
“I knew the type of coach Randy was and I knew I really had to battle to earn it, which is the good way. You don’t want anything free in life,” Bernier said. “I didn’t really focus on how many games I was playing, I just focused on getting better every day and every game and it just worked out that I started playing good and he kept me in … I’m having a lot of fun, it puts a big smile (on my face).”
On heading from Los Angeles to Toronto in last June’s deal: “When I got traded I knew it was my chance to prove what I can do in this league and my main focus was always to be the No. 1 guy.
“I still have a lot to learn, but I think I’m moving toward that. Consistency is always going to be your biggest challenge as a goalie.”
SENATORS’ RYAN IN ANNUAL ‘LULL’
The Ottawa Citizen notes Senators winger Bobby Ryan has one goal in his past 12 outings.
“The pucks just aren’t finding me in certain areas,” he said. “I’ve always had a lull every year and it’s always been around this time. I’m just a little far away from the puck. I’ve got to be a little more reactive towards the puck a little bit.
“When you’re pressing like that and the stick feels like it weighs 30 pounds, you start to cheat a little bit and you start to make plays that wouldn’t normally try to make or force the issue,” he added. “You’ve got to sit back and be a little more relaxed in that regard.”
HABS’ GALLAGHER, BRUINS’ LUCIC TRAIN TOGETHER
The New York Times examines the friendship between Montreal Canadiens sophomore Brendan Gallagher and Boston Bruins winger Milan Lucic.
Brendan’s dad, Ian, is the strength and conditioning coach for the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League. Ian began training Lucic after the ’04-5 season, which is where Lucic met a 13-year-old Brendan.
“He was just a little guy, and like most people, when you see a little guy like that, to be perfectly honest, you don’t think he would amount to what he has,” said Lucic. “I never expected him to, well, first off, for me to be a Bruin and for him to be a Hab. Now I have Ian wearing Montreal Canadiens stuff to workouts, and I have to deal with that, but at the end of the day it’s great to see him having success regardless of the rivalry.”
Brendan, on training with Lucic as a fellow NHLer in the off-season: “The coolest part of the summers was just talking to him about their season compared to our season, the little challenges that they faced and things that they know about other players in the league. The more knowledge you have, the better off you are.”
BRODEUR REMAINS OPEN TO TRADE
More thoughts from Martin Brodeur, following up on yesterday’s Hockey Hearsay, concerning his future.
These, via Fire & Ice, continue to suggest Brodeur remains open to leaving the New Jersey Devils by the trade deadline.
Again, to be clear, Brodeur is “not at all” looking for the Devils to trade him. He also holds a no-trade clause.
“I’m open to anything,” Brodeur said. “I just want to play. So, like I said in Toronto, if there’s a better situation for me, I’ll take it. If it’s here or somewhere else, it doesn’t matter.”
On if he’d ask for a trade himself: “I don’t think so unless in the next three weeks it goes worse than (it is). We’ll see. But I don’t think I will ask.”
Brodeur also tells Fire & ice he and Devils GM Lou Lamoriello haven’t discussed the future yet.
PANTHERS COACH PREACHES PATIENCE FOR KADRI, HUBERDEAU
The Toronto Star examines the sophomore slump being endured by young Florida Panthers star Jonathan Huberdeau. With the Panthers facing the Leafs Thursday, Florida coach Peter Horachek brought Leafs forward Nazem Kadri into the discussion, noting critics forget that it’s not easy to score in the NHL.
“People expect that guys like Kadri, guys like Huberdeau who have the notoriety coming right into the league are going to instantly be great, stay great and never have off times.”
Players with star potential often now get “pushed into the limelight right off the bat.”
“You look at some of the best players and they start lower in lines,” Horachek said. “You look at Getzlaf and Perry, they were on the fourth line for a whole year. They just slowly moved up. They didn’t all of a sudden become that guy.”
DALLAS OUTDOOR GAME ‘YEARS AWAY’
The Dallas Morning News wonders: When might the area get an outdoor game?
“We are in the very early stages of talks and planning, and we expect to make some headway during the Olympic break, but it’s still a few years away,” Stars president and CEO Jim Lites said. “Just guessing, I would say 2015-16 at the earliest, and more realistically 2016-17.”
Lites, on how the rebuilding project is just getting started: “Look, we think we’ve made a lot of inroads with fans, with advertisers and with the grassroots hockey effort at the youth level, but it takes time. So, honestly, now is not the time for us to try to attract a game like that.”
On a potential venue: “I think you can talk about the Cotton Bowl or the ballpark [Rangers Ballpark in Arlington], but in the end it makes the most sense to look at Cowboys Stadium. You have the safeguard against rain, plus I think an event of this magnitude needs that building. It can be a huge part of the draw in itself.”
CARLSON’S JOURNEY TO U.S. OLYMPIAN
The Washington Post profiles Capitals defenseman John Carlson, reflecting on his early hockey days through to being named an Olympian for Team USA in Sochi.
Dick Carlson, John’s dad, recalled John’s decision to opt out of an scholarship offer with to the University of Massachusetts and instead play in the Ontario Hockey League.
“You don’t realize it at the time, but he was absorbing everything at every level, and it kind of fed into all these decisions he made,” Dick Carlson said. “He probably doesn’t realize that, but everything in his mind was calculated and mature – kind of beyond his own maturity level. I sit back and think about it: He had kind of a game plan in his mind, and he was just going a step at a time.”
GOALS LACKING FOR DUCHENE LATELY
The Denver Post points out Avalanche forward Matt Duchene has run into some rough luck in the goal department of late, with just one in his past 18 games.
“I’m just trying to not let it get me down, and not be on that emotional roller coaster,” Duchene said. “But it’s crazy. I think I’ve hit more goalposts than I have in the last two years in this stretch. I keep getting hooked, but I’m not getting penalty shots or anything. But I’ve just got to keep working and eventually it’ll go in. But other guys are scoring, so just give them the puck.”
That said, Duchene noted: “Yeah, I want the puck to go in, but I feel like our line is still producing and we’re winning games. As long as that happens, I’m happy,”
SAMUELSSON LOOKING TO REDISCOVER HOCKEY’S ‘FUN SIDE’
Michigan Live indicates Mikael Samuelsson, demoted to the minors by the Detroit Red Wings, sees the Griffins as a chance to play regularly again, but not to prove that he can still play.
“I don’t think I’m coming down here to showcase myself,” he said. “I don’t think that’s the deal. I come down here to play the game again, to have fun, and hopefully find the fun side of it again. I think I lost a little bit of that.”
On making the best of the situation: “If you look at it from my standpoint, as a hockey player I want to play the game. Obviously, I want to play at the highest level, but if guys don’t believe in me that I can do that, then this is my situation for now.”
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