Tavares isles

Somehow we’re already on the eve of our first televised hockey game of the year. Tomorrow the Washington Capitals take on the Winnipeg Jets in Stirling-Rawdon (yes, they’re playing at a law firm), a town near Belleville, Ontario. It’s one of those “Kraft Hockeyville” things.

I’m pretty entertained by the fact that this game is televised, given my experience with NHL pre-season games. Generally about 12-15 NHLers dress per team, line combinations don’t matter, and there’s nothing to be gleaned about the future success of either team based on the game, but hey…HOCKEY. Get that on air.

Here’s to hoping we make it a day before debating a questionable hit!


Barclays Center won’t be the smallest rink in the league

Moving to Brooklyn wasn’t the perfect situation for the Islanders, but it was better than, say, moving to Kansas City. One of the knocks on the move was that the place they’re moving to, the Barclays Center, isn’t exactly equipped to hold many hockey fans. The initial estimate was around 15,000.

The official total: it’ll hold 15,813.

From Newsday:

That figure — up from an original projection of “around 15,000″ — would keep the Isles’ new building from being the smallest in the league when the team moves to Brooklyn for the 2015-16 season. “It’s a good number,” Islanders owner Charles Wang said Thursday. “We’re very happy with the place.”

It’s still sort of a horseshoe seating situation (which is less than ideal), but again: it’s on the Island, so I’ll take it, as will other fans of the team. They’re even exploring adding more seats, so capacity shouldn’t be an issue.


Ovi has room to get better (Via Pro Hockey Talk)

Coaching is a tough job, but coaching people who are already personally successful is harder. You can’t say too much because hey, they got this, but you also can’t let your talent just do whatever the hell it wants.

In the case of Alex Ovechkin, Adam Oates is doing a nice job of acknowledging that his player is a star with or without him … buuuut if he listens to him, he can be even more successful.

I think he’s got a lot of room to grow,” Oates said “He’s obviously a fantastic hockey player and all it did [moving from left wing to right wing] was allow him to touch the puck more. I think if he gets used to that he’s going to want the puck more and that’s going to help his linemates.”

Oates also politely commented on Ovi and the Russian Olympic team in that post – dude always says the right things.


Where’s Derek Stepan’s new deal? (PHT)

It doesn’t sound like it’s coming anytime soon, but negotiations are typically dishonest, so they could be apart by a Twinkie right now and they’d never say.

One of the tools the Rangers have at this point is to pretend like training camp is very important for players, which of course, it is not. From ESPN:

Is Sather confident the dispute will be resolved quickly?

“I hope so,” he told ESPNNewYork.com. “[He's] a good player, but you’ve got to be careful. You don’t want to miss too much time here.”

Yes, you have to be very careful, or a uniquely talented all-star will suddenly completely forget how to play and be terrible upon his return. My guess is he’ll be able to find a way to get in shape, camp or no camp.


Danny Briere is still a first liner?

It feels like Daniel Briere has been in the NHL for about three decades, but it turns out he’s only 35 years old. His deal with Montreal, who is understandably pleased to finally land a small, skilled forward (so out of the box for them), is for two years and eight million bucks. As in, they don’t plan on having him sit in the press box this season or next.

He’s actually getting a shot to play alongside Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais on the Habs top line. It makes sense to me in that he reminds me of Teemu Selanne – he’s a guy who has a lot of success thanks to his thinker, which benefits aging scorers. I think he can still be good.

Those are three skilled dudes, but you gotta wonder: who gets the puck for them? Will they have it enough to be dangerous?


John Tortorella put the Canucks through their first bagger

It must be a strange feeling as a coach, striding out onto the ice with the whistle dangling from your neck, knowing that your plan is to kick the ass of the players you’re about to rely on all year.

That post on PHT has some interesting quotes, but my favourite is from Alex Burrows: “For me it wasn’t the cardio. It was the legs. Your legs are just fried after a few laps.”

This is so true. You train all summer knowing how important cardio is. You can run, ride the bike, swim, whatever – it all helps with your cardio. But for some reason nothing can really match the leg-centric misery of skating. And in an early-season bagger, you’re always reminded of that.