Nicholas J. Cotsonika
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Puck Daddy23 hrs ago
DETROIT -- Watch this. Look through an official’s eyes. See the puck coming up the boards, Justin Abdelkader flying past. Imagine trying to keep up with the play and scan for rules violations as Abdelkader collects the puck in the corner and the Detroit Red Wings end up scoring against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Different, isn’t it?
Your point of view isn’t a fixed position above the ice – a seat in the stands when you’re at the rink, a camera on a tripod when you’re watching on television. It’s moving. It’s on ice level. It isn’t detached; it’s in the thick of the action.
The NHL put GoPro cameras on the front of officials’ helmets to record that perspective twice last preseason (both in Toronto) and twice this preseason (in Buffalo and Detroit). It wasn’t for promotional purposes. It was for internal training.
The officials don’t like wearing the cameras – mounted with adhesive, blacked out with gaffer tape. But the cutting-edge footage is for education and improvement.
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo Sports4 days ago
Marian Gaborik was a Los Angeles King for 45 games – 19 in the regular season, 26 in the playoffs. He didn’t just wear the uniform. He didn’t just produce offensively. He fit into the culture and structure as L.A. won the Stanley Cup.
“Are you going to buy into doing the things a King has to do?” said general manager Dean Lombardi. “I think he certainly passed that test. Now the other test comes. Obviously now he’s got a contract.”
Obviously the Kings think Gaborik will pass this test, too. That’s why they gave him a seven-year, $34.125 million deal in June.
It’s a long-term commitment to a player who has fallen out of favor and suffered injuries elsewhere – traded twice in two seasons. But it’s a bargain for a 32-year-old winger with world-class speed, skill and scoring touch. Gaborik has scored at least 40 goals three times and at least 30 seven times.
Remember: Gaborik took a pay cut after leading the NHL playoffs in goals with 14 – four more than anyone else – and winning a championship. He didn’t even explore the free-agent market.
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo Sports5 days ago
Ryan Kesler wakes up every morning with a view of the Pacific. He goes to the rink every day wearing flip-flops. He skates every shift feeling better physically in training camp than he has since …
“Since I can remember,” he says.
Since that 41-goal, Selke-Trophy-winning, seventh-game-of-the-Stanley-Cup-Final season in 2010-11?
“Even before that,” he says.
Ryan Kesler is in a good place, and so now are the Anaheim Ducks, who finally have the kind of second-line center who can support Ryan Getzlaf and match up in the Darwinian Western Conference.
“Hopefully,” Kesler says, “we can be a one-two punch that’s dominant.”
When Kesler wanted a fresh start after 10 seasons with the Vancouver Canucks, he asked out and used his no-trade clause to narrow the options to two: Anaheim and Chicago. Both teams had openings at 2C. Both gave him a chance to win at age 30.
Anaheim had an added bonus: Kesler grew up in suburban Detroit and married a Michigan girl. He wears a Tigers cap to Ducks practice. But his wife, Andrea, moved to Michigan when she was 16. She’s originally from San Diego.
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo Sports8 days ago
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Before training camp, the San Jose Sharks retreated to Lake Tahoe. No executives. No coaches. Just players – 22 of them, pretty much the whole team. They spent two days together sleeping in cabins, hiking in the woods, going out on the water, watching football, barbecuing. They built a bonfire.
“Ninety-nine percent was not hockey,” said center Logan Couture. “One percent was maybe hockey.”
NHL teams take bonding trips all the time. The Sharks once did military-style training. But the Sharks had never done anything like this before camp, and it followed a tumultuous few months.
The Sharks became the fourth team in NHL history to blow a 3-0 lead and lose a series when they fell to the Los Angeles Kings in the first round. General manager Doug Wilson used the word “rebuild,” called the Sharks a “tomorrow team” and revealed players told him they felt more like co-workers than teammates. Coach Todd McLellan took the ‘C’ from Joe Thornton and an ‘A’ from Patrick Marleau, leaving the captaincy open entering camp.
Kings of the NHL: Los Angeles loves that winning feeling, take poised approach to Stanley Cup repeat bidNicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo Sports11 days ago
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — After the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012, general manager Dean Lombardi reached out to men who had won multiple championships in different sports. He received lots of advice. A couple things stood out: You won’t understand what it’s like until you go through it. Don’t try to recreate the feeling; create a new feeling.
Lombardi understands now. All the Kings do. They didn’t repeat in 2013, but they won the Cup again last season.
They were a little less delirious when they celebrated. They were a little earlier and a little fitter when they returned to town. They were a little more professional when they hit the ice for training camp Friday.
“Whenever you talk to those people who’ve won four or five championships, so much of what they talk about are those intangibles that you can’t define – certainly by stats or anything like that,” said Lombardi, who has built his team with a blend of old-school intangibles and new-school analytics. “You know it, and you feel it.”
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo Sports12 days ago
ANAHEIM, Calif. — One person looked bad in Teemu Selanne’s blasting of Bruce Boudreau, and it wasn’t Bruce Boudreau.
Selanne is beloved. He is beloved for the class he showed throughout his stellar NHL career. He is beloved so much that #TeemuForever became a popular hashtag on Twitter.
But nothing lasts forever.
Selanne retired after last season. In his authorized biography “Teemu,” he complained about playing time and detailed an incident with Boudreau in the playoffs. He said he would still be playing if the Anaheim Ducks had “any other coach.” He even said “it would have been wrong if we had won the Stanley Cup with a coach like that.”
The book came out Thursday. While Selanne was signing copies in Helsinki, the Ducks were at the Honda Center going through physicals and preparing for training camp.
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Puck Daddy14 days ago
Exactly 10 years after the lockout of 2004-05 began, the news broke that NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly would receive the Lester Patrick Trophy for “outstanding service to hockey in the United States.”
In a way, that’s appropriate.
Daly helped lead the NHL in labor negotiations with the NHL Players’ Association in 2004-05, when the league sacrificed an entire season to secure the salary cap, and again in 2012-13, when the league lost almost half of another season to tighten the system.
We know the negative. Here is the positive spin: The NHL created an economic system that helped non-traditional markets in the United States – and may lead to teams in places like Seattle and Las Vegas in the near future. (The Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg in 2011. The Phoenix Coyotes almost moved, but they stayed in Glendale, Ariz., and are now called the Arizona Coyotes – thanks largely to Daly’s efforts and the latest CBA.)
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo Sports14 days ago
About halfway through last season, the Los Angeles Kings started posting statistics internally. Not traditional stats like goals, assists, points and plus-minus ratings. So-called “advanced” stats. Coach Darryl Sutter and his assistants – John Stevens and Davis Payne – explained them to the players.
“They’re like, ‘This is what we look at after a game,’ ” said winger Justin Williams. “ ‘It’s not the be-all, tell-all, but it says where we are.’ ”
Not everyone absorbed the specifics. Even Williams, a darling of the analytics community for his outstanding possession numbers, said he couldn’t remember exactly what the stats were. (He thought they were Corsi and Fenwick but wasn’t sure.) The coaches soon stopped posting the stats, and the talk faded.
But the larger point was this: The Kings value puck possession. They use analytics as one of their tools to evaluate players and design strategies, whether the players understand that or not. They judge the process with a long-term view; they don’t just judge short-term results.
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika at Yahoo Sports19 days ago
In the gym and on the ice, the kid would let The Kid go first. Nathan MacKinnon would watch Sidney Crosby start whatever exercise or drill they were doing. He would study his technique. He would study his intensity. And then he would try to match them.
But on the hill, it was a race to the top.
“I’m sure he’d say it, too,” MacKinnon said, smiling. “I’d beat him pretty bad running up the hill. That’s something where I’d push him. On the track or running up hills, I’m pretty quick, I guess. He gets pretty fired up. He’s got these short, wide legs, and I’ve got these long legs.”
“He uses that as an excuse sometimes.”
For so long, MacKinnon has followed Crosby. He grew up in the same place (Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia). He attended the same school (Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minn.). He went in the same spot in the NHL draft (No. 1 overall), going to the Colorado Avalanche in 2013 after Crosby went to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2005.
Now he shares the same trainer (Andy O’Brien).