Nichols’ Notes

Nichols’ Notes: Wilson Won’t Ask Thornton To Waive NTC

Nichols’ Notes: Wilson Won’t Ask Thornton To Waive NTC
Chris Nichols

San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson says he and Joe Thornton have spoken and have ‘moved on’ from their recently much-publicized comments.

Perhaps most note-worthy was Wilson reiterating how he has absolutely no intention of asking Thornton to move that no-trade clause.

“Joe’s not going anywhere. Joe is a San Jose Shark,” said Wilson, also noting: “He and I have not only a contractual agreement, but a handshake agreement.”

Source: Strang/ ESPN

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Theo Fleury loves the skill level of Johnny Gaudreau and still watches Flames games as often as he can, calling them “the most exciting team in hockey.”

The NHL was certainly a vastly different landscape when Fleury broke into the NHL in 1989 compared with today’s game for Gaudreau.

“It was the era of clutching and grabbing,” said Fleury. “I had to figure out how to get room out on the ice so I could do what I do best. There was a certain style I had to play. I was so unpredictable, guys didn’t known whether I was going to kiss ‘em or cut their eye out.

“Back then there was an intimidation factor. I knew, if I allowed someone to think they had the upper hand, I don’t think I would have been as successful as I was. I had to give it back as bad as they gave it to me.”

Source: Spector/ Sportsnet

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Praise has deservedly been coming in from all corners for Kris Russell of late, and Flames head coach Bob Hartley says he noticed the defenceman’s work ethic early on.

“A farm boy,” said Hartley, chuckling. “I remember when I was coaching in junior and I’d do interviews with kids and ask, ‘What does your dad do?’ And every time they’d tell me, ‘He’s a farmer,’ I can tell you I’d circle that kid. Very rarely have I been disappointed about this. Milk cows. Pick stones. I think every kid should do this.

“He’s a good farm boy turning into a warrior for us.”

Source: Odland/ Herald

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Another way to help instill a killer work ethic in a player is to have him drafted with the team’s final pick in the 2004 draft.

Like, say, Pekka Rinne with the Nashville Predators.

“When you’re an undrafted or late pick, there are certainly some unique obstacles that other players don’t have to face,” said GM David Poile. “You can see a desire in those [underdog] players that makes it possible for guys that are special like Pekka to finally make it. There has to be a really intense work ethic and a never, ever give up attitude and you can see that in our franchise as a whole, too.”

Source: Willis/ Preds’ site

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Evgeny Kuznetsov had eight shots against the Sabres on Monday night, with another nine in his three prior contests.

It took him his previous 16 games to compile that same shot total.

He had one goal in those 16 affairs, with two markers in his past four tries.

So… shooting. Good thing.

“Ovi yell at me every day. He tell me if I want to score I have to shoot. He not yell at me, he teach me. I accept this and I like this. I like when teachers teach me good stuff.”

Source: Gormley/ CSN

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It remains to be seen who will coach the New Jersey Devils next season, but it seems like the players have responded to Adam Oates and Scott Stevens.

“I think that’s been the credit with Oatsie and Scotty – they’re finding each guys potential,” Scott Gomez said. “It’s actually sitting down and talking to the guy. That’s not taking away from Pete. Pete was awesome. But, I’ve been around other coaches who don’t even get to know the guy. It’s, ‘This is what I think. This is how I think it should work.’ The one thing about Scotty and Oatsie is they’re getting to know the person. They’re getting to know the human being. It’s ‘My job is to get the potential out of each guy.’

“Like I said, I’m 35 and with Oatsie I give him credit. I used to think I had to take it up all the time. I used to love doing that. But he’s right. Why waste energy doing that? We want to be taught. It’s just little things like that. That’s a guy sitting you down and talking to you, showing you. I won’t stress it enough: If you show a pro athlete how to be better or anyone how to be better in any job, they’re going to follow you.”

Source: Gulitti/ Fire & ice

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Mike Babcock, Alain Vigneault and Barry Trotz can certainly attest first-hand, with fairly recent experience, how the Western and Eastern Conferences stack up against each other.

Each coach makes good points, with Vigneault in particular drawing a straight line to the East’s closing of the competitive gap with the West via team speed.

“In the past with the West, their centers where so much bigger, they defended better, it was tougher for the opposition on the attack,” Vigneault said. “But it just seems to me in the East this year, maybe we’re playing more to our strengths. Teams are quick, Tampa is quick, Montreal is quick, Detroit is quick, the Islanders are quick. … I don’t know if it has something to do with it, but I do think the East is better this year. It’s closed the gap at least.”

Source: LeBrun/ ESPN

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Nichols’ Notes
Chris Nichols

Chris has written about both hockey and fantasy hockey for a number of media outlets over the last 14 years, including a combined decade with Sportsnet.ca and ESPN.com. He launched NicholsOnHockey.com in February of 2014. An aversion to wearing socks sparked a move from his hometown of Edmonton to San Diego, California in the mid-’90s, and the Oilers have not won a Cup in his absence.

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