Author: Joe Yerdon

Carl Gunnarsson

Leafs’ Gunnarsson ready to be a leader


Toronto’s Carl Gunnarsson is ready to be more of a leader with the Maple Leafs.

At 26 years old he’s entering his fifth season in the NHL and he tells Jonas Siegel of TSN he’s eager to take a bigger role with the team and become one of their best defensemen.

“Some guys talk a lot, some guys don’t,” Gunnarsson said of leadership. “But if you can say something in the room that’s good or if you can just help the new guys out with whatever it might be … I’ve been here for awhile, had Randy for a season and a half. I’m one of those guys that kind of knows what it’s all about. And obviously I need to be reminded too, but if I can help some other guys get into it quicker that’s part of it.”

One of those “other guys” is a younger player like Jake Gardiner who had his own ups and downs with coach Randy Carlyle last year. While he’s talented, he was still a bit green and had his own ups and downs with the team. Gunnarsson wants to provide the stability his coach desperately seeks from his blue liners.

As for Gunnarsson himself, with Cody Franson still unsigned and a newer guy like Paul Ranger pushing to make the club, his steadiness will be needed. 

Ovechkin on NHL’s new no-tuck jersey rule: ‘I think it’s kind of stupid’

Alex Ovechkin

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is upset with Rule 9.5 from this year’s official rulebook. If you haven’t heard about it yet, it’s because it’s a subtle, new addition that could wind up being controversial.

This year’s rulebook has hammered home some issues regarding uniforms and equipment and Rule 9.5 says players aren’t permitted to tuck their jerseys into their padding and their back uniform numbers cannot be obscured.

Ovechkin tells Katie Carrera of the Washington Post he’s less-than enthused about the change.

“I’m the guy who love that kind of stuff. I’m kind of upset about it, but most important thing, nobody talk to us, the players. They think it can be dangerous for somebody. I think it’s kind of stupid,” Ovechkin said Sunday. “My gear is not stay [near] my body so jersey always goes in. If I’m going to put jersey normally, I’m going to skate and it goes back.”

Through his whole career, Ovechkin has been a jersey tucker. Asking a player to change like that can be upsetting and now it could cost them two minutes in the box.

If a player is caught once with that (or any other equipment issue) happening, they’ll be warned about it. A second time, however, could result in a minor penalty. Picture a team losing a game late because a player’s jersey got stuck in their breezers.

And here we thought the puck-over-glass penalty got people up in arms.

Hartley encouraged by play of Flames youngsters Monahan, Knight

Jiri Hudler
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Things may not be shaping up for a great year in Calgary, but coach Bob Hartley has seen a couple players pique his interest so far in training camp.

2013 first-round pick Sean Monahan and summer acquisition Corban Knight have done well early on and Hartley says he’s interested to see what they can do as Heather Robinson of Sportsnet reports.

“All our young kids play well, they’re all good kids, they all respect the game and that’s important. It’s the feather in the cap to the front office, they’ve drafted some good kids and we’re going to need them through the season whether it’s injuries or whatever it is, and I’ve been impressed with the way they carry themselves.”

GM Jay Feaster doesn’t get many kudos these days, but here we are. Drafting Monahan sixth overall and acquiring Knight from the Panthers gives them a couple of very young and hopeful players.

With the state the current Flames roster is in, both players might stick with the team all season.

Wings GM: ‘Tomas Tatar will be one of 14 forwards left standing’

Tomas Tatar

It would’ve been easy for Detroit Red Wings 22-year-old forward Tomas Tatar to be discouraged coming into training camp this year. After the team signed Daniel Alfredsson and brought back Dan Cleary, things are a bit crowded at forward for the team.

He might breathe a little easier today.

Red Wings GM Ken Holland told reporters today things are looking very up for the young Slovak.

“Tomas Tatar will be one of 14 forwards left standing,” he said.

Tatar is one of 16 forwards vying to make the team out of camp and reports earlier in the week had him feeling frustrated over the amount of competition, as’s Ansar Khan reported.

After seeing the way he and Gustav Nyquist broke out last season (four goals, three assists in 18 games), it’s understandable why they could be frustrated about possibly having to go back to the AHL again this year.

As for now, it looks like Tatar is sticking around and the question shifts to who out of the 16 could be headed out of town.

Flyers’ Bourdon skating, still dealing with concussion symptoms

Marc-Andre Bourdon

This season is supposed to be the one Flyers defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon challenges for a full-time role on the blue line. Instead, he’s trying to bounce back a concussion suffered last year that ended his season.

Tim Panaccio of spoke with the almost 24-year-old blue liner and finds out that while he’s back skating, he’s still dealing with issues stemming from his injury.

“Every time I skated with the guys [in August] and there was contact and stuff, it was just bad luck and I had symptoms. I can’t have the contact if I am still having symptoms,” Bourdon said.

Bourdon played in just 17 games last year for the AHL Adirondack Phantoms thanks to his injury. GM Paul Holmgren says he’s “day-to-day” but he’s already announced Bourdon will start the season on long-term injured reserve.

Considering how banged up the Flyers defensive corps was last season, having all the depth you can goes a long way. Going without Bourdon won’t be helpful to Philly in anyway.