Kukla's Korner

Collecting Regular Season Hardware

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

NEW YORK (May 28, 2020) – The 2019-20 National Hockey League regular season concluded with the Boston Bruins capturing three of the League’s major awards, including the Presidents’ Trophy as the team with the best overall record.

Bruins right wing David Pastrnak and Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin each earned the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the NHL’s goal-scoring leaders, while Boston’s Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak combined for the William M. Jennings Trophy as the goaltenders who played for the team allowing the fewest goals. Joining these winners was Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl, who finished 13 points ahead of the field for his first career Art Ross Trophy as the League’s scoring champion.

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Morning Line- Terry Jones

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

There were more questions than NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was able to answer while his three-year-old grandson played with pots and pans for background in the kitchen Tuesday afternoon.

But at a time when other leagues are still floating without a plan, Bettman provided one that is reasonable and realistic.

Yes, there’s an absence of any real time frame other than a hope to get players around the league back on the ice and skating in the next week or two and into training camp situations in mid-July.

But there’s a framework going forward that the NBA, MLB and certainly the Canadian Football League don’t have. And there’s a reasonable chance they could make it work.

-Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun where you can read more on this topic.

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Testing Will Be A Key In The Return To Play Plan

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Waldstein of the New York Times,

There are many issues, some complicated, that need to be settled over the next several weeks to yield a 24-team, two-city hockey extravaganza that in its early stages would see up to three games played per day in a single arena, much like in the Olympics or the N.C.A.A. tournament.

But the most important step the N.H.L. must confront to move forward is the same one that daunts the rest of the United States — figuring out how to execute a coronavirus testing protocol for players, staff and family members.

The N.H.L.’s complex plan to end its regular season and jump into a 24-team playoff became necessary months ago when hockey, and most sports, were forced to shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic. Resuming play could mean testing each player every night, expediting the results to be delivered in the mornings before players and staff head to arenas for games or practices. Gary Bettman, the N.H.L. commissioner, said in a news conference on Tuesday that by the end of the Stanley Cup finals the league will have administered 25,000 to 30,000 tests under the guidelines outlined in a memo on Monday.

read on

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Future Looks A Bit Brighter

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

from Davis Satriano of NHL.com,

Here is a look at what happened during the 2019-20 season for the Red Wings and why things could be better next season:///

What went wrong

Goaltending: The Red Wings allowed the most goals in the NHL (265) and per game (3.73), so it's no surprise they ranked last in team save percentage (.886). Jimmy Howard, who can become an unrestricted free agent after the season, was 2-23-2 with a 4.20 goals-against average in 27 starts including 0-18-2 in his past 20 decisions, so figuring out the goalie situation will be important.

Special teams: Detroit did not perform well on the power play or the penalty kill, which cost them games. They ranked 29th in the League on the power play (14.9 percent) and last on the penalty kill (74.3 percent). Combine that with the fact that they took the fewest shots on goal per game in the League (27.1) and allowed the fifth most (32.8) and it's not hard to see why they were on the outside looking in.

No offense: With 142 goals scored in 71 games, Detroit was the lowest scoring team in the NHL, averaging two per game. They scored one goal or fewer 30 times and were shut out seven times.

Reasons for optimism

Yzerman as GM: The Red Wings legend should fare better in his second season as general manager and has shown the ability to turn teams around.

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Slowly Headed In The Right Direction

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

from Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News,

Yzerman seemed mildly disappointed the NHL didn’t alter its draft lottery June 26. Despite posting the worst record, by far, the Wings have only an 18.5-percent chance of landing the top pick. The prize is expected to be forward Alexis Lafreniere, and although the Wings have picked sixth, sixth and ninth the past three drafts, they haven’t gotten a shot at a generational talent. They do have 10 picks, including seven in the first three rounds.

Ultimately, that’s where the future lies, in the uncertainty of youth and the unknown of draft picks. Sprinkling in a capable veteran or two with modest contracts makes sense. With the Wings idled perhaps for months, and training arrangements unclear, young players won’t necessarily get the on-hand guidance they need. In that regard, it’s a bad time to be a bad team.

“The young guys that are motivated are gonna figure out a way to get it done,” Yzerman said. “And part of it is, we’re gonna learn who really wants to be a hockey player. The ones who truly don’t, they’ve got as a good a reason as ever to not train right now. A lot of the onus is on the kids’ motivation.”

That sounds like a warning shot, different than the warming shot a year ago. Yzerman has watched and surely winced. I suspect the next step, whenever the pandemic allows, will be a bit more forceful.

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Henrik Lundqvist Deserves One Last Shot

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

I don’t know whether Henrik Lundqvist can reclaim the No. 1 job in nets from Igor Shesterkin when (and if) the Rangers reconvene at some point late next month or in early July.

But I do know that David Quinn and the coaching staff would be making a mistake if they enter camp with minds that closed in the middle of March in the aftermath of the NHL hitting the pause button due to coronavirus concerns.

And I also know that The King, given what almost certainly would become his final shot at earning playing time for meaningful games while wearing the Blueshirt, would be up for the competition against Shesterkin and Alex Georgiev.

And up for the competition in the best-of-five qualifying round against his cousins from Carolina, those Candy Canes who voted against the NHL’s 24-team return-to-play format because, in the words of player rep Jordan Martinook, “it kind of limits our odds.”

continued

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Video- Steve Yzerman Meets With The Media

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

It says stream on the site and live, but this did take place a few hours ago.

You can rewind if you wish and I will keep an eye on it to make sure it is available after it completes.

Points of the video, no reason to make a head coaching change and Mantha and Bertuzzi will be signed.

added 3:48pm, the video now starts at the beginning.

 

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Steve Yzerman Today

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

Steve Yzerman held a Zoom conference call with the media today.

 

Cotsonika...

Yzerman said his feelings haven't changed on Blashill. "I have no plans on making a coaching change at this time."

Yzerman reiterates that it's unfair to judge Blashill. "We need to improve the team."

added 1:22pm,

 

more if needed...

added 1:35pm,

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All Donald Fehr

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski of ESPN,

ESPN: What is the approach for players who know they have underlying immune conditions? Or that have family members who are immunocompromised? The NHL has told us there's leeway as to whether these players can ask out of participating in a playoff tournament during a pandemic. What is the NHLPA's stance on that?

Fehr: There are still things that have to be negotiated. We haven't done the Phase 3 or Phase 4 protocols. There are some things about the [return-to-play] format that aren't quite finished. There's a lot to do, but that issue will certainly be one that will be raised. And I'm fairly confident that we'll find a way to resolve it. Nobody wants to expose someone to unreasonable risks given the circumstances. So we'll have to find a way to come to grips with it. In that regard, we're just like every other business.

ESPN: Players have voiced a concern about being apart from their families for an extended period of time. Have you received any assurances from the NHL that families will be able to accompany players in the "bubble" when competition resumes?

Fehr: We still have to negotiate those specific things. But when we looked at it overall, [in] Phase 2 they'll be able to be with families, during training camp they should be able to be. Until we know where we're going to be and what the facilities are going to be like and what the recommendations from the appropriate health care and medical people are, we won't be able to come to grips with that precisely. But hopefully nobody is going to be without their families for an extended period of time, like months. I find that very unlikely.

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  Tags: donald+fehr

No To Special Attention For The NHL In Canada

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Doug Smith of the Toronto Star,

In no way, shape or form should our federal government do anything “special” to relax border restrictions on Canadians coming back to the country or others trying to enter Canada simply to appease hockey fans who won’t be able to go see the games anyway.

And shame on any city or provincial officials – and, yeah, I’m looking at you Toronto and Edmonton – who think for even a second about lobbying Ottawa to change its policies.

This is so, so, so much bigger than what misguided sense of “pride” someone might get from having 10 professional hockey teams play in empty arenas in their cities.

Hopefully, and I have to be optimistic that this will be the case, the federal government will see past any ploy to get them to change policies in place for the greater society just to appease a minority of pucks fans who won’t be able to get near the games or the players anyway.

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