Kukla's Korner

Ready To Coach

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP at TSN,

Brad Treliving joked recently NHL coaches only need a couple video sessions to prepare for an opponent, find a weakness, correct a problem or add a wrinkle.

So what about 142 days?

"Every game might end 0-0," the Calgary Flames general manager quipped.

With summer training camps set to open Monday as the NHL lurches forward in its plan to restart a season stopped in its tracks four months ago by COVID-19, the temptation might be to spring a surprise or two — maybe a new power-play setup or a tweak to the penalty kill — when the games return Aug. 1.

Coaches for the 24 teams set to feature in the league's return have had ample time to plan, brainstorm and re-assess their systems and rosters. The 16 taking part in the best-of-five qualifying round have known for nearly seven weeks which opponent they'd be lining up against if the league got back up and running.

But don't expect to see massive changes — especially early — from the men standing behind the benches in those empty arenas in Toronto and Edmonton once the puck is dropped.

They have enough to worry about when it comes to their own players.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

A Look At The Wings’ 2018 Draft Class

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

The 2018 draft saw the Wings cash in on the Tomas Tatar trade and use Vegas’ first-round pick into Joe Veleno, one of four picks the Wings made within the first 36 picks and among 10 total. Several of the draft picks figure to be a key part of the rebuild.

Here is a closer look at each selection.

F Filip Zadina...

Wingspan: Zadina, 20, made his 2019-20 season debut Nov. 24, called up after Anthony Mantha suffered an injury. Zadina earned his first point Nov. 30. He looked strong on the puck, figuring out how to make time and space for himself to make a play or take a good shot. From the time he was called up until he suffered a leg injury Jan. 31 (a span of 27 games), Zadina was tied for first on the team in goals (eight) and ranked third in points (15). He showed he belongs in the lineup, and that he can add a much-needed offensive boost.

F Joe Veleno...

Wingspan: Veleno, 20, endured growing pains, but that’s normal in a player’s first year of pro hockey. The Wings’ development staff emphasized Veleno work on the defensive side of his game, and that was a factor in his 11 goals and 12 assists in 54 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins. There’s no doubt he has high-end offensive instincts, but the Wings need Veleno to be a good two-way player to maximize where he slots into the rebuild.


Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Detroit Will Receive Edmonton’s 4th Round Pick In The 2020 Draft

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

added 7:09pm,


Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Hockey Talk Before Training Camp Starts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

- This may be the last and best opportunity for a while for the ever-optimistic Maple Leafs to compete for the Stanley Cup.

You see, the world is about to get very complicated for the Leafs and several other NHL teams who have spent money with the assumption the salary cap would continue to rise, and rise some more. In all the planning and organizing the Leafs and other clubs worked through, nobody budgeted for a pandemic.

So, this is perhaps the last dance for a Leafs team with John Tavares, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander....

- A management team of Doug Armstrong, Ken Holland, Kelly McCrimmon and maybe Julian BriseBois should be selected to run Team Canada for the 2022 Winter Olympics. A lot of people want Mike Babcock to coach. I’d like to see Bruce Cassidy, who beat Babcock twice in playoff series, get a shot. And if not him, Jon Cooper.

- There’s more to Chris Pronger leaving the Florida Panthers than has been spoken about. Pronger wanted to be the next general manager and should have been the man to replace Dale Tallon. Word around is that the assistant GM, Eric Joyce, will soon to be elevated to the top job. His background isn’t hockey, it’s national security. The Panthers continually keep trying to be smarter than everyone else in hockey and somehow fail every time they get cute.

more on the first topic plus additional hockey notes...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

A Bad CBA For The Players

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

The greater good was served. A distasteful public dispute in the midst of a pandemic was avoided. The NHL’s next six seasons will be uninterrupted by labor discord. The fans win.

But though decorum was maintained at all times, and material disagreements between the league and the union were generally kept behind closed doors, that did not prevent the NHL from using this COVID-19 crisis to achieve a CBA that comes closest yet to the league’s 2004-05 vision of how its hard cap should function.

The NBA is a players’ league. The NFL is a coaches’ league. The NHL is an owners’ league. Never was that more reinforced than through these negotiations that, truth be told, Gary Bettman and the Board won when they shut down the league 15 seasons ago and minimized if not co-opted, and co-opted if not broke, the union.

The NHLPA bargained itself into stagnating wages for the next four-to-six-to-eight seasons essentially so the players could be in a lower tax bracket. Is that the way you negotiate your contract? The union is not only putting controls on the cap through the pandemic, but throughout the length of the CBA.

So this season, the cap stands at $81.5 million. In 2024-25, there is a chance it could increase to $84.5 million. That represents a 3.68 percent increase in average salary over six seasons. How much — allowing that the economy returns to health once the coronavirus is under control—do you think team valuations will rise over that period?


Filed in: NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink

No More Injury Disclosurea

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

feom Michael Traikos of the National Post,

In the 2009 playoffs, Nicklas Lidstrom missed the final two games of the Western Conference final with what was vaguely described as a “lower-body injury.” But everyone who saw the Detroit defenceman doubled over in pain knew what the actual extent of the injury really was.

Lidstrom, who had been speared by Chicago’s Patrick Sharp in Game 3, had a badly bruised testicle. It required surgery. He said it was the most painful injury he’d ever endured....

Going forward, we will no longer be told if a player pulls a muscle or breaks a bone or even ruptures his scrotum in a game. And we certainly won’t know if he develops a respiratory illness that could jeopardize him, his teammates and the entire Stanley Cup playoffs.

In other words, there is no transparency when it comes to player absences.

If someone misses a game, it could be because he suffered a concussion. Or it could be because he has COVID-19. It’s up to fans — and other players sharing the same hotels and facilities inside one of two bubbles — to guess.

read on

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Live Stream- NHL And NHLPA Discuss CBA And Return To Play

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Scheduled to begin at 1:00pm ET.

added 3:17pm, Archived, YouTube version is below.


Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Filip Zadina Feels Fine But Bored

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Paul

from Dana Wakiji of DetroitRedWings.com,

When it comes to sniper Filip Zadina, Red Wings fans were left wondering what could have been.

Because of a broken ankle suffered Jan. 31 in New York, Zadina's season was cut short just when he was starting to come into his own.

Zadina, who only turned 20 in late November, was about ready to return when the NHL paused the season on March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I was actually ready to come back and play but the staff, they kind of canceled my plans," Zadina said last week on The Red and White Authority podcast. "I'm probably, I would say, kind of sad about it because I was ready to go in order to get back on with the boys but it happened what happened. So maybe next year. I hope so."...

he Wings had given Zadina some workouts that didn't require weights or special equipment so he could remain in shape while staying safe at home.

But of course now that he's healthy, Zadina wishes he could have played some more hockey this season.

"I'm feeling really good, I would say, but it's kind of boring without the games, without hockey in LCA so kind of boring," Zadina said. "But glad to be home with my family."


Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Tentative Timeline

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

Much of the NHL’s adjusted critical dates calendar is still considered tentative, but the potential look the league released Friday night as part of its return-to-play package certainly painted a chaotic picture about how it intends to finish the 2019-20 season and transition to 2020-21 in an expedited fashion.

Here’s a sampling of how it might look (** – denotes tentative date):

• July 13: Training camps open

• July 26: Teams travel to hub cities

• July 28-30: Exhibition games

• Aug. 1: Stanley Cup Qualifiers begin

• **Aug. 10: Phase 2 of NHL draft lottery

• Aug. 11: Round 1 begins

• **Aug. 25: Round 2 begins

• **Sept. 8: Conference finals begin

read on

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Ready To Play

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Frank Seravalli of TSN

The NHL Players’ Association and the NHL’s Board of Governors voted overwhelmingly on Friday to ratify a sweeping agreement that includes a six-year Collective Bargaining Agreement and a Return to Play Plan that brings hockey back after a historic, 142-day pause.

According to sources, the NHLPA’s full membership voted 502 to 135 with 78.8 per cent in favour, while the league’s vote was unanimous, as expected. Both only required simple majorities to pass.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman lauded the stakeholders involved "for coming together under extraordinary circumstances for the good of our game."

"This agreement is a meaningful step forward for the players and owners, and for our game, in a difficult and uncertain time," NHLPA executive director Don Fehr said in a statement.

Now, after months of heavy lifting with two sides hammering out the game’s first peace-time labour agreement in three-plus decades, the NHL’s real dance on thin ice begins.

The NHL’s owners have said ‘yes.’ The NHL’s players have said ‘yes.’ Now, they only need the cooperation of a virus that has claimed the lives of more than a half million people worldwide over the past six months.

Yes, the road back to the rink is one paved in peril, but the lure of hockey’s holy grail and more than a 100 years of history is on the other side.

rea on

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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