Kukla's Korner

Mike Babcock’s Hockey Night in Canada close-up

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

The end of Mike Babcock's media tour took him to Sportsnet's Hockey Night in Canada studios, where he sat down with George Strombolopolous for an 11-minute interview that aired during the 1st intermission:

If it's possible to make Mike Babcock feel warm and fuzzy, and if it's possible for Mike Babcock to make himself seem fuzzy, this is as close as it's gonna get.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+babcock, toronto+maple+leafs

Salary cap likely to rise by $2 million, says Bettman

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

From the Associated Press:

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman expects the salary cap for the 2015-16 season to settle in around $71 million, depending on the fluctuations of the Canadian dollar.

Appearing between the first and second periods of Game 3 of the Western Conference finals Thursday night between the Anaheim Ducks and hometown Blackhawks, the commissioner said he expects it to climb five per cent from this year’s cap figure of $69 million.

Bettman also faced several questions about concussions three months after the death of former defenceman Steve Montador, 35, who was subsequently found to have suffered from chronic traumatic encephelopathy — or CTE — a degenerative brain disease.


Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: gary+bettman, salary+cap, steve+montador

Scotty Bowman speaks with Jim Matheson about Mike Babcock’s departure

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

I'm getting more than a little tired of talking about Mike Babcock, but I'm sticking this story by the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson in TMR instead of Kukla's Korner because one very specific person spoke with Matheson regarding both Toronto and Detroit's likely wishes in the Babcock-to-Toronto scenario--William Scott Bowman, a senior advisor to hockey operations with the Chicago Blackhawks:

"I wasn’t surprised Mike left Detroit,” said Bowman, a former Red Wings head coach. “The offers were high in Buffalo (and Toronto). I don’t know if Detroit wanted to go that high."

"They knew it would be tough to keep him because it had gone on for so long,” Bowman said about the fact Babcock hadn’t signed an extension last summer or in January, when one was offered. There’s the lure of Toronto and Canada; it’s the biggest market, the wealthiest team.”

The Maple Leafs don’t have anywhere near the young talent Detroit had. There’s no Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg at centre, which makes a coach’s job easier than most.

“Detroit probably expected something to happen (with Babcock) because they retained Jeff Blashill,” Bowman said about the Red Wings’ farm team coach. “I think he’ll be the leading candidate to coach there now. They didn’t want to lose him last year and said they were counting on him (replacing Babcock) if he was willing to wait.”

The Red Wings gave Blashill a healthy salary to stay another year in the American Hockey League and know another team wouldn’t get permission to talk to him about an NHL job.

“With Toronto, there’s (team president Brendan) Shanahan there. They didn’t hire a high-profile general manager and I presume they won’t. So Mike will have a say (in personnel matters), maybe a big one in who to keep and who to trade,” Bowman said. “He had a pretty good say in Detroit, too, but when you have a pretty good manager like Kenny Holland, he’s making lots of moves you don’t know about. This is tough on Buffalo … there’s good (unemployed coaches) out there, but they didn’t get the lottery (No. 1 pick) and the poor guy going in now knows he’s second choice. Not that it matters, I guess, because they’ll be back coaching. It’s not (the Sabres’) fault, but it sort of looks bad on them.”

Matheson and Bowman continue, and Matheson has this to say about the prospect of Jeff Blashill coaching the Wings...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Open Post- Game 3 Western Conference Finals, Anaheim Ducks vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Puck drops just after 8:00pm ET on NBCSN, CBC and TVA.

The series is 1-1 and the series shifts to Chicago for the next two games.

Discuss as you wish.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Ken Holland appears on TSN 1290, The Fan 590 (and Babcock, too)

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Red Wings GM Ken Holland made the sports talk radio rounds in a big way, discussing the end of his working relationship with Mike Babcock, the process by which Babcock chose to part ways with the Wings and possibly the future, suggesting that at least Jeff Blashill is a leading candidate to be the next coach--though no final decisions, "Will be made until after the Grand Rapids Griffins' season is finished," to use his words--and he appeared on both Winnipeg's TSN 1290's Hustler and Lawless show to discuss said topics...

And Holland appeared on The Fan 590's Prime Time Sports show for about 20 minutes, just after 6 PM EDT, also discussing said topics with Bob McCown.

Below, you will also find Babcock's interview with McCown from earlier in the day. Babcock insisted that Jeff Blashill will be the Wings' next coach (for what it's worth, TSN's Bob McKenzie also reported that Wings assistant coaches Jim Hiller and Andrew Brewer will be leaving for Toronto).

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

To Keep Or Trade Milan Lucic

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

“All of our players have to understand that the four teams playing this week all have different attributes of skill, size, speed, and grit,” Sweeney said Wednesday at TD Garden. “But they have a sacrifice level that it takes to win in the playoffs. You have to have a blend of that to get there. We have to have more aggression in our game.”

Sweeney also wants cap flexibility. The Bruins have approximately $60 million invested in their 2015-16 roster. Dougie Hamilton, Brett Connolly, and Ryan Spooner require new contracts. The Bruins need a backup goalie.

Milan Lucic is in the last year of a deal that averages $6 million annually. It is a high sum for a player for whom 18 goals and 26 assists was considered a disappointment. Sweeney does not want to play limbo too closely under the ceiling, which is projected to be approximately $70 million next year. Trading the 26-year-old winger with cap relief as an objective would help Sweeney gain breathing room.

“We have some challenges,” Sweeney acknowledged. “We have some flexibility issues that we have to get back out in front of and that we have to address head-on.”

Moving Lucic, however, would mean losing the NHL’s signature power forward. If he and David Krejci stay healthy, Lucic’s presence and production will grow next year. Trading Lucic would not necessarily improve the team in 2015-16.

Determining Lucic’s future is one of Sweeney’s most immediate decisions. It is also one of his hardest.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: milan+lucic

The Plan For The Toronto Maple Leafs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

Mike Babcock did nothing but win in Detroit. He won without high draft picks. He won without large free-agent signings. He won without all-star goaltending.

He won — or better put, the Red Wings won — partly because of elite talent such as Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg — and moreso because the organization under general manager Ken Holland understood and fostered player development in a way few franchises ever have.

The model is there for the Maple Leafs.

It is Holland’s model with Jimmy Devellano’s signature on it and a clear mandate from management and coaching: Every spot on a team is earned.

Every player is developed with a sense of patience and logic.

There is a clear and unwavering plan that never changes.

The kind of plan Brendan Shanahan keeps referencing without much explanation.

The model to follow is partly Detroit, partly Tampa Bay for Shanahan’s Maple Leafs. It is not coincidence that Steve Yzerman is running the Lightning. It is not coincidence that Jim Nill traded for Tyler Seguin in Dallas. It is not coincidence that Todd McLellan is the new coach of the Oilers and Jeff Blashill is likely the new coach in Detroit and Paul MacLean is a former coach of the year before he was let go in Ottawa.

All learned the Red Wing way. All became part of that family — and are still, in a way, part of that culture.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Evening Line- Scotty Bowman

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“I thought I was doing OK when I went to Detroit. They offered me double what I was getting in Pittsburgh, so I said, ‘Hell I might as well go'.

“The best I ever did, I was the first coach that ever made a million. In Detroit, they paid me after we won the two Cups. That’s 20 years ago now, nearly.”

-Scotty Bowman via Mark Spector of Sportsnet where you can read more from Bowman, plus video of Mike Babcock talking from their studio.

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: scotty+bowman

Mike Babcock believes that Jeff Blashill will succeed him as the Wings’ next coach

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Take this for what you will, from Sportsnet's Jeff Marek and Mike Babcock's chat with The Fan 590's Bob McCown:

Babcock was talking about personnel who left the Wings as proof of a quality program and he mentioned Blashill, "Who's gonna be the coach."


Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink

Buffalo GM Tim Murray Puts The Babcock Issue To Bed

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,

“People are looking for a smoking gun that doesn’t exist.”

That is how Sabres general manager Tim Murray describes the fallout in Buffalo, after the city’s coachless hockey club finished second in the Mike Babcock sweepstakes to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“I’m not upset or anything,” Murray told WGR 550 Sports Radio in a lengthy interview Thursday afternoon. “It was a great process for me. This is my first real shot at doing interviews and hiring my coach.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tim+murray

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