Kukla's Korner

Hartsburg Appears To Be Headed Back To The NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP at TSN,

It looks like Craig Hartsburg is set to make a return to the NHL.

The Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League announced Sunday that Hartsburg was stepping down as the team’s head coach “to pursue an opportunity in the National Hockey League.”...

It has been reported that Hartsburg is in line to join Brent Sutter’s coaching staff with the Calgary Flames.

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  Tags: craig+hartsburg

The Perfect Goalie For The Philadelphia Flyers - Tim Thomas

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chuck Gormley of the Delco Times,

The Flyers should go after Thomas. Hard. But they should not sacrifice Carter, who is in the prime of his career with at least four or five productive seasons left in him. Thomas now has two years remaining in his contract and provides the perfect bridge to Sergei Bobrovsky, who at 22 could benefit from an entire season as a starter in the American Hockey League.

How can Holmgren make it happen?

First, the Bruins need to convince themselves they can win without Thomas. They have 24-year-old Tuukka Rask waiting for the opportunity, but Rask lost the starting job to Thomas early this season and never got it back.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tim+thomas

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

They’re in big trouble. That’s rather obvious. But they have demonstrated far too much spunk and resilience throughout these playoffs for anyone to bury them now. Game 3 is tomorrow night. They’ll be ready.

-Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe on the Bruins, who are down 0-2 to the Canucks.  More from as the Bruins head home.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Don’t Go Praising Bettman

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Engstrom of the Winnipeg Sun,

The unlikely return of big league hockey to Winnipeg has caused an even unlikelier thing to occur.

The thing I’m referring to, of course, is a handful of Winnipeggers saying NHL commissioner Gary Bettman — the guy who ushered our beloved Jets out of town 15 years ago — perhaps isn’t such a bad guy after all.

Heck, some obviously inebriated or otherwise medicated Winnipeggers even had the gall to call Bettman a — gasp! — hero.

No, really. A few people said it.

Of course, this is utter nonsense. In his dream world, Bettman’s plan to export Canada’s national pastime to the U.S. Sunbelt would have been a giant success with full arenas and giant ratings, allowing him to forever turn his back on small Canadian markets like Winnipeg and Quebec City.

Unfortunately for Bettman, that scheme had about the same chance of long-term success as Kim Kardashian’s upcoming marriage: Little to none.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Winnipeg Jets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Red Wings overnight report: Paul MacLean may be heading to Ottawa

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

One generally should take comments regarding possible player personnel moves by the Ottawa Senators, as suggested by one Bruce Garrioch, with a wee bit of salt (a fifty-pound bag of rock salt is a good start), but both Garrioch and the Ottawa Sun’s Don Brennan believe that, despite Senators owner Eugene Melnyk’s desire to promote Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors coach Dave Cameron to Ottawa’s NHL job (Melnyk owns St. Mike’s), Bryan Murray will ultimately choose Red Wings assistant coach Paul MacLean as the Ottawa Senators’ next coach:

Even if Murray likes Cameron best, hiring him will look like he’s only following the owner’s orders. And if he doesn’t think Cameron is the best candidate — which is more likely the case — Murray says no to the guy who gave him a three-year extension a couple of months ago? He’ll do it, but it’s not a situation he should have been put in.

Along with Cameron and [Binghamton Senators coach Kurt] Kleinendorst, the list of candidates includes Paul MacLean, Kirk Muller, Craig MacTavish and Gerard Gallant.

The guess here, at this moment, is that it will be MacLean, the longtime assistant of Detroit’s Mike Babcock, Murray’s proudest hiring. No doubt Murray talked to Babcock about MacLean, who would have been highly recommended by his current boss.

I’m just guessing, too, but given that Murray was subtle as a brick as the Red Wings’ general manager in the early 90’s, remained the same when he hired Babcock and MacLean when Murray helmed the Mighty Ducks, and keeps Garrioch in business because he’s all too willing to surrender leverage by publicly stating that he’s talking trade turkey and/or wants to or doesn’t want to re-sign certain players…MacLean’s a pretty safe bet.

 

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

The Hotstove, part 2: On Winnipeg, the Bryzgalov sweepstakes and Malhotra

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun covered his half of the heavy lifting during Hockey Night in Canada’s final Satellite Hotstove of the season in a Saturday night notebook, and the Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis touches upon several topics of note this morning, starting with the news that the Winnipeg NHL team (might they be called the Whiteout?) had reached 13,000 season tickets and a money-making waiting list’s worth of 8,000 people within minutes of Saturday’s public sale as it relates to the Atlanta Thrashers’ players’ new-found faith in their to-be-named hockey home:

Team captain Andrew Ladd said the players have all been watching the fans’ overwhelming response, quelling whatever fears some had about the Great White Unknown.

Word is while some of the players were somewhat disappointed things fell through in Atlanta and/or felt inconvenienced by the move, they’ve all warmed up to the relocation after seeing the tremendous response of the fans. Ladd says not one player is outraged or even hesitant to play there. Of course, that hasn’t stopped the lads from exchanging endless jokes about how cold it will be.

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And a beer, up a tree

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

As Alanah reported on Saturday, the NHL kind of made a boo boo…A big boo boo. The Ontario Superior Court upheld the appeal of Labatt Breweries, which argued that the NHL violated its deal with the company by signing a $375 million deal with Molson-Coors.

The Toronto Star’s Damien Cox duly notes that while the NHL triumphantly strode into the Stanley Cup Final having relocated a team back into a Canadian market and boasting nearly $3 billion in league-wide revenues, the reality regarding the league’s business practices remains the same—whether it’s Winnipeg ($60 million relocation fee), Phoenix ($25 million guaranteed to cover against the team’s losses) or the beer deal (certainly, the NHL already banked away and invested some of that money) Gary Bettman’s NHL still prefers to grab cash and let their lawyers deal with the mess made by a league which still happily operates by a policy seemingly governed by scorched earth:

“It’s very embarrassing,” said one industry analyst. “Basically, they were trying to sell the same property twice and got caught.”

The Ontario Superior Court justice said in his ruling that Molson-Coors suspected the league had already reached a deal with Labatt when it decided to pursue an agreement with the NHL, and ultimately signed a seven-year deal for North American rights. The judge ruled the NHL had already sold the Canadian part of those rights to Labatt, but for significantly less money.

“In my view, the NHL should not be entitled to profit from its breach of its agreement with Labatt,” wrote Newbould. “Labatt should be entitled to its bargain and its unique marketing position resulting from the agreement to be the Canadian sponsor of the NHL for the next three years.”

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Dupont says fighting’s got to end

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

The Boston Globe’s Kevin Dupont readily admits that he’s been one of the biggest supporters of fighting in hockey throughout his tenure as a hockey journalist, but Dupont suggests that it’s officially time for him and for us to take a stand against fighting because it’s the canary in the coal mine in terms of the complete and total lack of respect that players tend to have for each other:

I’ve evolved to this point because of the game’s culture, one that I’ve been saying and writing these last 18-24 months must change, principally because players today get injured too often, some of their brains damaged beyond repair, and fighting plays a part in that. That’s not to say all of that, but a part of that, and I now believe that taking out the fights — as much as I will miss them — is simply the easiest, most obvious first step to change the game’s runaway seek-and-destroy culture.

Too much of today’s game is about hitting to hurt, literally to break the opponent, and that’s not just a danger to players but also to the game’s image, its marketability, and I think its sustainability. To abolish fighting won’t be a cure-all, but I believe it can be key in unraveling a complicated, dangerous, and ultimately losing environment.

So I made that very case the other day to Bruins career tough guy Shawn Thornton, whom I respect as a person, a player, and a fighter (my kind of hat trick). He looked at me in dismay, and then in all sincerity, and with a good amount of animation and invective, told me I was nuts. He made his points in support of the sweet science (all in line with my lifetime position) and really couldn’t be swayed with my “culture change’’ postulate.

“I think if you take fighting out,’’ said Thornton, “you’ll see the game go to places where you’ll want it back just to stop the nonsense — more stick work, more cheap shots, just all the junk. Maybe that’s my old-school thinking, but . . .’’

Continued, and Dupont makes an excellent point about the NHL’s disciplinary system, too—that hit will undergo a significant revision over the course of CBA negotiations.

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Rick Dudley upset, disappointed about being let go by Winnipeg team

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

Former Atlanta Thrashers GM Rick Dudley gave his former charges in Atlanta a, “They could be an elite team” assessment while sharing his disappointment regarding being let go by the Winnipeg NHL team in an extensive (but a bit garbled) interview with The Fan 590’s Norm Rumack. Dudley’s eighteen-minute is worth a listen if you want to hear an assessment of the Winnipeg team’s fortunes from a consummate professional who wishes he could continue the work he’d put in scouting prospects for the 2011 Entry Draft with the Winnipeg team…If another team doesn’t scoop him up first.

Dudley’s biggest point of emphasis in the interview involves his hopes that the Winnipeg management group doesn’t choose to let the Thrashers’ executives and scouts in particular go for the sake of starting fresh, suggesting that the familiarity which the team has established in terms of its coaches and front office personnel was a big reason why Winnipeg’s getting an up-and-coming NHL team:


Download file

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Brooks: Brad Richards wants a long-term, big-money deal

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

According to the New York Post’s Larry Brooks, the theory that the Red Wings might be able to sign Brad Richards to a one-year deal might be an “intriguing story,” but even the New York Rangers might be getting cold feet about Richards’ desire to earn a big-money, long-term deal that only Toronto might be inclined to give him:

The Rangers have heard through the grapevine that Brad Richards will be seeking a long-term contract worth a minimum of $7 million per when the free-agent market opens on July 1, and they’ve heard it more than once and they’ve heard it from more than one source.

This means that, a) general manager Glen Sather will not be sending an asset to Dallas for the right to try and convince the 31-year-old center to sign before he hits the market; and, b) the Blueshirts already are pondering a Plan B to bring a first-line pivot to Broadway.

We’re told by well-placed sources Richards has no intention of signing for a discount in order to reunite with coach John Tortorella, with whom he won the Cup with Tampa Bay in 2004. That’s fine. If five years at $6.5 million per—that’s the number—doesn’t represent enough green to get Richards into a Blueshirt, then that’s that.
...
Maybe Richards would take less to return to Tampa Bay, maybe living a life with less daily stress than everyone of us who lives in New York routinely encounters just isn’t for him. That doesn’t make him a bad person any more than Cliff Lee taking less to play for the Phillies rather for the Yankees makes the lefty pitcher a bad guy. Signing Richards to a five-year, $32.5 million contract would have represented a risk/reward move anyway, given both the history of such free-agent signings here and the matter of the concussion the pivot sustained last winter.

Continued, and Brooks believes that Stephen Weiss or Patrick Sharp might be alternatives the Rangers might pursue via trade.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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