Kukla's Korner

Did The Rangers Overpay Staal?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of The Spin,

Now comes the news that restricted free agent Marc Staal has agreed to terms on a five-year, $19.875 million deal, one that will take him one year into unrestricted free agency before he can negotiate again.

Too much for your basic stay-at-home defenceman? A smart deal to lock up a 23-year-old core asset? A deal that should scare the heck out of the Maple Leafs, with Luke Schenn likely to be comparing himself to Staal when his contract expires in July?

With the NHL, it’s always difficult trying to compare apples and apples, let alone apples and oranges. Anaheim signs Bobby Ryan to a deal that’s roughly 25 per cent more than Staal’s, but Ryan is a 30-goal scorer with potential to score 50. There are so few of those kinds of scorers that its hard not to imagine that the price differential between the players should be greater.

Moreover, Staal had no real leverage with the Rangers. No offer sheet or a realistic expectation of one. No rival league. No arbitration rights.

But they paid up anyway, ostensibly to lock Staal up and obviously believing there’s greater upside to his game, particularly his offensive game, than has been demonstrated so far.


Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marc+staal

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“I have something to prove this year, I know that. I have to prove that I’m not done. People said a lot of things about me last year, and I’m sure they’re still saying some of it. That’s fine. That’s more motivation.”

-Mike Commodore of the Columbus Blue Jackets.  More on Commodore from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+commodore

Coach Q Getting A New Contract

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via TSN,

The Chicago Blackhawks have called a news conference for Thursday afternoon to announce that the club has signed head coach Joel Quenneville to a contract extension.

Quenneville was entering the final year of a contract he signed in at the start of the 2008-09 season, when he replaced Denis Savard behind the bench.

The Blackhawks will be streaming the announcement today at 3:30pm ET if you want to watch it.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: joel+quenneville

Eric Belanger, Political Pawn?

Blog: KK Hockey By The Upper Canadien

Many Canadiens fans seem to be perplexed, and some outraged, with the fact the Habs signed Jeff Halpern last week for $600,000 and this week Eric Belanger signed in Phoenix for $750,000. Despite the fact that Belanger apparently had a deal that fell through with Washington, and therefore wasn’t really shopping himself until this week, Habs fans are furious that GM Pierre Gauthier would sign Halpern at such a salary when Belanger was technically available for the meagre sum of $150,000 more. Further complicating the issue in public forums, a politician in Quebec this week suggested, and I am paraphrasing here, that Anglophones were taking over the club, phasing out the Francophone players. Apparently, the Habs are a “tool of Canadian federalism.” The reasoning? Federalists and English Canadians see the Habs as a symbol of Francophone Quebec - apparently, if English Canada can make the Habs English enough, the separatist cause will fail for good.

Yeah, because that makes sense.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: belanger, halpern, parti+quebecois

Red Wings’ prospects conclude tournament with a loss, prepare for main camp

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By George Malik

The Detroit Red Wings prospect tournament has only one smudge on its near-spotless 13 years’ worth of play: the Wings’ prospects have yet to win the tournament themselves.  This year’s tournament team, however, got the closest to winning of all Detroit’s participants, taking a 1-0 lead into the third period against an unbeaten Minnesota Wild prospect team…

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink

Kotalik Wants To Be A Big Part Of The Team In Calgary

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Down of the Calgary Herald,

Given all that’s happened, even Kotalik had to admit he’s a wee bit astonished to be here for Friday’s official start to training camp.

“To be honest, I am a little surprised,” he said. “That’s the situation. I feel like I can be a big part of this team and I can measure with anybody up front. The case of the bad season, that can happen to anybody . . . I think there’s more guys than just me who have something to prove from last season.

“One season like that is not going to finish my NHL career.”

And, yet, after clearing waivers he wondered if he wasn’t finished.

“When I ended up on waivers, I waited to see what was going to happen,” he said. “If the Flames would make me a free agent with a buyout, I might stay in Europe. I didn’t know what the situation was at the time.

“I’m still part of the team, I still feel like that and like it around the guys. I think we can have a really good team and I truly believe I’m going to be a part of it.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ales+kotalik

What Is Sid Thinking?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

What’s Crosby thinking this season?

“I felt like I improved my shooting last season, but I know this year it’s going to be even tougher,” Crosby says. “I know in the first 30 games I’m not going to be surprising anyone by pulling up and shooting.”

He says if defenders start to overplay his shot “that I may have to lean more on my playmaking this season.”

The other possible change for Crosby is he could end up with newly acquired Mike Comrie as one of his linemates, though that is far from certain.

“He has a lot of skill,” Crosby says. “I remember when the (Ottawa) Senators made their long run (in 2007), he was a tough guy to play against. He is not the fastest guy, but he is really smart. His skills are really underrated.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sidney+crosby

The Passionate Hockey Dad

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Robert Cribb of the Toronto Star,

From their earliest stick-and-puck beginnings, Stuart Hyman’s sons have played on hockey teams owned and operated by their dad.

When the two oldest reached the junior level, they suited up for the Hamilton Red Wings of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, another Hyman-owned club.

Now, with the two senior brothers in their late teens, their father has purchased a scouting company that ranks prospective draftees for a client base of general managers, coaches and scouts.

It’s a cradle-to-National-Hockey-League development strategy unheard of in the hockey world.


Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: stuart+hyman

Goalie Battle In San Jose

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Emmons of the Mercury News,

In five-plus NHL seasons, Niittymaki, 30, has posted an 83-79-28 record. Last season, he went 21-18-5 with a 2.87 goals-against average with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He is best known for leading Finland to a 2006 Olympic silver medal and earning tournament MVP honors. Niemi, 27, became a starter for Chicago as a rookie last season and went 26-7-4 with a 2.25 goals-against-average. Then he went 16-6 in the playoffs, defeating the Sharks along the way and helping Chicago win its first Cup since 1961.

Sharks coach Todd McLellan said it will be an open competition in training camp, and he was quick to add the name of last year’s backup, Thomas Greiss.

“Ultimately, a goalie decides his own fate when it comes to how many games he plays,” McLellan said. “Whoever is playing well and doing what they’re supposed to do is going to get to play.”

It seems probable, though, that the Sharks will be an all-Finnish goaltending tandem—adding to that country’s growing reputation as a goalie factory. They could be one of Finland’s leading exports.

“Right after Nokia, I guess,” Niittymaki joked


Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Canucks Have Their Objectives

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

The Vancouver Canucks are this fall’s trendy choice, and will be made the favorites to win the Stanley Cup this season, by more than a few of us pundits.

A guy who’s been there before, Sharks GM Doug Wilson, has this advice for the Canucks: “The things that matter are the things that take place … inside your dressing room. The outside noise really has no impact on what you do.”

That’s easy to say when you’re in San Jose.

But in Vancouver, a hockey market that rivals Toronto for its voracity and the size of the media herd, GM Mike Gillis will be watching for any signs that anyone in his organization — and we mean ANYONE — is planning the parade too early.

“Absolutely,” Gillis assured us Wednesday evening in Penticton. “The first objective is, get into the playoffs. Second objective, try and win your Division so you’re a Top 3 seed. The third objective is to win the Stanley Cup.”

“We’re not putting anything ahead of the initial objective. We have to be as diligent as we can to ensure that everyone in our organization — not just players, but everybody —understands that getting into the playoffs is our first objective.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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