Kukla's Korner

Canadiens find a Price they like

Blog: KK Hockey By The Upper Canadien

I came in from swimming to a radio report I’d been waiting, nay hoping for, and was surprised to find it validated many a media members comments from the past few weeks. The reason I was most excited? I can finally stop using puns involving the word price. Yes, Carey Price is again the starting goaltender of the Montreal Canadiens, and all it took was a contract of two years at a total cost of $5.5 million.

This suggests a number of things. Firstly, many pundits in the past two months were correct: the deal would end up being two years. Why? Well, Price likely wanted one year, to prove he was better and could start a full slate of games, and the Canadiens likely wanted a longer deal, seizing the opportunity to lock Price up when his, er, price was rather low due to last year’s lackluster performance.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carey+price

The Other Goalies In San Jose

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Pollak of Working the Corners,

But how do Niittymaki and Greiss feel about Niemi’s arrival?

Niittymaki said he and the Sharks never really discussed the number of games he might be playing.

“They had Nabokov here who played 70 games a year. I never played 70 games a year. We never really talked about the plan or anything,” Niitymaki said. “I still feel the same. I’ve been in all kind of situations before. I’ve been the number one guy, I’ve been the backup and I’ve been something between. I never look at it and say I’m going to get these games and these games and these games. It’s a long year and there’s a lot of games. Anything can happen.”

Greiss, on the hand, was much more disappointed. He reads the handwriting on the wall.

“We like Thomas a lot, but when a player like Niemi becomes available you have to acquire the asset when you can and you go from there. It pushes Thomas probably into the number three spot,” Wilson said. “I’d be disappointed if he wasn’t disappointed.”

more

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

Price, Canadiens Agree On A Two Year Contract

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

MONTREAL  – Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier announced today the signing of goaltender Carey Price to a two-year contract (2010-11 and 2011-12). As per Club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“We are extremely happy that Carey has agreed to pursue his career with the Canadiens. Carey is a key member of our Club. He has proven that he has what it takes to be a good goaltender in the league, and we are confident he will perform to the best of his abilities for years to come in a Canadiens uniform”, said Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carey+price

No Longer The South-Worst

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,

I’ve got a feeling - no, not that tonight is going to be a good night - but rather, that the Southeast will be the most fun (and least predictable) division in the league this year.

The Washington Capitals stand out as the runaway favorites to repeat as division champs, but after that, no team is a lock to make the playoffs.

The expectations for the Florida Panthers are rightfully diminished, but after the shocking performances of Phoenix and Colorado last season, even the Cats can’t be counted out.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have been picked by many pundits (including me) to reverse their downward trajectory and make the playoffs. Yet until their reconfigured defense corps and goaltending platoon prove themselves worthy of the affection, there will be cause for skepticism.

The Carolina Hurricanes were one of the better teams during the league in the latter half of the 2009-10 campaign, but some still question their depth, overall team experience and ownership’s focus on keeping salary costs in line with its internal budget.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Coaches On The Bubble

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

Although there are varying degrees of pressure and expectations on all 30 NHL coaches (from raw rookies to battle-tested veteran bench bosses), some may be feeling the heat earlier and more intensely than others heading into the start of training camps on Sept. 17. Here’s a look at five of them:

Bruce Boudreau, Washington Capitals
No team fell as far and as hard as the Washington Capitals this past spring. After laying waste to the rest of the competition during the regular season, setting team records for wins and points and leading the NHL in goals scored for the first time, the Caps blew a 3-1 series lead against eighth-seeded Montreal in the first round of the playoffs.

One of the challenges for Boudreau (for our money, still the same quality coach who a year earlier won coach of the year honors) will be in keeping the gruesome memories of April at bay. It won’t be easy given that nothing the team does during the regular season will be good enough. Only playoff success, and meaningful success at that, will push this talented team forward and dispel the notion that it’s San Jose East….

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Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Still No NHLPA Leader

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

The NHLPA remains without an executive director after Wednesday night’s conference call among the 30 player reps comprising the union’s executive board adjourned without taking a vote on installing Donald Fehr to the position, The Post has learned….

Fehr, who told the PA’s search committee last week that he would accept the position of executive director, has given the executive board his conditions for employment.

They include:

- Salary of $3M per year to run through completion of collective bargaining after the current CBA expires following the 2011-12 season.

- Salary of $1.5M for the remainder of this year.

more

Filed in: NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: donald+fehr

Lester Patrick Trophy Recipients Announced

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

NEW YORK (September 2, 2010) – Hockey Hall of Famer Cam Neely, college coaching legends Jack Parker and Jerry York and AHL President David Andrews have been named recipients of the 2010 Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey in the United States.

The award, one of the most prestigious in hockey, was presented to the National Hockey League by the New York Rangers in 1966. It honors the memory of Lester Patrick, who spent 50 years in hockey as a player, coach and general manager and was a pioneer in the sport’s development.

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Filed in: NHL Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Making a deal is common sense, for now and the future. But, as Jerry Seinfeld once said, the problem with common sense? It’s not that common.

Hopefully, this will be the exception.

-Elliotte Friedman of CBC.  More from Friedman about the contract situations involving Kovalchuk and others.

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

The Goalie Situation In Dallas

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,

Nieuwendyk actually made his decision on this one in February, trading for Kari Lehtonen and deciding that Marty Turco would not be with the team after the 2009-10 season. But, he did make a decision in the off-season to give Lehtonen a three-year contract extension for $2.7 million this season, $3.7 next season and $4.25 million the following season. In theory, this is a great move as it assures Lehtonen will be in at an average of $3.55 million for three seasons, which seems very reasonable for a No. 1 goalie in the NHL.

But the problem is that Lehtonen has been injury-prone, and we’re still not sure if he can handle the weight of being a No. 1 goalie. What if he fizzles like Cristobal Huet, and the Stars are stuck with a high-priced goalie they can’t unload? And with the prices for goalies seemingly going down, will Lehtonen be overpriced when his contract is done in 2012-13?

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Antti Niemi Signing Official

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

SAN JOSE - San Jose Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the team has signed Group III un-restricted free agent goaltender Antti Niemi to a one-year contract. In keeping with club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Niemi, who turned 27 on Aug. 29, helped lead the Chicago Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup last season, posting a 16-6 mark in 22 Stanley Cup Playoff games, a 2.63 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage along with two shutouts.

During the 2009-10 regular season with Chicago, he notched a 26-7-4 mark in 39 games, with a 2.25 goals-against average (4th in the NHL) and a .912 save percentage and seven shutouts (3rd in the NHL).

“Antti’s play last season speaks for itself,” said Wilson.  “Our goal this summer was to create the best goaltending unit we could and we feel we have successfully done that.”

The six-foot-two, 210-pound native of Vantaa, Finland was originally signed by the Chicago Blackhawks as a free agent on May 5, 2008.

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: antti+niemi

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