Kukla's Korner

Can Blue Jackets Adapt To Change?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers,

Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel obviously knows the game of hockey and the NHL, having played the sport as a professional for 17 seasons. He has a decade of coaching experience, the last four seasons as a head coach in the American Hockey League. No question he’s ready and qualified to guide an NHL club.

But think about the message sent when the fourth-worst club in the NHL makes exactly one roster change the following off-season, and that change is claiming a third- or fourth-line winger (Ethan Moreau) off waivers.

Basically, the message is that Ken Hitchcock is to blame for all that ailed the Blue Jackets in 2009-10, that a fresh, energetic, uplifting approach from the new coach and his similarly dispositioned assistants can make up 16 points and six spots in the Western Conference standings.

Arniel plans to play a puck-possession, high-tempo style that most players prefer, a style that is in stark contrast to the retreat-and-react style drummed home the previous three-plus seasons in Columbus.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Spooked By Offer Sheets

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

Three summers ago, when then-Edmonton general manager Kevin Lowe tried to land Thomas Vanek and Dustin Penner via offer sheets (swing and miss with the former, successful with the latter), few predicted the Oilers’ actions would help alter the league’s economics. But with labor strife possible following the 2011-12 season, one New England agent believes the Vanek and Penner moves helped create a pinch that could prompt the league to seek even more belt-tightening in the next collective bargaining agreement.

The offer sheets, the agent believes, spooked GMs so much that they fell over themselves in subsequent seasons to sign their best young players to inflated contracts coming out of their entry-level deals. “The Vanek and Penner situations, under this CBA, told managers that offer sheets would be in play,’’ the agent said. “So they became incredibly aggressive with the second contracts.’’ Patrice Bergeron (five years, $4.75 million annually), Eric Staal (three years, $4.5 million), and Nathan Horton (six years, $4 million) are examples of high-priced second contracts in the boom times.

This summer, players leaving entry-level deals have undergone a market correction.

more and additional hockey topics…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Sunday Hockey Thoughts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

-Brett Lebda has to be wondering why he signed on with the Leafs. He hoped to get a shot at being a top-four defenceman here, to take advantage of his offensive skills, but who is he going to play ahead of—Dion Phaneuf, Tomas Kaberle, Francois Beauchemin, Luke Schenn, Mike Komisarek and even Carl Gunnarsson?

-Have to figure Washington, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Boston are locks to make the playoffs in the NHL’s Eastern Conference. That leaves Buffalo, Ottawa, Montreal, the Rangers, Carolina, Tampa Bay and the Leafs—seven teams fighting for three playoff spots.

a few more hockey topics…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Now The Devils Need To Move Some Salary

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

The Devils must shed about $3.5-$4 million (all terms US) if they’re going to get under the NHL’s $59.4-million cap.

While the Devils would like to get out from underneath veteran winger Brian Rolston’s $5-million cap hit for the next two seasons, the 37-year-old can’t have his contract buried in the minors.

That means New Jersey defenceman Bryce Salvadore, 34, who makes $2.9 million, and winger Dainius Zubrus, 32, scheduled to make $3.2 million per season through 2012-13, are going to be targets.

If they can’t be dealt, they could be sent to the AHL.

A league source said Saturday the only way Lamoriello might be able to deal one — or both players — is if he’s willing to package up high draft picks that will make it palatable for other teams to take the contracts.

more plus a few more hockey topics…

Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Afternoon Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

The 13 year deal signed by Alex Ovechkin was a simple deal. His salary is straight-lined across the life of his contract. There was never an issue with the structure of the contract with the NHL. It was all done in the light of day - honest and transparent. By the rules. The writer of this article knows that. He is just mad because he didn’t have access to Alex Ovechkin when he wrote his book. We don’t agree with his point of view in his book and we won’t have anything to do with him and his book now. He is on his own….

The writer can say anything he wants about me. He doesn’t scare me.  He just can’t distort facts. We won’t let him and he is being called out on this one right here and now.

-Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Capitals on Toronto Star columnist Damien Cox.  Read more at Ted’s Take.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, NHL Media, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: damien+cox

Should The Devils Be Fined Or Penalized?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Everson of the NY Post,

The NHL has been given Players Association approval until Sept. 17 to confiscate Devils draft picks and fine the team up to $3 million for its first signing of Ilya Kovalchuk, The Post has learned. The league, however, will not lower the Devils’ $59.4 million salary cap upper limit, one of the possible punishments for cap circumvention.

It would appear the Devils’ only recourse against such punishment would be an appeal to the NHL Board of Governors or legal action, both iffy.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Cheechoo Will Attend Stars Camp

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Frisco, Tex - Dallas Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk announced today that right wing Jonathan Cheechoo has accepted an invitation to attend the Dallas Stars’ training camp for a tryout.

“We’re pleased that Jonathan has accepted our invitation to come to our training camp,” Nieuwendyk said. “He has shown the ability to be an effective scorer in this league. He’s a competitor and we’re going to give him an opportunity.”

Cheechoo, 29, played in 61 games with the Ottawa Senators in 2009-10, registering five goals, nine assists and 20 penalty minutes.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jonathan+cheechoo

Numbers Debate

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Kreiser of NHL.com,

Some numbers are overloaded; others only have a couple of applicants—and most players wear more than one number during their careers. In trying to determine the best of the best, we’ve attempted to limit players to the number they wore the most, or the one they’re best known for wearing.

Given those parameters, here’s a look at the best of the best of NHL players who’ve worn Nos. 00 to 33….

5—Nicklas Lidstrom
Lidstrom has been the NHL’s best defenseman over the past 15 years, winning the Norris Trophy six times in seven seasons and becoming the first European-born and -trained player to captain a Stanley Cup winner, one of the four he’s played on. Few players have been so good for so long—he’s still among the NHL’s best at age 40.
Runner-up: Denis Potvin
Also in the mix: Dit Clapper, Bernie Geoffrion, Guy Lapointe, Rod Langway

more and links to the higher numbers too

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The $100 Million Dollar Man

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,

Kovalchuk’s new deal tells him he need not ever worry about whether or not he can afford the cost of a sled-load of blini at the corner store in Tver. I say good luck to any player who can get what the Devils are willing to pay him, but is he worth it?

Kovalchuk can score goals, which he did in bunches in Atlanta, but what has he won lately? He scored 10 goals in 27 games when he was acquired by the Devils at the trading deadline last season

and he didn’t exactly set the world ablaze in the playoffs. Comrade Kovalchuk scored only two goals and four assists in a first-round, five-game loss to Philadelphia for a team with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference….

There’s no reason to think he can’t continue to score important goals with the Devils, but he’ll be aboard a different horse than the one he rode in Atlanta. While Kovalchuk was scoring 328 goals in 594 games with the Thrashers in his first seven seasons, he was a minus-85. Ugh!

That’s not the game the Devils play.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ilya+kovalchuk

How Are You Celebrating Jarome Iginla Day?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the St. Albert Gazette,

The City of St. Albert rolls out the red carpet today to honour hometown hero Jarome Iginla….

Iginla, 33, led all scorers at the Olympics with five goals in seven games. His seventh point of the tournament was the memorable assist on Sidney Crosby’s golden goal as Canada beat the United States in the final 3-2 in overtime. The gold medal was Iginla’s second in three Olympic appearances.

The Calgary Flames’ captain and all-star right-winger has enjoyed a hall of fame career as the franchise leader in games played (1,024), goals (441) and points (920) in 13 NHL seasons.

Some of his major accomplishments are:

• Rocket Richard Trophy as the NHL’s leading goal scorer in 2002 (52) and 2004 (shared with Rick Nash and Ilya Kovalchuk at 41 apiece).

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jarome+iginla

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