Kukla's Korner

Is Kovalchuk ‘Fixed’?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

The NHL made clear its disdain for New Jersey’s attempt to circumvent the CBA with its initial offer to coveted free agent winger Ilya Kovalchuk. Yep, a $3 million fine has a way of capturing attention, not to mention the first-round pick the Devils will forfeit on or before June 2014, as well as a third-rounder next June.

In the end, the Devils, so in love with Kovy’s scoring magic, gave up all of that and . . . AND! . . . a first- and second-round pick this past June and . . . AND! . . . Niclas Bergfors, Johnny Oduya, and prospect Patrice Cormier. Amid the protracted taffy pull it took to sign Kovalchuk, one might have forgotten the original ransom the Devils paid to get him out of Atlanta.

All of that for a guy, remember, that Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said back in April needed some fixing. The things Kovalchuk does wrong, Lamoriello said in the wake of the Devils’ first-round playoff elimination, can’t be remedied in a short stay.

continued and additional hockey topics too…

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

Small Crowds Possible In Columbus

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,

The Blue Jackets have drawn fewer than 10,000 fans only once for a regular-season game in Nationwide Arena. That’s likely to change this season.

Team president Mike Priest said yesterday that some games could attract 8,500 fans early in the season.

With season-ticket sales lagging nearly 25 percent behind last year’s pace, the Jackets will need solid walk-up crowds to avoid some unsightly attendance figures. The franchise has sold 7,700 season-ticket equivalents.

” Worried is not the right word,” Priest said. “I know what kind of crowds we are going to see early in the season. We will have some weekday crowds of 8,500, potentially.”

continued

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

Top 20 Defencemen By Goals Versus Threshold

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Lately, I have been looking at the sabermetrics and hockey problem of calculating player values above a replacement level player.  The most commonly accepted solution to this problem is Tom Awad’s goals versus threshold.  I have written several posts explaining this system, listing top players according to it and discussing some of the more interesting results it produces.  I recently listed the top 20 players by the goals versus threshold system.  One of its shortcomings is that it underrated defencemen and defensive play.  In the top 20 last season, only two defencemen are ranked.  They are Duncan Keith, who is 13th and Mike Green, who is 15th.  They are the top two scoring defencemen last season, so it is no surprise they would be the top rated defencemen in a system that underrates defence.

I thought it would be informative to list the top 20 defencemen in the goals versus threshold system, in order to get a better idea of which defencemen it selects.  Here is the list:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Is Ovechkin Losing His Luster?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,

The Great Eight is flashing his trademark gap-toothed grin when he says it. Yet it seems that somehow, someway, that famous smile does not carry the same intoxicating spell over the masses as it once did.

For some of us, he is still the most electrifying, riveting talent in the game, the one player that is worth the price of the NHL’s at-times inflated admission.

At the same time, it is evident that the bloom, in the eyes of some, has come off the rose.

Maybe it’s because they remember how Ovechkin’s so-called powerful Olympic team was humiliated 7-3 by Team Canada at the Vancouver Winter Games.

Maybe it’s because the image of Ovechkin’s controversial hit on Chicago’s Brian Campbell remains etched in their minds, an incident that landed the Caps’ sniper a two-game suspension.

Maybe it’s because the critics claim he hasn’t, at least from a team standpoint, won anything, pointing to the Caps’ first-round exit to the underdog Montreal Canadiens this past spring as a prime example.

Weighing all the factors, is it really fair to put all these things on the shoulders of Ovechkin, whose team has won just one playoff series during his time in Washington?

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alexander+ovechkin

Captain Kangaroo?

Blog: KK Hockey By The Upper Canadien

As you’ve probably heard by now, François Gagnon of La Presse exclusively broke the story late last week that Brian Gionta was to be named the 28th captain of the Montreal Canadiens. While I don’t doubt the veritability of the news there is still no official announcement from the Habs, and they insist a decision still has yet to be made. If it is Gionta, it will be the safe choice, the expected choice and a good choice. A quiet leader who excels in big game situations, Gionta is respected by his teammates and willing to take the team on his back. That said, such a decision will be a disappointment to some who hoped that veteran rearguard Andrei Markov would get the nod, given his tenure with the Canadiens and his own ability to lead through on ice performance.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andrei+markov, brian+gionta, captaincy, carey+price, mathieu+darche, ryan+o'byrne

The first day of Red Wings’ training camp: the MSM’s take and my own

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By George Malik

Things got busy in a hurry at the first day of the Red Wings’ training camp, and the news made wasn’t necessarily good.  As Paul already reported, the Columbus Blue Jackets named Ken Hitchcock a special advisor to hockey operations, so he never took to the ice, at least from what I witnessed, though he may or may not have hung out with the scouts—something tells me he left the building. 

Then Chris Osgood went through half of “Team Lindsay’s” drills (more on the teams in a little bit), and Kris Draper went off very early in the Team Howe vs. Team Delvecchio scrimmage, with Babcock uttering this to the media in attendance, including the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness:

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Depending On Jokinen

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,

As Olli goes, so will the team.

Same goes for Sutter, who has tied his fate as GM to the 31-year-old Finn.

If Jokinen can mesh with anyone on the top two lines — on Saturday, he opened between Tanguay and Iginla as expected — the Flames are likely to boost the offence to get them in the playoffs.

If he continues to flounder, as he did last year before being traded, the Flames will miss the playoffs again, and Sutter will most likely be replaced by Jay Feaster.

It’s really that simple.

Arriving a few weeks early to register his kids in school, Jokinen appears fit and sports a good attitude.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: olli+jokinen

Are The Canucks A Better Playoff Team?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

With a torn Achilles tendon, Salo may be out until January. But counting him among the Canucks Top 7 defencemen, Gillis has $23.9 million invested in seven defencemen. Add Luongo’s $5.5 million cap hit on to that, and eight players eat up just shy of half of the club’s payroll—and none are forwards.

They are better on the back end with Hamhuis and Ballard, but this team was never low on puck movers.

Are they tougher, any more difficult to play against, or in any way better equipped for playoff hockey that has tripped them up these past two years?

That, good Canucks fan, is something we’re going to have wait a full 82 games to see.

more

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

Facing a Decade Without the Playoffs, Florida’s Rebuild Goes On and On

Blog: KK Hockey By Jon Jordan

Futility in Sunrise has persisted for far too long, with the Florida Panthers on the brink of a dubious record after nine consecutive non-playoff seasons. Incoming general manager Dale Tallon has moved quickly in putting his stamp on the team with several transactions since taking over, but nothing to this point appears bold enough to turn his club from last season’s Southeast Division cellar dwellers into a postseason participant.

Sadly, more patience may be in order for long-suffering Panthers fans.

Even so, all is not lost for the NHL’s southernmost franchise, with several key pieces already in place for the future (and others right around the corner) and it isn’t as though the current roster is without talent as is. Still, a couple of major stumbling points remain for the Panthers. The 24 games they will play versus fellow Southeast clubs, three of whom look to be vastly improved and the fourth being the stalwart Washington Capitals, certainly won’t help and the expiring contracts for defenseman Bryan McCabe and goaltender Tomas Vokoun will have to be dealt with (and quite possibly dealt altogether), without either situation becoming a distraction.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: andrew+peters, bryan+allen, bryan+mccabe, chris+higgins, dale+tallon, david+booth, dennis+wideman, dmitry+kulikov, erik+gudbranson, gregory+campbell, jacob+markstrom, jason+garrison, kamil+kreps, keith+ballard, marty+reasoner, michael+grabner, michael+repik, nathan+horton, nathan+paetsch, scott+clemmensen, shawn+matthias, stephen+weiss, steve+bernier, tomas+vokoun

At This Point,  No Deadline For Coyotes Sale

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Gintonio of the Ariizona Republic,

With the exception of the team’s dramatic on-ice turnaround and the attached optimism for a return to the playoffs this season, not much has changed in terms of the off-ice uncertainty.

Although there are widespread media reports that Dec. 31 is the drop-dead date for an owner to be in place, the NHL would not commit to that. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in an e-mail that everything depends on the circumstances at that time, adding there are “no deadlines for anything at this point in time.”

Mike Nealy, the Coyotes’ first-year chief operating officer, is confident that talks will produce an agreement before the end of the year.

“The discussions that are going on between the potential owner and the city first of all and then directly with the NHL . . . they are proceeding on a positive front, and I can tell you that I’m confident that a new ownership will be in place in the next couple months,” he said. “Negotiations are continuing, and they’re going well.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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