Kukla's Korner

The Yzerman Plan

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Joe Henderson of the Tampa Tribune,

It’s an interesting way to go about his business, though. Yzerman told the world he’ll build the Bolts through scouting and player development, then acquired four 30-plus guys. And to clear space on the salary abacus, he added a guy who will be the third-highest paid player on the team.

It might seem like a backward way to build, but it makes sense.

No, it really does.

Getting older now allows the Bolts the chance to be more competitive immediately. Nothing’s worse than a three-year building plan that calls for lots of losing, especially when fans have been forced to swallow lots of losing already.

It’s tricky and I’m not sure I agree with all of it, but there is a plan there and that’s refreshing to see. While wandering in the wasteland the past three seasons, the Bolts’ plan seemed to be drawn up on the back of a napkin with a felt-tip pen that promptly ran.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Sharp Staying In Chicago

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,

...Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said on Monday that Patrick Sharp wouldn’t be traded, it doesn’t mean goalie Antti Niemi is as good as gone.

Bowman continues to negotiate with Niemi’s agent, Bill Zito, on a contract for the restricted free agent who is scheduled to go to arbitration on July 29. It’s believed both said are trying to come up with a creative solution that will keep Niemi in Chicago and allow the Hawks to stay under the salary cap.

However, it still might come down to the arbitration hearing and what Niemi gets awarded. If the money is too much, the Hawks can walk away from the ruling and Niemi becomes an unrestricted free agent, likely to be pursued in that event by a number of teams including San Jose and Washington.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

A Possible Work Stoppage

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,

Talking with a couple of agents, a player here and there, an NHL management type here and there the last few days, and it’s clear to me that the impossibility that we all would assume for the NHL – that it is THE league we’d least have to worry about with regard to another long work stoppage, because of its recent past – is indeed possible.

I’m going to keep this kind of general for now, because it’s a blog and the expiration of the current NHL CBA is still another two seasons away, in September of 2012. I still have a hard time – a really hard time – believing that the NHL and its players would ever let another disastrous canceled season happen. The lost year of 2004-05 remains a dark, awful memory for everyone involved with this game. All that griping, all that posturing, all those “drop-dead deadlines”, all those false starts and crushed hopes. It was awful, and it really hurt the game a lot. Many fans still haven’t come back to the sport, though revenues have grown since ‘05, the cap has grown from $39 million to the current $59.4 million and TV ratings have improved greatly.

continued

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Devils See Something In Kovalchuk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Value is an increasingly difficult thing to assess in today’s NHL, given the latest contract bombshell: The New Jersey Devils signing Ilya Kovalchuk on Monday to a deal reportedly worth $102-million (all figures U.S.) over 17 years – provided he plays until the end of the 2026-27 NHL season as a latter-day Chris Chelios.

Of course, no one believes that scenario will unfold, least of all Kovalchuk himself, who will earn the vast majority of those dollars in the next 10 years after which the contract presumably tapers out in a bunch of years at insignificant money. Assuming the NHL actually signs off on the deal, the Devils’ philosophy here is clear: Collective bargaining agreements will come and go over those next 17 years.

It will be someone else’s problem to navigate the long-term implications of the deal if the NHL ever comes up with a way of punishing teams for so cavalierly ignoring the spirit of the salary cap (even though it looks as if the Devils did nothing illegal under the agreement as it is currently structured).

continued

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

Kings Took A Chance On Kovalchuk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

The Kings didn’t know the structure of the Devils’ proposal and were surprised by the spike after the second season. General Manager Dean Lombardi acknowledged that his offer, made last Thursday in his third round of talks with Kovalchuk, wasn’t in the ballpark.

He felt he couldn’t pay Kovalchuk $11.5 million in any season because that would become the starting point when he negotiates a new deal with defenseman Drew Doughty. He wouldn’t be able to afford Kovalchuk, core players and other pieces, which makes some sense.

But when will an elite free agent agree to come here for less? To come here to win, not to use the Kings as leverage to make financial history?

That’s what Kovalchuk wanted from the start: to trump countryman Alexander Ovechkin, who has a 13-year, $124-million contract with Washington. Kovalchuk will earn more than Ovechkin in six seasons, and he must love that.

Nor was the $102-million total a coincidence. Kovalchuk rejected a 12-year, $101-million offer from Atlanta before the Thrashers traded him to the Devils in February and no one thought he’d equal that. He beat it, if barely.

more

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

What To Do With Souray?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal at the Calgary Herald,

There’s not a big market these days for Souray’s skill-set — big shot, big minutes, toughness — because he has two years left on his deal. His tough style of play, which has resulted in injuries (wrist, shoulder, concussion and hand), has also scared off a few teams.

The Oilers’ best bet is to move Souray to a team that is long way from the NHL required cap floor of $44 million. The Atlanta Thrashers have $36.2 million committed to 15 players. The New York Islanders have $36.5 million for 21 players. The Colorado Avalanche have $38 million for 20 players, and the St. Louis Blues are at $40 million for 20 players.

But those teams might also want Tambellini to include a younger player in any deal.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sheldon+souray

Wings Were One Of The Teams To Show Interest In Gagne

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Boruk of CSNPhilly,

What were Gagne’s main deciding factors?  Would you believe: cap space. Ironically, he didn’t want to be with a team in a similar situation the Flyers had put themselves for a couple of reasons. Primarily, he is not looking at this as a one-year rental. That may or may not be the situation in Tampa Bay, but he wanted to know that there would be plenty of cap room to sign a multi-year contract past this upcoming season. 

Surprisingly, the Detroit Red Wings had expressed interest and wanted to add Gagne, but with less than $4 million in cap space, the idea of joining one of the most successful franchises in hockey didn’t seem too appealing. The same can be said for his hometown Montreal Canadiens. 

Ironically, it was conversations with former Red Wing and Tampa GM Steve Yzerman sold him on the idea that he could become part of the Lightning’s rebuilding process, and Gagne feels they are a playoff team that will only get better.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: simon+gagne, simon+gagne

Evening Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“...I don’t think there’s another top guy out there right now, so you’ve got to be careful about just running out there and getting a fill that we didn’t really want. So that’s what you’ve got to guard against at this point now. We’ll continue to work through it, but I don’t see anything on the horizon. But I’ve been around long enough to know that something always comes up.”

-LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi via Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider where you can read more.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dean+lombardi

NHL Announces First Blu-ray Disc

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

New York, NY – Today the National Hockey League (NHL) and Giant Interactive announced the NHL’s inaugural Blu-ray Disc, The Chicago Blackhawks’ 2010 Stanley Cup® Championship. This release will be the first in major league sports to be BD-Live-enabled, powered by BD-Connect™. 

The 2010 Chicago Blackhawks® Stanley Cup® Championship Blu-ray Disc, which hits stores on July 20, will deliver its BD-Live experience with downloadable content and expanded bonus features, including the latest features and interviews from Blackhawks TV and updated news from the Blackhawks and the NHL.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Kings Avoid Salary Cap Issues

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,

One member of the Los Angeles Kings management team wondered how the top executives would be feeling today. No doubt GM Dean Lombardi and his lieutenants are a little on the glum side. After all, they missed out on a player some are describing as the best unrestricted free agent in history.

But the sun will rise again, as it always does in Southern California, even if it sometimes does behind a cloudy haze. And when it does, the Kings will be able to pick themselves up and dust themselves off knowing they stood by their convictions and did all the right things.

continued

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

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