Kukla's Korner

Risk Comes With Those Long-Term Contracts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

froom Michael Traikos of the National Post,

Nicklas Backstrom was not thinking about money. He was not thinking about how old he would be in 2021. And he certainly was not thinking about how much room his team would have remaining under the salary cap.

All the 22-year-old was thinking about when he signed a US$68-million contract with the Washington Capitals on Monday was that he would be spending the next 10 years feeding passes to Alex Ovechkin….

For the player, taking less money over a longer period provides security in the event that his production falters. For the team, spreading the salary over a number of years allows more flexibility under the salary cap. But as the following examples show, there is both risk and reward.

Rick Dipietro, New York Islanders
Term: 15 years
Salary: US$67.5-million (US$4.5-million per year)
2009-10: 2-5-0 2.60 GAA .900 SV%
The Skinny: The Islanders traded Roberto Luongo after drafting Dipietro first overall in 2000. Six years later, they signed Dipietro to the longest contract in the history of the NHL. The hope was that US$4.5-million annually would be a steal for an elite goaltender who will be 39 when his contract expires. But with Dipietro having played a combined 13 games in the last two seasons, it was a risk that has not yet paid off.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Watching Versus

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

NEW YORK, N.Y. (May 18, 2010)-VERSUS, the fastest growing sports cable network in the country, averaged a 1.0 HH rating and 1.041 million viewers for its 2010 Conference Semifinal coverage, making it cable’s most-watched second round on record.  The average viewership surpasses the entire second round cable average of all prior Playoff seasons through 1994, which is the first Playoff season with available Nielsen electronic ratings and viewership history for the NHL on cable. 

The HH rating and average viewership for the second round was up 25 percent and 28 percent, respectively, as compared to last year’s Conference Semifinals (.8 HH rating and 816,000 viewers).  Throughout the duration of the 2010 Semifinals, VERSUS also ranked as a top ten cable network in primetime viewership (8-11p.m.) among Adults 18-49 and 25-54 and was one of the top five most-watched cable networks among Men 18-49 and 25-54. 

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Willing To Win

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Arthur of the National Post,

There’s one every year, or near enough. A goaltender nobody wanted, or believed in. A goaltender that’s too new, or too old. A goaltender who was once released, waived, cut, traded or simply perforated enough times to be considered as a guy who cannot be trusted.

Until, somehow, he is. And this year, that goaltender is Michael Leighton, owner of 112 career regular-season starts in the National Hockey League; veteran of the Norfolk Admirals, the Rochester Americans, the Portland Pirates, the Albany River Rats; and, oddly, player of just one full period for the 2006-07 Nashville Predators, four days before Christmas.

Oh, and a big reason the Philadelphia Flyers are three wins from the Stanley Cup final.

“I know it’s a big deal, and obviously I’m in a different situation now,” says Leighton, who is 3-0 in four playoff appearances, all wins, with a 1.11 goals-against and a .959 save percentage. “I’m getting a chance to play, and that’s what I want.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: michael+leighton

GM Messier Wants More Passion From Team Canada

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP at the Hamilton Spectator,

Mark Messier says it’s time for Team Canada to show some heart at the world championship.

The team’s GM brought a group of young players here, hoping they’d be hungry for success. Instead, they have showed little emotion in lacklustre losses to Switzerland and Sweden.

The latest defeat prompted a number of blunt assessments from the Canadian camp ahead of tonight’s round-robin finale against the Czech Republic (TSN, 10:15 a.m. ET).

“I think that through this tournament we’re getting a good reality check,” Messier said yesterday. “The same things win hockey games at any level and at any tournament. You have to play with heart and passion and you have to execute. If you don’t do those things, there’s a good chance you’re going to get beaten no matter who you’re playing.”


Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: team+canada

Time To Order More Bandwagons

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Gonzalez of the Philadelphia Inquirer,

It’s getting cramped. If everyone could just move toward the back of the bandwagon to free up space for the people who are trying to push their way on board, that would be great. Suck in those guts and hold your breath. We’re trying to squeeze in as many as possible. It’s for the best.

All of a sudden the Flyers - an inconsistent team during the regular season that hit every possible pothole on the road to the playoffs - are offering the best ride in town. Before the Flyers began one of the greatest comebacks in sports and got past the Bruins in seven dramatic games, only the team’s hard-core fans had asked for a lift. Now it appears everyone in Philly has his thumb out in the hopes of hitching a ride to another parade courtesy of the Orange and Black.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Booing Brian Campbell Is Wrong

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,

Proof positive that no honest-to-goodness bad blood has developed yet between the San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks?

The fans here boo Brian Campbell every time he touches the puck.

Brian Campbell, for gosh sakes! The carrot-topped Chicago defenceman is a sweet skater and a nice puck-handler but he isn’t anybody’s idea of a villain. But evidently the good people of San Jose have memories like elephants, because two seasons ago — for all of two months — Campbell was a late-season rental who elected not to re-sign with the Sharks when free agency season opened.

The fans ought to throw him a parade. No knock on Campbell, who had cost the Sharks a first-rounder and winger Steve Bernier to acquire from Buffalo, but his decision to sign in Chicago that summer made San Jose GM Doug Wilson go beat the bushes for another offensive defenceman, and the result was Tampa’s Dan Boyle.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brian+campbell

Sharks Could Use Some Goals From Heatley

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

Sharks winger Dany Heatley has two goals in his past 18 games, including the regular season. San Jose needs him to put the puck in the net in the West finals against the Blackhawks.

“He does,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said Monday. “You know, that’s why Dany’s a part of our organization. That’s what makes him a tremendous player, is the fact he had the ability to put the puck in the net. I’m going to answer the question with a collective reply. I think we all have to find a way to get one more past [Antti] Niemi and not leave it on Dany Heatley’s shoulders.

“But he does have to find a way to put the puck in the net, especially on the power play. That’s what he’s here for. That’s what we believe he can do. I believe he will get that done as the series goes on.”

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dany+heatley

Top RFAs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Craig Custance of The Sporting News,

For those willing to pay the price, whether through an offer sheet or a deal similar to the one that sent Kessel to Toronto, these three potential restricted free agents are now the most attractive.

Jaroslav Halak, Canadiens G

Halak is on a playoff run for the ages, which is great news for the Canadiens and the partygoers in Montreal. But just wait until the bill arrives. This is going to cost the Canadiens a fortune. Both Halak and Carey Price are restricted free agents, and there’s no way now Montreal can let Halak walk. The better play for rival general managers looking to raid the Canadiens might be to make a pitch for Price. There’s still considerable upside in Price—he’s 23 with a career save percentage of .912—and it’ll be challenging for Montreal to sign both.

read on including updated on Joe Paveleski and Bobby Ryan…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Niemi Proving Doubters Wrong

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob Verdi of ChicaoBlackhawks.com,

I have in my gnarled and arthritic hands a crinkled clipping from the august New York Times, dated April 16, 2010. The headline is as follows: “Entering Playoffs With Many Stars, Just Not In Goal.”

Surprise! The story is about the Blackhawks and their unknown soldier between the pipes, Antti Niemi, who went from Pelicans Lahti to Rockford IceHogs to No. 1 in Chicago, earns only $827,00 for manning what arguably is the most important position in sports, yet is so green he might as well be a vegetable.

The Times, which has earned numerous Pulitzer Prizes, was not breaking any news here. Most experts throughout the National Hockey League concurred that the Blackhawks would be vulnerable in net, and truth be told, so did thousands of nervous fans in Chicago.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: antti+niemi

The Canadian Flyers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,

They come, in impressive numbers, from all over the country, from small towns in Ontario to large cities in Alberta; they come from the Prairies and they come from the north; they can even claim the Flying Frenchmen from Quebec.

They are the Philadelphia Flyers.

They beat Canada’s only team still standing in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Montreal Canadiens, 6-0 the other night – francophones Daniel Brière, Simon Gagné and Claude Giroux all scoring – and they sat on the bench listening in awe as the familiar “Ole! Ole! Ole!” of Montreal hockey triumphs rained down from the rafters, the sarcasm of the Philadelphia fans dripping.

“It’s a lot of emotion for me and Danny and Claude to play against that team,” Gagné said Monday, as the Flyers prepared to meet the Canadiens in Game 2 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference final series on Tuesday.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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