Kukla's Korner

Are You Ready?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

The NHL’s 2010 free-agent season opens Thursday and nobody – not even the principal players themselves – knows exactly what to expect from the auction this year.

Will it be the usual dizzying frenzy – too many teams throwing too much money at a handful of NHLers, creating the next generation of overpaid players? Or will sanity finally prevail, on the grounds that the free-agent crop is one of the weakest since the 2004-05 lockout ended, and thus, there are just fewer good options to throw cash at?

“I never know what to expect in free agency – will people blow their brains out, or be smart?” Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee said. “Because you get five desperate teams every year and they do desperate things. You’re almost always better off sitting back and being smart about it. Almost all of us have experienced that signing where you sign the guy and six months later, you’re going, ‘Why did we do that?’ So … I don’t know what’s going to happen.”


added 10:28pm, from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal at the Montreal Gazette,

It would be a stretch to call the July 1 opening of National Hockey League free agency a “frenzy.”

Free-agent fizzle might be closer to reality, if you’re into truth in advertising.

“It’s not a bountiful harvest,” admitted veteran agent Steve Bartlett, who had 15 teams call on winger Brian Gionta last year before he signed with the Montreal Canadiens and more than that on forward Brian Rolston in 2009 before his client signed with the New Jersey Devils.

“There is less and less cap space with lots of teams . . . less buying. It’s supply and demand. There could still be a frenzy for some guys like (Dan) Hamhuis, but I suspect teams will be a lot more patient.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Kovalchuk And Kings May Be A Fit

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Heck, may as well start early…

from Helene Elliott of the Fabulous Forum,

The Kings continue to be the front-runners to land two-time 50-goal scorer Ilya Kovalchuk providing he doesn’t try to break the bank when the NHL’s free agency period opens Thursday at 9 a.m. Pacific time.

Yes, the Kings have talked before about landing impact players and have fallen short. Sometimes woefully short.

But this time they have not only the money and salary cap space but a strong selling point in a young, on-the-rise team that Kovalchuk could lead to Stanley Cup contention for years to come. There are few teams that have the resources or cap space that the Kings do, and from what team governor Tim Leiweke said last week as well as what agents for other players are hearing and seeing as they observe the market, the Kings appear determined to use their money and cap space to acquire the game-breaker they haven’t been able to develop themselves.


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


Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

I returned from Vegas late Friday night refreshed and ready for the UFA period.

Then boom, Sunday afternoon a heavy storm hit, lost power and water in the basement.  Power was restored early this morning, but the basement is a work in progress.

The stress of all the above got to me and my blood sugar level became very high so off to emergency I went.

Now back home, Doc says rest tonight and start normal day tomorrow.

So, expect me around starting in the A.M. tomorrow with normal KK posting activity. 

Also, thanks for the emails and comments many of you made about my well-being, it is much appreciated.

Filed in: KK Website Business, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Canadiens Acquire Boyd, Ellis and Futures from Preds in Return for Sergei Kostitsyn and Futures

Blog: KK Hockey By Tony

According to various sources, the Montreal Canadiens have acquired Dustin Boyd, Dan Ellis and future considerations from the Nashville Predators in return for Sergei Kostitsyn and future considerations.

UPDATE:  From TSN’s Bob McKenzie’s tweet:

Futures in MTL-NAS trade are simple. If one side, or other, sign the player(s) involved, late-round draft pick(s) change hands. No big deal.



Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: montreal+canadiens, nashville+predators, nhl-hockey

Stars Moving on Without Modano

Blog: KK Hockey By Tony

From the Associated Press:

If Mike Modano plays a 21st season in the NHL, it won’t be with the Dallas Stars.

The face of the franchise that proved hockey could thrive in the South will not be offered a contract by the Stars when free agency opens Thursday. That difficult decision had to be made by Modano’s teammate-turned-boss, Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk.

They won a Stanley Cup together 11 years ago — the only title in franchise history — but the Stars have missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since moving from Minnesota in 1993. Nieuwendyk said the team needs to make room for younger players in trying to rebuild, and has too many players who need ice time at center.

Continue Reading:

Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dallas+stars, nhl-hockey

‘The Lull Before the [July 1] Storm’

Blog: KK Hockey By Tony

From ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:

Ah, the poker game is on as we count down to noon ET on Thursday.

“It’s the lull before the storm,” one player agent told ESPN.com on Tuesday.  Agents and GMs “insist” this is their best offer and can’t compromise anymore as the contracts of pending unrestricted free agents are set to expire ... until their next offer comes in.

As a hockey writer, it’s a strange and frustrating time; you are caught between teams and players, and the information you receive is filtered through intense negotiating pressure. I’ve learned a long time ago not to ever write “Player X is definitely going to market.” You have to leave yourself wiggle room because anything can happen at the 11th hour.

Continue Reading:

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nhl-hockey

The Emporer will be away for a while

Blog: KK Hockey By Tony

Paul just informed me that he’s currently in the hospital with a very high blood sugar level due to stress.

Because of that, things will be a little slower than normal, especially with the Free Agency period starting Thursday.

I will do my best to post the big stories and signings while Paul’s away, but unfortunately I don’t have the time now to go to the approximately 60 or so websites that I did last week when Paul was in Vegas.

Let’s all wish Paul a speedy recovery.

Filed in: KK Website Business, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nhl-hockey

Selke Voting: Still Messed Up

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Last year, I wrote that the Selke Trophy voting was all messed up.  I did this because there is no consensus on who to pick.  Last year, there were 70 names picked on the writers’ ballots.  The winner in Pavel Datsyuk was omitted from 10% of the ballots entirely.  People had significant showings for having high +/- ratings without being particularly strong defensively or because they had established reputations as defensive forwards, but did not have particularly good seasons.  For example, Rod Brind’Amour had the worst adjusted +/- rating in the league and several votes including one first place vote.

A year later little has changed.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

A Final Look At The 2010 MVP Race

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

The Hart Trophy was awarded to Henrik Sedin last week.  I had been picking Alexander Ovechkin and feel that an incorrect choice was made.  Sidney Crosby was the third nominee and he was also a strong candidate in the race.

The three MVP nominees all finished with 109 to 112 points (Sedin had 112 and the other two 109).  Looking at raw offensive totals there is little difference between them.  The difference between them likely has to be found either by showing their offensive numbers are not as close as they seem or by looking at things not reflected in those numbers (primarily defence).

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Savard May Come Cheap

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,

His seven prospects locked up in his suitcase as he returned to Toronto, Leafs GM Brian Burke set his mind on what will be a busy few days leading up to Thursday’s free agent frenzy.

First up is Marc Savard. The Bruins are said to be ready to ship their playmaking centre. The Leafs are in the mix, and the price tag is much cheaper than Thomas Kaberle.

This opportunity is an unintended consequence of the Phil Kessel trade.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marc+savard

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