Kukla's Korner

Waiting On Kovalchuk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,

After this season, Kovalchuk’s contract is up. If he gets to July 1, he’ll be the most sought-after free agent of the summer — a 40-goal scorer entering his prime.

That’s the last thing general manager Don Waddell and the Thrashers want to happen. And, right now, they’re cautiously optimistic it won’t. Waddell told Sporting News that Kovalchuk, his agent Jay Grossman and Thrashers management plan to sit down in training camp, face to face.

Waddell would love for that meeting to wrap up negotiations.

“That’s the best way to get this thing done,” Waddell said. “We’ve had good dialogue. It’s at the point now where something needs to happen.”

Until then, Kovalchuk will be watching, looking for signs that the summer additions of forward Nik Antropov and defenseman Pavel Kubina, along with the development of young talent like Zach Bogosian, Tobias Enstrom, Bryan Little and Evander Kane, will be enough to push the Thrashers back into playoff contention.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ilya+kovalchuck

They Can Still Play, But Where Is The Question

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

The news that Petr Sykora will attend the Minnesota Wild camp on a tryout basis is symbolic of the dilemma facing all the veteran NHL players that didn’t get a contract offer this summer, and opted not to play overseas in Russia:

Do they swallow their pride and - with no guarantees - try to earn a roster spot for the first time in forever? Or do they sit at home and await a firm deal and bide their time that way?


Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: petr+sykora

Afternoon Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“I’m in a place where I know. I mean, I know Edmonton. I’ve known it for years.  I’m in a place where I like the people I’m working with. I felt the same, when I was in Toronto, Vancouver, Philadelphia, wherever. I put on that sweater, that’s who I work for. It’s no trouble at all.”

-Edmonton Oilers Coach Pat Quinn.  More on Quinn from Mark Spector of Sportsnet.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: pat+quinn

Would Jagr Rather Be A Member Of The New York Rangers?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Stan Fischler of Game On,

Talk about going from a BIG SPLASH to a drop-in-the-bucket, how about our old buddy, Jaromir Jagr, formerly the toast of Broadway. A year ago Jags detonated roaring headlines by emigrating to Russia. Now there’s hardly a whisper about JJ. Let’s not forget that Jaromir – same as Sean Avery – could have remained a Ranger. There was a reasonable deal there for him to return, but he chose to chase pucks in Putinville. It says here that he regrets the move – deeply!

continue for more hockey notes…

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jaromir+jagr

Canucks Forwards Battling For Jobs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,

With the clock having struck midnight on GM Mike Gillis’s Mats Sundin deadline, and given word he’s not even skating, the Canucks are moving on.

With the Swede quickly disappearing from their radar, the Canucks are focusing instead on the forwards who will actually be at UBC this week for training camp. And there are plenty of them. Lots has been made about the defensive logjam, but the more interesting story lines are up front.

There are 12 forwards with one-way deals, and that doesn’t include Cody Hodgson, Jannik Hansen, Michael Grabner or Sergei Shirokov, the Russian pro who got a couple gushing reviews in Alberta for tallying a few assists in two prospects games against university kids and amateurs. Though he’ll have to do a lot more than that, he is seen, by some, as one of the players on the outside who can push for a job.

With a push from below, two veterans who are expected to at least feel a pinch are Kyle Wellwood and Mason Raymond, a pair known for offensive skill and unrealized potential who both had frustrating seasons last year before finding salvation through the defensive part of their games.


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

Health Issues In The East

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Allen of Mucking and Grinding,

...the No. 1 health concern in the Eastern Conference might be the Sabres’ need for center Tim Connolly to remain in the lineup this season.

The Sabres need him to play 80 or more games this season and he has been able to play only 38% of his team’s games over the past three seasons….

The frustration of Connolly’s injury history is that he is highly productive when he does play. Last season, he registered 18 goals and 29 assists for 47 points in 48 games. He had 40 points the season before.

“From where I am sitting and from where (coach) Lindy Ruff is sitting, he is a very important piece to our success,” said Buffalo general manager Darcy Regier. “What we saw when he was healthy is that when we have him and Derek Roy in the middle then we have two quality offensive lines. It’s not as easy to key on one of our lines.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tim+connolly

Worst 20 Zone Start Adjusted Corsi Numbers

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

In my look at sabermetrics and hockey, I am looking at the problem of combining zone starts and Corsi Number.  Although a method has been proposed by objective NHL, I have made my own which I think better solves the problem.

Raw Corsi Numbers are used as a metric to rank puck possession.  Because teams are more likely to allow shots if they are in the defensive zone or take shots if they are in the offensive zone, individual player’s Corsi Numbers are adjusted by 0.8 * (defensive zone starts - offensive zone starts), as it has been shown that an extra zone start on average yields 0.8 shots directed at the goal.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink

Blame The Penguins

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from pucksandbooks of On Frozen Blog,

A fresh reason to hate Pittsburgh: a Penguins’ shot that Tomas Fleischmann blocked in the 2009 playoffs could well have played a role in his developing the blood clot in his left calf that is delaying the start to his season.

“The doctors [in the Czech Republic] told me is it probably a combination of blocking shots in the playoffs against Pittsburgh and a long flight sitting too long in one spot,” Flash informed this morning. His flight home in May was nine hours long.

About two weeks after he arrived home Fleischmann began feeling pain in his left leg. Rest would alleviate the pain but then it would return after he’d work out. So he went to see a doctor and was shocked by the diagnosis, which included no practicing hockey for three months.

“I never heard about it before,” he said.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: tomas+fleischmann

Kessel In Control

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

For the moment, and possibly well on into November, Kessel holds the cards as a restricted free agent. If Chiarelli were to make a deal with, say, the Predators, Nashville GM David Poile would only give up assets if he is assured Kessel will sign in Tune Town. Likewise, the Leafs won’t flip picks and/or players Boston’s way unless Chiarelli already has inked Kessel to a sign-and-trade.

All signs point to Kessel preferring the Leafs over the Predators, which, if nothing else, proves he did learn something during his year at the University of Minnesota. Decent team, the Preds, but there is only one Toronto (unless Jim Balsillie succeeds in divvying up the hockey mecca).

The dynamic of the Kessel proceedings will shift as late November approaches because Kessel, per the collective bargaining agreement, cannot play in the NHL this season unless he has signed a deal by Dec. 1.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: phil+kessel

Implementing A New System In Calgary

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Vicki Hall of the Calgary Herald,

The system calls for strict discipline. Responsibility is crucial, especially in the defensive zone.

“We want to be a structured team and that has to include everybody,” Sutter said. “The veterans, the experienced players, have to be the leaders in that category.

“You’ve got to implement things in practice. We’re creatures of habit. Our habits have to be good in practice so they carry through to the game.”

And so the mood on the first day of camp was all business with little, or no, superfluous chatter.

After all, in any job, first impressions with the boss are vital.

“The drills are obviously a lot different,” said forward Rene Bourque. “Totally different drills than we did last year. It’s kind of nerve-racking being out there for the first practice. We’ve never seen a lot of these drills before.

“Nobody really wants to mess up a drill on the first day back. I think guys were gripping their sticks a bit tight. But, in the next few days, I think the guys will learn to relax a little bit and just enjoy it.”


Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, | KK Hockey | Permalink

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