Kukla's Korner

Dion Phaneuf’s Puck Possession

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Dion Phaneuf was a star as soon as he entered the NHL.  He was a Calder Trophy nominee in the strong class of 2005/06 where he beat out Henrik Lundqvist to earn a nomination alongside Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin.  The next season he made the First All Star Team and was nominated for the Norris Trophy as best defenceman in the NHL.  His career was then on a Hall of Fame track but he never arrived as a Hall of Famer.  He failed to progress.  Perhaps he had come too far too fast but he developed a bad habit of abandoning his defensive responsibilities to take offensive risks that rarely panned out.  As Phaneuf became less defensively responsible, he was forced into a more significant defensive responsibility.  Phaneuf played a tougher role and he played it less responsibly. 

This is shown when we look at the worst players by team adjusted Corsi.  Phaneuf has the third worst rating of -295.2.  It doesn't help that his usual linemate of Carl Gunnarsson is worst in the league at -332.2.  The fact that Toronto's top defensive pairing were among the worst puck possession players in the NHL last season helps to explain why the Leafs missed the playoffs.

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Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Calm before the storm in Habsland

Blog: The Upper Canadien By The Upper Canadien

It's been a quiet few weeks for Habs fans, but that is about to end, with the arbitration sessions for Lars Eller and PK Subban fast approaching.

Rumours today had the Habs offering Eller $1.65 million per year, and Eller's camp countering around the $3.5 million mark. Logic would dictate that they will settle around $2.5 million before the hearing, and that seems reasonable given Eller's last season and comparables across the NHL. I'd be a happy fan with Eller on a deal in that neighbourhood.

Now, Mr. Subban, however, could be a different story. Where will he end up on the salary chart? Sure, the Habs may go into arbitration at $6 or $7 million, but would Subban's camp really be out of line asking for $8.5 or $9 million? I would hope that both sides sit down in advance and hammer out a long term extension. Despite that, I'm nervous. I can't imagine Montreal without PK. This is Bergevin's biggest test thus far: can he get it done?

Otherwise, not much going on in Montreal, unless you count nice weather and great festivals (which you should - a great city to be in come summer!). The Habs signed their first round pick in Nikita Scherbak, and some believe he may make the team out of training camp. Would he fill the final top-six forward spot that seems up for grabs? Other prospects have been suggested as possible candidates, but some media believe that Bergevin may be quietly evaluating trade options. Will anyone else move prior to training camp?

Let's see what the arbitrator comes up with. Until then, back to the patio and my lemonade.

Filed in: | The Upper Canadien | Permalink
 

Red Wings early overnight report: on advanced stats and standards of performance

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Updated 2x at 12:33 AM--I wrote this a little early and the later articles kind of screw with the narrative, but you're a smart bunch, and I'm crossing my fingers that you'll be OK with the way that the later stories influence the earlier "take":

I took a roundabout way to doing what I do for a living, and my trip involved a failed attempt to pursue an engineering degree because I couldn't keep up with Calc III and two attempts to complete a far-too-advanced "statistics and probability" class that ended in failure.

I tend to cringe involuntarily when people start talking about "advanced stats." Strangely enough, however, I've also tended to keep track of shot attempts on a period-by-period basis, noticing on my own that the stat's a superb indicator of who's controlling puck possession...And ExtraSkater's summary of the terms "Corsi" and "Fenwick" both explain that shot attempts are the basis of said numbers, and, unlike those who get into wars insisting that you can't predict a game's results without "seeing it" versus those who suggest that a close look at the scoresheet makes "gut feeling" observations irrelevant:

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

A note regarding defenseman Cory Sarich’s condition

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

There's been a significant amount of confusion regarding some Tweets made by former Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cory Sarich today, so the Avalanche issued a summary of Sarich's condition:

Sarich Recovering Following Cycling Accident

15-season NHL veteran planning to return

Veteran NHL defenceman Cory Sarich was injured in a cycling accident while training in Invermere, BC, on the morning of Monday, July 21, 2014. Sarich was struck by a motor vehicle and was airlifted to a hospital in Calgary, AB. He is in stable condition and his injuries are not considered life-threatening. The full extent of his injuries and the timeline for his recovery and return to the NHL is unclear.

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Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: colorado+avalanche, cory+sarich

Playing Moneyball In Toronto?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Kavitha A. Davidson at Bloomberg View,

After missing the playoffs for the eighth time in nine seasons, the Toronto Maple Leafs think it's time for a different approach. And the success of the Oakland A's this season should give them hope.

The Leafs have fired assistant general managers Dave Poulin and Claude Loiselle, replacing both with "boy wonder" Kyle Dubas. The 28-year-old stats guru -- dubbed the "Billy Beane of hockey," after the A's general manager -- is jumping to the big leagues after serving in the Ontario Hockey League. In just three seasons, Kubas turned around the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds from worst to first in the Western division, building a team around advanced statistics.

In addition to Beane, Kubas draws comparisons to Chicago Cubs general manager Theo Epstein, who embodied the youth movement in baseball's front offices. 

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: kyle+dubas

Steven Stamkos On Playing For The Leafs One Day

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the CP at TSN,

 LeBron James going home to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers led to speculation about whether a star NHL player might do the same in the near future.

Naturally, Steven Stamkos was at the centre of that speculation. The Tampa Bay Lightning captain and Markham, Ont., native could be an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2016, and the allure of playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs could be there.

"We'll see what happens. It's a couple years away," Stamkos said Wednesday. "Right now I'm focused on what I have to do to win in Tampa, and I think we've really established ourselves as a team that can compete in upcoming years.

"For me, that's the important thing is getting a chance to win. It looks like we're going to have that chance for a couple years."

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steven+stamkos

Grand Rapids Griffins sign Alden Hirschfeld as a depth forward

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

The Griffins still haven't made the signing of Mark Zengerle official, but the team announced (via RedWingsFeed) that they've signed yet another "veteran" forward:

The Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday signed forward Alden Hirschfeld to a one-year contract.

Hirschfeld, 26, spent the majority of the 2013-14 season with the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye and picked up 29 points (9-20—29) in 49 games. The 6-foot, 203-pound forward ranked second on the Walleye in assists and sixth overall in scoring. He also made 13 appearances with the Griffins last season, notching a goal, an assist and a plus-three rating. A native of Sylvania, Ohio, Hirschfeld has accumulated 10 points (5-5—10) in 51 career AHL games between the Griffins, Providence Bruins and Portland Pirates.

Prior to turning pro, Hirschfeld spent four seasons at Miami University (2008-12), where he tallied 70 points (35-35—70) in 134 games.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Red Wings mid-day news: Chris Ilitch on WDFN; ‘all-State’ Wings and Athanasiou talk

Blog: The Malik Report By George Malik

Updated at 3:30 PM: Red Wings and Olympia Entertainment CEO Chris Ilitch gave a long interview to WDFN's Matt Sheppard this morning, discussing the Wings' arena project and Ilitch Holdings' plans for the surrounding economic development at significant length:

The most important part of the interview for me as a Wings fan? Chris states that his father is the one who's still quite active in the workings of the Tigers and Red Wings, and that Chris deals with other matters. That certainly changes the, "Why things are the way they are" equation.

Otherwise...

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Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Pittsburgh Penguins Name Jacques Martin Senior Advisor Of Hockey Operations

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the Pittsburgh Penguins,

The Pittsburgh Penguins have named Jacques Martin senior advisor of hockey operations, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.

Martin, 61, has over 25 years of NHL experience as a general manager, head coach and assistant coach with Pittsburgh, Montreal, Florida, Ottawa, Colorado/Quebec, Chicago and St. Louis.

His duties will include monitoring NHL games, with an emphasis on Eastern Conference teams, assessing how the Penguins compare to the competition. He will report his information to general manager Jim Rutherford.

Martin, who spent last season as an assistant coach on the Penguins’ staff, has won 613 games and made 12 playoff appearances in 17 seasons as a NHL head coach. He won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s ‘most outstanding coach’ with Ottawa in 1999 and was a finalist for the award on three other occasions.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jacques+martin

Hope For Edmonton

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Staples of The Cult of Hockey,

Hope #2: That Mark Arcobello and Anton Lander pick up where they left off in the AHL. Both Arcobello and Lander are seasoned AHLers now, and both have aced almost every test that league has thrown at them. If this were Detroit, we might be going on about how sage management had wisely let them get over ripe on the farm (though that’s not exactly the truth with Lander, is it?).

If this were Detroit, we’d think they were at last properly schooled and ready to graduate to the ranks of NHL stalwarts.

Hope #3: That Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is ready to do his best Davey Keon/Pavel Datsyuk impression and step forward as a truly effective, top-line NHL center.

Hope #4. That Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle will both have outrageous peak scoring seasons, Hall with 95 points, Eberle with 85.

Hope #5. That Nail Yakupov will figure out how to mesh better with his teammates, read the play more adroitly, and find a home on the right half-wall of the power play from where he will pound in 20 power play goals from that spot, bringing his total to 35 for the year.

six more hopes...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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