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Hockey Talk In Mid-August

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

- How have NHL stars been penalized by the league’s salary cap? Before the cap, 15 years ago, Peter Forsberg was the NHL’s highest paid player at $11 million a season. Now, it’s Connor McDavid at $12.5 million. That’s less than a 1% increase per year increase for the sport’s greatest player. Over the same period of time, the value of the Maple Leafs as a franchise has gone from $265 million to $1.4 billion. Up more than 500%. In other words, ownership wins once again.

- The NHL must be just a little concerned that Pittsburgh Penguins majority owner, Ron Burkle, is being mentioned as a former associate of Jeffrey Epstein, the scandal ridden American who apparently killed himself behind bars.

a few more hockey blurbs...

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Mike Milbury Wants To Stay Old School When It Comes To Analyzing The Game

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

Be it in the studio alongside Keith Jones in Stamford, Conn., or in a broadcast booth with the likes of Mike Emrick, ex-Bruins defenseman Mike Milbury is about to embark on his 13th season as part of NBC’s NHL coverage....

The ever-blunt Milbury, 67, fills a more versatile broadcast role than the more narrowly defined life he led on the Boston blue line for a dozen seasons (1975-87), which had him cast in a stay-at-home and slug-it-out role (1,552 penalty minutes in 754 games).

During his tenure with NBC, Milbury has been the guy in the cast most likely to say whatever pops into his head, albeit with a tiny bit more self-restraint and censoring than his ex-coach, Don Cherry, who made a fortune the last 30-plus years as Canada’s premier loose cannon during NHL broadcasts.

For the upcoming season, the NHL plans to mine a massive amount of player data through its new Puck and Player Tracking system. Just how NBC or any of the league’s other broadcast entities plan to integrate the data treasure trove remains to be seen. Milbury sounds like a guy who still would prefer to wrap his hands around an opposing forward’s neck than to, say, dive into a fresh load of numbers about puck possession or speed of the puck as it rockets off a player’s blade.

“I have zero interest in it,” Milbury said this past week, reached by telephone at his home in the Boston suburbs. “I know they’re counting on it, but I’ve made my feelings known. No thanks. I mean, every move measured and calculated . . . what the [bleep] is the fun in that?! I guess I could be wrong, and there’ll be something in all of it that will catch my eye, but..."

more plus other hockey topics...

Filed in: NHL Media, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+milbury

The Chicago Blackhawks Are Big Believers In Analytics

from Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times,

Al MacIsaac first heard of analytics approximately 4,500 miles away from his spacious United Center office.

Shortly before the Blackhawks’ 2009-10 season opener in Finland, MacIsaac sat down alongside Stan and Scotty Bowman to meet a stranger in Helsinki’s grand Hotel Kamp for a brief presentation....

“It started as a project that we were going to build on,” MacIsaac told the Sun-Times this week. “Now we have analytics for everything. ... It’s evolved from that first chance meeting in 2009 to something that we feel proud of and that our staff have come to embrace.”

The term ‘analytics’ itself is mentioned nowhere in MacIsaac’s job description, and it takes quite a bit of scrolling down the Hawks’ front office directory to find Andrew Contis, the lone listed member with it in his title.

But MacIsaac will disclose there’s a whole team of employees — “young people,” he calls them — who compose the Hawks’ analytics department, collecting and analyzing data and looking for new areas to explore.

“Our ideas can’t be cascading down from the senior guys like me and Stan,” MacIsaac said. “We want ideas cascading upwards, and that comes from guys like Andrew Contis and a number of others.”

read on

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Video- Season Preview For The Nashville Predators

from Robby Stanley at NHL.com

The Nashville Predators hope bolstering their forwards will be enough to win the Central Division for a third consecutive season and make a deep run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Predators signed center Matt Duchene to a seven-year, $56 million contract (average annual value $8 million) on July 1. In order to clear space under the NHL salary cap and sign Duchene, Nashville traded defenseman P.K. Subban to the New Jersey Devils on June 22.

"Let's call it like it is: If we don't make the Subban trade and get rid of his money ($9 million AAV), it's going to be much more difficult to get into the Duchene sweepstakes, if you will," Predators general manager David Poile said. "Maybe we could have, and we'd be over the [salary cap] today and we'd being having a player or players that we'd have to move. That really, I guess you would say, took the pressure off in terms of doing this.

"So Subban for Duchene sounds like a reasonable way to say it. The good news is with [defenseman Dante Fabbro] coming in, that we feel like maybe he can't replace [Subban] right away but he certainly has the potential of being a top-four defenseman. With [Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Ellis] there as our top three, I think we still have a really good defense."

continued

Watch the season preview on the Preds below.

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Patrick Laine Seems A Bit Unsure About His Future With Winnipeg

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

Patrik Laine says contract talks with the Winnipeg Jets have been non-existent all summer and he isn’t sure what it means for his future with the team.

As one of several prominent NHL restricted free agents still without a new deal, the sniper is currently entering the late stages of summer training under a cloud of uncertainty. Speaking before the Finnish Alumni All-Star Game about an hour north of Helsinki, Laine told Sportsnet that he’s confident he’ll playing "somewhere" next season.

He just doesn’t know if that somewhere will be Winnipeg.

"Well you never know. It’s still business, you’ve got to be prepared for anything," Laine said Friday. "But yeah, you never know where you’re going to play next year so I’m just prepared for anything."

continued

added 4:37pm, Video of Laine talking with Johnston is below.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Winnipeg Jets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: patrik+laine

Video- The Buffalo Sabres Unveil Their 50th Anniversary Jersey

from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,

The Buffalo Sabres have dubbed it the Golden Jersey.

The team announced its alternate jersey for the 2019-20 season through a Twitter video Friday morning, and the white sweater with gold striping will be worn for 13 dates during the 50th anniversary season.

The crossed swords crest will be displayed in fluorescent gold and navy blue, rather than white and blue. Five stripes -- one representing each of the franchise's decades -- are embroidered on both sleeves as well as the jersey's bottom. Four are gold and one wider one is in blue.

Two unique features of the uniform is an inner neckline to the sweater that features logos from throughout the team's history, and white gloves that will be worn for the first time in franchise history and look similar to those that have been worn the last two years by the Vegas Golden Knights.

continued, includes pictures and below, watch a video from the Sabres on the sweater...

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Morning Line- Aaron Ekblad

"Maybe in the past people overlooked us, but right now, I would say we go into this year as the team to beat. With the players we've brought in and the core we have established, I mean, if we don't (win), you know things are going to go sideways pretty quick. We have to realize and know if we want to stay together, we have to win."

-Aaron Ekblad of the Florida Panthers.  NHL.com has more.

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  Tags: aaron+ekblad

New Arena Means Stability For The New York Islanders

from Andrew Gross of Newsday,

“You know how big it is,” Lamoriello told Newsday on Thursday. “Without a new arena, there would not be the Islanders on Long Island. I think that says it all.”

Lamoriello was able to re-sign the team’s key unrestricted free agents this offseason except for goalie Robin Lehner and third-line center Valtteri Filppula. The previous summer, former captain John Tavares left for his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs for a seven-year, $77 million deal that was less than the Islanders offered.

The Islanders will continue to split games between NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum and Barclays Center in Brooklyn for a second straight season. Their new building is scheduled to open for the 2021-22 season and Lamoriello knows uncertainty about the Islanders’ arena situation was a factor when talking to free agents.

“I think that’s always something behind someone’s mind, including our own free agents,” Lamoriello said. “But they have the confidence in believing in our ownership’s commitment to getting the arena.”

read on

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The Latest On The CBA

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly says he’s “cautiously optimistic” about the direction of collective bargaining talks with the NHL Players’ Association and believes the sides are committed to staging the next World Cup in February 2021 if they can extend or renew the current agreement before it expires.

The league and players have met regularly throughout the summer and are due to sit down together again next week. The discussions are being held with each side facing a decision inside the next month about whether to trigger an early termination to the current CBA.

However, it remains to be seen if either will pursue the reopener option at a time when there appears to be much more labour harmony than strife.

“The general state of things, there seems to be a lot of agreement on,” Daly told Sportsnet during the NHL’s European player media tour. “It’s very kind of amorphous right now but there doesn’t seem to be like a huge sticking point on the issues we’ve talked about. I think there’s general agreement kind of directionally. Where we should be going.

“I think both sides have been open that the agreement’s not a perfect agreement and could be improved, but nobody’s holding out for a home run.”

continued

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

Video- Season Preview For The Montreal Canadiens

from Sean Farrell at NHL.com,

The Montreal Canadiens are confident they can make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2016-17 with largely the same lineup that narrowly missed out last season.

The Canadiens finished with 96 points, after they had 71 in 2017-18, but wound up two points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

"I think this is a team that is trending towards the playoffs and was very close last year," said defenseman Ben Chiarot, who signed a three-year, $10.5 million contract (average annual value of $3.5 million) with Montreal on July 4 after playing 305 games with the Winnipeg Jets. "All the pieces are here and a little bit reminds me of where we were in Winnipeg a few years ago with some of the young pieces and the leadership of guys like [defenseman Shea] Weber and [goalie Carey] Price. I think all the pieces are here for us to be successful, and I'll bring what I bring and I think we should be trending in the right direction."

continued

Below, wateh the preview for the Habs....

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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