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A Possible February Start?

from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province,

A strong second infection waive of the worldwide pandemic virus has Canadian health officials pondering the viability of professional indoor sports leagues introducing a slow transition to fans, especially if COVID fatigue and community spread in the winter months threatens to overwhelm and contaminate arenas....

Dr. Brian Conway is president and medical director of the Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre. He’s also a Vancouver Canucks season-ticket subscriber and a voice of reason in monitoring the physical and mental health of the local populace.

On Monday, he was also asked to play NHL owner.

Combining a passion for his profession and enthusiasm for attending hockey games, he gave a somewhat sobering assessment. The NHL wants an 82-game schedule, but COVID concerns and broadcast partner NBC being committed to the rescheduled Tokyo Summer Olympics will likely mean a contracted schedule and more significant revenues losses in an attempt to award the Stanley Cup by July 18. The Olympics commence July 23.

Like other NHL franchises, the Canucks have a plan to start next season with no fans at Rogers Arena and then slowly transition to patrons as COVID concerns ease. That’s the hope. Relentlessness of the virus is the reality.

“Right now, from a public-health point of view which goes into all of our decision-making, I do not see a start until the beginning of February, and the fact (is) we’re only worrying about Canada,” said Dr. Conway. “I can’t speak for the United States. American authorities in place have no interest in mitigating the pandemic. The considerations would be three-fold:

read on

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

If We All Could Have The Heart Of Joey Moss

from Caley Ramsay of Global News,

Edmonton sports legend Joey Moss has died at the age of 57, Global News has learned.

Moss has been a beloved member of the Edmonton Oilers for decades. He became the NHL team’s locker room attendant in 1984, after he was recommended by The Great One himself — Wayne Gretzky. The two met when Gretzky was just 20 years old. He was dating Moss’ sister at the time.

Moss, who was born with Down syndrome, joined the Edmonton Football Team two years later.

Over the years, he’s captured the hearts of those in Edmonton and beyond, particularly for his enthusiastic participation in the national anthem before the start of every game.



Continue Reading »

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

Financial Issues In The NHL

from Travis Yost of TSN,

To say the 2020 version of free agency had little precedent is probably an understatement. The ongoing pandemic has really stung at the National Hockey League’s bottom line, and the business uncertainty facing teams around the league has had a substantial chilling effect on the market.

That’s not to say that players and teams aren’t figuring out ways to get deals done – the opposite, in fact, appears to be true.

The player’s perspective is particularly interesting because incentives have started to change. Some players have actively chased job security. Others, perhaps a group more optimistic about the future and willing to bet on themselves, have signed short-term deals to try and catch free agency at another time. We have seen household names like Taylor HallSam Reinhart and Tyson Barrie sign one-year deals, effectively punting on free agency for another year.

On the other side of the table, front offices are starting to feel serious financial squeeze. The cash-poor teams that were already hurting before the stoppage of the 2020-21 regular season have been predictably quiet in the market. But so too have some of the bigger-market teams, those that tend to spend aggressively to the salary cap on an annual basis.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

KK- Out For A Few Hours

I am on my way to a scheduled Dr. appointment and should return by 1pm or so.

It's very slow again today and I will update, if needed, when I return.

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

Video- Carolina Hurricanes A Popular Destination

A formatting issue, so watch it below.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Notes On A Saturday Night

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

- The odd equation of this coming NHL season: The more games that are played, the more money team owners will lose.

Don’t expect a season much longer than 56 games. And don’t expect players to earn much more than 54% of their total salaries, with increased escrow, already-agreed-to discounts, and likely more back-and-forth negotiations before play is set to resume sometime in January.

- If you were Joe Thornton, and you really wanted to win the Stanley Cup before retiring, wouldn’t it have made sense to sign with the Colorado Avalanche or the Vegas Golden Knights, assuming they had interest?

- The beginning of the end for Max Domi with the Montreal Canadiens started when he took time to thoughtfully determine whether he would participate in Return To Play because of his diabetes. Domi made a wise choice in taking his time. The Habs, I’m told, we’re not so impressed.

- In his book, Burke’s Law, Brian Burke attacks four veteran journalists and I happen to be one of them. That’s fair game. You take shots, you expect to get them back. The irony of this: The other writers Burke singles out, Larry Brooks in New York, Tony Gallagher in Vancouver, Al Strachan, then in Toronto, have all been recognized by the Hockey Hall of Fame.

more on the first topic and other notes too...

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

Shhh, No Talking

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

NHL general managers won’t be doing much, if any, talking about Friday’s conference call with the league on which the terrain for the 2020-21 season was discussed, because they were advised on the call not to comment.

Alrighty, then.

But no such gag order has been placed on The Post, so here is a review of issues taken up on the call, per a source:

— The NHL is still aiming for a Jan. 1 start, even though the scheduled New Year’s Day Winter Classic at Minnesota has been canceled.

The objective remains to play a full 82-game season with full arenas, but the league understands that is not likely. The NHL is monitoring the state of COVID-19, travel restrictions between the United States and Canada and within the U.S., and regulations concerning indoor mass gatherings. In other words, which teams would be allowed to have fans in arenas, and how many?


Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Cap Issues

from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,

Some of these clubs — the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders, in particular — need to prioritize locking up their own restricted players instead of looking elsewhere. (And certainly some franchises not on this list have internal caps set by ownership they must solve.)

Not only has a crowded cap hellscape left more UFAs on the board than normal and forced a surge in minimum-wage contracts, but in-season manoeuvres could also suffer with a lack of breathing room.

Without further ado, here’s a look at 10 teams living in cap hell, and how and when they might climb out.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Cap space: $2.9 million

Roster size: 18/23

The difference between the Blues and Lightning and the rest of these franchises in a bind is about 14 karats. No doubt, it’s easier to rationalize life in cap hell when you’re wearing a Cup ring.

Tampa is the early Las Vegas favourite to go all the way again in 2021, but GM Julien BriseBois has some serious lifting to do yet. All three RFAs — Mikhail Sergachev, Anthony Cirelli and Erik Cernak — are players worth investing in. All three need raises.

Even with letting nice role players like Shattenkirk and Zach Bogosian walk, more money needs to be shipped out. That Tyler Johnson ($5 million AAV) cleared waivers unclaimed — and that loyal captain Steven Stamkos’s name was dared to be raised in trade rumours — illustrates just how difficult it’ll be to get money off the books here.

BriseBois will either need to attach draft picks to tough contracts (Johnson, Alex Killorn) or ship out a player he’d rather keep (Ondrej Palat? Yanni Gourde?). This is one heckuva pickle, but banners hang forever.

nine more teams

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Leafs Have Been Here Before

from Damien Cox at the Toronto Star,

Promising players such as Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnson are gone. Joe Thornton and Wayne Simmonds have arrived as replacements, formerly elite players signed at bargain prices to ease the salary-cap crunch but also to add character in lieu of the offensive stats they once produced.

If you know your Maple Leafs history, these manoeuvres are as old as the uniform itself. Once upon a time they even worked. Players such as Andy Bathgate, Red Kelly, Marcel Pronovost and Terry Sawchuk joined Punch Imlach’s Leafs in the 1960s after all-star careers with other NHL clubs. They helped the Leafs win multiple Stanley Cups....

Now come Thornton and Simmonds. The Leafs hope they can add character, along with a few goals. Maybe they can.

Simmonds has moved a lot late in his career — playing for Philadelphia, Nashville, New Jersey and Buffalo over the past two seasons. Thornton is a future Hall of Fame player, and has been one of the most approachable and amiable NHL personalities for years. Everybody loves Jumbo. The Leafs believe he’ll bring leadership and that elusive character, although the Sharks stripped him of the captaincy in 2014.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Starting From The Ground Up In Seattle

from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of NHL.com,

Before Jeff Camelio became the head equipment manager of the Seattle Kraken, he starting thinking: What would he need if he got the job?

As the assistant equipment manager of the Nashville Predators, Camelio started taking inventory of what the Predators had, writing down items big and small to make sure he wouldn't forget anything.

Skate sharpeners. Helmet screws. Thread to sew jerseys. A convection oven to heat plastic guards molded over skates to protect players blocking shots …

"The amount of stuff that needs to be ordered is incredible," Camelio said.

But that's what this is: an incredible opportunity and challenge.

Among the seven hires the Kraken announced Tuesday were Camelio, head athletic trainer Mike Booi and head strength and conditioning coach Nate Brookreson.

Each not only has risen to the highest level of his profession in the NHL for the first time, he gets to start a department and do it in Seattle. The expansion team is building a training center and an arena, each as cutting-edge as new skate blades, and will join the NHL in 2021-22.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: seattle+kraken

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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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