Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
When the Devils bought out the final season of forward Dainius Zubrus' contract on July 29, Shero explained that wanted to create some roster flexibility up front in case he is able to add another forward at some point before the season starts.
Shero is still pursuing that possibility, but said “there's nothing imminent.”
“We're looking at those things whether it's a signing or a trade or potentially a tryout situation with players that are looking for jobs still or a trade with any team,” he said. “That's a constant evaluation that will kind of go on until training camp or after training camp. So, we'll see. There are players that are still out there. We've been in touch with agents and teams and we'll see where that's going to lead us trytout-wise, trade-wise or signing-wise.”
At this point, Shero doesn't know yet if any players will attend camp with the Devils as tryouts.
“Sometimes these things happen the day before,” he said. “I've been in touch with different agents and players, as every other team has been, and we'll just see. But there are no tryout invitations out at this point at all.”
When asked if the team would be more likely to invite a forward or a defenseman, Shero replied, “It could be both.”
read on for updates on Bryce Salvador, Ryane Clowe and Martin Brodeur Day...
Shawn McKenzie reports from Toronto where the NHL rookies are getting their photos taken for their Upper Deck rookie cards.
“I think it’s going to be a lot easier going into year two, just the comfort level they have with me and also myself with them. Now, as a coaching staff, we know what they’re capable of and should be able to put them in positions to succeed. … With the players, I think the comfort level will be higher and that’s the most important thing.”
-Bill Peters, head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes. More from Chip Alexander of the News & Observer.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
In this, the second installment of our three-part series, we take at look at the seven living men who, each in his own way, have left a unique and indelible mark on the game.
Scotty Bowman, retired coach
Here’s the thing you need to know about Scotty Bowman. Few of his players over the years liked him. In fact, many actively despised him. But as Ken Dryden wrote in his seminal book, The Game, that didn’t matter.
“What [made] Bowman work is an understanding, the understanding that must exist between a coach and his team,” Dryden wrote. “He knows the most important thing to a team is to win; we know he does what he does to make us win.”
In fact, few men ever did that one thing better. Bowman holds the NHL record for career wins in both the regular season (1,244) and the playoffs (223). No coach has won more Stanley Cups than Bowman's nine: five with the Canadiens; one with the Penguins and three with the Red Wings. He's also earned five more as a front office executive, including one this past season as a special advisor to his son, Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman.
It all adds up to a legacy unmatched in the history of the game and one that's made him the professor emeritus of the hockey community. If there’s a question asked, there's no one who can answer it with more authority than Bowman.
Don Cherry, broadcaster
from Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider,
Anze Kopitar has been eligible to sign a contract extension with the Los Angeles Kings since July 1, but don’t expect an announcement on an extension for the star center in the immediate future.
The Kings and Kopitar are are “not even in the ballpark” in their discussions, Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi told LA Kings Insider over email when asked whether the two sides were “close” to reaching an agreement.
Kopitar has one year remaining on the seven-year, $47.6-million contract he signed in September, 2009. The nine-year NHL veteran will be paid $7.7-million in the final season of a contract that carries a $6.8-million cap hit. In 683 career games, Kopitar has 218 goals, 610 points and a plus-45 rating. The two-time Stanley Cup winner was a finalist for the Selke Trophy in each of the last two seasons and was a Lady Byng Memorial Trophy finalist in 2014-15, when he was an NHL All-Star for the third time. In 70 career playoff games, Kopitar has 18 goals, 60 points and a plus-22 rating.
from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,
... Simply put, the Hawks are the model franchise, on and off the ice.
Which is why Patrick Kane might be done in Chicago. And why maybe he should be.
It’s still uncertain if the Hawks are seriously considering trading Kane in light of an ongoing police investigation in Hamburg, N.Y. But if they are, they won’t have any trouble finding any takers.
At least five teams contacted the Hawks once the Buffalo News first reported the investigation — which involves Kane and a woman at his Hamburg home — and said they’d be willing trade partners should the Hawks decide to cut ties with their superstar winger, according to a league source. The 26-year-old is entering the first year of a record-setting eight-year, $84-million contract.
Kane has not been charged with a crime — and that can’t be said enough — for the events of Aug. 2, which are being investigated by both police and the district attorney’s office. But another source said that Hawks brass had sternly warned Kane not to put himself in any more bad situations — and put the team in a negative light — after his much-publicized Cinco de Mayo escapades in Madison, Wis., in 2012. That was supposed to be his last strike.
So regardless of the legal outcome of the investigation, Kane’s future with the team is murky at best.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Joe Thornton is going to be an interesting test case for the Hockey Hall of Fame even though he clearly should be a no-brainer. But no question there are those who will hold his lack of a Stanley Cup against him. Of course, he still has time to win one before his career is out. But even if he doesn’t, it would be ridiculous to make that argument against him. His career screams Hall of Famer.
The Case For
Thornton, a consistent top-end point producer his entire career, currently sits 36th all-time in regular-season points with 1,259 (358 goals-901 assists), ahead of Hall of Famers Michel Goulet, Bernie Federko, Joe Nieuwendyk, Mike Bossy and Glenn Anderson, among others.
And he’s still got a few more seasons left in his career. For example, say the 36-year-old center plays three more seasons and I’m very conservative here in projecting 60 points a year. That puts him on pace for 1,439 career points, which would rank him 16th all-time, sandwiched between Teemu Selanne and Bryan Trottier.
As it stands, his 901 career assists are 19th all-time already, one assist away from passing Bryan Trottier.
from USA TODAY,
A clean slate at the start of a new season provides optimism for every team: A look at the Eastern Conference teams' reasons for hope in ending the drought.
Disclaimer: This is not to say that each item is created equal, or that each one is the only component to a deep run. This list does not account for injuries, which could cripple even the strongest teams. These are simply plausible reasons why your favorite team could be in store for a deep run. It's only fair after discussing the roadblocks to success last week.
Boston Bruins: Four foundation blocks. Boston fans can moan about the loss of Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic, but that doesn’t change the reality that the Bruins have a first-rate center combination in David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron, a former Norris Trophy winner Zdeno Chara on defense and in elite goalie in Tuukka Rask. If you presume that coach Claude Julien will insist the Bruins play stingy team defense and hope that David Pastrnak blossoms into a 20-goal scorer, you can make a case that the Bruins are still a contender.
Buffalo Sabres: Timing could be right for Cinderella remake. Unquestionably, the Sabres are going to be the most improved team next season. Their forward group will include Evander Kane, Ryan O'Reilly, Tyler Ennis, Matt Moulson, Brian Gionta, plus super rookie Jack Eichel and prized prospect Sam Reinhart. The defense will be significantly improved, and the Sabres are also courting free agent defenseman Cody Franson. Remember that the 1990-91 Minnesota North Stars once stunned the hockey world by reaching the Stanley Cup Final with a losing record. The NHL is overdue for a Cinderella playoff story.
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
Kadri, perhaps in line for a higher-profile role at centre, looked sturdy on Monday during an informal team workout. Last year he was listed at six feet, 188 pounds, but what everyone wants to know, from club boss Brendan Shanahan, to new coach Mike Babcock to the patience-weary patrons in the purples, is will his maturity level keep a better pace? Babcock has said he expects Kadri to be "an elite player" this year.
"There was no playing around this summer, it was right to work," Kadri said. "I was just trying to improve on my weaknesses. I want to continue to start doing that, becoming more professional and kind of handling myself the right away.
"There have been ups and downs and that's just how it is. Obviously in Toronto there is a lot of speculation and a lot of scrutiny. Sometimes that's hard for young players, but as time goes on, the maturity comes into play. You start to realize this is what you really want."
After protracted talks, the RFA did get a million-dollar raise up to $4.1 million US, but not the multi-year pact he had been negotiating at mid-season.
from Adrew Gross of The Record,
It is September.
With that in mind, here’s a list of things that make this sports writer giddy with the opening of NHL training camps in a little more than two weeks (and with a large chunk of the league’s players already skating informally at their respective teams’ practice facilities):
* Getting reacquainted to the wondrous speed of the game. It always takes a few practices or preseason games to retrain the eye to keep up with the on-ice action, no matter how long you’ve been watching the sport. The breakneck pace of the sport is what gets lost in translation on television. Seeing the sport played live by the best hockey players in the world is truly a privilege....
* Watching the notoriously overbearing Toronto media lose its collective mind trying to deal with new Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello as he shuts down any leaks of information from within the organization.
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 email@example.com