Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Some people keep waiting for the bottom to fall out on the Vancouver Canucks, and and it certainly hasn't been pretty every single night this season. However, Sunday night's full-value, 4-1 win over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks improved Vancouver's record to 14-6-1.
This was a team rival GMs pointed to most during my preseason conversations as a potential surprise. The new Trevor Linden-Jim Benning-Willie Desjardins regime has not disappointed, that is for sure. An important theme from the outset has been whether they could get enough secondary scoring to contend for a playoff spot.
Jannik Hanen's hat trick Sunday night was yet another example of that kind of secondary scoring the Canucks have got so far this season. If that continues, the Canucks should be playoff-bound.
read on for Burnside on Tikhonov for the HHOF, Custance on the Rangers and Strang on the Blues...
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
MacTavish knows he has to make a trade, but what is his No. 1 priority? It’s tough to finger Ben Scrivens or Vitkor Fasth completely for their .887 and .890 save percentages because the team defence gives up so many chances. Against the Hawks, there were so many 3-on-2 breaks it looked like a normal morning line-rush practice. Is that the goalie’s fault? Do they need a 26 to 30-year-old centre with a 500 to 700-game pedigree and 500 or so NHL points to help No. 1 centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? They aren’t getting a Giordano or a Doughty or a Weber or a PK Subban. Normally you have to draft them. They thought Justin Schultz could be that guy, but he’s struggling mightily.
Here’s what the Oilers could be looking at:
Goal: Antti Niemi, 31, (San Jose). He’s played 293 games and is an unrestricted free-agent July 1, and his halcyon days in Chicago when he won the Cup in 2010 seem light years away. He does have good numbers since then in regular-season (2.38, 2.42, 2.17 and 2.39) but he is 20-20 in the playoffs in those four yeas. This year he’s 7-6-3 with a 2.58 average and .915 save percentage and the Sharks feel Alex Stalock can be as good, and they have young Troy Grosenick, who got a shutout in his first NHL game, coming. Would they take back, say, Fasth, also UFA and a young forward or D-man? Niemi’s cap hit is $3.8 mil, Fasth’s is $2.9 mil.
Centre: Patrik Berglund (St. Louis). He’s the third centre there behind Paul Stastny and Jori Lehtera, the first-year Finn. His cap hit for this year and next is $3.9 million. He’s having a poor year (four points) and he’s only a 47.2 face-off guy, but he’s only 26 and he’s 6’3″, 217 pounds. Scouts say he may be more comfortable on the wing; he’s got a very good shot. The Blues are short of depth D-men after their top six, especially trading Jordan Leopold to Columbus, although they do have Chris Butler, who played in Calgary last year. If the Oilers wanted Berglund, they’d have to give up more than one piece.
more with other options at the positions mentioned...
from Abraham D. Madkour of SportsBusiness Journal,
During recent appearances by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and COO John Collins, it’s obvious this is getting a great deal of their attention. Bettman summed up the appeal succinctly: “We control it. We control the media, the presentation and it’s out of season.” All of those are underlying frustrations that the league has with its participation in the Olympics.
In a recent interview in Toronto, Bettman was asked why global sponsors pay hundreds of millions of dollars to be associated with the Olympics, yet the NHL seems nonplussed by it. “They [sponsors] get to market and promote their association with the Games,” he said. “We have to fight to get access to footage of our players playing in the Olympics. At one time, we even had to fight to get access to a press availability I was having. They’ve loosened it up a little bit, but face it, if you’re a TOP sponsor, you get to market and promote your brand. We don’t.”
With that said, you can see why the league is bullish about re-creating the World Cup, which sources believe has the ability to generate more than $100 million in revenue for the league and players, and it’s revenue that sits outside of the league’s definition of Hockey Related Revenue, meaning the 50/50 joint venture would be split.
I don’t believe it’s an “either/or” on having a World Cup or whether the NHL participates in the Olympics. But there is little appeal of playing in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018 and likely either Almaty, Kazakhstan, or Beijing in 2022. Daly, asked in Toronto about the league’s pending decision to play in 2018, said, “There are some things we still need to learn, such as the mindset of the South Korean Organizing Committee and where it puts hockey in its priorities.”
more plus other hockey topics...
from Mike Boone of Hockey Inside/Out,
It’s the last week of November, but the winter of our discontent is starting early.
And there is cause for concern.
In their six regulation losses, the Canadiens have been outscored 30-3.
They’ve been shut out four times. Only Buffalo, with five, has had more goose eggs....
A few themes:
• David Desharnais is not a top-line centre.
• Dressing 11 forwards and seven defencemen doesn’t work.
• P.K. Subban is not earning his $9 million.
The video explains it all and the Ducks won 2-1.
Four games yesterday, almost three minutes of highlights...
from Martin Merk of IIHF.com,
MOSCOW – One of international hockey’s most successful coaches of all time, Viktor Tikhonov, died this morning in a hospital in Moscow after long illness. He was 84. The funeral will take place in Moscow on Thursday.
With Tikhonov the international hockey family lost its most decorated coach ever. During his era as the head coach of the Soviet Union and Russia, the Moscow-born coach led the national team to three Olympic gold medals and eight World Championship titles between 1979 and 1992 and the 1981 Canada Cup. He also won one Olympic silver medal, one World Championship silver medal and two World Championship bronze medals.
Born in Moscow in 1930, Tikhonov played bandy, football and ice hockey. He started his hockey career at the top level as a defenceman with VVS MVO Moscow and Dynamo Moscow and won four consecutive championships (1951-1953 with VVS, 1954 with Dynamo) but is mostly remembered for his extraordinarily successful coaching career.
added 7:24am, Below, a YouTube user submitted tribute video of Tikhonov....
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
His often-shaky play has done little to quiet the fears that Colorado made mistakes both when it acquired him at the trading deadline on March 5 from Calgary, and — perhaps even more important — signed him to a three-year, $4.35-million contract extension only nine days later....
Berra has had solid games this season, and at least didn't reprise his shaky showings in his cameo appearances down the stretch last season. But with Varlamov out, this is his latest chance to win over the skeptics, and so far, he's failing. After Roy pulled him when Carolina took a 3-1 lead late in the first period Saturday night, Pickard shut out the Hurricanes the rest of the way in a 4-3 Colorado victory.
Berra's save percentage is below the Astrom Line, at .895, his goals-against average is 3.16.
Also at stake here is Avalanche organizational goaltender evaluation credibility. And that's a very strange thing to have to say about a team that has Roy as its head coach and Francois Allaire, renowned if occasionally a bit controversial as a goaltending whisperer, as its goaltending coach.
After losing 7-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks last night.
According to TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger, the Edmonton Oilers are interested in dealing forward David Perron.
Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish is reportedly looking for a top line centre in return for the 26-year-old.
Perron has two goals and eight assists in 21 games this season with Oilers, his second year with team.
The Sherbrooke, QC, native has two years left on his current contract.
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.
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