Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Just Like That, The Minnesota Wild Are Down To One Experienced Goalie

from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,

“All I can tell you is my full attention is on that guy right there,” Yeo said, pointing to veteran Niklas Backstrom on the ice during Wednesday’s informal practice. “He’s the one who is here, he’s the one who put in the work.

“You make plans over the summer. I mean, my staff, we’ve been making plans on who’s practicing, what practices we’re going to have, who’s playing in the exhibition games and this was under the assumption we would have Kuemps and Hards and obviously things have changed dramatically.

“We’ve gone from talking about three goalies to sitting here talking about one (Backstrom). I put on the cool face last year pretending we weren’t frustrated about [our goaltending issues], but we’re not even Day One into camp and we’re already talking about it.”

Added veteran Jason Pominville: "Knock on wood. Hopefully nothing else happens. Hopefully we don't get that 'here we go' feeling again."

read on

added 3:28pm,

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Justin Braun Signs A Five-Year Extension With The San Jose Sharks

SAN JOSE - San Jose Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the club has re-signed defenseman Justin Braun to a five-year contract extension. The extension, which will commence next season, places Braun under contract with the Sharks through the 2019-20 season.

"Justin has emerged as one of our most well-rounded and dependable defensemen," said Wilson. "He's an excellent skater who excels in matching up against the opponents top players on a nightly basis and fits in well with our core group of younger players. We feel Justin has just scratched the surface of his talent and we are excited to have him under contract for the next six seasons."

added 2:13pm,

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: justin+braun

The Real Issue On Not Paying Ryan Johansen

from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,

The middle class, as a general rule, is simply paid far too much in the NHL today. It’s not that these players aren’t good athletes or quality teammates, but they are generally replaceable, and they don’t contribute anywhere close to that which the top players contribute.

So teams like Columbus have to hold the line with players like Johansen, and they’ll demonize the agent while trying not to alienate the player to do that. The Canadiens pretty much knew what they had in Subban – he won the Norris Trophy in the first year of his “bridge” deal – but needed to suppress his earning power because they, like all other clubs, are paying too many non-star players in that $2-4 million range.

To the public, and to the player, teams sell the notion that the best must take less in order to help the team be more competitive. The correct and sensible model for the NHL would be to have more players at the max or close to it, and more players below $2 million. Why should Crosby take less so Nick Spaling, for example, can make $2.2 million?

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+johansen

Hockey Growing Worldwide

from Martin Merk of IIHF.com,

The number of registered ice hockey players has grown to 1,779,911 according to the International Ice Hockey Federation’s annual Survey of Players that includes 68 countries. 

That’s an increase of 8.47 per cent compared to last year. There have been more players in all categories – male, female and junior players. 

The number-one country remains hockey motherland Canada followed by the United States, the Czech Republic, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Japan and France who complete the top-10. 

But the data also offers other interesting angles. Who would have thought that Latvia has the sixth-highest number of players per capita and that Iceland is ninth before tenth-ranked USA? 

continued

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Getting To The NHL

This article is about a week old and I saw it when it first came out but decided to pass, but in the last few days a few KK members brought it to my attention which tells me I should have posted it in the first place.

from Emily Cornelius at The Huffington Post,

As hockey fans, one of our favorite things to do is criticize the players. 'He's a bum', 'he's washed up,' 'we are paying him how much?' It's innate. They make a ton of money to do what we wish we were doing, they can take a little ribbing from us lowly fans.

But are we giving these players enough credit? How hard is it actually to 'make it,' to 'go to the show,' to 'get the call?'

Early 2013, Jim Parcels, a former Peterborough Petes trainer and Ken Campbell, a writer for The Hockey News, co-authored Selling the Dream: How Hockey Parents and Their Kids Are Paying the Price for Our National Obsession. In the book, Parcels breaks down the odds of a kid from Ontario making the NHL. Out of the select 30,000 players they studied, 48 were drafted by an NHL team, and 39 of those 48 actually signed contracts with an NHL team. Of that 39, only 32 actually played in the NHL, and only 15 of those players played more than one full season. And finally, of that 15, only six played the minimum 400 games to qualify for the NHL Player Pension.

So if we count the 400 game league minimum for the Player Pension as having a 'career' in the NHL, then 0.16 percent will get drafted into the NHL and only 0.02 percent of hockey-playing boys in Ontario will make a 'career' out of hockey.

continued

Filed in: NHL Talk, Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Claude Lemieux On The Colorado Avalanche

from Katie Strang of ESPN,

While most people were gob-smacked by their success, former Avalanche forward and four-time Stanley Cup champion Claude Lemieux was not. Having played with Roy in Colorado, Lemieux knew that Roy's passionate personality would take the team places no one expected.

“I wasn’t surprised,” Lemieux told ESPN.com in a recent phone conversation. “I know Patrick is a good coach, more than a good coach -- a really good coach. I knew he would have a big impact. He’s so committed to the game, he’s so well-prepared, and he understands winning. He has been a winner for life and that only translates to being contagious to players.”

Lemieux said he actually expected the Avalanche to fare far better in 2013, but knew it was only a matter of time once Roy was hired. The Avalanche lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Wild, but gained valuable postseason experience, which Lemieux hopes will aid them heading into their 2014-15 campaign. 

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: claude+lemieux

All Things Positive As The Blues Prepare For Camp

from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

Despite the reasonable cynicism, Hitchcock claims that after the Blues’ third straight playoff exit under his direction, the feeling is different this time.

“Yeah, it’s what happens when a team starts to really grow up,” he said. “It’s like we’ve learned a lot the last three years and you can see it in the players’ approach right now. They understand the details that they can control in the offseason. There’s no crash course going on now. Everybody is getting what they need.

“Some guys come in early, do their off-ice workout, take 20 minutes of the skate and leave. They’re not trying to search and find it. So they’ve got a maturity about them from a conditioning standpoint that good teams have. They know how long the season is, how hard the season is and they know what they have to do to get ready to have a good training camp.”

Having a good training camp, or even a record-breaking regular season, though, is no longer the measure of success in St. Louis.

more

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Ads On Sweaters? Not Yet

from Rick Westhead of TSN,

The NHL has once again said no - for the time being - to selling prime space on team jerseys to sponsors, a move the league estimates would generate at least $120 million.

During a recent meeting of NHL team presidents in New York, league officials estimated they might raise $4 million per team by allowing corporate sponsors to put their logos front and centre on jerseys, a person familiar with the matter told TSN.

"Gary (Bettman) and owners like the money, but they don't want to be first out of the box with this in North America," the person told TSN. "They'll wait for the NBA or baseball to do it and then be second or third."

The NHL, like other mainstream North American sports, to this point has resisted breaking with tradition, even though NHL jerseys already carry advertising since jersey maker Reebok's logo is so prominent.

continued

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Morning Line - Randy Carlyle

“This season is not about me, not at all. It’s about the Toronto Maple Leafs. It’ll never be about me. I’m a sidebar. I’m the tsetse fly on the wall. This season is about the Maple Leafs. It’s about our team. It’s about our players. It’s about our organization.

“The reality is, we have to win more games. Simple as that. Winning cures pretty much everything.

“Losing is hard. This is why we’re bald and we’re grey and you ask yourself, ‘Why do I do this for a living?’ You carry the losses with you. And in this market, you carry it a little big longer and a lot louder.

“You have to have short-term memory. You have to be able to move on to the next practice, the next game, turn the page and keep your emotions so you make the decisions that are best for your group.”

-Randy Carlyle, head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  More from Carlyle by Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: randy+carlyle

Questioning The Culture Change In Pittsburgh

from Rob Rossi of he Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

No team in this city is better at controlling its message than the Penguins, so I have to believe the messages management has been sending behind the scenes are the ones they want out there.

Crosby's been crushed by the burden of being Sidney Crosby.

No.

Malkin needs to become a better leader.

Nope.

Ray Shero was too close to his players.

Not true.

Dan Bylsma ran a country club.

Not really.

It's time to change the culture.

Now, that might be a fair point, but accountability is a tough sell from a franchise with owners who only take questions when they're trying to sound like they've been paying close attention....

I'm also pretty skeptical of the overly layered management structure working out the way the Penguins think it could.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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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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