Kukla's Korner Hockey
Chris Johnston joins Jeff Blair to speculate how new GM Lou Lamoriello might fit into the current Maple Leafs management group, and whether he’d be willing to embrace a lesser role than he’s used to.
Don Cherry remains a controversial figure, but as ESPN's Pierre LeBrun suggests, there's no doubt that Cherry is a Hall-of-Famer in waiting:
Don Cherry, Coach’s Corner, Hockey Night In Canada. They are staples of the soul of hockey. The impact that Grapes has had on our sport for decades from his pulpit at CBC is beyond measure.
At the heart of it all has always been Cherry’s care for youth hockey. He has spent more time in minor hockey rinks in the Greater Toronto Area than anyone alive. He has never forgotten about the grassroots of the sport.
Think about his impact decades ago when he urged minor hockey to put stop signs on the back of players’ sweaters in order to curb hitting from behind.
Think about his decades-old push for the elimination of the old icing rule for fear of dangerous injuries that had already wrecked some careers. The NHL finally listened.
I could go on and on, but Grapes and the sport of hockey are intertwined in so many ways that they are one.
from the Toronto Maple Leafs,
Brendan Shanahan, President and Alternate Governor of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced today that Lou Lamoriello has been named the 16th General Manager in the Club’s history. Lamoriello joins the Leafs after previously spending the last 28 years in the New Jersey Devils organization.
Newark, NJ – After 28 years, including three Stanley Cup Championships, five Eastern Conference titles,andnine Atlantic DivisionChampionships, theNew Jersey Devilsco- owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer announced today that Lou Lamoriello has made the decision to resign as the team’s President in order to pursue other opportunities. He previously stepped aside as General Manager on May 4, when Ray Shero was named to the position.
“Lou Lamoriello created and defined what it meant to be a New Jersey Devil,” said Harris. "His brilliance in shaping this franchise into one of the most storied and celebrated organizations in sport will make him a New Jersey Devil for life. He represented this organization, our current and former players, the state of New Jersey, and the greatest fans in the National Hockey League in a manner that exemplified character, class, and dignity.
from Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Hiring Sam Ventura as a consultant responsible for analytics only is the start, Penguins vice president of hockey operations Jason Karmanos insisted.
With hockey becoming more data-driven, building an analytics team is one of the Penguins' priorities, one over which Karmanos will have significant influence.
And one that started with the hiring of Ventura, a 27-year-old Swissvale native who, with Andrew Thomas, cofounded hockey analytics website war-on-ice.com.
“My hope is that over time we can build an analytics team,” Karmanos told Trib Total Media. “In order to do that correctly, ideally you would have full-time positions on staff. That's the goal. I think (hiring) Sam was a huge step in that direction.”
Ventura, who recently earned his Ph.D. in statistics from Carnegie Mellon, will start teaching there in the fall as he had planned.
from Nelson Smith of The Motley Fool Canada,
Quebec City seems like a slam dunk expansion team. It’ll have deep-pocketed owners, as well as the goodwill surrounding professional hockey heading back to Quebec City. Add in the new arena, and there isn’t much the NHL can object to.
It also looks to be a great deal for Quebecor. Yes, the $500 million expansion fee is a steep price to pay, but having the rights to show every game will be a huge boost to the company’s sports channels. And let’s not forget about the opportunity to promote other Videotron services, including the company’s newest venture, wireless.
But should investors eager to invest in the NHL do it through Quebecor? That’s where things get a little more tricky.
The investment case for Quebecor
The first thing that concerns me about investing in Quebecor is its balance sheet. The company has more than $6 billion in total debt, compared to total assets of $9.3 billion. Intangible assets make up nearly $3.8 billion worth of the total assets.
Essentially, the company owes more than it owns if you exclude the intangible assets. That’s not good, especially considering how it would most likely have to borrow the $500 million expansion fee.
from Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington,
With the Capitals and goaltender Braden Holtby on a crash course toward salary arbitration on Thursday in Toronto, what can both sides expect when they plead their cases behind closed doors?
Animosity? Anger? Resentment?
“Not at all,” said player agent Lewis Gross, who represents dozens of NHL players, including Caps defenseman Brooks Orpik. “It’s professional. The team will present their side and the player will present his side. It’s just business.”
Gross has been a part of roughly 15 NHL arbitrations in his career and said his clients have attended every one. None of the hearings, he said, could be described as contentious.
“The team is usually trying to find the negatives and the player is trying to find the positives,” Gross said. “But at the end of the day, the team wants the player to perform and they want him back. If they didn’t want the player back they wouldn’t have even qualified him with a contract offer.”
Through his agent, David Kaye, Holtby has submitted to the arbitrator a request of $8 million, while the Capitals have submitted a one-year figure of $5.1 million. Holtby earned $2 million last season in the second year of a two-year contract.
via Rob Mixer of BlueJackets.com,
Typically, I don't deal in the hypothetical, but since there seems to be a bit of conversation about this player, we'll take a closer look. The first thing that comes to mind is the money: can the Blue Jackets sign Christian Ehrhoff at a salary number that fits under the cap? They have $3,728,693 in salary room (according to our friends at General Fanager), and assuming a short-term deal here, the agreed-upon amount would need to be a bit lower than that to afford the Blue Jackets some wiggle room throughout the season.
Let's say they sign Ehrhoff. Where does he fit? If I'm the coach (and thankfully for everyone reading, I'm not), he goes right into my top-four and is a top pair power play quarterback. But again, this situation is probably not close to a resolution and may not be for some time. Is there mutual interest? Multiple outlets have reported that to be the case, but as my made-up saying goes, 'it takes two to tango at a reasonable price so the team has salary maneuverability in case something inevitably happens along the way.'
SI's Allan Muir gave a very blunt look at the Western Conference's non-playoff teams to determine whether they've really improved themselves this summer, and I haven't read much of anything about the San Jose Sharks yet, so:
San Jose Sharks (89 points, 12th)
Underperforming veterans, sophomore slumps, brutal goaltending and a fractured core combined to make the Sharks last season’s most disappointing team. It would be nice to paint 2014-15 as an aberration but even after a summer of shakeups this group is more likely to replicate its 15th-place finish in goals-for (2.73) and 24th in goals-against (2.76) than match it top-four results of both categories in 2013-14.
GM Doug Wilson brought in a new voice behind the bench in Peter DeBoer and moved on from Antti Niemi by investing in Martin Jones, an unproven starting goalie. There’s potential for improvement with this swap, but the 25-year-old is a work-in-progress. There’s also risk with the addition of defenseman Paul Martin as well. The veteran blueliner is a solid puck mover and reliable minutes muncher, but lacks the physical game to be ideally suited for the rough-and-tumble Western Conference. He should, though, make an impact on a penalty kill that was a miserable 25th last year (78.5%).
Joel Ward brings that missing physical presence and despite being 34 has relatively low mileage. He can elevate up and down the roster as needed and should be a nice add to the top-nine.
It’s tough to rule anyone out in the Pacific, especially with the Canucks looking ready to slide, but the Sharks will need to make their own breaks to earn a spot.
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.
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