Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Robby Stanley at NHL.com,
Nashville added center Cody Hodgson and forward Steve Moses, whose 36 goals led the Kontinental Hockey League last season. Hodgson and Moses likely will start the season on the third line, which did not produce much offense last season. Young forwards Kevin Fiala and Austin Watson will have a chance to make the roster and compete for spots on the third or fourth lines.
Nashville's core remains the same. Weber and Josi will eat up a lot of minutes on defense; Forsberg and James Neal (23 goals in 67 games) will be the two main scoring options; and Rinne should play 60-65 games.
Secondary scoring will be key; forwards Colin Wilson (20 goals, 22 assists) and Craig Smith (23 goals, 21 assists) were productive on the second line. Each signed a long-term contract in July (Wilson, four years, $15.75 million; Smith, five years, $21.25 million).
"We improved the team, first of all, by keeping the team together," Poile said. "There has been so many changes in the last couple years, including leading into last year. I think we needed a little bit more stability than we've had the previous years. The previous years, we didn't win, we didn't make the playoffs, [and] we needed to make some changes."
from Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Troy and Trina Crosby sat side-by-side on the same blue couch they've owned for more than a decade. Cards celebrating their son's recent birthday were displayed on the mantle. Photos of their hockey-playing children framed the room.
Now an empty nester and looking every bit the part in capri lounge pants, bare feet and a pair of glasses pushed above her forehead, Trina Crosby seemed genuinely surprised she has spent about one-fifth of her life as the mother of an NHL superstar.
“I think for some people it will always be ‘Sid the Kid,' ” she said. “But it doesn't really stick as much as it used to.”
Ten years into his career, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is no longer a kid. He's a mature 28, celebrating his birthday on the final day of his first hockey camp for kids held to much acclaim in his hometown, at his home rink.
Crosby also is the proud owner of college credits for a World War II history course he completed online last season. He's a philanthropist and has started thinking about his legacy outside of hockey, something he hopes to shape through charity and his foundation.
No longer Mario Lemieux's tenant, Crosby is a homeowner twice over, including lakefront property in rural Nova Scotia that he showed off recently to a Trib Total Media reporter and photographer.
Yet Crosby, the NHL's top earner who pulled in about $17 million last season in salary, endorsements and memorabilia, remains most comfortable in sandals or sneakers, athletic gear and a cap.
via Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
- Not sure why it makes sense for the Leafs to open training camp in Halifax. With a new GM and a new coach, I would have kept my training camp at home and focus on the new beginning ... Oh, to be a fly on the wall when Lou Lamoriello addresses the Leafs for the very first time.
- For those wondering, Mrs. Daryl Sydor was home in Canada when her husband allegedly drove their 12-year-old to hockey while way over the legal drinking limit. The suspicion here: His NHL career is over.
- Almost every time Connor McDavid steps on the ice with NHL players who haven’t seen him before, the reaction is the same: I knew he was good. I didn’t know he was that good ... Still hate the fact that McDavid’s career begins in the Western Conference and Jack Eichel’s begins in the East. They may never meet in a playoff series, just like Sidney Crosby has never had a playoff series against Jonathan Toews ... I’m starting to think my original pick for McDavid — 70 pts on 18 goals and 52 assists as a rookie might be a bit off. I may be low on goals, high on assists.
from Kevin Woodley at NHL.com,
Is there enough scoring after the top line? Doubts about trade acquisition Brandon Sutter's ability to play a more offensive role at center would be moot if Bo Horvat can continue last season's late scoring push and grab the second-line job. The Canucks more than likely will rely on depth and versatility with two units behind the Sedins that are better suited for third-line duty.
Vancouver should have enough depth on the wings to spread around, whether Alexandre Burrows or Radim Vrbata plays with the Sedins at even strength, but the pressure is on 22-year-old Sven Baertschi and possibly 19-year-old Jake Virtanen to score following the departure of Matthias, who scored 17 of his 18 goals at even strength, and Kassian, who scored nine of his 10 goals at even strength.
Is there enough depth on defense? The Canucks have never really had a bona fide No. 1 defenseman, and they usually need to go well beyond their top six to get through each season. In 2014-15, Vancouver used 10 defensemen, including 27-year-old Alex Biega, who played his first seven NHL games during a run of injuries in mid-February.
With Bieksa and Adam Clendening traded, and their lone free agent addition of Matt Bartkowski offset by the departure of Ryan Stanton, the Canucks defense looks thin going into the season. Rookie Frank Corrado should give them seven NHL-ready defensemen to start, but 5-foot-10, 187-pound Biega could be called up from Utica earlier this season.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
Lucic caught in numbers game
Had Milan Lucic been traded to a team other than the Kings, the ex-Bruin could already have his next contract in place. The 27-year-old left wing, with full health, a primary role, and motivation on his side, is in line to have a good season. An extension now would cost less than a new deal next offseason. But LA’s first priority is re-upping Anze Kopitar, who will also be unrestricted on July 1. And that will be a complicated transaction. Had business proceeded normally, Kopitar would have signed an extension comparable to Jonathan Toews’s eight-year, $84 million blockbuster. Kopitar is LA’s version of Toews. But within the context of a slow-to-rise cap, Toews’s deal is inflationary. As much as they need Kopitar back, the Kings have to be conservative. Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli will be restricted after 2016-17. In that context, Lucic is a secondary priority for the Kings. He may even be a short-term acquisition in the Kings’ push to return to the playoffs.
Anaheim’s goaltending tandem of Frederik Andersen and John Gibson may not continue in 2015-16. The Ducks acquired Anton Khudobin from Carolina for James Wisniewski on June 27. The ex-Bruin could be Andersen’s backup, leaving Gibson to develop in the AHL. If so, it would break up the best mask duo in the league. Andersen will wear another logo-themed lid in 2015-16, this time with a Batman mask over a duck’s face. Gibson will have a mask based on Duck Hunt, the classic 8-bit Nintendo shooter game.
many more hockey topics...
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
The Senators are in the final stages of discussions with their former captain to bring him back in an off-ice role in hockey operations. What his title is going to be will be determined next month but the 42-year-old Alfredsson has told the Sun in the past he liked the role of senior VP that Steve Yzerman played in Detroit.
“Alfie can probably have whatever title he wants but the key is what he can bring to the table and he’s got a lot to learn,” said another league executive.
If Alfredsson wants to follow in the footsteps of Yzerman, who is headed into his sixth year as GM of the Lightning, then that isn’t going to happen overnight and the Super Swede will likely get a look at every aspect of the organization when he officially signs on with the Senators sometime before training camp.
At this point, Alfredsson is back in Detroit and there’s some belief his family may stay there this winter because the kids are enrolled in school and sports.
A move back to Ottawa may not happen until 2016-17 and at that point Alfredsson would be able to take on more of role.
Social media is riddled with comments from people ripping and defending Kane, demanding justice this way or that, saying Kane’s drinking is to blame, on and on. A Buffalo bar owner has weighed in. So has Kane’s driver, an off-duty cop.
It’s an ugly scene, this battlefield — even if all we can see is smoke from the distant cannons.
Even though Kane has lost a lucrative deal with EA Sports, and his image with teammate Jonathan Toews hoisting the Stanley Cup on the cover of a video game has been replaced by one with Toews alone holding the Cup, Kane is, at this moment, as innocent of a serious crime as you or I.
But here’s one undebatable item, resonating in Hawks fans’ hearts, no backup required: The joy of Chicago’s 2015 Stanley Cup triumph has vanished in the breeze.
-Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times where you can read more on the Patrick Kane case.
from Jared Clinton of The Hockey News,
While the 2015 off-season hasn’t been one of big money contracts or jaw-dropping deals, the 2016 off-season is already setting up to be one that sees several perennial all-stars change locales. It’s not just one or two major names that will potentially be hitting the free agent market, either — we’re looking at potential for more than a dozen impact players finding new homes.
Some of the free agents listed below have the potential to sign long-term before free agency hits and several — including Anze Kopitar and Mark Giordano — have already reportedly been talking about new deals. But these are the top 25 free agents who could hit the market next off-season:
8. Kyle Okposo, RW
One would think the Islanders wouldn’t let Okposo slip through their fingers, but if they don’t get a deal done with the power forward, he’s going to be a hot commodity. Okposo has always seemed like a definite threat to breakout and have a 30-goal season, but injuries have almost always gotten the best of him.
His past two years have been near point-per-game performances, including a 27-goal, 69-point 2013-14 campaign in which he played 71 games. It was the best performance of his career and he was heating up in 2014-15 before an upper body injury put him on the shelf. If Okposo can stay healthy, he could be an 80-point player skating alongside John Tavares. His stock will shoot through the roof is he’s healthy all year.
9. Andrew Ladd, LW
The Winnipeg Jets captain is a sneaky-good scorer and probably doesn’t get the credit he deserves for his production. In the past two seasons, Ladd has scored 47 goals and 116 points in 159 games. That’s quality scoring from a player who could be a first- or second-line winger on a number of teams throughout the league....
Not one but two hockey related emails from TMZ (no I did not sign-up for them, they just send them to me knowing I am a hockey guy)...
A former professional hockey player is suing the NHL -- claiming he was seriously jacked up from several fights during his career ... and blames the league for failing to look out for his health.
The man behind the lawsuit is Cam Severson -- who was drafted by the San Jose Sharks in 1997.
In his suit, Severson says he was involved in at least 10 fights during his career ... and specifically calls out an instance during the '03-'04 season where he was so badly disoriented, he skated to the wrong bench afterward and sat down with the wrong team....
Severson says the league glorifies dangerous bare knuckle fist fighting ... and cares about fighting even more than the actual game.
a bit more
NHL God Mike Bossy just got a HUGE assist from a famous rich guy -- Gavin Maloof -- who shelled out a fortune to reunite Mike with a legendary hockey puck ... TMZ Sports has learned.
We broke the story, Bossy lost his famous "50 in 50 puck" -- which he used to score his 50th goal in 50 games back in '81 -- 30 years ago, after his daughter mistakenly gave it away.
The guy who ended up with the puck put it up on eBay back in May -- and when Maloof caught wind of the sale, he tells us he felt compelled to take action to help Bossy get it back.
"I said, 'We need to get this puck. It means a lot to Mr. Bossy,'" Maloof tells TMZ Sports.
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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