Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Nate Schmidt Awarded A $2.25M Contract For Two Years

 

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David Backes Working To Improve His Game

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

The 6-foot-3-inch, 221-pound Backes is 33 years old, not always a kind age to power forwards. Legs that once propelled Backes through puck carriers did not fire with their previous velocity. By the time he closed on opponents, the puck was long gone.

The feedback started midseason from the bosses: president Cam Neely, GM Don Sweeney, and then-coach Claude Julien. It was not the kind that makes players comfortable.

“Just honest evaluation of, ‘Hey, this is where my game’s lagging perhaps, the way the game’s trending, and how we need to keep up,’ ” Backes said. “We need to be honest in order to improve ourselves. That was a recognition, probably in January in conversations with Cam, Don Sweeney, and a little bit with Claude. This was the way I needed to improve myself. I’ve really taken that to heart and put the time in this summer.”

Backes has been training to emphasize agility, quickness, and explosiveness over bulk and power. He wants to accelerate to cruising speed quicker to help him keep pace with linemates and be more a bother to other teams.

Backes has something to prove: that he is not an overpayment. A $6 million annual price tag is a premium to pay for 38 points. The Bruins, however, aren’t the only club feeling buyer’s remorse on 2016 purchases.

Consider the deals signed by Kyle Okposo (seven years, $42 million), Milan Lucic (seven years, $42 million), Andrew Ladd (seven years, $38.5 million), Loui Eriksson (six years, $36 million), and Frans Nielsen (six years, $31.25 million). So far, they look inflationary.

more plus other hockey topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Team USA Announces Management And Coaching Staff For The 2018 Olympic Hockey Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Hockey today named the management and coaching staff for the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team.

On the management side, Jim Johannson (Colorado Springs, Colo.), assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey, has been named general manager, while Ben Smith (Gloucester, Mass.) will serve as director of player personnel.

USA Hockey also named Tony Granato (Downers Grove, Ill.), head coach of the University of Wisconsin men’s ice hockey team, as head coach of Team USA. Joining Granato behind the bench will be assistant coaches Keith Allain (Worcester, Mass.), Chris Chelios (Chicago, Ill.); Ron Rolston (Fenton, Mich.) and Scott Young (Clinton, Mass.).

Continue Reading »

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

Mad In Montreal

from Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette,

I love the passion of the Habs debate, but this is crazy. I feel like there’s a level of bitterness to the discussion of the Canadiens this summer that’s unprecedented and, honestly, most of that anger is coming from the fans in the pro-Bergevin camp.

They simply cannot accept any criticism of Habs general manager Marc Bergevin or his team. It is downright bizarre.

I have been a journalist for a very long time, mostly writing about arts and culture. Yet, I have never seen anything like the abusive commentary that has been tossed my way since I started writing What the Puck in this space at the beginning of 2016. I’m a big boy and can handle it, but still....

Whatever happened to civilized debate? Let me just say this loud and clear, once and for all: I am a Habs fan. You can’t take that away from me. You can say I’m an idiot — as you often do — but you can’t say I don’t love the Canadiens.

What is odd is this notion that you can’t be a Habs fan and be vehemently opposed to the direction the team’s going in. Some claim I have invented this division amongst Habs fans. But that’s absurd.

read on

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Do You Want The NHL Back On ESPN?

from Adrian Dater of BSNDenver,

Hockey fans that have lamented the day in 2005 when the NHL and ESPN ceased to be broadcast partners, take heart; In an interview on the BSN Avalanche Podcast on Thursday, ESPN “SportsCenter” anchor and part-time hockey broadcaster, John Buccigross, said he believes his network and the NHL will become partners again within the next three years, when the league’s current U.S. television contract with NBC expires.

“I’m real optimistic that we’ll be a part of the NHL plan next time,” Buccigross told BSN Denver. “I’m not in the negotiations or decisions, but the negotiations open up in two years, and the (NBC) deal ends in three. There’s no doubt ESPN (was) very aggressive last time trying to get the package, and we’ll be very aggressive this time.. and I feel good about our chances to get some.. to have games in the next package.”

Buccigross, who recently signed a new five-year contract to stay at ESPN, called it his “long-term goal” to be a regular play-by-play man for NHL games.

continued

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Jakob Chychrun Had Knee Surgery Today, Out Indefinitely

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - Arizona Coyotes President of Hockey Operations and General Manager John Chayka announced today that Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun underwent successful knee surgery today to repair a knee injury that he suffered this week during offseason training. Chychrun is expected to make a full recovery but will be out indefinitely. The Coyotes will provide a further update once training camp begins on September 14.

Chychrun totaled 7-13-20 with 47 penalty minutes (PIM) in 68 games as a rookie with the Coyotes in 2016-17. He was originally drafted by Arizona in the first round (16th overall) in the 2016 Entry Draft.

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jakob+chychrun

Don Maloney Named VP Of Hockey Operations In Calgary

Calgary, AB – The Calgary Flames General Manager Brad Treliving made the following announcement with regards to the hockey department; Don Maloney was named Vice President of Hockey Operations. Maloney will continue to report directly to General Manager Brad Treliving.

Maloney originally joined the Flames in 2016 as a Pro Scout following nine seasons as Executive Vice President, General Manager and Alternate Governor of the Arizona Coyotes. Prior to joining the Coyotes in 2007, he spent the previous 10 seasons as a member of the New York Rangers’ front office, most recently serving as the team’s Vice President of Player Personnel and Assistant General Manager.

Additionally, the Flames have re-signed Assistant General Managers Craig Conroy and Brad Pascall. Conroy is entering his fourth season in his current role after serving four seasons as a Special Assistant to the General Manager. This will be Brad Pascall’s third season as the Flames Assistant General Manager and the General Manager of the Flames AHL affiliate Stockton Heat.

The Flames also announced Derek MacKinnon as the Director of Pro Personnel; Rob Sumner and Fred Parker as Assistant Directors of Amateur Scouting working under Director of Amateur Scouting Tod Button; and Chris Snow changing titles to Director of Hockey Analysis.

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  Tags: don+maloney

Morning Line- Dick Pound On The NHL/Olympics

I appreciate that the objective and purpose of the NHL, as a business, is to make money for the franchise owners and the players. The “negotiations” regarding the participation of NHL players in 2018 have focused solely on monetary issues. The outcome has been that the NHL will not permit its players to participate in the Olympic Games. Korea appears to be a market currently of little, if any, interest to the NHL. For the next Games in 2022, however, there appears to be massive interest in the huge Chinese market, and one would not have to be a prophet to predict that the NHL will do whatever it has to do in order to ensure that its players will be present in Beijing.

I “get” the economic argument. But I also believe that there are at least two larger interests in play.

The first is a responsibility for growing and promoting an exciting game, which is important for the sport, its players and spectators throughout the world. It is not sufficient for the NHL to be content with plucking the low-hanging financial fruit, but to fail to invest in the future of the game.

The second issue is the NHL’s decision to actively prohibit individual players, who want to represent their countries at the Olympic Games, from doing so. Aside from being heavy-handed and an abuse of its economic power, it is disrespectful to the rights and dreams of those players.

-Dick Pound at the Montreal Gazette where you can read more from Pound.

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Back To The Wood Sticks For The North Korean Hockey Team

from Nandini Krishnamoorthy of the International Business Times,

The North Korean ice hockey team had to return high-tech carbon fibre sticks to the organisers because of the expanded UN sanctions against the Kim Jong-un regime for conducting repeated missile tests defying the Security Council resolution.

When the team came to Auckland, New Zealand, in April for a tournament it was provided with the sophisticated sticks as the players reportedly had only battered wooden sticks, the AFP news agency reported.

Taking back the equipment would have meant violating UN sanctions, which ban export of luxury goods to Pyongyang. The definition of banned luxury goods extends to "recreational sports equipment"....

Jong Kwang Rim, a sports ministry official who was with the North Korean players in Auckland, apparently protested and wanted the team to be allowed to carry the hockey sticks with them, but to no avail.

He blamed "hostile US forces" for the situation and said his country would not be cowed by the international pressure.

more

Filed in: Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Mike Fisher Hanging Up His Skates

from Adam Vingan of The Tennessean,

The career of arguably the most recognizable player in Predators history ended Thursday when captain Mike Fisher announced his retirement in an exclusive for The Tennessean.

Fisher played 1,088 NHL games across 17 seasons with the Predators and Ottawa Senators. The 37-year-old became synonymous with the Predators franchise during six-plus seasons, totaling 237 points in 413 games. 

At the conclusion of the Predators’ season following a six-game loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final, Fisher cited “faith, family and then hockey” as his personal priorities

"Everyone wants to win in this game, no one probably more than me," Fisher said in June. "But there's other things. At the end of the day, this is a game. It's an important part of my life, but it's not everything."

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+fisher

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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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