Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Welcome to the seventh edition of the PMT, arguably the single most important promotional event on the league’s 2014-15 marketing calendar. Many of the intermission features and public-service announcements that will show up on your television screens during the coming hockey season were recorded in a crammed two-day period last Monday and Tuesday in New York.
The players spend one day mostly sequestered at NHL headquarters in downtown Manhattan; the other day is spent across the river in New Jersey, where on-ice action is filmed at the Prudential Center, the home of the Devils.
The attraction on the media side is clear: a chance to get one-on-one face time with a who’s who of NHL stars and up-and-comers, a rare and unique opportunity in an era of pack journalism. But it is equally valuable for the players, especially the star players, who can find the demands on their time so great that it can act as a distraction when training camps for the 2014-15 season officially open next week.
Pat Brisson, the Los Angeles-based co-head of the Creative Artists Agency’s hockey division, has 14 clients in attendance, including Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby. Brisson believes the PMT is a godsend, especially to his high-end clients, because it helps them knock off about 80 per cent of their training-camp media responsibilities in a concentrated period of time.
from Harvey Fialkov of the Sun-Sentinel,
As Panthers rookie defenseman Aaron Ekblad dug the puck out of the corner during a half-ice drill during the first prospects practice Friday morning at the team facility, all eyes were on him, particularly an interested set owned by NHL legend Denis Potvin.
The comparisons are obvious. Potvin, who's back for a second stint as Panthers television analyst, was also the overall No. 1 draft pick, albeit 31 years earlier in 1973. Both are from Ontario and considered offensive-defensemen. Both wore No. 5 on their backs and both were expected to make an immediate impact in the NHL as teenagers.
Potvin did. The Panthers are hoping Ekblad will....
"[Ekblad's] not as good-looking as I was,'' joked Potvin, who had 54 points his first year and 310 career goals to go with a career plus-minus of 460, sixth best all-time. "The first thing I saw was great hands. When they were battling he protected the puck well and passed the puck well, which is important. He got a puck on the boards and made a saucer pass all the way to the blue line, which is nice!
"But the most important aspect of his development is how closely he gets to his coach, who will have the ultimate decision; that's where you're going to grow.''
“If I was another team, I’d be a little bit worried, to be honest. The depth that we have is incredible. Anybody can be top-two pairing right down to the bottom. It’s not about who’s the top pairing. It’s about what the coaches want, who they want to put out there.”
-Mike Green of the Washington Capitals. More from Green plus Barry Trotz on Green by Alex Prewitt of Capitals Insider.
“There are players we have in our organization today whose numbers are off-the-chart good, and whose character is just terrible,” Leiweke told a group of business students at Ryerson University, just ahead of Leafs training camp. "I don't care how good your numbers are if you have bad character you are doomed for failure."
Now Bob McKenzie addressed the issue, via Hope_Smoke tweets (make sure to check out more in his recent timeline),
McKenzie "For a guy who has one foot out the door already, that's like throwing a molotov cocktail back into the building"
McKenzie "The two biggest insults you can give a hockey player is calling them a choker or say they have character issues"
McKenzie "f I was running MLSE I'd want a full explanation from Leiweke, & a tape of the interview
We will no longer see these moves in the shootout or on a penalty shot...
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The expectation back in June was that the NHL and NHL Players’ Association would have some kind of World Cup announcement by the end of summer, but that’s going to wait a bit longer.
Both sides have an understanding that they will wait to get more concrete details in order, including being able to commit firmly to a regular interval for the tournament, which hasn’t been held since 2004 when Canada beat Finland in the final at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
In other words, while the NHL and NHLPA could have easily announced by now that the event is returning in September 2016, they want to have much more to give than that.
What we know at this point: The World Cup is scheduled to return in September 2016, primarily anchored in Toronto, but there may also be some games in Montreal. That’s still in discussion.
There likely will be eight countries in the tournament, which is the same as 2004 and 1996. There are six countries fixed: Olympic champion Canada, Russia, the United States, Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic. The additional two teams and the manner in which they will be selected hasn’t been nailed down yet.
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
The Kings general manager talked about the current approach from his players as they get ready for their Stanley Cup defense. It is, he noted, a subtle contrast from when they first won the Cup in 2012.
“They were on a mission when they left [for the summer],” Lombardi said. “We’ve never had so many players back this early. When I saw them, they looked really good. There seems to be a different focus … something better than even the first time.”
He later joked that the players were all trying to be like their teammate, the ultra-lean Jeff Carter.
Lombardi provided an update on goalie Jonathan Quick, who had offseason wrist surgery. Quick has suffered no setbacks, according to the Kings GM.
“He just started talking shots now … but he’s still got to go slow,” Lombardi said.
The regular season starts Oct. 8 against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center.
Will Quick get into any preseason games?
“It’s going to go right down to the wire, but we think we’re fine,” Lombardi said. “We’ve got [Martin] Jones if we have to go short-term.”
a bit more
from James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail,
“We’ve gone from very little analytical information to we have two guys we just hired that are considered two of the smartest analytical guys in the game of hockey today,” Leiweke said, likely referencing Dubas and Metcalfe, an engineer who built wildly popular analytics hub extraskater.com.
“Including one that owned his own website that every general manager used and we bought the website. When he came, that website came with us and we took it down. We don’t want anyone else seeing it. It’s called a monopoly. It’s good.”
Leiweke also made the point that the Leafs will continue to pursue “character” as well as players with good analytics, noting that “there are players we have in our organization today whose numbers are off the chart good and whose character is just terrible. I don’t care how good your numbers are, if you have bad character, you are doomed for failure.
“We are very convinced analytics make us smarter,” he added. “We are very convinced that analytics will reduce our mistakes. We are convinced that analytics at the end of the day will be key to getting this team back on track. But that said they will never ever replace our ability to determine one’s character and passion for the game of hockey. You have to be good at both, not just one.”
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
The Lightning should have a healthy Steven Stamkos and goaltender Ben Bishop, something that was not the case in the 2013-14 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Add some splashy offseason acquisitions -- defensemen Anton Stralman and Jason Garrison, and forward Brian Boyle -- and highly touted prospect Jonathan Drouin, and this could be the sleeper team of the NHL.
Former Lightning defenseman and Stanley Cup champion Pavel Kubina is hoping to see his old team emerge as one of top dogs in the East.
“I think it’s a great mix,” Kubina told ESPN.com in a recent telephone conversation. “[Jeff] Vinik really got behind them -- he’s one of the best owners I’ve ever played for -- and the team has a great future. They’ll definitely make the playoffs.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org