Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

The ‘Reverse VH’

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

In 2012, Jonathan Quick achieved a career goal. The former UMass Amherst standout went 16-4 in the postseason, including three shutouts, with a 1.41 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage to backstop the Kings to their first of two Stanley Cups in the last three seasons.

In the bigger picture, the Conn Smythe-winning goalie helped to initiate a position-changing movement. The name of one of Quick’s go-to moves is “reverse VH,” also called post lean or shoulder lean. Not many North American goalies used it just three years ago. It’s since become a required technique in a goalie’s toolbox.

Two Cups, a Conn Smythe, and an Olympic starting gig are good benchmarks to affirm puckstopping credentials.

“When I tried to teach this two years ago, guys looked at me like I had three heads,” said Brian Daccord, president and founder of Stop It Goaltending in Woburn. “It was something so out of this world. Now they’re all doing it.”

continued plus more hockey topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Ryan Johansen Needs To Be At Training Camp

from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,

Johansen’s side argues that he is one of the top dozen centers in the NHL. They claim leverage in the fact that they can solicit an offer sheet from another team.

The Jackets argue that Johansen has had one good season out of three, and the kid still has something to prove on a lot of fronts, including the motivational front. They claim leverage in the fact that Johansen has no arbitration rights. They say they will match an offer sheet if one happens to appear.

Johansen has every right to ask for whatever he can get, but I do not think he has the better argument here. It is true that he is coming off a sterling season (33 goals and 30 assists in 82 games). Yet, it is also true that his three-year totals (47 goals and 49 assists in 189 games) are, in terms of points per game, about the same that Derick Brassard had when his rookie contract expired.

Johansen is asking for Jonathan Toews money, and he has not earned it. Not yet. Can he ask for it? Sure, he can. I hope he squeezes every penny he can out of his next contract. But if this pursuit causes him to miss one day of training camp, then he will be acting selfishly.

We have all heard players say “it’s just business” when it comes to contract negotiations. Business changes, though, when it’s time to go to work.

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  Tags: ryan+johansen

Questions Facing The Boston Bruins

from Mat Kalman at NHL.com,

Who will replace Jarome Iginla? -- Iginla was the new Nathan Horton. Now the Bruins need a new Iginla to skate with center David Krejci and left wing Milan Lucic. Among the Bruins' returning players, only Loui Eriksson and Smith seem to have the type of offensive skills it takes to play on the first line. Either player will give that line a different dynamic; Krejci is used to being surrounded by skill players with size and brute strength.

Eriksson figures to get the first chance to take that spot, barring a trade.

Can Loui Eriksson rebound? -- Bruins brass has faith the injury-plagued wing, who scored 37 points in 61 games last season and sustained two concussions, wasn't the player they're going to have this season and beyond.

"I think Loui Eriksson is a player that can be even better than he was last year," coach Claude Julien said. "I think we started seeing that at the end of the year, and he could be a replacement for Jarome as a possibility."

Eriksson had a strong last couple months of last season, especially when Carl Soderberg was switched to center and Chris Kelly moved to left wing. If Eriksson doesn't win the job with Lucic and Krejci, maybe the Swede plays with center Patrice Bergeron and left wing Brad Marchand, or maybe goes back to the bottom six.

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Afternoon Line

"It's never an easy decision, and it's not the only decision, but there was definitely a shake-up needed. Especially after being up 3-0 and then losing four straight to a team that we should have never lost to. You always look to your leaders and we certainly look to all our top players, not just Joe and not just Patrick, but all of our top players as a whole and when you have one goal, two assists and collectively a minus-29 in your final four games, you have to start looking to shake things up a little bit."

-San Jose Sharks associate coach Larry Robinson on removing the 'C' and 'A' from Thornton and Marleau.  Robinson appeared on TSN690 today in Montreal and Fear The Fin has more from Robinson.

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: larry+robinson

The Chicago Blackhawks Have The Best Logo According To The Hockey News

from Rory Boylen of The Hockey News,

When THN’s seven-person panel sat down to come up with our rankings of the 30 NHL logos, we were basically in full agreement which team would be No. 1.

We didn’t want history to influence our decisions. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens sit outside the top 10 for that reason. Ranking all the Original Six 1-6 is boring, predictable and doesn’t accomplish what we wanted to do here: reward the best logos, not the longest history.

Even still, the Chicago Blackhawks stood up to that measurement. The vibrant color combination and the respectful way it honors a WWI battalion and a Native American chief sets this logo apart from the rest. If we handed out the Three Stars of these logo rankings, the Blackhawks logo would be one, two and three.

continued

Check out the rest of the rankings...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

NHL 15 Voice Work

from Dan Treadway of Sports Illustrated,

For a sports video game to truly thrive, several factors need to come together. Gameplay and graphics tend to take center stage, but a factor that's often overlooked but can seriously enhance or hinder a game's effectiveness is the commentators....

 I spoke with Sean Ramjagsingh, a producer on NHL 15, which will be released on September 9 and boasts "The most realistic broadcast package in a video game to-date."...

And that process has worked well with NHL 15's new commentators, Doc Emrick and Eddie Olczyk?

Yeah, they just take a second, they pause, they visualize it  and then they rattle off ten different speech samples based off that situation we give them. It gives us Doc and Eddie being Doc and Eddie as opposed to Doc and Eddie reading a script that we wrote for them that might be written in a way that's not their style. We ad lib as much content as we can. We'll have Doc and Eddie together, so they play off each other. That's where you get the true synergy between the two commentators. The one piece that we still need to script a little bit is around the names. So we want sentences or expressions to start with a player's name. We have 5,000 players in our game. We get the names right, make sure we get everybody, make sure we get them with the right intonations. So that's the more scripted part. Everything else we try to leave unscripted as much as possible.

For top players, a guy like Patrick Kane for example, would you have Doc and Eddie specifically say 'Patrick Kane' in a bunch of different ways or even give a specific anecdote about him?

Well for every player we'll have different intonations, different levels -- different commentators sometimes have more levels than others and Doc is fantastic. 

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Jeff O’Neill On The Carolina Hurricanes

from Katie Strang of ESPN,

Though the Carolina Hurricanes made significant changes in their front office and behind the bench – Ron Francis took over as general manager while former Detroit Red Wings assistant coach Bill Peters replaced Kirk Mueller as head coach -- following the team’s 13th place finish last season, the personnel has not fluctuated much.

And considering that the roster remains largely intact, Carolina’s top players really have to step it up, according to former Hurricane Jeff O’Neill.

“When you have a lot of long-term [contracts], guys locked in to big money, there is a philosophy around the league that you are only as good as your bad contracts,” O’Neill told ESPN.com in a recent telephone conversation.

And that leaves at least a few players under some pretty intense scrutiny for the 2014-15 season. Chief among them, according to O’Neill, is goaltender Cam Ward. 

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jeff+o'neill

Video- Steve Yzerman Does The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Time certainly does not stand still, I still picture Steve Yzerman's daughters as children...

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: steve+yzerman

Expect The Boston Bruins To Make A Trade Before The Season Starts

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

The Bruins are in a jam. They have approximately $69 million committed toward 2014-15. This includes Marc Savard’s $4,027,143 annual cap hit and roughly $4.75 million in overage penalties (bonuses achieved last year by Jarome Iginla, Torey Krug, and Dougie Hamilton) they must apply toward their number.

By opening night, they will use the long-term injury exception on Savard to exceed the cap by his average annual value. But even when accounting for that deletion, the Bruins have little breathing room to re-sign Krug and Reilly Smith.

It would be possible to re-up Krug and Smith without moving salary; it would not be preferable. Management would have close to zero roster flexibility to trade or sign players or carry extra bodies.

A trade, therefore, is coming.

The Bruins have excess on defense. General manager Peter Chiarelli has repeatedly classified nine defensemen as contenders for jobs when training camp opens Sept. 18. David Warsofsky, one of the nine, can be assigned to Providence without clearing waivers. But that leaves eight still in varsity play, which is one more than the Bruins usually carry.

Locks to stay are Hamilton, Krug, and Zdeno Chara. The captain is one of the team’s three most important players. Hamilton is developing into a top-four fixture. Krug is the power-play specialist.

Dennis Seidenberg is coming off major knee surgery. He also has a no-trade clause.

The four remaining defensemen are Johnny Boychuk, Matt Bartkowski, Adam McQuaid, and Kevan Miller. McQuaid, who is entering the final year of his contract, is a known commodity as a nasty and experienced defensive defenseman. But he does not have a good health history.

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Taylor Hall Healthy And Ready To Go

from Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun,

By skipping out on the World Championship, Hall was able to add a month to his workout regimen this off-season.

“That was probably the main reason why I didn’t go to Worlds, I wanted to give myself a really good summer to train,” Hall said. “It seemed like every summer I either had surgery or World Championships or an ankle to heal, so this summer was good for me in that regard. I got some good training in, I got on the ice a little bit earlier than I usually do, and hopefully, that helps out. I’m feeling good, I’m feeling healthy, I’m ready to go and I can’t wait for camp to start.”

Playing for the same head coach for two consecutive years should also benefit Hall heading into the year. In his four previous seasons with the Oilers, Hall has played for three different coaches, all seemingly wanting different things from him. This year, Dallas Eakins will be back behind the Oilers bench.

“That’s a really nice way to go into a year,” Hall said. “There is no awkward handshake at the start of the season (with new coach), it’s a business-like attitude now. I think Dallas feels really comfortable that way and I think all of us players over the course of 82 games got to know what Dallas expects from us and now we can hit ground running at camp.”

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  Tags: taylor+hall

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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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