Kukla's Korner Hockey
Don’t look now, but the cost of an NHL expansion franchise likely just soared.
It’s been rumored for years the NHL might defy conventional wisdom by demanding sky-high expansion fees upwards of $400 million per franchise, even in this country where teams generally lag those in Canada in value. And despite the disbelief usually accompanying such rumors, recent sales involving the New York Islanders and Arizona Coyotes just supplied the NHL some fresh justification for commanding such sums.
-Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times where you can read more on this topic.
Katie Strang takes a look at the Eastern and Western Conference teams.
- Now we will see what the Islanders are really made of, because they head west this week to take on some of the biggest, baddest competition in the league. Though the Isles currently lead the Metropolitan Division with a 6-2-2 record, they head on a five-game road trip beginning Thursday that features stops in Colorado, San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles. Will be interesting to see how things stand when they return.
- How will Boston fare without Chara? The team has already seen its blue line diminished -- namely by Boychuk’s being traded to Long Island, but playing without their most imposing defender will be their biggest challenge yet. Look for Claude Julien to lean heavily on guys like Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid, as well as youngsters Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug.
- Tough trip: Reeling from a fight-filled loss to their Pacific Division foe from San Jose, the Anaheim Ducks embark on a four-game road trip starting this week and it promises to be a daunting task. After seeing their seven-game winning streak come to an end at the hands of the Sharks, Anaheim must now go through some of the league’s toughest competition with stops in Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas and Colorado.
- Flames on rise: Not many people would expect the Calgary Flames to be among the top three teams in the Pacific Division, yet there they are just two points behind the Kings and three behind the Ducks. The Flames have two games against the high-flying Montreal Canadiens in the next week, which should serves as a good litmus test to determine just whether this Calgary team is for real.
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
—The peculiar situation in which former first round pick Nikita Zadorov finds himself with the Buffalo Sabres could be resolved this week. Or maybe not. Zadorov has played one game this season, Friday against L.A., and the Sabres would like to send him back to the London Knights of the OHL.
The 6-foot-6 blueliner, however, would prefer to join Sergei Fedorov’s CSKA Moscow squad where he can play against men and make a good salary, probably around $400,000 per season. Zadorov actually has to sign a transfer agreement to go back to London even though he has a contract with the Knights, so he theoretically controls his fate. His agent, Rollie Hedges, is trying to find a way to make all parties happy, no easy task.
—The Senators (4-2-1) are off to a surprisingly fast start, but have to be the team likeliest to crash based on their numbers. They’ve allowed the second most shots against in the league with 36 per game, their possession numbers (Score adjusted Fenwick) are horrible and they can’t score. Erik Karlsson leads the team with five points to make him tied for 117th in league scoring. Those numbers suggest this start isn’t sustainable, except many said the same about Colorado last season, right?
—Centre Anze Kopitar left L.A.’s game Sunday against Columbus after a collision with Tim Erixon and it’s unclear if he will be with the club on their five-game road trip. That’s a problem on its own, but one made more difficult because the Kings are tight to the cap and the salary of defenceman Slava Yoynov still counts even though he is ineligible while his domestic abuse situation is sorted out. His wife, by the way, says she prefers charges not be pressed against Voynov.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
With the Vancouver Canucks working their way through some early season ups and downs it would be easy to assume that netminder Ryan Miller -- signed to a three-year, $18 million deal in the offseason -- might also be working out some kinks in his new surroundings. Not so.
Whether the former Vezina Trophy winner's play is going somewhat under the radar or not, he is a key component to whatever early success the Canucks have enjoyed. He turned aside 20 of 22 shots in Sunday's 4-2 victory over the Washington Capitals to run his season record to an impressive 5-1. In the five victories Miller has allowed just nine goals.
For a Canucks team that underwent a significant offseason overhaul and has been no stranger to ongoing goaltending angst over the past two or three years, Miller's play is a key to getting back into the playoff discussion in the Western Conference.
read on for Custance on Chicago goaltender Scott Darling, LeBrun on the Canucks and Strang on Sharks/Ducks game last night.
“THAT ’70S LINE” LIFTS KINGS TO SIXTH STRAIGHT WIN . . .
“That ’70s Line” – the trio of Jeff Carter (1-3—4, +3), Tyler Toffoli (1-3—4, +2) and Tanner Pearson (2-0—2, +2) – combined for 4-6—10 and a +7 rating to help the Kings complete their six-game homestand with a perfect 6-0-0 record.
* At 6-1-1 overall, the Kings have matched franchise records for wins (6; accomplished 4x previously, most recently 2010-11) and points (13; also 1980-81 and 1990-91) through the first eight games of a season.
* The Kings completed a perfect six-game homestand for the first time in club history. Their previous best record on such on a homestand was 5-0-1, set during the 1990-91 campaign
from Chris Peters of CBSSports,
As a familiar horn sounded to let Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling know he just earned his first win in his first NHL game, the emotion was obvious. The 6-foot-6 goalie became a little smaller as he crouched and rattled his hands in celebration. It was probably part joy, part relief and part realization of both a dream and the seizing of a second chance.
Chicago is the 13th different team that Darling has played for since the 2010-11 season, a winding road that started with a closed door. After two seasons at the vaunted University of Maine hockey program, Darling was released from the team and decided to try the pros at 21 years old.
A sixth-round pick of the Arizona Coyotes three years prior, he remained unsigned, but they continued to control his rights. Instead of trying to catch on with another college program via transfer, Darling decided to embark on his pro career.
thanks to a KK member for the pointer
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
Coaching is like juggling while walking on a tightrope, while doing your taxes, while running a therapy group.
You have strategies, statistics, contracts and personalties, and you have to keep them all up in the air while maintaining focus on the task at hand — winning hockey games.
Stars coach Lindy Ruff has faced all of that already this season.
You want juggling? How about the decision to play his best players on a top line, and then seeing that line become the most dangerous in the league? And yet Ruff will draw criticism because the move could create a lack of depth that allows the Stars to become one of the most scored upon teams in the league....
As for the highwire, that’s Ruff’s balancing act of high-revving offense with some semblance of defense.
The Stars last season were at their best when they won faceoffs, reduced turnovers and possessed the puck. They have struggled to find that place, but Ruff said they were as close to optimal as they have been this season in the trip to the New York area, where they outshot the Devils and Islanders in splitting two games.
Just over three minutes of highlights from the NHL games on Sunday.
With 10:08 left in the 2nd period and Sharks up 2-0 on Ducks, Ryan Getzlaf and Mirco Mueller I do believe tried to fight...
With 9:42 left in the 3rd period and San Jose up 3-0 on Anaheim...
With 7:02 left in the 3rd, Sharks up 4-0...
... Sami Vatanen embellishment...
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