Kukla's Korner Hockey
- We want to get off to a fast start.
- Our goal is to improve defensively.
- Get into the playoffs and we have a chance to win the Cup.
- I feel great, tried a new off-season training program and/or changed my eating habits.
- I worked on my skating.
- We did a lot of fishing or golfing.
- The players here in camp are the ones I am concerned about. The others, they are not here so until they get here, not part of our plans.
from Stephen Lorenzo of the New York Daily News,
The Islanders entered training camp in 2013 with some optimism after reaching the playoffs for the first time in six seasons. But after a season in the basement of the Metropolitan Division in 2013-14, the Islanders arrived at Nassau Coliseum on Thursday to open training camp with a bit more fire and a sense of urgency.
“We all want better,” defenseman Travis Hamonic said. “I’m tired of going home and watching the playoffs on TV, man. I’m just real sick of it. I think everybody in this organization, and I think we want to be back in the playoffs and pushing for a championship and it’s something that I honestly think we can do. I’ve believed it for a numerous amount of years and that’s part of the reason I signed my contract (a seven-year deal signed last season) for as long as I did. I think we can we win with this group.”
from Adam Steiss of IIHF.com,
The Korean men’s and women’s national teams will be competing on home ice at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeonChang, following a decision by the IIHF Congress to grant the country automatic entry into the ice hockey events.
“After careful deliberation and discussions with the IOC and the Korea Ice Hockey Association (KIHA), we have decided to grant an automatic qualification to the men’s and women’s national teams for PyeongChang 2018,” said IIHF President René Fasel.
The decision came following meetings held during the 2014 IIHF Semi-Annual Congress, where the KIHA presented a comprehensive four-year plan to intensify the development of the men’s and women’s teams. The plan has the backing of the IOC, the Korean government, and national sponsors, who together with the KIHA have pledged to invest over $20 million U.S. into the national team program in the leadup to the Games.
from Scott Stinson of the National Post,
NHL training camps opened on Thursday, so there was the requisite talk about working hard, making the best of opportunities and, of course, “compete level,” since a law was passed two years ago that prevented anyone associated with the league from saying “competitiveness.”
There was little talk of luck. No one really wants to open a 10-month slog by saying their team needs luck, but it remains that every team in the NHL does. Luck matters more than it should in this league, because it still settles regular-season games with the shootout.
Rather than eliminate the game-ending coin flip, the NHL instead chose to tinker around the edges: a quick scrape of the ice after regulation time to improve ice quality and a change of ends for overtime that will force each time to have to use the further bench, which increases the chances of poor line changes that lead to odd-man rushes.
Will these moves have a noticeable effect on cutting down the number of games — almost 15% of them — that are decided by hockey’s version of a home-run hitting contest? Possibly. But the changes aren’t going to catch teams by surprise. Having to make long changes just might encourage teams to be extra cautious when making them, rendering overtime periods less exciting than they already are, when too often it seems that both sides are willing to take their chances with the dice roll at the finish.
Bob Cole joined Prime Time Sports yesterday to discuss calling Saturday night hockey games on Rogers/Sportsnet.
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
Krug finished a spectacular rookie season with 14 goals and 40 points, and shocked the kind of charge into the B’s power play that would make a defibrillator jealous.
He also finished fourth in the Calder Trophy voting, and then watched two of the award finalists (Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat) get locked up with three year, $10 million contracts as RFA’s. It’s natural that Krug thought a healthy payday was coming to him, and Boston’s offer of one year and $1.25 million – the exact same deal given to Matt Bartkowski – seemed like a bit of a lowball offer.
It’s also lower than what Krug made last season when he toped $1.75 million based on salary plus the $850,000 in bonuses he earned by reaching a few milestone statistics (25 assists and 40 points). Technically he’d be taking a pay cut with what the Bruins currently have on the table as an offer. That’s a tough sell to a skilled player ready to take off, but that might be why Johnny Boychuk has been front and center about the trade rumors.
“There’s times when you get paid very well, and there’s times when you don’t,” said (Jeremy) Jacobs. “That’s how the [salary cap] system is built, and it’s functioning and doing very well. We’ve never had more money to spend than we have right now, and we spent every cent that we had.
“It isn’t like these people are necessarily underpaid. [It’s not like] they can’t live on it. They just want to do better. I don’t blame them. I can’t think of a person in this room that doesn’t want to do better. But their time will come, and if they’re great players moving forward then they’ll be compensated as they get older.”
From the Minneapoils Star-Tribune's Michael Russo:
Thanks to Josh Harding’s broken foot, Darcy Kuemper got his one-way contract. On the eve of players taking the ice for the first time, the Wild conceded in its standoff with its young goalie by signing Kuemper to a two-year, $2.5 million contract.
“I’m super excited to continue this journey with the Wild and can’t wait to see and get back on the ice with my teammates,” Kuemper said in a text message.
The move comes a day after veteran Ilya Bryzgalov agreed to a tryout and hours after General Manager Chuck Fletcher met with Harding to try to establish how he got injured in an off-ice incident Sunday involving an altercation with a teammate.
Soon after the meeting, Fletcher made the decision to suspend Harding. During the time he recovers, Harding won’t be paid a prorated portion of his $2.1 million salary and he won’t count against the Wild’s salary cap. The paperwork was filed and all parties were notified late Thursday.
In the meantime, Fletcher said Thursday night that Kuemper’s signing won’t affect Bryzgalov’s tryout. If Kuemper’s not one of the top-2 goalies in training camp, the Wild can sign Bryzgalov and assign Kuemper to Iowa of the American Hockey League without waivers.
"He's an investment for us. isn't just, 'Well, he was a high draft pick, let's throw him into the lineup and he's going to come in here and be our MVP.' That's not how he should be looked at by everybody. He's a 19-year old junior hockey player that's trying to work his way into the National Hockey League. We want him to not only perform this year, but 10-15 years down the road. For me, there's no rush on Jonathan Drouin. Let's see where he fits in, if he makes the team. We're very confident in his abilities."
-Jon Cooper, head coach of the Tamap Bay Lightning on Jonathan Drouin. A bit more from Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times.
from Adrian Dater of The Denver Post,
Unlike recent years, the Avalanche is a "cap team" again, one with a payroll coming close to the NHL's $69 million cap ceiling for the 2014-15 season. Under the ownership of the Kroenke family, led by Stan and son Josh, the Avs' cap-averaged payroll entering Wednesday was $67,279,762 — up about $15 million from the highest it got last season.
What might surprise fans is that the Kroenkes agreed to substantially increase payroll despite the Avs being in the bottom five of the NHL in ticket revenues last season, at about $26 million. The Avs' ticket revenue was low enough that it qualified for the NHL's revenue-sharing plan, a complicated formula that helps buffer teams whose revenues dip for whatever reason. Several years of losing teams saw Avs attendance slide, and while the team is a winner again and season-ticket sales have improved from last year, some of the financial aftereffects of the losing years are still being felt.
That is why Avalanche executive vice president of hockey operations Joe Sakic is both thankful to the Kroenkes and hoping fans will reciprocate by coming out to games more often this season.
from Scott Powers of ESPN,
The Blackhawks are around $1.3 million over the $69 million cap and would have to shed more cap payroll if they wanted to include Teuvo Teravainen or any of their other prospects on the NHL roster.
Bowman believed the Blackhawks would be able to locate a trade partner in the coming weeks.
“I think leading into training camp most guys want to get going,” Bowman said Thursday before the Blackhawks open training camp at Notre Dame. “Like I said, everyone sort of has a plan that they like how things go. Then a week from now, your plan might have to be changed because players you expected to do something [don’t do something.]
“A lot of teams have some high hopes for some of the young players and then you get them in games and you realize, well, they’re a young player, they’re not going to be able to do what I thought they might. It’s a bit of a waiting game at this point. We’ve had a lot of discussions over the last weeks or months, but until guys get on the ice not a lot changes from July until now. I think we’ll see that play itself out over the next couple weeks here.”
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.
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