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Playing For A New Contract

from Phil Curry and Mark Drummond at the Toronto Star,

With a new NHL season around the corner, we’re bound to hear commentators talking about which players have contracts coming up next season and whether they’ll “step up their play” in order to get that big payday. But does this actually happen?

Martin LaPointe is the poster boy for this phenomenon. From 1996-’97 through 1999-2000, Lapointe was remarkably consistent. He scored 16, 15, 16, and 16 goals those years, and earned right around $1,000,000 per season for his solid productivity. The next season, 2000-’01, was his “contract year”: After that season Lapointe became an unrestricted free agent. Mr. Consistency somehow managed to score 27 that season, nearly double his career high in goals, and also managed a career high in assists. His 57 points was almost 40 per cent higher than his previous best of 41, and a point shy of double his production from two years previous.

Now before we start jumping to conclusions about players shamelessly playing their hardest only when they know their paychecks depend on it, let’s keep in mind that all players have year-to-year fluctuations in their productivity, which means if we look at enough guys, some are going to get lucky and have that big year when they most need it. So was LaPointe just lucky, or is his story representative of how players routinely up their game at just the right moment so they can cash in when free agency rolls around?

To find out, we looked at what every NHL forward who signed a new contract during the past seven seasons did in: (i) the two years before his contract year, (ii) his contract year, and (iii) the year after his contract year.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

From Minsk To Dallas For Derek Meech

from Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun,

Having suited up for his hometown Jets for parts of their first two seasons back in Winnipeg, but limited by a string of injuries, Meech tried a new adventure last fall.

He signed with Dynamo Minsk of the KHL.

“In a different scenario I would have been there all year,” Meech said. “The city of Minsk was great. Obviously there’s things you’ve got to get used to — a different country, the language barrier, all that kind of thing. But it was a great experience for us.”

The hockey was something else, too, tailor-made, you’d think, for a smallish (5-foot-11), puck-moving defenceman.

“It’s a really good league. It’s a different style of game. But very skilled players. I played against some really good teams there.

“Unfortunately I wasn’t able to stick it out the whole year there, because of my little issue.”

Twenty-three games into his season, a heart problem Meech has had, on and off, for several years flared up.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: derek+meech

Sidney Crosby And Evgeni Will Miss The Start Of Training Camp

via the Pittsburgh Penguins,

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will be held out of the start of training camp, it was announced today by Pittsburgh Penguins Executive Vice President and General Manager Jim Rutherford.

Rutherford said the decision was made as a precaution after both players suffered injuries while preparing for camp.

added 10:48am,

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Teemu Selanne Not A Fan Of Bruce Boudreau

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

If anyone other than Bruce Boudreau was coaching the Anaheim Ducks, Teemu Selanne believes that he would be reporting for training camp with his former teammates on Thursday morning and continuing his NHL career.

That is among a number of frank revelations contained in an authorized biography entitled “Teemu,” which has just been released in Finland. The book was written by journalist Ari Mennander with Selanne’s support and has been in the works for a decade. Sections translated into English were obtained by Sportsnet for this article and later cross-checked by two people that have read it....

Selanne felt that he never gained the coach’s trust and wasn’t given enough ice time to make an impact. Ultimately, he claims that it prompted him to begrudgingly walk away from the game just before his 44th birthday.

“If we had any other coach, I’d still play,” said Selanne.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: teemu+selanne

How Did Josh Harding Break His Foot?

from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,

Josh Harding, arguably the Wild’s No. 1 goaltender heading into Thursday’s training camp, broke his right foot while kicking a wall after an off-ice altercation with a teammate and is expected to miss at least two or three months. And unsigned goalie Darcy Kuem- per was embroiled in a contract dispute that if not rectified Thursday means he will at a minimum be a late arriver to camp and thus put him behind the 8-ball....

Harding’s injury won’t require surgery, but he is out indefinitely. Yeo and an equally frustrated General Manager Chuck Fletcher were to meet with Harding on Wednesday to try to ascertain how he got hurt. Details are murky, but it’s clear he got into some kind of altercation with a teammate Sunday.

“We just have to figure out what happened,” Fletcher said Wednesday morning. “But I’m not sure I want to get into a whole public exposé of what happened.”

Harding is in the final year of a contract that pays him $2.1 million. In 2010, Fletcher suspended forward James Sheppard for an off-ice ATV accident days before camp that resulted in season-ruining knee surgery.

Asked if the Wild conceivably could do the same thing with Harding, Fletcher said: “I don’t want to get into hypotheticals. I just want to hear what happened and figure it out.

more on the Wild...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: josh+harding

Coaching Phil Kessel

from Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star,

In the days after Steve Spott landed a job as a rookie assistant coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs in July, he was tasked with a bevy of responsibilities by head coach Randy Carlyle.

Among them, Spott was charged with devising a new breakout play for a team that has long struggled to get the puck out of its own end. Spott thought he’d hit on an effective strategy — until, that is, he shared the plan with Leafs leading scorer Phil Kessel. When Kessel voiced displeasure, Spott discovered a harsh reality of life in the NHL. In some corners of the league, and apparently in Leafland, a coach’s learning curve involves bending to the desires of star players.

At least, such was the gist of an anecdote Spott shared at a coaches’ clinic at which he was a guest speaker last month, this according to interviews with three minor-hockey coaches who were in attendance.

“Spotter said that when he went to Phil (with the breakout play), Phil said, I’m not doing it,” said one of the attendees, a former professional player.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Perhaps The Columbus Blue Jackets And Ryan Johansen Can Meet In The Middle

from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,

Yes, the sides remain miles apart. The bigger problem is neither side is budging — they are not even talking — and the deal is there to be made, somewhere in-between.

The Blue Jackets do not like hearing that because they have all the leverage. Overhardt does not like hearing that, but, then, he does not hear anything, and he has a history of steering his clients out of training camp.

Two years, $9.8 million, play hockey. It would require the Jackets to ease up on precedent and acknowledge that Johansen is a budding star, but it would not go so far as to set an onerous precedent for second contracts. It would require Overhardt to do what is best for his client. But it can be done.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ryan+johansen

Five NCAA Hockey Storylines

from Jashvina Shah at Shnarped,

- Returning powerhouse

Last season, Minnesota powered its way to the Frozen Four, ending rival North Dakota’s season with 0.6 seconds left in the semifinals. Union ended Minnesota’s season in the national championship game, but the Gophers return one of the strongest rosters in the country. The team’s top-five scorers will return, including Kyle Rau. And the Golden Gophers have one of the best goalkeepers in the country in Adam Wilcox, who was key to Minnesota’s run last season.

- Miami, Michigan Poised for Bounce Back Seasons

On the opposite side, Miami and Michigan turned in letdown seasons. But the Wolverines a have solid leadership in captain Andrew Copp. The Wolverines lost Alex Guptill and Phil Di Giuseppe a year early, but they’re a couple losses in exchange for a freshman class that should help Michigan make it back to the NCAA tournament.

more

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, College Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: shnarped

It Appears Ilya Bryzgalov Will Be At Camp For The Minnesota Wild

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ilya+bryzgalov

Florida Panthers Owners End Speculation They May Be Moving

An Open Letter To Their Fans...

As we close in on the one-year anniversary of our ownership of the Florida Panthers, we want to reiterate our commitment to Broward County, South Florida and our Panthers fans and business partners. As we said at the press conference when we bought the team, we view ourselves as stewards of the team for the community and our plan is to build an organization that makes South Florida proud and to win the Stanley Cup in South Florida. Despite media speculation to the contrary, we have no plans or intentions to move this franchise.

We made a commitment to the Panthers and to South Florida when we bought the team to build a successful organization on and off the ice. We have been working hard to live up to that commitment. Starting with the trade to bring Roberto Luongo, one of the world’s top goaltenders, back home to South Florida, and continuing with our committing over $80 million to new players, including bringing six talented veteran free agents to South Florida and resigning all of our restricted free agents, we have dedicated ourselves to improving the team. Off the ice, we continue to expand our community outreach initiatives and look forward to continue to contribute to the quality of life for residents.

It is no secret that the Panthers and BB&T Center have lost tremendous amounts of money over the last dozen years. We are working hard to address this situation, which we believe we can do with the support from our loyal fans, our business partners, the business community and our community-at-large.

We look forward to a winning season and bringing a Stanley Cup to South Florida.

With Warm Regards,

Vinnie Viola and Doug Cifu, Co-Owners

Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: doug+cifu, vinnie+viola

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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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