Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mac Faulkner of Shnarped,
Recently Shnarped had the chance to speak at length with Matt as he reflected back on his journey from a 9th round pick in the bantam draft to an overtime hero in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In part one of a three-part series, we explore his thoughts on playing in Boston and what it was like scoring the overtime winning goal in his NHL playoff debut.
Is there anyone on the Bruins that you want to model your game after or just respect the way they prepare and carry themselves?
It’s hard not to go into that dressing room and respect the guys that put on that jersey because they’re there for a reason and they all believe in a common goal of winning the Stanley Cup. You have to respect the guys like (Shawn) Thornton, (Milan) Lucic and (Zdeno) Chara. You look at a guy like (Jarome) Iginla and he’s done so much for his career, in the NHL and on an international level, that it’s a no brainer.
You need to watch those guys because you want to see how they prepare and how they carry themselves in the dressing room, during the game and after the game with the media. You see why they’re so successful because they know how to be a professional. All those guys are so professional and they’re there because they want to win. Ultimately if you didn’t want to win and didn’t want to prepare yourself then you wouldn’t be there.
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE who answered some questions from fans...
w/ cap issues, too many D and age starting to show, how do you feel about shopping big Z while value is still high?
JH: I feel like this may happen eventually if he continues to show his age in key spots during the season (cough, cough…the playoffs), but the Bruins would need to develop an exit strategy first. I don’t see anybody on Boston’s roster that could step in and become the defensive stopper and play 25-30 minutes a night against the other team’s best offensive players.
You could force Johnny Boychuk to play that role or push Dougie Hamilton into it before he’s potentially ready to take that on, but that could have negative consequences. Just look in Toronto where the Maple Leafs have pushed Dion Phaneuf into a stopper D-man role that he’s really not suited for, and Toronto’s entire defensive effort has been compromised because of it.
The bottom line: the guy was a Norris Trophy finalist last season and had an excellent year. Be careful what you wish for, especially now that the 6-foot-9 defenseman has agreed to park his big frame in front of the net on power plays. That’s been a big difference-maker.
more Boston related questions and answers...
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
They still have to sign power play defenceman Torrey Krug and top-nine winger Reilly Smith, and they lost first-line forward Jarome Iginla to the Colorado Avalanche because the Avs could give him more than a one-year performance-laced deal.
They also have to resign their second-best centre David Krejci, also UFA next summer.
Can they afford to give Boychuk a multi-year deal, with a significant raise from his current $3.33 million cap hit? Do they have anyone who can take his spot with a similar skill-set? Do the Bruins think about moving Boychuk before h becomes UFA? Does Boychuk see what a reasonable facsimile player Brooks Orpik, 34 next month, got from Washington ($5.5 million cap over five years) this July and think he’d like a shot at the same gravy?
All questions to ponder.
from DJ Bean of WEEI,
According to a source familiar with the negotiations, the Bruins have had “casual discussions” with David Krejci‘s camp about a contract extension for the first-line center. Krejci, 28, is entering the final year of a three-year, $15.75 million contract and is set to be an unrestricted free agent after the coming season.
The source said there is an expectation that talks will accelerate in the near future. Historically, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli has tried to get deals with his franchise players done before they enter their contract years. Chiarelli did it prior to the 2010-11 season, when he locked up free-agents-to-be Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron, and last summer, when he signed Bergeron to an eight-year extension.
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.
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.
from Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald,
Long summers are not what a hockey player wants. It means that he fell far short of every player’s goal of winning the Stanley Cup.
But goalie Tuukka Rask, speaking at Shawn Thornton’s charity golf tournament on Monday, is taking the long sabbatical for what it’s worth.
“It’s been a little different,” Rask said of the extended vacation, “but every once in a while I guess it’s good to refocus and reload the batteries. We’re still over a month away (training camp starts Sept. 18) and it feels like we’re ready to go already.”...
But if Rask is stewing over the loss to Montreal, he hides it well.
“You can’t just sit around and think about the past,” Rask said. “You have to focus on what’s ahead of you. But things happen quick and it’s just hockey. I don’t like to think about it too much. You’ve seen so many times that everything just needs to click in order to reach that ultimate goal and last year, it just wasn’t our year. You look at the Kings, who won it, and I think every series went seven games (three out of four series, actually). And you need some luck, too. So many things need to happen right and last year wasn’t our year.”
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
A source with knowledge of Krug’s negotiations told CSNNE.com that there’s been a sizeable offer made for the defenseman’s services by an unidentified KHL team. The offer, according to the source, included a good chunk of money up front as a signing bonus.
When contacted by CSNNE.com, Krug’s agent, Lewis Gross, wouldn’t confirm, or deny, that the KHL offer existed, and instead offered an apologetic “no comment.”
The KHL offer is certainly plausible given Krug’s high profile after finishing fourth in Calder Trophy voting, and could be part of the KHL’s ongoing determination to cherry pick disgruntled NHL players for the Russian Hockey League. It also wouldn’t be unprecedented this summer as former B’s forward Vladimir Sobotka bolted St. Louis for the KHL after becoming unhappy when the Blues offered him arbitration rather than a big money multi-year deal.
It’s highly, highly unlikely Krug would eschew both the NHL and the Bruins to hop in bed with a volatile KHL outfit that hasn’t always turned out to be the greatest fit for American-born hockey players. Krug doesn't really fit the profile of NHL players that bolt for Russia.
It may be, however, the one very long shot option for Krug if negotiations don’t turn out well between his camp and the current B’s front office that has always treated their players fairly in the past when given the chance.
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
All is quiet with Torey Krug and the Boston Bruins. That’s probably exactly the way the Boston front office has mapped it out.
Due to the interesting circumstances behind their first pro contracts, neither Krug nor Reilly Smith have full restricted free-agent rights; instead, they're entry-level restricted free agents. Both Krug and Smith got that designation after burning the first year of their entry-level deals coming out of the NCAA, and currently have just two years of service time in pro hockey.
They can’t sign any offer sheets this summer, can’t move to any other teams, don’t have any arbitration rights and are fully under the power of a salary cap-strapped Bruins team while waiting for new bridge-type contracts....
It was believed initially that both Krug and Smith could be looking at second contracts in the Ondrej Palat/Tyler Johnson range of 3 years/$10 million. Now that won’t be happening this summer, given their service-time status.
It’s much more likely that Krug and Smith will be steered into signing one- or two-year deals in the $1 million-2 million AAV (average annual value) range that are friendly to the organization. That’s clearly a positive development for Peter Chiarelli and the Bruins, but isn’t so great for exciting young players in Krug and Smith after breakout NHL campaigns in 2013-14.
read on for more on Krug...
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec isn’t very well-liked or well-respected within the B’s dressing room, and a national hockey audience got a taste of why when he repeatedly snapped his head back in embellishment during phantom high stick encounters against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals. The blatant play-acting even spawned the hash tag #Plekanecing on twitter where fans snapped selfies in mock pain and head-snapping embellishment.
During the 2014 Phoenix House Champs for Change dinner in Halifax, Marchand was asked by AHL President Dave Andrews during a panel discussion which NHL player irritates him the most. Surely it’s a long list with an agitator like Marchand, but there wasn’t much hesitation in his answer (YouTube video).
“There are a few guys out there that really irritate,” said Marchand, who it should be noted has authored his own adventures in embellishment over the years. “Tomas Plekanec from Montreal…I hate him. I can’t stand him. No, I probably shouldn’t say that. I dislike him very much. Now somebody is going to call and get mad at me tomorrow.”
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